5 Best Network Administrator Certifications

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Network administration is big business these days, with more companies than ever relying on network connections to carry out day-to-day tasks. This has created a high demand for networking professionals, with many organizations willing to pay good money for their services.

If you are interested in working as a network administrator, you will need to prove your expertise and one of the ways many individuals choose to do this is by obtaining professional certifications. These certifications not only teach you the valuable skills needed to successfully perform in the role, but they can also allow you to demand a higher salary for the work you do.

In this guide, we’ll be discussing some of the best certifications out there for networking administrators, including a couple of others that are also worth considering if you wish to supplement your resume. Therefore, if you’re looking to become certified but aren’t sure where to start, stick around, as we delve into five of the best options available in this field of work.

Top Network Administrator Certifications

CertificationTopicsSupportExam Details
CompTIA Network+
  • Designing and implementing functional networks
  • Configuring, managing, and maintaining essential network devices
  • Using devices such as switches and routers
  • Identifying the benefits and drawbacks of existing network configurations
  • Implementing network security, standards, and protocols
  • Troubleshooting network problems
  • Supporting the creation of virtualized networks
  • E-learning Interactive labs
  • Exam prep
  • Study guides
  • Instructor-Led training
  • Video training
Price: $329
No. of Exams: 1
No. of Questions: Max 90
Duration: 90 minutes
Passing Score: 720/900
CompTIA A+
  • Demonstrating baseline security skills for IT support
  • Configuring device operating systems
  • Troubleshooting core service and support challenges
  • Supporting basic IT infrastructure and networking
  • Configuring device hardware
  • Implementing basic data backup and recovery methods
  • E-learning Interactive labs
  • Exam prep
  • Study guides
  • Instructor-Led training
  • Video training
Price: $226
No. of Exams: 2
No. of Questions: Max 90
Duration: 90 minutes per exam
Passing Score: 675/900, 700/900
CompTIA Security+
  • Security threats, attacks, and vulnerabilities
  • Identity and access management
  • Security hardware and software
  • Security architecture
  • Risk management
  • Cryptography
  • E-learning Interactive labs
  • Exam prep
  • Study guides
  • Instructor-Led training
  • Video training
    Exam: $349
    Basic bundle: $499
    Exam prep bundle: $649
    eLearning bundle: $899
Cisco CCNA
  • Network fundamentals
  • Network access
  • IP connectivity
  • IP services
  • Security fundamentals
  • Automation and programmability
  • Courseware
  • Instructor-led training
  • Virtual instructor-led training
  • 150+ lectures
Price: $300
No. of Exams: 1
No. of Questions: 100+
Duration: 2 hours
Passing Score: 85%
Cisco CCNP Enterprise
  • Implementing and operating Cisco enterprise network core technologies
  • Implementing Cisco enterprise advanced routing and services
  • Implementing Cisco SD-WAN solutions
  • Designing Cisco enterprise networks
  • Designing Cisco enterprise wireless networks
  • Implementing Cisco enterprise wireless networks
  • Implementing automation for Cisco enterprise solutions
  • Courseware
  • Instructor-led training
  • Virtual instructor-led training
  • 150+ lectures
Price: $1000 + concentration exam cost
No. of Exams: 2

1. CompTIA Network+

CompTIA Network+

CompTIA certifications feature heavily in this guide, with their first offering being the Network+ certification. This certification is a must-have for networking professionals, as it covers pretty much every core area of the profession, as well as some more advanced topics to help you stand out from other candidates.

Topics

The Network+ certification is very comprehensive in its approach, tackling topics such as designing and implementing functional networks, configuring and managing essential network devices, and using certain network devices such as switches and routers. The material also focuses on identifying the pros and cons of network configurations, as well as networking standards and protocols, and troubleshooting.

One of the more unique topics on the course is the support of the creation of virtualized networks. This is something that leans slightly into the realms of cloud computing, making it a great topic for anyone considering a switch to cloud engineering at a leather date.

Support

CompTIA is well-regarded for its ability to offer valuable support to its students, with plenty of learning resources available, such as study guides, video teaching, and even instructor-led training. The organization also provides interactive labs, allowing you to obtain some valuable hands-on experience with the skills you are being taught.

Having a wide range of support options can be invaluable to an organization such as this, as it allows them to cater to a variety of individuals. It also means that those with certain learning difficulties may still be able to comfortably learn the material, provided the support options are able to fulfill the individual’s requirements.

Exam Details

To take the exam, you will need to pay a fee of $329. This is rather reasonable for a certification exam. However, you may want to consider professional funding if the option is available to you.

