Cisco entry level certifications can only get you so far when it comes to the IT field. Once you have obtained an entry level certification in one of the different types of tracks you can take in the IT field, the next step to furthering your career is to obtain a Cisco associate certification, or intermediate certification.
Unlike the entry level certifications, an individual that possess a Cisco associate certification will show that they not only possess practical knowledge to be able to perform basic tasks in the IT field, but that they also have hands on knowledge as well. Many employers want their employees to possess practical knowledge and hands on knowledge before offering them a position with their company. Another great thing is that sites like ExamTrace.com offer up all the study materials that you need to pass.
A Cisco CCENT certification is the first step towards obtaining your Associate level certifications. In the IT field, just like in life, everyone has to start from the bottom and work their way up the ladder. They must be able to prove that they possess general knowledge, before being given the opportunity to show their hands on knowledge capabilities.
You can think of the Cisco Associate level of certifications as an apprenticeship, or as a foundational level towards earning an advanced networking certification. Remember, the more experience that you have in the field, the more job opportunities exist.