Certifications for Success in Systems Networking

​Not all networking professionals are created equal. One company could be looking for a network architect who leads with ...

​Not all networking professionals are created equal. One company could be looking for a network architect who leads with a business mindset, while another may be seeking a design/architect with deep technical knowledge.

Certifications help you show your specific expertise, while giving employers validation that you’re the right person for the job. Cisco says that 99 percent of organizations use certifications to make hiring decisions, and 78 percent of technology execs and managers consider them a critical success factor. We will look at some of the top-requested certifications employers need today.

CompTIA Certifications: CompTIA A+ and CompTIA Network+

CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association) is a non-profit trade association that offers vendor-neutral certifications worldwide.

The starting point for many network professionals is the CompTIA A+ foundation, dubbed “an entry-level rite of passage for IT technicians.” Take this if you’re beginning your career and seeking to gain experience working in roles such as junior analyst, help desk specialist, and service technician.

If you already have nine months of network experience, you can jump straight to the CompTIA Network+ certification and ready yourself for roles that include network support specialist, system engineer, and network analyst. These certifications demonstrate that you have the basic knowledge to design, manage, secure, and troubleshoot networks, and are required if you’re seeking to work as a Dell, Intel, or HP service technician.

With CompTIA Network+ under your belt, you can build your expertise with CompTIA’s Security certification, or you may choose to add vendor certifications from industry leaders, including Cisco, SolarWinds, or Wireshark.

Cisco Certifications: CCT, CCNA, CCNP, CCIE, and CCAr

Cisco segments its certifications by five levels of experience: CCT (Cisco Certified Technician) for entry-level; CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate); CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional); CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert), which is currently held by fewer than 3% of Cisco network engineers; and the new Architect accreditation, CCAr. Effective February 24, 2020, Cisco will be implementing a more modular certification approach for the CCNP designation.

The new curriculum reflects a more modular approach to CCNP, which accommodates five tracks of specialization with concentration electives. Each track requires passing a Core exam, plus one concentration course within the track. The concept accommodates the addition of concentrations over time.

Cisco’s CCIE will mirror the new tracks of CCNP, although Enterprise will be split into CCNP Enterprise Infrastructure and CCNP Enterprise Wireless.

CCNP: Effective February 2020

Service Provider


Data Center



Implementing and Operating Cisco Service Provider Network Core Technologies

Implementing and Operating Core Collaboration Technologies

Implementing and Operating Cisco Data Center Core Technologies

Implementing and Operating Cisco Enterprise Network Core Technologies

Implementing and Operating Cisco Security Core Technologies

Implementing Cisco Service Provider Advanced Routing Solutions

Implementing Cisco Collaboration Applications

Designing Cisco Data Center Infrastructure

Implementing and Operating Cisco Advanced Routing and Services

Securing Networks with Cisco Firepower Next Generation Firewall, Securing Networks with Cisco Firepower Next Generation IPS

Implementing Cisco Service Provider VPN Services

Implementing Cisco Advanced Call Control and Mobility Services

Troubleshooting Cisco Data Center Infrastructure

Implementing Cisco SC-WAN Solutions

Implementing and Configuring Cisco Identity Services Engine

Implementing Automation for Cisco Service Provider Solutions

Implementing Cisco Collaboration Cloud and Edge Solutions

Implementing Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure

Designing Cisco Enterprise Networks

Securing Email with Cisco Email Security Appliance

Implementing Automation for Cisco Collaboration Solutions

Configuring Cisco MDS 9000 Series Switches

Designing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks

Securing the Web with Cisco Email Security Appliance

Introducing Automation for Cisco Solutions, Implementing Automation for Cisco Data Center Solutions

Implementing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks

Implementing Secure Solutions with Virtual Private Networks

Automation for Cisco Enterprise Solutions

Implementing Automation for Cisco Security Solutions

SolarWinds Certified Professional (SCP)

SolarWinds is among the most widely known network solution providers with network and systems management products used by enterprises of all sizes. It offers SCP certifications via a customer portal, with specializations including Architecture and Design, ARM (Access Right Manager), NCM (Network Configuration Manager), NPM (Network Performance Monitor) SAM (Server & Application Monitor), and NTA (Netflow Traffic Analyzer).

Wireshark WCNA (Wireshark Certified Network Analyst)

The Wireshark WCNA certificate focuses on analysis techniques and tools that can be used on any network; some believe it helps them fix problems exponentially more quickly from the “wire perspective.” Some hiring managers think that Wireshark skills will become increasing important due to its focus on understanding how things work in TCP/IP communications, network troubleshooting, and network security.