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After the CCNA, what do I do to increase my chances in networking?

I am pursuing CCNA while working in leading Indian IT organization for the last two years. After the CCNA, what do I do to increase my chances in Networking? Should I go on to CCNP or MCSE or Soloris? Some experienced network people told me I should know Oracle or MS SQL.

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The CCNA is strictly entry-level. After that, you'll need to look over the Cisco offerings and pick an area in which to specialize, such as networking design (CCDA & CCDP), routing & switching (CCNP), security (CCSP), and so forth, with at least one eye on the long-term horizon where a CCIE may also like in your future (the company just added storage networking to its tracks, which also include service provider, routing and switching, voice, and security topics as well).

As for DBMS knowledge, that's something that doesn't routinely fall into the skillset of most focused network administrators. Perhaps these friends of yours think you may be suited for work as a database administrator, designer, or architect. But that's a whole 'nother story, and I won't address it further here than to say that everything else you've told me does not lead in that direction.

HTH, and good luck with your career planning and development.

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This was first published in November 2004

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