Passing the Cisco Certified Network Associate examination is an extremely difficult and challenging endeavor, but the payoff is well worth the effort. Ricky Robinson, Associate Computer Networking Professor at Rend Lake College, recently helped several current and returning students prepare for this rigorous test.
"The only way to pass a test like this is through hands-on training. That is what we are doing here," Robinson said of his CCNA Test Preparation class.
Rend Lake College offers other certification programs, such as the Computer Technology Industry Association’s A+ certification, but Cisco certification is a step above the others, Robinson said.
"If you walk into an employer’s office and say you are a CCNA, they know you know what you are doing," Robinson said. He said a CCNA-certified networking specialist is much more marketable than the average networking specialist.
The CCNA certification indicates a foundation in and apprentice knowledge of networking. CCNA certified professionals can install, configure, and operate local area networks (LAN), wide area networks (WAN), and dial access services for small networks, according to Cisco’s Web site.
Passing the test seems to pay off nicely. According to a salary survey on TCPMag.com, a publication for Cisco internetworking experts, CCNAs in the northern portion of the country, including Illinois, averaged $52,000 per year before reaching 25 years of age. Average salaries beyond that age limit reached $69,000 in this area. Those with more than 10 years of experience were listed at an average salary of $80,000.
Rend Lake College also has simplified the process by offering the CCNA test on campus.
Although the difficulty level of the test is substantial, there is another level to be reached for those who have the ability and desire -- the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP). This test also is offered at the RLC campus in Ina.
There is still one more level of certification. Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) is the most rigorous of Cisco’s career certifications and identifies the upper echelon of networking experts worldwide. This test must be taken at Cisco’s headquarters in San Jose, Calif., Robinson said.
Cisco Systems, Inc. is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. Today, networks are an essential part of business, education, government and home communications, and Cisco Internet Protocol-based (IP) networking solutions are the foundation of these networks. Cisco hardware, software, and service offerings are used to create Internet solutions that allow individuals, companies, and countries to increase productivity, improve customer satisfaction and strengthen competitive advantage.
For more information on Rend Lake College’s Cisco certification programs, contact Robinson at (618) 437-5321, Ext. 1789, or call toll-free (in-district only) at 1-800-369-5321.