Article

Top 11 IT & Network Administration Certifications

This article will provide an overview of the top IT & Network Administration certifications available, including benefits and requirements.

Photo of Brenna Goyette
Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 17 min read

Certifications are an important factor for IT & Network Administration in the job market because they demonstrate a person’s technical knowledge and skills. Having certifications on your resume can give employers confidence that you have the necessary qualifications to do the job. Additionally, many employers prefer to hire people with industry-recognized certifications as it helps to reduce their risk of hiring someone who is not qualified or experienced enough to handle the job. Certifications also provide a way for employers to differentiate between potential candidates and can be used as a way to verify an applicant’s knowledge. Finally, certifications can open up opportunities for career advancement, as employers may view certified professionals more favorably than those without any certifications.

This article reviews some of the top certifications for IT & Network Administrations and explains how they can help to advance an IT & Network Administrator's career.

What are IT & Network Administration Certifications?

Network administration certification is a credential that demonstrates an individual's knowledge and competency in the field of network administration. It is designed to help individuals demonstrate their ability to design, implement, manage and maintain computer networks. This certification can be beneficial for those seeking employment in the field of network administration or who are already working in this field and would like to further their career.

Having a network administration certification provides employers with assurance that you possess the necessary skills, experience and knowledge to manage their network infrastructure. It also shows potential employers that you have taken the initiative to improve your knowledge and skills by gaining certification in this field. Additionally, having this certification can open up opportunities for promotions, higher salaries and more job opportunities within the IT industry.

Overall, obtaining a network administration certification can be a great way for individuals to demonstrate their expertise in this field and enhance their career prospects.

Pro Tip: Network administration certification can be a great way to demonstrate your knowledge and skills in network administration. Take the time to research different certifications available, as some may be more valuable than others depending on the type of job you are interested in. Additionally, consider seeking out additional training opportunities such as webinars or online courses to further expand your knowledge and expertise in the field.

Related: What does an IT & Network Administration do?

Top 11 IT & Network Administration Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to IT & Network Administrations today.

1. CompTIA A+

CompTIA A+ is an industry-recognized certification for IT professionals. It is designed to validate the skills of entry-level IT professionals in areas such as installation, maintenance, networking, security, and troubleshooting. It is a globally recognized certification that demonstrates competency in basic IT infrastructure and helps employers identify qualified technicians.

The CompTIA A+ certification requires two exams: 220-1001 and 220-1002. Each exam takes 90 minutes to complete and consists of 90 multiple choice questions. Candidates must pass both exams to become certified.

To get CompTIA A+, candidates must first register for the exams with CompTIA or an authorized testing center. The cost of the exams varies depending on where they are taken, but typically range from $200-$300 USD per exam. Once registered for the exam, candidates can take practice tests to prepare for the real thing. After passing both exams, candidates will be awarded their CompTIA A+ certification.

The cost of getting CompTIA A+ depends on where you take your exams, but typically ranges from $400-$600 USD total for both exams combined.

2. Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) is a certification program that validates an individual's technical expertise in designing, implementing, and managing solutions based on Microsoft technologies. It is designed to provide IT professionals with the skills they need to help organizations maximize their investments in technology solutions.

To get the MCSE certification, you must pass one or more exams from a list of approved Microsoft exams. You must also have at least two years of experience working with Windows Server and other Microsoft technologies. The exact number of exams required for certification depends on your particular area of specialization.

The cost for each exam varies depending on the specific exam you are taking, but typically ranges from $125-$200 per exam. Additionally, some training courses may be required to prepare for the exams, which can add to the overall cost.

It typically takes around 6-12 months to complete all of the requirements for MCSE certification. This includes studying for and passing all necessary exams as well as gaining any necessary experience working with Microsoft technologies.

3. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) is a certification offered by Cisco Systems. It is an entry-level certification that validates the ability to install, configure, operate, and troubleshoot medium-size routed and switched networks. It also covers basic security principles, network fundamentals, and automation.

It typically takes around 6 months to prepare for the CCNA exam. To get the certification, you must pass one of the two available exams: 200-301 or 200-125. Both exams cost $300 USD and are offered in multiple languages.

To prepare for the exam, it is recommended that you have hands-on experience with Cisco routers and switches as well as knowledge of networking concepts such as IP addressing and subnetting, routing protocols, switching technologies, WAN technologies, wireless networks, virtualization technologies, cloud computing concepts etc. You can also take online courses or attend instructor-led training programs to gain more knowledge about these topics.

Overall, getting your CCNA certification can open up many career opportunities in IT networking fields such as network administrator or engineer roles.

4. CompTIA Network+

CompTIA Network+ is an industry-recognized certification that validates the knowledge and skills of IT professionals in networking technologies. It covers a wide range of topics, including network architecture, network operations, network security, troubleshooting, and industry best practices.

