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What are the best IT Certifications? Which IT certification should I get first? What is most in demand? These are the pressing questions that keep popping up.

In an industry awash in an alphabet soup of certifications, it’s difficult to determine which ones are valuable, which ones look great on a resume, and which ones are tired legacy certifications not even worth the paper they’re printed on.

Due to the sheer amount of certifications, it’s now more necessary than ever to pair these well-known certifications, with a solid knowledge base, and more importantly, true, real-world experience.

Enter the FSNA

*Cue ascending angel sounds* The FSNA stands for Full Stack Network Associate, and it’s a NexGenT exclusive certification that makes each student stand out to make big moves in their IT careers.

You may be wondering, “How will this help me?”

NGT focuses on certifying students in a way that directly aligns with employers’ needs. We equip our students to be job-ready, much like the military. It’s not so much about the diploma or the certification, it’s about “Can this student perform this task?”- and that’s what we ensure. That each student is prepared for anything and willing to learn.   

Below, we’ll walk through some common questions.

How does this compare to getting certifications like Net+ or CCNA?

All the perks that come with the FSNA program- mentorship, community, career services to land the job, weekly live coaching calls, and the hands-on training with labs- is what makes FSNA stand apart. (CCNA training, the single most sought-after certification in IT, is included in the FSNA program.) 

Certifications consist of studying concepts and taking exams–not often incorporating hands-on practice and simulations.

In contrast, the FSNA includes a host of other benefits that push you above the common standard. Not simply the abstract and theoretical, but the ability to put pen to paper and use those skills.

No other program on the market right now offers all of these resources to help you succeed. A community, direct access to instructors and mentors and weekly coaching are truly one-of-a-kind opportunities for an online course! 

Certainly, there are plenty of informative videos that can be found on YouTube to break down concepts and improve your understanding of IT, we don’t doubt those! In fact, we actively encourage you to supplement your studies with other books, podcasts, and videos to do whatever it takes to truly become immersed in these new topics. 

But ultimately, what those others lack is the community, the mentorship, and the dedication to helping YOU succeed. This is what sets NexGenT’s programs apart from others. 

What does FSNA entail?

The Full-Stack Network Associate title certifies that you are versed in more than 100 associate-level routings, switching, cybersecurity, voice over IP, automation, wireless, network management and cloud networking skills. When we say Full Stack, we mean FULL Stack.

In today’s rapidly changing IT field, people need versatile workers who are well versed in a wide variety of networks and methods.

Who came up with this, and how do I know it’s effective?

The FSNA was created by two veterans who graduated over 1,000 engineers while they were IT instructors in the Air Force, many of which went to set up and manage communications within the military. Their way of teaching is based on their military training experience, and it equips students to be “field ready” and raring to go.  

As Cisco system product manager Gregory Cote said, “Even an entry-level engineer needs to have awareness of end to end network domains.”

Cisco System is a prime example of recognizing the value of producing well-rounded engineers who have an understanding that carries over multiple areas.

The Proof Is In The Pay Bump!

We have successfully helped thousands of people launch their careers in IT and counting! 

Take for example just two of our alumni who began the program with little to no experience, broke into IT, and leveled up: 

Marcus Mapes: before NGT, he was in Marine core making roughly $32k. Now, after earning his FSNA, Marcus is just months away from a new contract making $85k annually. 

Chris Mendez: he struggled on the help desk, and after getting FSNA certified, he landed a role as a Network Administrator with a 50% pay bump.

Even more success stories can be found throughout our blog. Find out how Chase Mitchell got hired at Tangoe earning nearly six-figures or how Keron Taylor transitioned from a Chemical Operator to landing a job with Google.

The success stories speak for themselves as proof of effective methods.

What Do I Do To Earn My FSNA Certification?

Upon completing Zero to Engineer Basic Training, you’ll test to earn the FSNA.

Each student is required to configure and deploy a LAN with routing, switching, wireless, Voice over IP, and Security. Students’ lab configuration skills are checked to verify real-world skills. 

By completing the hands-on Bootcamp, or by taking the virtual skills-check (FSNA-V) you’ll earn the FSNA certification.

In this training, you get real-world experience and even learn some advanced skills such as how to automate private WAN to VPN failover and how to set up an HQ network with two branches from scratch.

With that type of knowledge and experience in your toolbelt, you make yourself invaluable to companies who need that versatility and initiative. 

FSNP – The Next Step

The most ambitious and qualified will move on to the Advanced Program to earn the FSNP Certification: Full Stack Network Professional. This certification is for those who are looking to launch into high-level roles within IT. Some students will enter with an existing background in IT in search of breaking through a plateau in their career, while other students will have joined our program with zero experience, completed the FSNA Basic program and are dedicated to skyrocketing their career!

Advanced Training students are scheduled to perform their live SQC (skills qualification check) to verify skills. Upon successful completion, the candidate will be awarded the Full Stack Network Professional (FSNP) Certification. The time allotted for the SQC itself is 2 hours. This block of time includes scheduling for all students in the cohort to SQC, get feedback, coaching, and also graduation.

With that comes the Full Stack Networking Project, which is designed to provide an understanding of a complete HQ/Branch network and the project build-out process. Students will learn how to plan, design, and implement their own Full Stack Network with a headquarters location and two branch offices. This project is performed locally on the student’s computer and all configurations are completed using the Cisco Packet Tracer network simulation software. Cisco Packet Tracer is provided to you by NexGenT during the FSNA program.

Do I Need Prior Experience To Start The Academy?

NexGenT takes applicants from every background. Having experience in IT will definitely be beneficial, but we’ve helped anyone from grocery managers, forklift drivers, and existing IT folks launch their careers. After years of perfecting our process, Zero to Engineer is not hyperbole.

If you are driven, determined, punctual, and willing to learn, you’ll be successful! 

Ready to get started? Let’s get you going today!