14 Replies Latest reply: Jan 8, 2012 2:34 PM by tnewshott RSS

    Salary and starting out question

    techrox

      I'm working on my CCNP right now, full-time.  I have route completed and the other two shouldn't take too long.  I want to try and get a CCNA level job after I get my CCNP, because I just need real life experience.  The reason I haven't applied for jobs already is I have a unique opportunity to get my CCNP and also not work.

       

      I have done some searching on average CCNA and CCNP salary, it just seems so high that I don't believe it.  For instance careerbuilder said the world average for CCNA is almost 90k.  I am almost positive I won't be offered anywhere near this.  Am I completely wrong?  I live in North Carolina, if that gives anyone some idea of what I can expect.

       

      As an entry level cisco position what sort of job listings should I be on the look-out for?  What salary would be fair?  I'm not asking 100k just because I will have a CCNP, that's more for my personal knowledge if anything.  I just would like some opinions on what job titles are truly CCNA level that I should even bother with applying for with a CCNP.  I know many list every job skill under the sun and I don't want to sell myself short, but I also don't want to be interviewing for jobs I don't have any business interviewing for yet.  I want a challenge sure, but I also want an environment I can progress and learn in without fearing I'll get fired if I don't learn such and such in a week.

       

      I know most people are secretive about their salaries, but I'd like to know what people usually make in their first cisco job.

        • 1. Re: Salary and starting out question
          tnewshott

          It depends on where you start at, what you are doing, whether you get lucky, etc.  Right now with the job market you're looking at lower than typical rates because it's still largely an Employer's market, for the time being. 

           

          Here where I am, anywhere from 35k-50k is not unreasonable for someone with a CCNA/CCNP and zero experience - IF you really do KNOW your stuff and are not a paper dragon.  It really hinges on your performance in the interview, and whether you have any IT experience at all, or if you really do have Zero IT experience, let alone zero Cisco experience.

           

          Breaking the six figure mark is a funny thing, it takes some people years to finally break that barrier, others not so long.  All depends on what opportunities you are presented with, or you cultivate, and the risk you are willing to take. 

           

          Right now you should be more concerned with finding the right job that will satisfy your budgetary needs, so that way you can get some real life experience!  After a year or two, with some experience, it is easier to try and climb the salary ladder. 

          • 2. Re: Salary and starting out question
            Jared

            I am in complete agreement with Travis.  In this economy, salaries are down right now.  In my area 40k is totally reasonable for a true entry level CCNA that has little to no experience.  Another variable is did careerbuilder state the experience required in conjunction with that CCNA?  I can possibly see a CCNP get close to 90k, with the right experience, economic situation and company.

             

            One other thing is public vs private sector.  In my area, an IT person is usually paid 20 to 30% less than a private sector person.... Again, depending on the other variables mentioned above.

            • 3. Re: Salary and starting out question
              Scott Morris - CCDE/4xCCIE/2xJNCIE

              I think people are smoking something wacky if they think that's the AVERAGE salary of a CCNA.  Especially worldwide.  Check out certmag.com's salary surveys, they may be a bit better.

               

              I believe that solid CCNA is in the mid 50's to mid 60's as an average.  Yes, some will be higher, which means that some will be lower!

               

              Decide what it is that you want to do!  Concentrate on learning the fundamentals well!  Everything else builds upon them.

               

              I get CCIE candidates all the time who amazingly struggle with some basic concepts because they never learned them.  There's a large gap between memorizing something and actually KNOWING something!

               

              If you know it, you'll have no fear of getting fired!   If you memorize everything you'll have to re-figure it out every time the details chage which can be very stressful!

               

              From your standpoint though, also keep in mind that a career isn't all about salary.  I've done things over the years where I take pay cuts in order to be in the place that I want to be.  Either for growth potential, or working with the people/skills/tasks that I want to do!   As long as you cover your needs, then it's all good!

               

              Just make sure you won't be making your starting salary forever!  Never fear to ask about the career ladder potential for whatever position it is!

               

              Enjoy!

               

              Scott

              • 4. Re: Salary and starting out question
                Jared

                Well said Scott!  Salary isn't everything.  I turned down a job at an ISP which offered higher pay just to avoid a higher steeds level and undesirable hours.