It typically takes around three months to prepare for the CompTIA Network+ exam. This includes studying the official CompTIA Network+ Study Guide and taking practice tests. The exam itself consists of 90 multiple-choice questions and takes 90 minutes to complete.

To get your CompTIA Network+ certification you must pass the CompTIA Network+ exam (N10-007). You can take the exam at any Pearson VUE testing center or online through OnVUE. The cost of the exam varies depending on your location but typically ranges from $320 to $350 USD.

5. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is an internationally recognized certification for information security professionals. It is a vendor-neutral credential that demonstrates the ability to design, implement, and manage a best-in-class cybersecurity program. This certification is offered by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2.

The CISSP exam consists of 250 multiple choice questions and takes 6 hours to complete. To be eligible to take the exam, you must have at least 5 years of cumulative paid full-time work experience in two or more of the 8 domains of the (ISC)2 Common Body of Knowledge (CBK). Alternatively, you can have 4 years of experience if you hold a college degree or other certifications such as CISA or CAP.

To get your CISSP certification, you must pass the exam and submit an endorsement form signed by another CISSP holder who can attest to your professional experience in information security. Once these steps are completed, you will receive your official certificate from (ISC)2.

The cost for taking the CISSP exam is $699 USD for members and $999 USD for non-members.

6. Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA)

Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) is a certification program offered by Red Hat, Inc. It is designed to validate an individual's skills and knowledge in managing and deploying Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems. The RHCSA certification is the first step in becoming a Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE).

The RHCSA exam typically takes about two hours to complete, and consists of multiple-choice questions. To become certified, you must pass the exam with a score of at least 80%.

To get the RHCSA certification, you need to take an online course or attend an instructor-led training session. You can also self-study using books and online resources. Once you have completed your studies, you will need to register for and take the official RHCSA exam at an authorized testing center.

The cost of the RHCSA exam varies depending on where it is taken. Generally speaking, the cost ranges from $400-$500 USD.

7. VMware Certified Professional (VCP)

VMware Certified Professional (VCP) is a certification that validates an individual’s skills and knowledge of VMware virtualization technologies. It demonstrates expertise in the installation, configuration, and management of VMware vSphere environments. The VCP certification is offered by VMware and is recognized as a standard for virtualization professionals.

To become VCP certified, individuals must complete a course of study or training related to the technology they are seeking certification in. This can be done through an authorized training center or online through self-paced courses. After completing the required training, individuals must then pass an exam to obtain their certification.

The amount of time it takes to get VCP certified depends on how much time and effort you are willing to put into studying for the exam. Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from one month to several months to prepare for the exam depending on your prior experience with VMware technologies.

The cost of becoming VCP certified varies based on which type of training you choose to pursue. Self-paced online courses typically cost around $500-$1000 USD while instructor-led classes range from $2000-$3000 USD depending on the location and length of course. Additionally, there is a fee associated with taking the certification exam which is currently set at $250 USD per attempt.

8. Juniper Networks Certified Internet Associate (JNCIA)

Juniper Networks Certified Internet Associate (JNCIA) is a certification program designed to validate the skills of IT professionals in designing, configuring, and troubleshooting Juniper Networks products. The JNCIA certification is an entry-level certification that provides a foundation for more advanced Juniper certifications. It is suitable for network administrators, engineers, and technicians who want to demonstrate their knowledge of Juniper Networks technologies.

The JNCIA exam typically takes about 90 minutes to complete and covers topics such as routing protocols, switching technologies, security fundamentals, and network management. To become certified, you must pass the JN0-103 exam with a score of at least 70%.

To get started on your journey to becoming JNCIA certified, you will need to purchase the official Juniper training materials from the Juniper website or from an authorized training provider. You can also find study guides and practice tests online to help you prepare for your exam.

The cost of the JN0-103 exam varies depending on where you take it. It typically costs between $200 - $300 USD per attempt.

9. Citrix Certified Professional – Virtualization (CCP-V)

Citrix Certified Professional – Virtualization (CCP-V) is a certification program from Citrix that validates an individual’s ability to design, deploy, manage, and troubleshoot virtualized environments using Citrix products. It is designed for IT professionals who want to specialize in virtualization technologies such as XenServer, XenApp, and XenDesktop.

The CCP-V certification requires passing two exams: 1Y0-311 Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.15 Advanced Administration exam and 1Y0-402 Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 7 Assessment, Design and Advanced Configurations exam. The exams must be taken within six months of each other in order to qualify for the certification.

In order to get the CCP-V certification, you must first purchase the exam vouchers from the Citrix website. Each exam voucher costs $200 USD plus applicable taxes. Once you have purchased the vouchers, you can register for the exams online at Pearson VUE or Prometric testing centers.

It typically takes about 6 months to prepare for both exams and complete them successfully in order to get your CCP-V certification.

