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An IT Professional’s Guide to 2018’ Top Networking Certifications

Data networking is a growing and competitive field in information technology. It involves networking infrastructures and several switches, routers, appliances, and services. Every network administrator and other related jobs must be able to master various tools and technologies. If you plan to get into this field, be sure to be able to compete with others. With that, set yourself apart from the competition by securing networking certifications.

There is a ton of IT certifications available, but this should not overwhelm you. Here’s a tip in selecting the right certification for you. Firstly, know what you want to accomplish so that you’ll be able to unfold your certification path. Moreover, aside from the cost, you should also consider other important factors. Take into account the number of resources it requires, the time you need to commit, and the skills set that equips you. Also, make sure certifications are industry-recognized. In simple terms, examine certifications thoroughly so that you can effectively establish yourself as an expert of the subject matter. Remember, getting certified is an investment you will sooner or later be thankful for in your career.

With no further ado, take a glimpse of some of the leading networking certifications worldwide. Look over this list to be acquainted with the top five networking certifications that you can choose from.

CompTIA Network+

The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) has long been the leading certification program issuing globally-recognized certifications in the IT industry. From novices to experts in the field, CompTIA offers a variety of certifications to suit your capacity and your career path.

Among their certifications, CompTIA Network+ is one of the core certifications every entering IT professional must acquire. It is the perfect foundational certification for those wanting to pursue network engineering, especially on network infrastructures and technologies. CompTIA Network+ serves as an important entry-point credential needed before being able to advance your networking career.

To earn this certification, you must first pass either N10-006 exam (older version to be retired on August 2018) or N10-007exam (latest version). Both are 90-minute exams comprised of at most 90 questions. The exams test your ability to configure, design, manage and troubleshoot both wired and wireless devices.

Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)

At a more advanced level, the Cisco Certified Network Professional hones your knowledge and skills set in networking even further. CCNP is offered for a variety of techniques of different job roles – from Cloud to Collaboration, Data Center, Routing & Switching, Security, Service Provider, and Wireless.

To acquire any of these professional certifications, you must earn its corresponding Associate-level certification beforehand. Otherwise, you can also present a valid CCIE. A required number of exams to be taken vary depending on the track you choose. Essentially, CCNP is a midrange credential that is crucial as you delve deeply into your specialty.

Three exams are required for the primary CCNP R&S certification, namely: 300-101 ROUTE, 300-115 SWITCH, and 300-135 TSHOOT. Each is to be answered for 2 hours.

Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE)

Cisco Certified Internetwork (CCIE) is a higher-level Cisco networking certification. Like CCNP, it also comes in several tracks and therefore opens several job opportunities for you. Each track of CCIE has a written and lab exam. The written exam is a 2-hour exam, consisting of 90 to 110 questions. The scores for this written exam are valid for 18 months, for which during this duration the lab exam must also be taken. CCIE tracks have no prerequisites needed but an 8-year job relevant job experience is preferred. Though being a CCIE certified may be pretty arduous and demands time and effort, obtaining one will truly do a big favor in your professional life.

Taking a further step from the professional level, the expert level networking certifications guarantee an increase in your salary. For that you need to pass 400-101 certification exam and a Lab exam. Few individuals have successfully taken and earned this renowned certification and so they are just readily hired by Cisco itself.

Juniper Networks Certified Enterprise Routing and Switching Expert (JNCIE-ENT)

Among the top competitors of Cisco, CompTIA, and other networking companies, the Juniper Networks designs and sells networking solutions for various data center environments. In addition, its Juniper Networks Certification Program (JNCP) also offers competitive networking certifications such as the Juniper Networks Certified Enterprise Routing and Switching Expert (JNCIE-ENT).

JNCIE-ENT is the most sought-after Juniper certifications because of the increasing demand for competent Routing and Switching professionals in the industry. An 8-hour long exam (JPR-943) is the required exam for this certification. Prior to taking this, you must already obtain the professional level certification of the Enterprise Routing and Switching.

Wireshark Certified Network Analyst (WCNA)

Wireshark Certified Network Analyst (WCNA) is another important networking certification as it evaluates one’s ability to recognize network sniffling with Wireshark and also their mastery with TCP/IP network communications, security, and troubleshooting. This is tested during the WCNA-102.x exam. It is a 2-hour long exam that is composed of 100 questions.

This credential is valid for three years. To maintain a good standing credential, certification holders are expected to earn a total of 20 continuing professional education (CPE) credits annually. CPE credits must be along the WCNA exam objectives.


Indeed, getting certified showcases your value to your organization. Certifications enhance your job competencies, open new doors, increase your salary, and boost your self-esteem. But the road for this valuable achievement is not easy. This journey requires a great deal of commitment. You need to exert much of your time and resources to be able to achieve the position you want through the help of your certification. With commitment and perseverance, your efforts and investment will surely pay off as success in your professional life comes at your grasp.

These five top networking mentioned are your most important pick. You can never go wrong with any of them since all these are valued by companies worldwide. There are available exam preparation resources for each certification. You can visit their online sites and avail their exam packages – from self-study guides to online training courses and many more options. Other resources are also available online. Be sure to use those updated and relevant ones.

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