The Cisco Certified Networking Associate is a single-exam, entry-level certification. By itself, it is quite unlikely to lead to significant job or career advancement opportunities. Rather, the CCNA is a stepping-stone to more advanced Cisco certifications--including CCNP, CCDP, and various Cisco Qualified Specialist credentials--in the sense that it is a formal prerequisite for those certs. These higher-level credentials can lead to job and career advancements, so I would recommend that if you decide to pursue the CCNA you do so as the first step toward more advanced Cisco credentials, instead of pursuing it as your only Cisco certification.
Thanks for writing. Good luck with your studies.
This was first published in July 2002