[Update 04/15/2020: Starting April 15, 2020, Cisco is allowing online testing of their certifications due to the COVID-19 restrictions. Eligible candidates may take the CCNA, DevNet, and other exams online. Read more here.]
A new year often means looking at what we’d like to achieve. There are many reasons to pursue a new certification, whether that be to get a new job, a raise at work, or to improve your skills. Either way now is the time to plan if you’re going to make 2020 successful.
I looked at a number of job listings on different career websites such as Indeed.com and Glassdoor.com. When searching for Network Engineer, I wanted to see what certifications were being listed the most. The results contributed to this list but I also added certifications I considered to be important for the long run.
Set a goal for at least one of these certifications in 2020 and make that goal specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely.
Cisco CCNA 200-301
This entry-level certification from Cisco will be updated to the new CCNA certification on February 24, 2020. It’s often a required or preferred certification on job listings. From my quick research, it’s the top-listed certification on the job descriptions. The CCNA, although focused on Cisco’s solutions, will provide a solid foundation in networking.
Cisco CCNP 350-401 ENCOR
Cisco will also update the CCNP certification. The 350-401 ENCOR is the enterprise routing & switching exam. The CCNA is no longer needed as a prerequisite to the CCNP which means you can go straight to the CCNP. Additionally, there are new specialist certifications available. Only two exams will be required to become CCNP, a new update.
Another certification that is listed often on job descriptions is the Juniper’s JNCIS-ENT. The next level above the Juniper associate-level certification validating knowledge of routing and switching using Junos. The command-line syntax is different from Cisco’s IOS but the routing and switching fundamentals remain.
Wireless is a primary method of connectivity and we should treat it the same way we do with our wired networks. The CWNA certification, from CWNP, will give you a wealth of knowledge about 802.11 wireless from a vendor-agnostic point of view. It’s especially useful with Wi-Fi 6 coming around.
Juniper JNCIA-DevOps Or Cisco DevNet Associate 200-901
Network automation may not be part of every network engineer’s role but it’s becoming increasingly important to understand. The JNCIA-DevOps certification is an associate certification. It’s designed to provide an introduction to automation with Junos. The Cisco DevNet Associate is a new exam that will be released on February 24th, 2020 and is centered around Cisco solutions but will educate an engineer on Python, using APIs, NETCONF, RESTCONF, automation, and more.
What do you plan on conquering first for 2020? Let me know in the comments below.