Top 11 Network Design Engineer Certifications
This article provides an overview of the top certifications for network design engineers, including details on requirements and benefits.
Published 17 min read
Certifications are becoming increasingly important for network design engineers in the job market. Employers are looking for professionals with a demonstrated commitment to their craft and certifications are one way to show that commitment. Certifications demonstrate to employers that the candidate has mastered specific skills, technologies and best practices related to network design engineering. They also serve as a mark of credibility and validation of the individual’s knowledge and expertise in this field. Lastly, certifications can provide networking design engineers with an edge over other applicants, helping them stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs.
The purpose of this article is to review some of the top certifications for Network Design Engineers and explain how they can help advance a network design engineer's career.
What are Network Design Engineer Certifications?
Network Design Engineer Certification is a professional credential that demonstrates an individual’s knowledge and skills in designing, implementing, and managing computer networks. The certification validates the candidate's expertise in networking technologies and best practices, as well as their ability to design and deploy secure, reliable, and efficient network infrastructures. Network Design Engineers are responsible for developing plans for network architecture, choosing the appropriate hardware and software components for the network, configuring the components to ensure security, performance, and reliability of the network, monitoring the performance of the network on an ongoing basis, troubleshooting problems on the network when they arise, and making changes or upgrades to improve its performance.
Having a Network Design Engineer Certification can help individuals stand out from other candidates when looking for jobs in this field. It is also beneficial when applying for promotions or advancements within a company. Earning this certification proves that you possess the necessary skills required to design reliable networks that meet customer needs. Additionally, it shows employers that you have taken initiative to stay up-to-date with new technology trends in order to deliver better services and solutions to customers. Lastly, having a certification may lead to higher salaries or more attractive job offers due to your increased value as an employee.
Pro tip: When pursuing a network design engineer certification, be sure to stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends and technologies. Additionally, having hands-on experience with various networking products and architectures will help you gain a better understanding of the concepts and technologies involved in network design.
Related: What does a Network Design Engineer do?
Top 11 Network Design Engineer Certifications
Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Network Design Engineers today.
1. Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)
Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) is a certification program designed by Cisco to validate an individual's knowledge and skills in networking technologies. It is aimed at network engineers, system administrators, and network technicians who are looking to gain a better understanding of Cisco networking solutions. The CCNP certification requires individuals to demonstrate their ability to plan, implement, verify, and troubleshoot local and wide area enterprise networks.
To become certified as a CCNP, an individual must pass four exams: Route (300-101), Switch (300-115), Tshoot (300-135), and Design (300-320). Each exam takes approximately two hours to complete and covers topics such as routing protocols, switching technologies, network security, and network design.
In order to get the CCNP certification, individuals must first meet the eligibility requirements set by Cisco. This includes having a valid CCNA Routing & Switching certification or any valid Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certification. Once these requirements are met, individuals can register for the exams online through the Pearson VUE website or through an authorized training partner.
The cost of becoming a CCNP depends on which route you take to obtain it. If you choose to self-study for the exams using materials from Cisco Press or other vendors, then you will only need to pay for the cost of each exam ($400 USD per exam). If you choose to attend an authorized training course with an authorized training partner then you will need to pay for both the cost of the course and each exam ($1,000 USD - $2,500 USD per course).
Overall it typically takes around 6 months - 1 year for someone with prior experience in networking technologies to become certified as a CCNP.
2. Juniper Networks Certified Design Specialist (JNCDS)
Juniper Networks Certified Design Specialist (JNCDS) is a certification program developed by Juniper Networks to validate the skills and knowledge of networking professionals in designing and implementing Juniper networks. This certification demonstrates that an individual has the knowledge and experience needed to design, deploy, troubleshoot, and maintain Juniper networks.
To obtain the JNCDS certification, individuals must pass two exams: JN0-1301 (Design Fundamentals) and JN0-1331 (Advanced Design). The exams are available through Pearson VUE testing centers. Each exam costs $200 USD.
The exams take approximately 90 minutes each to complete. Once both exams have been passed, individuals will receive their JNCDS certification. The certification is valid for three years from the date of passing both exams. After three years, individuals must retake the exams in order to renew their certification.
3. CompTIA Network+
CompTIA Network+ is a certification that validates the knowledge and skills of networking professionals. It is an internationally recognized certification that proves competency in network infrastructure, network security, network troubleshooting, and network management. It is designed to ensure that those who hold the certification have the necessary skills to design, configure, manage, and troubleshoot networks.
The CompTIA Network+ exam takes approximately 90 minutes to complete and consists of 90 multiple-choice questions. To become certified, you must pass the exam with a score of 720 or higher on a 100-point scale. The cost of the exam varies depending on your location but typically ranges from $200-$300 USD.
In order to prepare for the exam, you can take advantage of CompTIA’s official training materials including books and online courses. Additionally, there are many third-party resources available such as practice tests and study guides that can help you prepare for the exam.
4. Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Server Infrastructure
Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Server Infrastructure is a certification program that validates an individual’s skills in designing, deploying, and managing an enterprise-level server infrastructure. This includes planning, implementing, and maintaining network services such as Active Directory Domain Services, Hyper-V virtualization, Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), and Windows Deployment Services (WDS). It also covers the implementation of core networking technologies such as IP addressing and name resolution.
It typically takes around six months to complete the necessary training and exams required to obtain the MCSE: Server Infrastructure certification. To get started, you must first pass one of two exams: Exam 70-410: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012 or Exam 70-411: Administering Windows Server 2012. Once these are completed, you must then pass three additional exams related to server infrastructure topics such as networking services, identity management, system security, disaster recovery planning, etc.
The cost of obtaining the MCSE: Server Infrastructure certification varies depending on the training provider you choose and whether or not you require any additional exam vouchers or other materials. Generally speaking though, it can range anywhere from $500-$2,000 USD for all the necessary training and exam fees.
5. VMware Certified Professional – Network Virtualization (VCP-NV)
The VMware Certified Professional – Network Virtualization (VCP-NV) is a certification program from VMware that validates the skills and knowledge of IT professionals in the area of network virtualization. It requires candidates to demonstrate their ability to design, deploy, configure, optimize, troubleshoot and manage VMware NSX environments.
It takes approximately six months to prepare for the VCP-NV exam. Candidates must attend an official VMware training course and pass a proctored exam in order to qualify for the certification. The cost of the training varies depending on the provider, but typically ranges from $2,000-$3,000 USD. The exam itself costs $250 USD.
In order to maintain their VCP-NV certification status, certified professionals must recertify every two years by taking an additional training course or passing a new version of the VCP-NV exam.
6. Citrix Certified Professional – Networking (CCP-N)
Citrix Certified Professional – Networking (CCP-N) is a certification program offered by Citrix for IT professionals who want to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in networking. The certification is designed to validate the ability of an individual to configure, manage, and troubleshoot Citrix NetScaler, Citrix ADC, and other related products. It also covers topics such as application delivery, load balancing, and security.
The CCP-N exam takes approximately 2 hours and consists of 60 questions. To prepare for the exam, candidates should have at least 6 months of experience with Citrix networking products. Candidates must also attend a 5-day instructor-led training course or complete an online self-paced course prior to taking the exam.
The cost of the CCP-N exam is $200 USD plus applicable taxes. Candidates can purchase vouchers from authorized resellers or directly from Citrix. Once a candidate has successfully passed the exam they will receive their official certification from Citrix.
7. Avaya Certified Design Specialist (ACDS)
Avaya Certified Design Specialist (ACDS) is an advanced certification program designed to provide professionals with the skills and knowledge necessary to design, implement, and maintain Avaya solutions. The ACDS certification is the highest level of Avaya technical certification available.
The ACDS certification requires a minimum of two years of experience in designing, implementing, and maintaining Avaya solutions. Candidates must also pass a series of exams that test their knowledge and understanding of Avaya products and services.
To get the ACDS certification, candidates must first complete the required training courses offered by Avaya or an authorized partner. These courses cover topics such as networking fundamentals, system architecture, voice over IP (VoIP), contact center solutions, unified communications, and more. After completing the training courses, candidates must then pass a series of exams to demonstrate their competency in each area.
The cost for the ACDS certification varies depending on the number of exams taken and whether or not you choose to take additional training courses. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from $1,000-$2,500 USD for all associated costs (training + exam fees).
8. Brocade Certified Network Engineer (BCNE)
Brocade Certified Network Engineer (BCNE) is a certification program offered by Brocade that validates an individual’s knowledge and skills in configuring, managing, and troubleshooting Brocade network solutions. It is designed for IT professionals who are responsible for the day-to-day operation of enterprise networks.
The BCNE certification requires passing a single exam to demonstrate proficiency in Brocade networking technologies. The exam covers topics such as configuring and managing Brocade switches, routers, and security appliances; understanding IP routing protocols; and troubleshooting network issues.
It takes approximately 2-3 months to prepare for the BCNE exam depending on the individual's experience level. There are various resources available to help individuals prepare for the exam including self-paced eLearning courses, instructor-led training classes, practice exams, study guides, and online forums.
The cost of the BCNE certification exam is $150 USD. This fee does not include any additional materials or training courses required to prepare for the exam.
9. HP ASE – FlexNetwork Solutions Architect V1
HP ASE – FlexNetwork Solutions Architect V1 is a certification program offered by Hewlett-Packard that validates the knowledge and skills of network engineers and architects in designing, deploying, and managing HP FlexNetwork solutions. It is designed to help IT professionals demonstrate their expertise in implementing HP's networking solutions.
The HP ASE – FlexNetwork Solutions Architect V1 certification requires passing two exams: HP2-Z30 (Designing HP FlexNetwork Solutions) and HP2-Z31 (Implementing HP FlexNetwork Solutions). Each exam takes approximately 90 minutes to complete.
