What is a CCNA?
CCNAs are network admins, engineers, and associates certified by Cisco for their expertise in networking. They can help your organization by keeping your VoIP phone service network healthy.
Depending on the needs of your business, you may or may not need a CCNA. Some VoIP plans have this covered through service provided by the VoIP vendor, and some businesses may not need one. If you have a small business VoIP system, you may not need to hire an administrator---a large enterprise, however, probably has an entire team of admins on staff.
In this article, you can learn more about what CCNA means and whether or not your organization may need to hire one. From there, you can decide for yourself if your IT department should include a CCNA.
What is a CCNA?
A CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) is someone who is trained to administer networks and certified by Cisco. Candidates must pass one or more exams in order to demonstrate their knowledge of Cisco products and their ability to troubleshoot, secure, and use networking. Certification has to be renewed every three years, and these professionals know at least the fundamentals of networking such as setting up VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) and connecting devices to the existing network. From there, they can put in additional study and advance with different levels of certifications.
How Do CCNAs Help Administer VoIP Networks?
If your organization needs someone to administer your business phone networks, then having a CCNA onsite is a solid plan. Having onsite technical administration at the CCNA level may not be necessary if your organization uses cloud-hosted service and largely depends on your VoIP vendor for service and support.
VoIP networks are fairly complex and it does help to have strong support. Often, though, your vendor can provide this. If your organization is small and uses just a few services for a small number of users, it may not be necessary to have a network engineer onsite.
How Do You Become a CCNA?
CCNAs demonstrate their knowledge and experience with networking by taking exams created by Cisco. Through CCNA VoIP books, candidates can prepare and learn more about how VoIP works. Networking knowledge is tested directly in the exams---information is available online as Cisco does release some information to help candidates prepare, although the exact questions are kept secret and generally not available to candidates.
With your CCNA cert earned after passing the right exams, you can begin gaining industry experience and seeking an admin position. Every three years, you'll need to recertify. Now, you're a proven networking pro!
Finding the Right CCNA
To find the right CCNA, here are a few considerations:
- Experience: Ask candidates about their background and experience with networking to see if they would be a good fit.
- Interest: It doesn't hurt to find out what interests them about networking and why they are applying for the job at your business.
- Certification: There are a few different types or focuses for CCNA certification, so you may want to find out what type(s) they chose. For instance, there's a CCNA security cert that proves expertise in network security in particular.
- The right networking administrator for your business can help you keep your VoIP system up and running as well provide information and support for the system's users.
Getting the Support Your Network Needs
If your VoIP network needs onsite support to keep everything moving along, then a CCNA may be right for your business. Whether or not you need a CCNA at your company depends in part on the size of your organization and the VoIP solution your company has. Small businesses may not need one if they have all of their networking support through their vendor, for instance. Ultimately, you may want to ask your vendor if you should consider hiring a CCNA to administer your network. Your VoIP vendor can give you more information about your support and administration options.
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