As for the exam itself, it will consist of no more than 90 questions in total and will last for 90 minutes. This gives you an average of 1 minute to spend on each question. However, you will likely spend less time on easier questions and more time on the harder ones.

You will also need to score 720 out of the possible 900 marks to successfully pass the exam, which equates to 80%. This makes the exam relatively difficult to pass, although with enough revision and preparation it shouldn’t be too tricky.

For more information on this certification, visit: https://www.comptia.org/certifications/network

TopicsSupportExam Details
  • Designing and implementing functional networks
  • Configuring, managing, and maintaining essential network devices
  • Using devices such as switches and routers
  • Identifying the benefits and drawbacks of existing network configurations
  • Implementing network security, standards, and protocols
  • Troubleshooting network problems
  • Supporting the creation of virtualized networks
  • E-learning Interactive labs
  • Exam prep
  • Study guides
  • Instructor-Led training
  • Video training
Price: $329
No. of Exams: 1
No. of Questions: Max 90
Duration: 90 minutes
Passing Score: 720/900

2. CompTIA A+

CompTIA A+

The next CompTIA certification in this guide is the A+ certification. This one is recommended for more general practitioners within the commuting world. However, it does cover some important topics for network administrators, which is why we have included it on this list.

Topics

The A+ certification covers a broad range of topics including, demonstration baseline security skills, configuring operating systems, troubleshooting, supporting basic IT infrastructure and networking, and configuring hardware. The course also covers the implementation of data backup and recovery methods, making it a versatile certification for many different practitioners.

Many of the topics covered also apply to network administrators, due to their focus on networking principles, as well as hardware and operating system configurations. This makes the certification very useful if you intend to work at an enterprise level, as you should be able to learn the majority of what you will need on the job if, for example, you are setting up office networks and other equipment.

Support

The support available for this course is much the same as what is on offer with the other CompTIA courses. This means you can benefit from video learning, study guides, and plenty of exam preparation materials. You will also be given the opportunity to apply what you are learning during interactive labs, as well as receive instructor-led training.

Exam details

The exam for this certification costs $226, making it substantially cheaper than the likes of the network+ exam. This makes it a decent option if you are working with a tiger budget. However, we once again recommend looking into professional funding if possible to subsidize the cost.

The A+ certification includes two exams, with each one lasting a total of 90 minutes. To pass the 220-1001 exam, you will need to score a total of 675 out of a possible 900 marks. While on the 220-1002, you will need a score of 700. This equates to 75% and 77% respectively, making the A+ certification rather difficult to obtain, due to the consistency needed across both of the exams.

For more information on this certification, visit: https://www.comptia.org/certifications/a

TopicsSupportExam Details
  • Demonstrating baseline security skills for IT support
  • Configuring device operating systems
  • Troubleshooting core service and support challenges
  • Supporting basic IT infrastructure and networking
  • Configuring device hardware
  • Implementing basic data backup and recovery methods
  • E-learning Interactive labs
  • Exam prep
  • Study guides
  • Instructor-Led training
  • Video training
Price: $226
No. of Exams: 2
No. of Questions: Max 90
Duration: 90 minutes per exam
Passing Score: 675/900, 700/900

3. CompTIA Security+

CompTIA Security+

The third certification on this list is the last from CompTIA, and is the Security+ certification. This certification is primarily aimed at cybersecurity professionals. However, it also offers plenty of useful information for network administrators as a large part of network design should include making sure the network is secure.

Topics

The Security+ certification includes topics such as identifying security threats, attacks, and vulnerabilities, identity and access management, and security hardware and software. It also covers security architecture, risk management, and even cryptography, although the last one probably isn’t too relevant for networking professionals.

Learning about each of these topics will, however, put you in a much better position to create secure networks. It will also allow you to transition to other roles such as that of a security analyst or architect in the future, would you wish to do so.

Support

The support options for this course are again much the same as you get with the other CompTIA courses. This means you can expect the majority of the course to be delivered via video lectures, while also being provided with study guides and exam preparation materials to supplement your learning.

The course also offers instructor-led training, which can make certain topics easier to understand, especially if self-learning is something you struggle with. Interactive labs are also an option, giving you the opportunity to practice what you have learned.

Exam Details

Like the other CompTIA exams, the Security+ exam lasts for a total of 90 minutes and includes no more than 90 questions. Unlike the A+ certification though, there is only one exam associated with this course, making it slightly less daunting as a result.

To pass the exam, you will need to score a total of 750 out of the possible 900 marks, which is the equivalent of scoring 83%. This makes the exam slightly harder to pass than the other CompTIA exams we have featured. However, a thorough amount of revision should be completed before attempting to take any of them.