To get certified, you must first purchase the exam vouchers from an authorized reseller or Pearson VUE. The cost of each exam voucher is $125 USD. After purchasing the vouchers, you can register for the exams at Pearson VUE's website. You will need to provide your voucher number during registration. Once registered, you will be able to schedule your exams at any time convenient for you.
Once both exams are passed successfully, you will receive your official certificate from Hewlett-Packard within 4 weeks after completion of both exams.
10. F5 Networks Certified Technology Specialist (F5-CTS)
F5 Networks Certified Technology Specialist (F5-CTS) is a certification program designed to validate the technical skills of IT professionals who work with F5 products. This certification requires that candidates demonstrate their knowledge and experience in configuring, managing, and troubleshooting F5 products. The F5-CTS certification is valid for three years from the date of successful completion.
To obtain the F5-CTS certification, candidates must pass an exam that covers topics such as:
- Networking fundamentals
- Application delivery fundamentals
- BIG-IP product architecture
- Configuring and managing BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM)
- Configuring and managing BIG-IP Access Policy Manager (APM)
- Troubleshooting BIG-IP LTM and APM
- Automation using iRules and iControl REST API’s.
The exam typically takes about 90 minutes to complete and costs $150 USD. Candidates can register for the exam through Pearson VUE or Prometric testing centers.
11. Riverbed Certified Solutions Associate – WAN Optimization
Riverbed Certified Solutions Associate – WAN Optimization is a certification program that provides IT professionals with the knowledge and skills to design, configure, manage, and troubleshoot Riverbed SteelHead WAN optimization solutions. This certification validates an individual’s expertise in optimizing application performance and reducing network latency over Wide Area Networks (WANs).
To obtain this certification, individuals must complete the Riverbed Certified Solutions Associate – WAN Optimization course. The course takes approximately four days to complete and covers topics such as:
- Introduction to WAN Optimization
- Deployment Strategies for SteelHead Appliances
- Configuring SteelHead Appliances
- Troubleshooting and Monitoring SteelHead Appliances
- Advanced Configuration of SteelHead Appliances
- Application Acceleration with SteelHead CX
- Management of SteelHead Solutions
- Best Practices for Deploying WAN Optimization Solutions.
The cost of the Riverbed Certified Solutions Associate – WAN Optimization course is $3,500 USD. After completing the course, individuals will be eligible to take the Riverbed Certified Solutions Associate – WAN Optimization exam. The exam consists of 60 multiple-choice questions and has a time limit of 90 minutes. It costs $200 USD to take the exam. Upon passing the exam, individuals will receive their official certification from Riverbed Technology.
Do You Really Need a Network Design Engineer Certificate?
The short answer is no, you do not need a network design engineer certificate to become a successful network design engineer. However, having one can certainly help. A certificate in network design engineering can provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in this field. It can also give you an edge over other applicants when applying for jobs.
Having a certificate in network design engineering will show potential employers that you have taken the time and effort to gain specialized knowledge and skills related to this field. It may also demonstrate your commitment to learning new technologies and staying up-to-date on industry trends and best practices. Additionally, having a certificate can make it easier for employers to evaluate your qualifications compared to those without such credentials.
In addition, having a network design engineer certificate will allow you to access more job opportunities. Many employers prefer candidates with certifications because they want someone who has already proven their ability in the subject matter. Having a certification can also open up doors that were previously closed due to lack of experience or training in the area.
Finally, having a network design engineer certificate can make it easier for you to stay current on industry trends and best practices. With the rapid pace of technology advancement, it’s important for engineers to stay informed about the latest developments so they can provide their clients with cutting-edge solutions that are both cost effective and secure. A certification program can help you stay up-to-date so you’re always prepared for whatever comes your way.
Overall, while having a network design engineer certificate is not required by law or necessary for success in this field, it certainly doesn’t hurt either!
Related: Network Design Engineer Resume Examples
FAQs About Network Design Engineer Certifications
1. What certifications are available for network design engineers?
Answer: Common certifications available for network design engineers include Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP), CompTIA Network+, and Juniper Networks Certified Design Specialist (JNCDS).
2. How do I become a certified network design engineer?
Answer: To become a certified network design engineer, you must take and pass the relevant certification exam(s) offered by the respective certification provider. You may also need to complete any associated training courses or other requirements set forth by the certification provider.
3. What does a network design engineer do?
Answer: A network design engineer is responsible for designing and implementing data communication networks, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), wireless networks, and Internet Protocol (IP) networks. They must also ensure that the network meets performance requirements, security standards, and other operational specifications.
4. Is a network design engineer certification worth it?
Answer: Yes, a network design engineer certification can be beneficial to your career as it proves your competency in this field and demonstrates your commitment to professional development. It can also open up additional job opportunities or provide leverage when negotiating salary increases or promotions.
5. How long does it take to get certified as a network design engineer?
Answer: The amount of time it takes to get certified as a network design engineer will depend on the specific certification you are pursuing and how much prior experience you have in this field. Generally speaking, most certifications require at least several months of study before taking the exam(s).