The world of Information Technology (IT) has always been rewarding for employees. If you have the right skill set you can fetch a good price for your services.

Get the right networking cert to stay employed.There are two challenges facing those who want to make their mark in the IT sector: an abundance of engineers, and competition for jobs. According to a survey done by The Economic Times, India has approximately 3,345 engineering colleges. The sad news is that although more than 1.5 million engineers graduate from these schools every year, only between 20 and 33 percent get a low paying first job, some don’t even manage that. As it turns out, moving up the corporate ladder isn’t that easy if you don’t have the right skill set.

Whether you are a fresher or an experienced IT professional looking for promotion, one way to beat the competition is to obtain the desired IT certifications in your core area. Refine your skill sets, show your organization that you are really serious about taking a bigger role, and gain extra confidence along the way. For freshers, this is a great way to push their resume forward and get a good entry point, while for experienced professionals it’s a great way to increase their pay scale and, in some cases, even change their designation.

Which ones, however, are the best certifications in the market today? According to an IT Skills and Salary Survey done in 2015, certifications in networking, IT security and systems management are the most in-demand, offering the best pay scales. In this article we’ll be focusing on the most in-demand certifications for networking in India. So if you have interest in making networking as your work area, this information is for you.

In recent years, network security has become a big concern for every company, and the rise in network infrastructure (router, switches, etc.) makes this field even more demanding and challenging. So while the problems are immense, so too are the opportunities.

Different Types of Networking Certifications:

There are many different types of networking certifications. You can opt for a normal certification, an internationally recognized certification, or a degree or diploma in networking. It all depends on your current standing.

If you have a bachelor’s degree and have been working in the field for a while, then an internationally recognized certification in your core area will work fine for you. If you have just come out of school, however, you can also opt for a specialized degree in networking (generally a three-year course, mostly part-time) from a reputable institute. It may not be as valued by recruiters as an engineering degree, but it can surely bring a good start to your career, a promising one.

There are also many people with a three-year degree in commerce or arts who opt for a diploma or degree course in networking, as it’s considered a great way to get employment in an MNC or an IT company. According to Harsh Bharwani, vice president (International Business) at training institute Jetking, a fresher with a bachelor’s in engineering “starts with a monthly pay of 18,000 to 20,000 ₹, while a non-technical graduate can earn anything between 12,000 and 15,000 ₹ as starting pay.” So whatever your position, there are courses tailor made for everyone.

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

Security breaches are one of the topmost concerns for companies, which is why CISSP is so in demand. It’s a vendor-neutral security certification that teaches you how to protect business environments by covering topics related to architecture, management and the design of security networks.

CISSP certifications help individuals design and implement security programs to safeguard against sophisticated attacks. This certification is provided by International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, more commonly known as (ISC)². The CISSP exam length is six hours and consists of 250 multiple choice questions dealing with 10 core areas:

• Computer security
• Cryptography
• Risk analysis
• Physical security
• Cloud computing
• Mobile applications
• Disaster recovery
• Developing applications
• Business continuity
• Compliance.

CISSP is only for experienced IT professionals. Prerequisites to sit for the exam are five years of full-time experience in any of the 10 domains listed above, and an endorsement by another certified professional of repute. After earning your certification you also have to earn a minimum 20 CPE credits every year to maintain your certification.

Certified Wireless Network Expert (CWNE)

Ever since Wi-Fi networks have come into play, this has become one of the most sought after certifications. If you want to prove that you are the go to person for any problem related to Wi-Fi, then this certification is for you. CWNE covers the installation, troubleshooting, designing and configuration of Wi-Fi networks. It also covers topics like security from intrusion, spectrum analysis and protocol analysis.

CWNE holders not only get great pay packages, but according to a recent survey demand is up by 42 percent in the last year. This certification is only for IT professionals with previous work experience, and is a must for anyone who wants to master Wi-Fi networks.

