With the consistent growth of the IT industry globally, Networking graduates have numerous avenues to gain employment and career growth.
However, in a competitive field like IT, it can be difficult to get your dream job at your desired salary package. This is where networking certifications come in. They give you job-ready skills, in addition to solid conceptual knowledge.
A candidate with strong technical skills and a reputed networking certification is preferred by employers for the high value professional skills they bring to the company. As a result, it is easier for certificate- holders to find better and more lucrative offers as compared to their non-certified peers.
Not just freshers, even experienced networking professionals can gain exponential growth in their career by getting a professional certification.
So regardless of which stage of your career you are in, a professional certification will give you an extra edge to help you stand out from the crowd.
Since there are several certifications to choose from, it can be very difficult to pick one. Also, each certification requires a significant time investment. Therefore, it is important to pick the one most suitable for your needs, so that your efforts aren’t wasted.
And while your preferences may differ as per your career goals and skill-level, one common goal is a high pay-scale.
One of the main advantages of these certifications is that they bring you a higher salary bracket than your peers.
That is why here we list the top 5 paying IT Networking Certifications of 2019:
1. CCIE: Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert:
American tech giant Cisco offers CCIE, a category of advanced level IT certifications. Introduced in 1993, the CCIE is a clear veteran in the tech industry and has the prestige to show for it. The curriculum is rigorous and the exams extremely difficult, but the returns are equally rewarding.
The CCIE is available in several tracks, enabling intensive focus on specific IT technologies. The tracks currently offered in the CCIE program are:
- CCIE Routing-Switching
- CCIE Security
- CCIE Collaboration
- CCIE Service Provider
- CCIE Wireless
- CCIE Data Center
Procedure: One can become CCIE certified by giving the written and practical exams for the respective tracks. The procedure is as follows:
- Prerequisites: There are no formal prerequisites for CCIE aspirants. Candidates do not need former certifications to appear for this exam. However, a thorough understanding of the written exam topics and an industry experience of 3-5 years is highly recommended.
- Written Exam: A 2 hour written test is the first step in becoming certified. Each track has its own written test on distinctive exam topics. Candidates can move to the next step only after passing the written test.
- Practical Exam: On clearing the written test, candidates must give an 8 hour lab exam. This tests their practical ability in using Cisco devices in real-world scenarios. Clearing this exam is absolute proof of your expertise in the field.
- Recertification: Candidates become CCIE certified on clearing this test and get their own CCIE number. However, certification is not permanent. Certificate holders must update their active CCIE status every two years. This is done by giving Cisco prescribed recertification exams. This ensures that they stay up-to-date with all the new technologies in their field.
While the CCIE is one of the toughest certifications on our list, it is also unquestionably rewarding. A CCIE is not just a certification, but a great personal and professional achievement. It is absolute proof of your competence in your field. The certification opens up numerous avenues for your career growth and also increases your pay check significantly.
2. AWS Certified Advanced Networking:
Amazon Web Services, the leading cloud solutions provider, offers this certification.
AWS has 4 levels of certifications-
The Advanced Networking certification belongs to the Specialty category, which is the highest level of AWS certifications.
This certification is for experienced networking professionals. It validates their ability to design and install cloud solutions by AWS. It also tests their expertise in implementing AWS services using best practices.
Procedure: Steps for attaining certification:
- Prerequisites: To qualify for this exam, candidates must have any of the following certifications:
- AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
- AWS Certified Developer – Associate
- AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate
Apart from these, candidates should also have advanced knowledge of AWS systems. A minimum industry experience of 5 years is also recommended.
- Written Exam: Candidates must sit for a 170 minute written exam. This exam tests their knowledge of AWS solutions, core networking services, security protocols, network optimization and troubleshooting.
- Recertification: This certification is also valid for 2 years. Candidates must give the prescribed recertification exam to renew certification.
Whether you are an experienced AWS user or a beginner, this certification is sure to take you places. For veterans, it helps clear core concepts. For beginners, it is a solid foundation to build their skills and knowledge base. So if cloud networking is your domain, this is an excellent option for you to consider.
3. CCNP: Cisco Certified Networking Professional
This is another category of certifications offered by Cisco. The professional level certifications fall just below the expert level certifications.
Networking professionals with moderate industry experience can opt for this certification. It is a great way for them to branch out and advance their career.
The specialization tracks offered are:
- Data Center
- Routing and Switching
- Service Provider
Procedure: Unlike the CCIE, the CCNP does not need a practical lab exam for certification. Candidates can get certified by giving the respective written exams for specialization tracks.
- Prerequisites: Candidates must either have a valid CCNA in the respective specialization or any valid CCIE.
- Written exam: Based on the speciality track, candidates may have to give one or multiple written exams. These test their knowledge of core concepts and job tasks, among other things.