For more information on this certification, visit: https://www.comptia.org/certifications/security

TopicsSupportExam Details
  • Identifying security threats, attacks, and vulnerabilities
  • Identity and access management
  • Security hardware and software
  • Security architecture
  • Risk management
  • Cryptography
  • E-learning Interactive labs
  • Exam prep
  • Study guides
  • Instructor-Led training
  • Video training
Price: $349
No. of Exams: 1
No. of Questions: Max 90
Duration: 90 minutes
Passing Score: 750/900

4. CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate)

CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate)

The Cisco CCNA certification has recently been updated to include a number of specifications under one single certification. It still has a very prominent focus on networking, however, making it a fantastic option for network administrators, as well as those in similar professions.

Topics

The topics covered by the CCNA certification include network fundamentals, network access, IP connectivity, IP services, and automation and programmability. The certification also places focus on certain security fundamentals, giving you a better understanding of how to design and implement secure networks.

This makes CCNA a decent certification for both network administrators, as it teaches the majority of what you will need to know, as well as some extra things to help you stand out from other candidates. Being a Cisco certification, the material is also centered around the company’s equipment, which is some of the most prominently used in the industry.

Support

The support available for this certification includes a substantial amount of courseware, as well as instructor-led training, and over 150 lectures. This means there should be plenty of resources available to you when it comes to learning the material, which should allow you to get to a confident position going into the exam.

Exam Details

The exam for CCNA lasts a total of 2 hours and during this time you will be expected to answer around 100+ questions. This should give you plenty of time to complete each question, however, with a score of 85% needed to pass the exam, you will want to be sure not to rush.

The price of the exam is $300, which is in keeping with the other certifications in this guide. However, any extra materials that you may require to prepare for the exam will likely cost extra.

For more information on this certification, visit: https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/s/ccna

TopicsSupportExam Details
  • Network fundamentals
  • Network access
  • IP connectivity
  • IP services
  • Security fundamentals
  • Automation and programmability
  • Courseware
  • Instructor-led training
  • Virtual instructor-led training
  • 150+ lectures
Price: $300
No. of Exams: 1
No. of Questions: 100+
Duration: 2 hours
Passing Score: 85%

5. CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional) Enterprise

CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional) Enterprise

Like the CCNA certification, the CCNP certification has also received a revamp, with it now split into various categories that cover a number of different disciplines. The Enterprise certification that we are featuring in this guide is the most relevant of the new options for network administrators, as it focuses one many useful topics related to setting up networks for enterprise purposes.

Topics

The CCNP certification covers many different areas of networking including implementing and operating Cisco enterprise network technologies, as well as advanced routing and services. The material also covers the implementation of SD-WAN solutions, as well as how to design various enterprise networks.

Automation in relation to Cicco enterprise solutions is also covered by this certification, which is important if you plan to work with larger networks, as it offloads a portion of the work freeing up your time to complete other tasks. Such tasks that can usually be automated when it comes to networking include updates, rerouting traffic, managing bandwidth, and discovering topologies.

Support

The support available for this certification includes courseware, instructor-led training, and self-study e-learning material. These options aren’t as extensive as what is being offered by the likes of CompTIA. However, it is important to remember that each certification provider is going to have its own ideas and methods when it comes to providing supporting material to supplement your learning. This means that even though it appears to offer less on the surface, it should still be sufficient in helping you prepare for the exam.

Exam Details

The exams for CCNP are significantly more expensive than the other options in this guide, with the core exam requiring an investment of $1000. The concentration exams also require even further investment, costing between $750-$1000 each depending on your choice. For this reason, we recommend that you seek professional funding before enrolling in this course, as it can be a difficult one to commit to if you are paying out of your own pocket.

Unfortunately, not a lot of other information is available for the exams, so we are unable to provide any more information about them. Hopefully, this information will soon become available but until then we are somewhat in the dark about what to expect.

For more information on this certification, visit: https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/s/ccnp-enterprise

TopicsSupportExam Details
  • Implementing and operating Cisco enterprise network core technologies
  • Implementing Cisco enterprise advanced routing and services
  • Implementing Cisco SD-WAN solutions
  • Designing Cisco enterprise networks
  • Designing Cisco enterprise wireless networks
  • Implementing Cisco enterprise wireless networks
  • Implementing automation for Cisco enterprise solutions
  • Courseware
  • Instructor-led training
  • Self-study E-learning
Price: $1000 + concentration exam cost
No. of Exams: 2
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