You don’t have to pass an exam to become a CWNE, just submit an application for review, that is, after you meet these desired prerequisites:

• Must hold certifications in CWNA, CWSP, CWAP and CWDP
• Three years of experience in Wi-Fi implementation
• Three endorsements
• Two other professional networking certifications
• Documentation of three essays on Wi-Fi enterprise

You also have to be re-certified after a three years.

Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Routing and Switching

If you want employers to take you seriously then CCNP is a must. CCNP is ideal for those with one or two years of networking experience who are ready to work on more complex networking projects.

A CCNP is expected to take care of all issues relating to planning, deployment, implementation and troubleshooting of LAN, WAN, voice, wireless networks and much more. To clear this certification, you have to pass separate exams for troubleshooting, routing and switching.

If you are looking to apply for CCNE (Cisco Certified Network Expert), then doing CCNP is a must. Doing CCNP not only ensures great salary but also great expertise.

Three exams are required for CCNP:

• Implementing CISCO IP Routing or 300-101 Route (Duration 2 hours, 45-65 MCQ and simulation questions)
• Implementing CISCO IP Switched Networks or 300-115 Switch (Duration 2 hours, 45-65 MCQ, simulation, fill in the blanks and drag & drop questions)
• Troubleshooting and Maintaining CISCO IP Networks or 300-135 TSHOOT (Duration 2 hours, 15-25 MCQ, testlets, simlets and troubleshooting questions)

Candidates must hold a certification in CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) or any other Cisco CCIE certification as a prerequisite to taking the exam.

Get the right networking cert to stay employed.Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert – Server Infrastructure (MCSE)

Think you can run a data centre, then this certification is for you. This certification covers everything from systems management, identity management, storage & networking to virtualisation.

If you are looking to work as a security analyst or support specialist, then this certification is a must have in your CV. If you want to prove to employers that you can implement an advanced server infrastructure, then MCSE is a must.

Two exams are required to pass the MCSE:

• Designing and Implementing a Server Infrastructure: Exam 70-413 (Duration 2 hours, 40-60 drag & drop, case studies, linear and adaptive, build list and reorder questions)
• Implementing an Advanced Server Infrastructure: Exam 70-414 (Duration 2 hours, 40-60 drag & drop, case studies, linear and adaptive, build list and reorder questions)

Candidates must have previously passed the following exams: 70-410 (Installing and configuring Windows Server 2012), 70-411 (Administering Windows Server 2012), and 70-412 (Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services).

Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE)

Red Hat’s open source products are a big hit among internet service providers, cloud computing companies and telecommunication companies. RHCE is a great certification for those working with Linux, and in an environment that involves using complex network components.

RHCE covers everything from systems configuration and management to network and database services. If you want to prove your ability to handle RHEL systems, then this is a must do. It’s a great certification for network administrators looking to move up in the corporate hierarchy.

The required exam is EX-300 Red Hat Certified Engineer. It’s a two hour lab exam on a live system. Rather than answering questions you have to perform tasks. Candidates must hold an RHCSA (Red Hat Certified System Administrator) certification prior to testing.

CompTIA Network+

Network+ is considered one of the best entry-level certifications. It’s a vendor neutral certification that covers networking fundamentals like subnetting, troubleshooting, purpose of networking devices, configuring networking services and much more. Network+ is particularly useful for freshers trying to break into the market, and is considered a great asset for your resume.

Candidates are required to pass the N10-005 exam. The exam has a duration of 90 minutes and consists of 100 multiple choice questions. There are no prerequisites.

Conclusion

The world of certifications can be tough to navigate, especially with more than 1,700 IT related certifications on the market today. It’s good to ask yourself these four questions before you finalize on any certification.

• What is your primary career goal? Does this certification help your goal?
• Which field of IT are you most interested in? Does it cover your field?
• Does it help you get a better designation and pay scale?
• Does it teach you something new?

If the answer to all of the above is a big yes, then go for the respective certification and don’t think twice!