Cisco CCNA

The CCNA jobs outlook for 2024: Navigating your career in networking and cybersecurity

Infosec Institute
January 29, 2024 by
Infosec Institute

Earning your CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) unlocks a gateway to a dynamic and rewarding career. Whether you're a tech enthusiast with a hunger for knowledge or an IT professional looking to advance your Cisco Systems knowledge, the CCNA equips you with the foundational skills and understanding to navigate the world of networking and cybersecurity. 

Earn your CCNA, guaranteed!

Earn your CCNA, guaranteed!

Get live, expert CCNA training from anywhere. Enroll now to claim your Exam Pass Guarantee!

How relevant is the CCNA in 2024? More than it has ever been. The need for skilled network engineers and cybersecurity specialists is booming, and the CCNA remains a sought-after credential in the eyes of employers. According to Cisco, networked devices are estimated to grow to 50 billion, and technical certifications can help you stand out in a networked world, with 87% of IT professionals holding a certification. 

In this article, we'll explore how the CCNA fits into the broader cybersecurity job market, analyze job market trends, and offer practical tips for navigating the path to a successful career in networking. 

The current state of CCNA certification 

The CCNA you knew before 2020 has gone through significant changes. In February of that year, Cisco streamlined its offerings, consolidating many specializations into one powerful exam: the 200-301 CCNA. This updated version reflects the modern networking landscape, focusing on fundamental skills like: 

  • IP connectivity 

  • Network access 

  • Network fundamentals 

  • IP services 

  • Security fundamentals 

  • Automation and programmability 

This broader scope reflects the reality of modern networking jobs. Gone are the days of siloed specializations. Today's networking professionals need a well-rounded skillset to handle the diverse demands of dynamic IT environments. The CCNA proves you have essential networking skills and can be your entry point into professional networking. 

And while the CCNA is not a cybersecurity certification per se, it does lay the critical foundation for success in this growing field. Networking knowledge is fundamental to understanding and securing IT systems. You have to know the ins and outs of computer networking before cybersecurity. It's a cart and horse thing. So whether you're considering building secure networks or hunting down cyber threats, a CCNA is a valuable first step. 

Understanding networks is essential for configuring firewalls and employing intrusion detection systems. 

Job market trends for CCNA professionals in 2024 

The future for CCNA professionals looks bright, fueled by the unending surge in demand for network professionals and dynamic market trends. Here are some of the of the trends causing this: 

  • Cybersecurity Ventures reports a current global cybersecurity workforce shortage of 3.5 million; the gap will remain even with new professionals in the market. 

  • The rise of cloud computing, IoT, and 5G is reshaping networks, creating a need for agile professionals who understand traditional and cutting-edge technologies. 

  • The pandemic-driven shift to remote work has further amplified the need for secure and reliable networks, boosting opportunities for network administrators and engineers. 

  • Lightcast found that CCNA-related job postings in 2022 increased by 22% from the year before and that cybersecurity job demand increased by 43%. 

The numbers show that cybersecurity is the hottest job market in IT right now and will be for a while. The CCNA is your ticket to this market when you understand how a network functions, you become a valuable asset in identifying and stopping threats. 

CCNA without experience: Breaking into the field 

The job market might seem daunting if you've conquered the CCNA but lack experience. Don't worry about all the job postings that tell you "experience required." Employers value the CCNA, even without real-world experience. It demonstrates your dedication, technical aptitude, and understanding of networking fundamentals. 

You can bridge this experience gap with CCNA certification training, as well as: 

  • Hands-on labs: Platforms like Infosec Skills offer virtual labs where you can build and manage network simulations, replicating real-world scenarios. 

  • Your home lab: If you have the equipment, you can set up a primary home network, configure devices, and experiment with protocols like routing and switching. You can also practice with network simulators and emulators, like GNS3. 

  • Contributions to open source: Several open-source networking projects, like GNS3 or OpenWRT, welcome contributions. 

