10 Top Networking Certifications

Networking professionals are in demand right now, but breaking into the field can be difficult. Most employers are looking for a blend of experience, individual projects, and several certifications. According to Cisco, 99% of organizations use certifications to make hiring decisions, and 78% of tech executives take certs into consideration as well.

Although many employers prefer certain networking certifications over others, the following are the most common and most valuable ones to help you get ahead:

See more: Networking Careers

1: Cisco CCIE

Skills demonstrated: As one of the top certificates in the field, successful completion represents both an achievement and a major investment. Certificate holders will demonstrate extensive knowledge of enterprise infrastructure, including dual-stack architecture, virtualization, infrastructure, network assurance, security, and automation. An eight-hour hands-on lab provides experience with end-to-end enterprise network lifecycles.

Requirements: There are no prior requirements for this certification, but Cisco recommends five to seven years of experience with enterprise networking technologies before taking the exam. This is an advanced certification with a demanding lab.

Duration: Qualifying exam is 120 minutes; lab is eight hours

Location: At home or in office

Cost: Exam is $400; lab exam is $1,600

2: CompTIA Network+

Skills demonstrated: While the Cisco CCIE is for experts, CompTIA is for absolute beginners. This certification program provides candidates with general networking concepts, such as topologies, architectures, network security, network implementations (wireless, physical), troubleshooting, and more.

Requirements: None

Duration: 90 minutes, 90 questions

Location: Online and testing centers

Cost: $348

3: CompTIA Security+

Skills demonstrated: Similar to Network+, Security+ is a baseline certificate for newcomers to the networking field, but it still opens doors for new employment opportunities. Certificate holders should be able to assess enterprise security, recommend solutions, monitor and secure cloud infrastructure, operate in compliance with policies and principles of governance, and respond to security incidents.

Requirements: None

Duration: 90 minutes, 90 questions

Location: Online testing or Pearson VUE centers

Cost: $381

4: Cisco CCNA

Skills demonstrated: If you’re seeking a career as a network administrator, the Cisco CCNA would be a good certificate to pick up. Participants will learn network fundamentals, automation and programmability, and security fundamentals.

Requirements: There are no prior requirements, but Cisco recommends a year of experience administering Cisco solutions.

Duration: 120 minutes

Location: Online or in person, Pearson VUE

Cost: $300

5: AWS Advanced Networking Certification

Skills demonstrated: With a focus on Amazon’s AWS platform, this certification is for experienced networking professionals with advanced automation, scripting, security, and architecting knowledge within the AWS framework.

Requirements: None

Duration: 170 minutes, 65 questions

Location: Pearson VUE and PSI, in person or online

Cost: $300

6: Azure Network Engineer Associate

Skills demonstrated: Candidates completing this certification should demonstrate expert-level skills at administering Microsoft’s Azure platform, along with superior networking, hybrid connections, and network security knowledge.

Requirements: None

Duration: 100 minutes, 54 questions

Location: Pearson VUE

Cost: $165

7: Cisco CCNP Enterprise Certification

Skills demonstrated: Holders of this certification will possess core enterprise networking skills, along with a specialized enterprise focus of the test taker’s choice. The core exam covers subjects, such as dual-stack architecture, virtualization, infrastructure, network assurance, security, and automation.

Requirements: There are none, but Cisco recommends candidates come with three to five years of experience in enterprise networking.

Duration: Core exam is 120 minutes

Location: Online or in person at Pearson VUE centers

Cost: Core exam is $400; secondary exam varies

8: CompTIA A+

Skills demonstrated: A+ is an attractive certificate for newcomers to the IT field, though veteran IT professionals find themselves receiving a pay raise from employers who value the extra certification. Certificate holders will be able to demonstrate baseline IT security skills, ability to configure devices across most major operating systems, troubleshooting and problem solving, basic networking capabilities, and knowledge of backup and recovery best practices.

Requirements: None

Duration: 90 minutes, 90 questions

Location: Online testing or Pearson VUE centers

Cost: $239

9: Google Associate Cloud Engineer

Skills demonstrated: Completing this certificate will demonstrate the ability to set up cloud solutions from planning, configuration, deployment, implementation, operation, and security. This is the entry-level certificate for Google’s cloud platform. If you’re seeking advancement beyond entry-level, look to the higher levels of this certificate.

Requirements: There are no requirements, but it is recommended that you have six months experience with Google Cloud.

Duration: 120 minutes

Location: Online proctored exam or at a testing center

Cost: $125

10: JNCIA-Junos

Skills demonstrated: Intermediate networking knowledge is necessary to complete this certification, particularly as it applies to Junos OS. The exam will cover subjects like networking fundamentals, user interfaces with a focus on command line inputs, network configuration, network operational monitoring and maintenance, routing fundamentals, routing policy, and firewall filters.

Requirements: None

Duration: 90 minutes, 65 questions

Location: Pearson VUE

Cost: $200

Litton Power
Litton Power
Litton Power is a writer and public affairs consultant. He has an extensive background in science, technology, and the energy sector and was a former science communicator at Idaho National Laboratory. He lives in Tennessee, where he spends his free time hiking, camping, and building furniture.

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