It’s August of 2017 – which means it’s been a long ten years since I originally obtained by CCNA certification in 2007. I figured it might be a good time to take a minute and look at what that has meant for me, and how the last ten years of my career have gone.
When I got my CCNA certification, I was only two months out of high school. I had just finished two years of the Cisco Networking Academy coursework, and I had no idea what that would actually mean for me. I went and took the certification exam mostly because I felt that like that was the only way to validate what I had learned during the two year class. I failed it once or twice, which nearly discouraged me enough to not try again. However, I ended up passing the test and becoming Cisco certified on August 27th, 2007.
Obtaining that certification didn’t immediately make me valuable to anyone. However, it definitely helped to get my resume in front of a number of people who probably wouldn’t have taken a look otherwise. At the time, I had no college degree and absolutely no real-world networking experience. I owe that CCNA cert for helping me get my first job – but after that it was up to me to prove my worth.
It’s amazing to sit back and realize that ten years has passed already. So much has happened, so much has changed. I spent the first three or four years of my career studying hard to additional Cisco certs, which I used as motivation to learn more about networking. Certifications can be great for validating what you know, but it’s the real-world skill that really pays off in the end. Even with my original intent to become a network admin, I’ve ended up wearing a lot of hats and picking up more of a variety of skills than I ever thought I would. It’s definitely been a good thing though, since it has allowed me to get a better understanding of other systems – which in turn helps me to better support them as a network admin.
Even though today I don’t really manage much in the way of Cisco equipment, the original skills that I learned in the Cisco Networking Academy program have given me a great base knowledge to work with. All of the fundamental networking skills I learned have translated quite well to other vendors and products. I’ve spent the past few years working with Brocade, Juniper, Check Point, and a number of other vendors – and I feel like I have had a much easier time picking up the new skills than I might have had otherwise.
Today I still hold and maintain my Cisco certifications – and I plan to continue doing so for the foreseeable future. Someday I would like to achieve a CCIE/CCDE-level certification, but for now I am happy with what I have and what these certifications have helped me to achieve in my career.
Thanks for reading – here is to hoping for the next ten years to be just as good as the last.