10. Amazon Web Services Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

Amazon Web Services Certified Solutions Architect – Associate is an industry-recognized certification that validates an individual’s expertise in designing and deploying applications on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform. The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate certification is designed for individuals who have a minimum of one year of experience working with AWS technologies. This certification demonstrates an individual's ability to design and deploy reliable, secure, cost effective, and highly available applications on the AWS platform.

It typically takes about two months to prepare for the exam if you are studying full time. However, it can take longer depending on your familiarity with the material and how much time you are able to dedicate to studying.

To get the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate certification, you must pass the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate exam. The exam consists of multiple choice and multiple answer questions covering topics such as architecture design, security best practices, deployment strategies, and more. You can find more information about the exam at https://aws.amazon.com/certification/certified-solutions-architect-associate/.

The cost of taking the exam varies depending on where you take it but is typically around $150 USD.

11. Linux Professional Institute Certification (LPIC)

Linux Professional Institute Certification (LPIC) is a certification program that is designed to ensure that professionals have the skills and knowledge needed to manage, configure, and troubleshoot Linux systems. LPIC certifications are offered in three levels: LPIC-1, LPIC-2, and LPIC-3.

LPIC-1 is the entry-level certification for system administrators who work with Linux systems. It requires passing two exams: 101 and 102. The exam topics include installation and configuration of a Linux system, basic maintenance tasks, networking fundamentals, security, and troubleshooting. The exam fee for each exam is $200 USD.

LPIC-2 is an advanced level certification for system administrators who have experience with Linux systems administration. It requires passing two exams: 201 and 202. Exam topics include advanced system administration tasks such as network services configuration, web services configuration, email services configuration, security hardening techniques, scripting techniques, and more. The exam fee for each exam is $300 USD.

LPIC-3 is an expert level certification for system administrators who have extensive experience with Linux systems administration. It requires passing two exams: 301 and 302. Exam topics include enterprise network services configuration, virtualization technologies management, storage management technologies configuration, advanced security hardening techniques, scripting techniques development on multiple platforms including Windows/Linux/Unix/Mac OS X/etc., disaster recovery planning & implementation strategies & more. The exam fee for each exam is $400 USD.

In total it takes around 4 to 6 months to complete all three levels of LPIC certifications depending on your prior experience with Linux systems administration and the amount of time you can dedicate towards studying for the exams each week.

Do You Really Need a IT & Network Administration Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on what you hope to gain from obtaining the certificate. If your goal is to become a network administrator, then an IT & Network Administration Certificate is a definite requirement.

Network administrators are responsible for managing and maintaining computer networks in businesses and organizations. This includes setting up, configuring, troubleshooting, and monitoring networks. In order to do this effectively, they must have an understanding of IT concepts such as networking protocols, hardware components, software applications, security measures, and other related topics. Having an IT & Network Administration Certificate demonstrates that you possess the necessary knowledge and skills to perform these tasks.

In addition to providing proof of your technical abilities, having a certificate also shows potential employers that you are committed to advancing your career in this field. It signals that you are willing to invest time and effort into learning more about current technologies and best practices in network administration. This can be invaluable when applying for jobs or promotions within the industry.

Overall, if you want to work as a network administrator or pursue further opportunities in the IT field, then an IT & Network Administration Certificate is essential. It will provide evidence of your expertise while demonstrating your commitment to professional development.

Related: IT & Network Administration Resume Examples

FAQs About IT & Network Administration Certifications

Q1. What is an IT & Network Administration Certification?

A1. An IT & Network Administration Certification is a professional certification that validates an individual's knowledge and skills in managing and maintaining computer networks, systems and software applications. It is designed to demonstrate the expertise required to install, configure, operate and troubleshoot networks and systems.

Q2. How do I get certified in IT & Network Administration?

A2. To become certified in IT & Network Administration, you must complete a course of study from an accredited institution or organization, such as the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) program or CompTIA's A+ certification program. You will then have to pass one or more exams to obtain your certification.

Q3. What are the benefits of having an IT & Network Administration Certification?

A3. Having an IT & Network Administration Certification can help you advance your career by increasing your job prospects and earning potential, as well as giving you access to more job opportunities and higher pay rates than those without certifications. Additionally, certifications can help build credibility with employers who want employees with up-to-date knowledge and skills in this field.

Q4. How long does it take to get certified in IT & Network Administration?

A4. The amount of time it takes to get certified depends on several factors such as the type of certification you are seeking, the number of courses you take, how much time you dedicate to studying for exams, etc. Generally speaking, most people can obtain their certification within six months to two years depending on their commitment level and availability of resources.

Q5. Are there any prerequisites for getting certified in IT & Network Administration?

A5. Yes, some certifications have prerequisites such as prior experience or other certifications that must be met before taking the exam(s). For example, if you are looking at obtaining a CCNA certification then you must first hold a valid CCENT (Cisco Certified Entry Level Technician) certification before taking the CCNA exam(s).