The CCNA salary if you have no experience is usually quite a bit less than what you have probably read elsewhere. There was a time that you could obtain a good certification and find a job right away at a good salary level. However, these days’ employers want to see a combination of school, certification, and experience before they put you in a role of responsibility.
This is especially the case with computer networking people. Employers count on their systems being available and many companies that are heavily reliant on their internal application or even the Internet for that matter feel their biggest risk to their company is a prolonged IT outage. If you have ever read a Business Impact Analysis written by an auditing team for a big company, you will realize a complete loss to a facility comes in second place to a prolonged IT systems outage.
For this reason, companies try to hire the most experienced network people they can find. In a rough economy, they want someone cheaply, but are not willing to hire someone that may cause problems due to their lack of experience. Thus, for many CCNA’s without experience, it can be an uphill battle even finding a job, much less making their way into the published salary ranges.
The best way to get around this is to do consulting work for the first year or two. There are many companies that do large scale rollouts of new networking equipment and hire a bunch of consultants to do the installations. This is pretty low level work, but you will gain exposure to the equipment and more importantly gain the experience you need to compete in the workforce.
The consultants that work on these projects generally make a pretty good living too. For the most part, you will work by yourself, but will take your direction from senior IT people over the phone. You won’t really gain any experience with troubleshooting or design, but you will gain experience with a whole host of different equipment. These projects often include wireless equipment, routers and switches.
For the most part when you have little experience the equipment will come to you preconfigured. But you can use the time onsite to look over configurations and really get a good idea of exactly what you are doing and why. However, you will most gain experience to put on a resume that will qualify you for a full time job within a year or two.
Obtaining a good CCNA salary with no experience is difficult, but not impossible. If you look around enough and don’t mind working as a contractor for a while, you should do just fine. However, if you are dead-set on working for a large company as a full-time employee, you may have to work at a lower salary in a position that is probably not what you expected. Your CCNA certification on its own is probably more than enough to qualify you for a Jr. position on a network team or a help desk role. The good news is this doesn’t have to last very long and you can always move up in the company you are working for.