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Top 10 networking certifications

Certification requirements continue to evolve as the networking world changes. Having both open-source and vendor-specific skills is crucial.

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

The (ISC)2 CISSP certification is a globally recognized standard that indicates an IT professional’s knowledge in the field of information security. The program covers risk management, the cloud, mobile security and application development security. The certification meets the requirements of ISO/IEC Standard 17024. Relevant job positions: security consultant, security manager, IT director/manager, security auditor, security architect, security analyst, security systems engineer, chief information security office, director of security and network architect.

Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)

ISACA’s CRISC certification prepares IT pros for the challenges of IT and enterprise risk management, covering information systems (IS) controls for design, implementation, monitoring and maintenance. This globally recognized certification is for IT and business pros who identify and manage risks through the development, implementation and maintenance of IS controls. Relevant jobs: IT risk and compliance professionals, business analysts and project managers.

Certified Wireless Network Administrator (CWNA)

The CWNA certification is the foundation-level enterprise WiFi certification for the Certified Wireless Network Professional (CWNP) Program. This vendor-neutral certification is a starting point for a career in wireless networking, focusing on new 802.11 and WiFi technologies. It covers the basics to ensure that networking professionals have the skills to survey, install and administer enterprise WiFi networks.

Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE)

The globally accepted CCIE certification recognizes these network engineers for their network engineering skills and knowledge of Cisco products and solutions. It covers voice (CCIE Voice merged with CCIE), security, data centers, wireless networks and collaboration. CCIEs have deep technical networking knowledge, according to Cisco. CCIE certification holders represent less than 3 percent of all certified Cisco professionals and less than 1 percent of the networking professionals worldwide.

Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)

Cisco recently announced a major revision to its CCNP Routing and Switching certification that targets network professionals that have about two to three years of experience in networking and are ready for professional-level certification. The curriculum has been updated to include some of the latest technologies, such as IPv6, to address workforce mobility and the use of Internet-connected devices, Virtual Switch Services (VSS) and Dynamic Multiport VPN. Candidates must pass exams in routing, switching and troubleshooting. Relevant jobs: network engineers, support engineers and systems engineers.

CompTIA A+

The CompTIA A+ certification is vendor-neutral and is designed to provide the basics of computer technology and networking as well as the installation and configuration of PCs, laptops and related hardware. This includes the skills to install and configure PC operating systems and common applications, such as email and network connectivity for mobile operating systems for Android and Apple iOS. Relevant jobs: technical support specialist, field service technician, IT support technician, IT support administrator and IT support specialist.

CompTIA Network+

The CompTIA Network+ vendor-neutral certification is focused on managing, maintaining, troubleshooting, installing and configuring basic network infrastructures. The latest revision also covers virtual networking and increases coverage in the areas of network security and seven-layer Open System Interconnection (OSI) model. Relevant jobs: network administrator, network technician, network installer, help desk technician and IT cable installer.

CompTIA Security+

CompTIA’s Security+ certification is recognized in the global IT industry as a certification that shows networking professionals are knowledgeable in the areas of network security and managing risk, according to CompTIA. This certification covers mobile security and BYOD, cloud computing, risk mitigation, as well as authentication, authorization and access control. Relevant jobs: security engineer, security consultant, network administrator and IA technician or manager.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)

Microsoft replaced the old Microsoft Certified System Engineer certification with the new MCSE certification that is designed to help networking professionals master the planning, implementation, management and troubleshooting of Windows operating systems. The previous version focused on a specific job role, while the latest certification focuses on integrating multiple technology products, covering server infrastructure, desktop infrastructure, private cloud, data platform, business intelligence, messaging, communications and SharePoint, whether on-premise or in the cloud.

Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE)

The open-source RHCE certification makes the list of 10 key certifications as demand grows for IT technicians with both open-source and vendor-specific experience. Cisco’s shift from its vendor-specific Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) to an open-source certification helps support Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP (LAMP) used in cloud computing, said Lane. The RHCE certification ensures that a Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) has the skills required of a senior system administrator responsible for Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems.