The Best Certifications For Network Engineers

Even though there are many elite certifications to choose from in networking engineering, three stand out above the others. The three best certifications for networking engineers are the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certification, Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certification, and VMware Certified Professional – Network Virtualization Certification. 

The networking field is fast-growing and requires qualified professionals who have a vast knowledge of the industry. These certifications can help. 

So, why get a new certification when you already have a degree and a job? These prestigious certifications can help you become an industry leader, get better-paying jobs, or get your dream job. Having a specialization as a network engineer will help you stand out. 

These certifications take lots of work and are hard to obtain, but once you get them, you won’t regret them. Here’s a deeper look into the best certifications.

Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) Certification

The best certification you can get as a network engineer is the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certification. There isn’t another network certification that is as highly regarded as this one. Cisco, an American multinational technology conglomerate corporation, developed this certification to distinguish the experts. 

Across the world, the CCIE is a highly-respected certification and sought-after by network engineers. People who receive these certifications are known for their thorough knowledge of network engineering. The certificate continues to evolve along with the times. Cisco keeps its certification program relevant with updates to the examination process and accounts for new changes in technology. 

Even though there are no prerequisites, it’s very hard to get the CCIE. Other certificates, some from Cisco, require that candidates hold other certifications. That’s not the case for CCIE.

Even though you don’t need to have other certifications to apply, you need to be able to memorize a lot of information and be experienced with networking equipment. This will help you grasp the concepts and be an eligible candidate for the CCIE certification. 

Candidates are recommended to have a minimum of 3 years of experience and to hold other certifications, such as CCNA and CCNP. 

So, if you decide that you want to go after the most prestigious certification in the world for networking engineers, here’s what you will have to do. You have to pass both a written and a hands-on lab exam. You can specialize in one, or multiple, of the following categories: 

  • Enterprise Infrastructure 

  • Collaboration 

  • Security

  • Data Center 

  • Service Provider 

  • Enterprise Wireless 

If you pass the exam under multiple tracks, you will get a CCIE certification for each category. 

Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Certification 

The Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) is another highly reputable certification, which can open many doors for network engineers who receive such an award. If you take the CCNP certification, you will be faced with two exams: one about core enterprise networking technologies, and the other is chosen by you. You can decide on what you want to specialize in.

To start, you will need to pass the core Enterprise exam. This is mandatory for all CCNP certifications. You will learn about, security, networking architecture, automation, network virtualization, and other categories. 

Once you get your main exam, you have the following six exams to choose from: 

  • 300-420 ENSLD Designing Cisco Enterprise Networks (ENSLD)

  • 300-435 ENAUTO Implementing Automation for Cisco Enterprise Solutions (ENAUI)

  • 300-410 ENARSI Implementing Cisco Enterprise Advanced Routing and Services (ENARSI)

  • 300-425 ENWLSD Designing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks (ENWLSD)300-415 ENSDWI Implementing Cisco SD-WAN Solutions (SDWAN300)

  • 300-430 ENWLSI Implementing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks (ENWLSI)

Just like the CCIE, CCNP doesn’t have any official requirements. However, it’s known that most people who decide to take this certification have between three to five years in the field. 

VMware Certified Professional – Network Virtualization Certification 

VMware Certified Professional - Network Virtualization (VCP-NV 2019) certification was created by professionals at VMware, a company that was distinguised as an industry leader in the enterprise engineering and virtualization field. This certification is for people who configure, perform and install administration of VMware NSX virtual networks. It has two tracks: NSX-V and NSX-T. 

The first track targets engineers who work specifically on NSX-V and on the following skills: 

  • Creating VMware NSX virtualized networks 

  • Configuring VMware NSX virtualized networks 

  • Install VMware NSX 

  • Upgrade VMware NSX 

  • Configure VMware NSX  

  • Understand VMware NSX technology and build 

  • Understand VMware NSX physical hardware requirements 

  • Configure and administer vSphere network environments 

To get this certification, you have to pass the 2V0-642 exam. You also have to have another VCP certification. If you don’t have one, VMware requires that you complete one of their nine VMware courses. You have to pass at least one corresponding Foundation exam: vSphere 6.7 Foundations, vSphere 6, and vSphere 6.5 . 

If you have a VCP6-NV, the next step to upgrade is to either 

  • Attend a VMware NSX-V training course 


  • Pass the VCP-NV 6.2 exam 

If you decide to take the NSX-T track, it’s directed at professionals who install, maintain and configure VMware NSX-T virtual networks. The certification verifies that you have skills and an understanding of: 

  • NSX architecture 

  • NSX technology 

  • Configuration of vSphere 

  • Administration of vSphere networking essentials 

  • Updating the networks 

  • Configuring vSphere virtual networks 

  • Installing vSphere virtual networks 

You have to pass the 2VO-41.19 exam to get this certification. You can only take the exam if you have one of the following certifications before test time:

  • VMware Certified Professional 6. x

  • VCP-DW

  • VCP DTM 2018

  • VMware Certified Professional 7

  • Cisco CCNA, CCNP, or CCIE

Where To Go from Here 

It can be difficult to figure out which certification is best for you and your career goals. Finding the best certification for your field can be purely subjective. It also greatly depends on what your years of experience are, who you work for, what your current job title is, etc. 

The three certifications listed in this article are fantastic certifications to shoot for. Along the way, you will probably pick up one or two others before you get to these. 

Many jobs are starting to request certifications, so it’s a great time to invest a little extra in yourself. This could help you change careers, get your dream job, or bump up your salary. But, to make those dreams happen, you need to decide which certification is best for you and study for it!

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