- Recertification: The CCNP certification is valid for a period of 3 years. After that, candidates can renew it by giving recertification exams.
CCNP Written Exam Details:
|Exam Name||Exam Code||Prerequisites|
|CCNP Cloud||300-460 CLDINF
|CCNP Collaboration||300-070 CIPTV1
(Candidates with a valid CCIE Collaboration or CCIE Voice certification only need to pass the 300-075 CIPTV2 exam.)
|CCNP Data Center||300-175 DCUCI
300-160 DCID or 300-180 DCIT
|CCNA Data Center
|CCNP R&S||300-101 ROUTE
|CCNP Security||300-208 SISAS
|CCNP Service Provider||642-883 SPROUTE
|CCNA Service Provider
|CCNP Wireless||300-360 WIDESIGN
The CCNP curriculum is fairly thorough and adds a lot to your knowledge base. At the same time, it is less rigorous than a CCIE and requires less time and industry experience. So if you are a networking professional ready for a career boost, the CCNP is a great option for you.
4. JNCIE-ENT: Juniper Networks Certified Enterprise Routing and Switching Expert
Juniper Networks, another IT giant specializing in networking solutions offers this certification.
The JNCIE is the highest certification in Juniper’s Enterprise Routing and Switching track.
This certification is for experienced network engineers. It recognizes their expertise in handling Juniper systems.
Procedure: This certification can be achieved by giving a hands-on practical exam.
- Prerequisites: Before appearing for the practical exam, candidates must have a valid JNCIP-ENT certification. This certification is one step lower than the JNCIE certification.
- Practical Exam: This is an 8 hour lab test. Candidates work on building enterprise network infrastructure consisting of multiple routers and switches. This exam proves their ability to use Junos systems in real-world scenarios.
- Recertification: This certification is valid for 3 years. It can renewed by following any of the recertification methods given by Juniper.
Juniper’s enterprise systems are some of the most widely used in the industry. So being a recognized Juniper expert can be extremely useful for network engineers.
It increases their demand in the large number of companies that use Juniper products. As for companies that do not use Juniper networks, it still certifies you your expertise in the networking domain.
5. F5 Certified Technology Specialists (F5-CTS)
F5 Networks is a world leader in Application Delivery Networking (AND) services. Their systems manage data loads across servers and keep networks in optimal condition.
ADN is an excellent field for network engineers to explore, and training for F5 certifications is a great way of doing that.
The F5 CTS certification has 4 categories, each useful and beneficial.
These categories include:
- Local Traffic Manager (LTM): It validates a professional’s expertise in designing, implementing and maintaining F5 products. They have the ability to integrate LTM with existing company networks for optimization.
- Domain Name Server (DNS): It certifies a candidate’s conceptual understanding of this technology. It also tests their knowledge of industry standards for BIG-IP DNS. Certificate holders also understand the tasks of application delivery architects and engineers.
- Application Security Manager (ASM): This certification qualifies candidates to secure application delivery networks. They design and maintain ASMs and understand their interactivity with web applications. They should also have troubleshooting skills and know optimal integration techniques.
- Access Policy Manager (APM): IT qualifies a candidate to handle ADNs that run on F5 TMOS operating systems. They must understand remote accessing processes and authorization protocols. They also need to manage and update APMs.
Process: For certification, candidates need a passing score in the respective written exams. This is the list of exams and the prerequisites required for each of the certifications:
|F5-CTS, LTM||F5 Certified BIG-IP Administrator
|Exam 301a—BIG-IP LTM Specialist: Architect, Setup, and Deploy
Exam 301b—BIG-IP LTM Specialist: Maintain and Troubleshoot
|F5-CTS, BIG-IP DN||F5 Certified BIG-IP||Administrator Exam 302—BIG-IP DNS Specialist|
|F5-CTS, ASM||F5 Certified BIG-IP Administrator||Exam 303—BIG-IP ASM Specialist|
|F5-CTS, APM||F5 Certified BIG-IP Administrator||Exam 304—BIG-IP APM Specialist|
- Recertification: Just like all other certifications on this list, the F5 Certifications are valid for a limited period. These certifications are valid for 2 years and must be renewed by giving the required recertification exams.
ADN is a great field for network engineers to build their careers in. The F5 certification is a great way for them to do so. F5 products are also widely popular amongst big companies, ensuring that a candidate with expertise in their products will earn a well-paying job.
So those are all the top paying IT Networking certifications that you can opt for in 2019.
Each of these certifications help candidates earn fairly large salaries. This is because they come from prestigious companies and require a lot of knowledge, work and effort. Employers know that a professional with any of these certifications is a skilled expert and are willing to pay them handsomely.
Products of each of these certifying companies are also very popular in the market and professionals with expertise in handling them will always find well-paying jobs more easily than their non-certified peers.
What do you think of our list? Did we miss out any other popular certifications? Let us know in the comments!