What Next? Life After CCENT Certification

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Update: CBT Nuggets now has both CCENT/CCNA ICDN1 100-105 and ICDN2 200-105 training available online. Happy training, and good luck!

The moment you earn the CCENT, grab the nearest timer and set it for three years; when the countdown finishes, your certification will have expired. During the next 1095 days, you’ll need to make the most of the CCENT by taking the necessary steps to advance your IT career.

A Quick Recap: What Is the CCENT?
Just in case you haven’t passed the CCENT, or maybe are brand spankin’ new to IT, here’s a quick look at what we’re talking about.

The CCENT is the first, or entry, level, and is a prerequisite for CCNA certifications in Routing and Switching, Security, Design, and Wireless.

Cisco’s networking certifications fall under five levels of difficulty and prestige. From easiest to hardest, the levels are Entry, Associate, Professional, Expert, and Architect. A lower-level cert usually serves as a prerequisite for a higher-level one. It is useful to imagine the five levels as a progression path, or a pyramid.

In recent years, one would pass the 100-101 ICND1 v2.0 exam to earn the CCENT. However, Cisco recently replaced the aforementioned test with the 100-105 ICND1 v3.0 exam. To learn more about or study for the new ICND1, check out our course by Jeremy Cioara.

Potential Careers
Job applicants with a CCENT certification have a distinct advantage for entry-level jobs, such as internships, apprenticeships, help desk support, and junior administration. Many candidates for these positions have no certifications or even IT experience.

Certifications are a great way to get your networking career started.

A candidate with the CCENT certification not only has knowledge, but also has demonstrated an aptitude for learning — and usually a clear plan for their career.

Important tip: In interviews, one should be able to answer the same types of questions they encountered while taking the exams that were required to earn his/her CCENT. Here are a few tips to Rock your Interview from Start to Finish.

Job seekers who hold a CCENT cert should not shy away from applying for jobs that require a CCNA certification. Employers may prefer a candidate with a CCENT certification, a love of learning and self-improvement, and strong communications skills over job applicants with only an important-sounding certification to their name.

Expanding on Certifications
As previously mentioned, a CCENT certification will expire three years from the date it’s earned. Fortunately, the renewal process is as simple as two steps: One simply has to retake and pass the ICND1 in order to renew the certification.

However, earning a higher-level Cisco certification, such as the CCNA, will automatically renew lower-level certifications for three years.

For example, acquiring the CCNA will renew the CCENT for three years. Obtaining the CCNP will renew both the CCNA and the CCENT for three years. Thus, after gaining the CCENT certification, studying for the CCNA is a logical next step. In fact, many people earn the CCENT with the express purpose of earning their CCNA as soon as reasonably possible.

There are plenty of other options for renewing your certification, and it all depends on your Roadmap to Success.

Remember, because CCENT is the starting point for many Cisco certs that explore different areas of IT such as security, voice and video tech, etc., it opens the doors for many exciting possibilities — learning- and career-wise. A desire to learn, the motivation to stay current, and a passion for what you’re doing is crucial to not only lasting in IT, but enjoying your career. 

Life after CCENT doesn’t have to be daunting at all, in fact, it should be exciting. Get ready to explore and conquer again!

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