                • 5. Re: Salary and starting out question
                  techrox

                  Thanks for the reply, I certainly thought there's no way the average CCNA Makes almost 90k.  I just didn't want to be asked in an interview what salary range I'm interested in and then give them a number that gets me laughed out of the office.

                   

                  I certainly think getting a CCNP will put me above more new CCNAs as far as knowledge.  Perhaps not if they have actual experience already, but I have to start somewhere right?  One reason I decided to just go for the CCNP is because I just had too many questions after the CCNA.  Meaning the CCNA coverage of the topics wasn't enough, for me anyway.

                   

                  In today's economy if I were offered between 50 and 60k I would be ecstatic.  I'd probably feel rich if I made that much.

                  • 6. Re: Salary and starting out question
                    techrox

                    One last simple question.  Would you recommend giving your potential employer a salary that you're looking for if asked, or would you just say you want "a fair salary considering your knowledge" or something like that?

                     

                    I've read time and time again how people have a hard time getting a job if they are overqualified and I don't want a CCNP cert to get in the way of me getting a CCNA entry position.  I also don't want to lowball it if a company wants to pay me really well either.

                    • 7. Re: Salary and starting out question
                      Jared

                      You have a valid concern there.  Here is my thought on the matter.  To me, a certification, certifies that the holder can do a job.  For an entry level, or associate certification, it is expected that some certification holders would not have much experience.  The certification they hold could be seen by some employers as how experienced the candidate is.  Now, I know that isn't how it is, but it is a perception that is out there.

                       

                      Now for a professional level certification, you would expect the holder to have more experience than an associate level certification holder.  If an employer sees a ccnp with no experience.....  Not sure how they would take that.  It is all up to the perception of that employer.

                       

                      My thought is to achieve the certification that is slightly over your experience level.  Now there is nothing wrong with studying for the ccnp if one has little or no experience, but to me, the real learning happens by doing, not just studying.  I would continue to study for the ccnp, but work very hard to get some kind of experience!

                       

                      I did my ccnp because I found that my job took me in that direction and the ccnp helped add to the experience I already had. 

                       

                      Ayway I hope this helps.  Tis is just my opinion.  I certainly don't want to discourage anyone from getting a ccnp.  But like with any learned skill, if you don't use it in your experience, you can quickly loose that skill.

                      • 8. Re: Salary and starting out question
                        tnewshott

                        I would start looking for jobs now, and keep working on your CCNP.  However, having a CCNP and no real world experience does not place you too far ahead of most CCNAs, because experience is the universal teacher, and it often carries more weight than certifications. 

                        • 9. Re: Salary and starting out question
                          Scott Morris - CCDE/4xCCIE/2xJNCIE

                          techrox wrote:

                           

                          One last simple question.  Would you recommend giving your potential employer a salary that you're looking for if asked, or would you just say you want "a fair salary considering your knowledge" or something like that?

                           

                          I've read time and time again how people have a hard time getting a job if they are overqualified and I don't want a CCNP cert to get in the way of me getting a CCNA entry position.  I also don't want to lowball it if a company wants to pay me really well either.

                           

                          I always hate it when people ask that.  They have the job, they should have a salary in mind.  Ask what the range is on the position, so that you know what potential there is for raises without changing positions (particularly important in larger organizations).

                           

                          Know what the bonus structure is, as well as the reality/liklihood of achieving it!  I've heard of companies with excellent bonus program, but they're almost mythical since it magically seems nobody earns them!

                           

                          But get an idea what the total package/benefits happens to be.  Try not to let your eyes pop out of your head either if the number is nice!  That always seems too eager. 

                           

                          If you know the range, make sure you are comfortable with a number in the middle.  That way you have growing room.  If where you want to be is right at the top, start asking about career path and what options you'll have to better yourself and better the company (make sure they understand those go hand in hand so it'll appear that you are playing for the team and keeping their interests/profit in mind).

                           

                          But personally, when someone asks me what I'd like to make I always come up with something like "$1.2 million a year sounds very nice, but I don't think that's realistic for this position.  So let's talk about what range you had in mind."

                           

                          Keeps things a little humorous and keeps the question away from you locking yourself in or out too quickly.

                           

                          Scott

                          • 10. Re: Salary and starting out question
                            Jürgen Dietl

                            Hi,

                            salary depends on many things. Ok you have your CCNP or CCNA now. But what did you do before? 10+ year of network experience? Or just got out of school? Did you study?

                             

                            You also get more money if you are self employed but its a little more risky. So I have friends that get 50 K for IT-Jobs and I have friends that get 120 K and more - depends on you.

                             

                            Many people stop after their certification but if you like doing router stuff and have fun in learning and your experience grows - your salary will do that automatically.

                             

                            cheers,

                            Juergen

                            • 11. Re: Salary and starting out question
                              Conwyn

                              Hi Techrox

                               

                              Unfortunately two people with CCNP could be doing totally different jobs.

                               

                              I would say I spend 10% of my time on Cisco whereas other people might spend 100% of their time.

                               

                              Pre-Sales is very different to NOC or implementation.

                               

                              You will earn more at a Bank or Social Networking than other locations.

                               

                              It is all about what you contribute to the profit of the company.

                               

                              Regards Conwyn

                              • 12. Re: Salary and starting out question
                                praveen

                                Hi,

                                I am CCNA certified candidate. I had worked in Telecom ISP Domain 3yrs SDH Technology. i completed my CCNA exam last month. now i am trying in IT MNC company. today i attended the interview for CCNA. they asked the questions on switching. In my previous telecom company i never config switches.but i know config by completing ccna course. Now the suggestion required is , from my side theory knowledge on CCNA is ok but there is no practical knowledge on LAN, WAN, VLAN...etc. In my previous company my job role is on telecom network operation center engg --provisioning, config, monitoring, trouble shooting and here it is not matching. Can u give me how to synchronise these CCNA skills to IT MNC companies and get the job not to miss the MNC companies job offers.

                                I  failed at interview today.

                                 

                                 

                                I am waiting for ur reply.

                                 

                                experincedpraveen@in.com

                                 

                                 

                                Regards, Praveen.

                                • 13. Re: Salary and starting out question
                                  Jimmy Sands

                                  The salary issue is always a sticky one, I have used the response "Well, at my last job I earned x,xxx,xxx....lol, ok , I say at my last job I earned 50,000".  Gives a good starting base figure.  I tend to lowball though by a 3-k a year, to atleast keep me in the running.  A lower salary range is better than no salary.

                                   

                                  I would totally disregard salary surveys, its like p*nis sizes, on paper its always bigger! lol (sorry to offend anyone).

                                   

                                  I see **** articles saying starting CCNAs get 90k a year....then right below that is a link to a school to get your CCNA.  Uh.... The most important factor in a job is to like it, period.  I had jobs where I could earn 10k less, and I would still do the job, because it was that much fun.  

                                   

                                  Praveen,

                                   

                                  >> In my previous company my job role is on telecom network operation center engg --provisioning, config, monitoring, trouble shooting and here it is not matching.

                                   

                                  So you sat at a desk maybe at Clearwires NOC and looked a screen, something went down, you called a field tech who fixed it.  Commissioning sites, they are liked trained monkeys, you have 3 or 4 devices, type some simplistic commands, then the site is up and running.   I sat in Clearwires commissioning for a year, I know.  I have seen people who call themselves engineers who dont know what CAM table is.

                                   

                                  You never fail an interview, they just found a better match (and besides, maybe you never had a chance to begin with, maybe the co-founders son was interviewed also....you get my point?).  Dont get to down, just look at what you were asked, and you didnt know....then try to learn it.  I do admit though, it sucks being asked question after question that you dont know.  I had VAX VMS interview once, two questions, interview was over, I took VAX VMS off my resume after that lol.

                                   

                                  If you have never config'd a cisco or any other vendors switch, you really  have no business applying for jobs that require that skill set.  You need entry level experience before saying your an engineer.   Start applying for technician roles (field roles)...the practical experience you will get will last a lifetime and pave the way for a engineering positions.

                                   

                                  I wish you the best of luck...stick with it.

                                  • 14. Re: Salary and starting out question
                                    tnewshott

                                    Holy undead thread Batman