  • Volunteer work: Offer your skills to non-profit organizations or community initiatives that rely on strong networks. 

Skeptical? Read these success stories: 

  • "The CCNA, combined with a little networking, can get you an IT job with minimal or no previous experience. I know this because that's what happened to me." - TechExams 

  • "CCNA helped me get my first job, and I didn't have any experience in anything" - TechExams 

  • "I had no IT experience and got a job the week after earning my CCNA." - Reddit 

Network technicians, help desk specialists, and junior network administrators are common entry points for CCNA holders. To land these roles, highlight your CCNA, showcase your lab work and projects, and emphasize your eagerness to learn and grow. Network with professionals, attend industry events and showcase your enthusiasm for the field. Confidence and a proactive attitude can compensate for a limited experience. 

Salary and career progression for CCNA professionals 

The CCNA can be your launchpad to a diverse and financially rewarding journey in networking and cybersecurity. 

Globally, a CCNA certification can bring you anywhere from $58,000 to $85,000 annually. But let's zoom in on the United States, where the demand for skilled network professionals is robust. Here, the average CCNA salary falls between $75,319 and $87,000, with a comfortable average of around $81,828. 

Of course, there are outliers. With more experience, your salary will be higher. If you land a job at a big tech firm, you most likely will get higher pay than a small business. The location also factors in. For example, in Switzerland, the average salary for CCNA jobs is $104,000. And here are the averages for some U.S. states: 

With a CCNA, you don't have to stick to a single career track. The network of possibilities is as diverse as the networks themselves. Here are just a few paths you can explore: 

  • Network administrator: Dive into the hands-on world of managing and troubleshooting networks, ensuring smooth operations and data flow. Picture yourself as a complex information orchestra conductor, keeping the music in perfect harmony. 

  • Cloud networking specialist: Master the art of secure cloud environments, designing and managing virtual networks that power the digital age. Imagine yourself building intricate digital bridges that connect data across the globe, powering everything from streaming services to financial transactions as a cloud engineer. 

  • Cybersecurity analyst: Embrace the cybersecurity frontier as a cybersecurity analyst, identifying and mitigating threats to keep networks safe. Think of yourself as a digital detective, tracking malicious actors and safeguarding valuable information. This entry-level career has an average salary of $93,888, setting you down the path to higher-paying jobs. The median cybersecurity salary is $134,800. 

  • Network engineer: Climb the ladder to network engineer, where you'll hone your expertise, take on strategic network design, and implement projects. In this role, you shape how information flows through our connected world. 

Although the lines between IT and cybersecurity can be blurry, you can generally choose between a long-term focus on the infrastructure side, with roles like network architect or network manager, or roles on the cybersecurity side, like security architect or security manager. 

Earn your CCNA, guaranteed!

Earn your CCNA, guaranteed!

Get live, expert CCNA training from anywhere. Enroll now to claim your Exam Pass Guarantee!

CCNA in the context of cybersecurity 

In the IT and cybersecurity landscape, the CCNA plays a crucial role in the cybersecurity landscape. It's the foundation upon which robust security measures are built. According to, a resource backed by the Department of Homeland Security, 42% of cybersecurity professionals transitioned from networking positions, and the CCNA and CCNP are the top certifications in the networking role. 

The CCNA shows you have a working knowledge of computer networks, which can naturally lead to cybersecurity certifications like: 

  • Cisco CyberOps Associate: This natural next step after CCNA builds upon your networking knowledge, equipping you with essential cybersecurity skills like threat detection, incident response, and security analysis. This combination is a highlight of our Cisco CCNA Associate and CyberOps Associate Training Boot Camp, creating well-rounded cybersecurity professionals with dual certifications. 

  • Vendor-neutral certifications: Certifications like CompTIA's Security+ complement the CCNA's networking focus by providing broader cybersecurity knowledge and best practices. The synergy between understanding networks and applying general security principles makes you a highly valuable professional. 

Firewalls and intrusion detection systems are essential for defending an organization, but understanding the underlying network allows them to function effectively. A cybersecurity professional needs to know the network inside and out to spot vulnerabilities, deploy defenses, and respond to threats. 

With a CCNA, you'll grasp: 

  • Network protocols and vulnerabilities: Knowing how communication flows and where weaknesses lie is crucial for identifying potential attack vectors and implementing targeted security measures. 

  • Network troubleshooting: Security incidents often manifest in network issues. Identifying and resolving these issues quickly requires a deep understanding of network operations. 

  • Security tools and their integration: Many security tools rely on network data and analysis. You can deploy and use these tools more effectively with a strong network foundation. 

For more on what you'll learn as a CCNA, read our CCNA exam and topics. The CCNA equips you to understand the language of networks, enabling you to build a more robust, more resilient network defense. 

Preparing for the future: Enhancing your CCNA skills 

Getting your CCNA is a monumental achievement, but remember, in IT, your learning never ends. The pace of technological advancement demands continuous learning and skill enhancement. So, how can you ensure your CCNA knowledge remains sharp and prepares you for the future of networking and cybersecurity? 

Here are some ways you can stay ahead of the curve: 

  • Read industry publications and news: Follow tech blogs, podcasts, and websites like Network World, Network Computing, and Infosec to stay abreast of emerging trends, new protocols, and innovative technologies. 

  • Engage in online communities: Participate in online communities like Reddit's r/networking and forums like TechExams to share knowledge, discuss challenges, and collaborate on projects. 

  • Attend industry events: Conferences, workshops, meetups, and webcasts provide valuable opportunities to network with peers and learn from experts. 

Here is how you can build your skills: 

  • Dive deeper into Cisco certifications: The CCNA is just the beginning. Consider pursuing advanced Cisco certifications like CCNP or specialized tracks like CyberOps Associate or DevNet Associate to broaden your skillset and target specific career paths. 

  • Explore vendor-neutral certifications: Certifications like CompTIA's Network+ or Security+ offer vendor-neutral proficiency in networking and security skills, complementing your CCNA knowledge and increasing your market value. 

In the IT field, new technologies emerge and evolve constantly. The key to success is embracing a growth mindset. 

Earn your CCNA, guaranteed!

Earn your CCNA, guaranteed!

Get live, expert CCNA training from anywhere. Enroll now to claim your Exam Pass Guarantee!

CCNA jobs outlook conclusion 

As we begin 2024, the outlook for CCNA professionals is brighter than ever. The world is becoming more connected, demanding skilled individuals who can navigate the networks that provide the infrastructure for our work and life. The CCNA is your passport to this exciting landscape. 

Embrace the challenge, conquer the CCNA exam, and enjoy the ranks of those who build, manage and secure the digital infrastructure of our world. And if you're a current CCNA professional, never stop learning. Explore new technologies, pursue advanced certifications, and develop the growth mindset that will propel you to the forefront of your profession. 

Additional CCNA resources 

Earning your CCNA is an incredible accomplishment, but it's just the beginning of your journey in networking. To help you navigate this field and reach your full potential, here's a list of additional resources: 

CCNA training: 

CCNA forums, communities, and websites: 

  • TechExams by Infosec to chat with peers about the CCNA and other certifications and exams. 

  • Infosec Blog for networking, cybersecurity, and networking articles. 

  • The r/networking subreddit. 

  • The r/ccna/ subreddit. 

CCNA study materials and industry resources: 

Infosec Institute
Infosec Institute

Infosec’s mission is to put people at the center of cybersecurity. We help IT and security professionals advance their careers with skills development and certifications while empowering all employees with security awareness and phishing training to stay cyber safe at work and home. More than 70% of the Fortune 500 have relied on Infosec Skills to develop their security talent, and more than 5 million learners worldwide are more cyber-resilient from Infosec IQ’s security awareness training.