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Best Computer Networking Certifications 2018

Best Computer Networking Certifications 2018
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IT pros skilled in the many areas of networking are always in high demand in today's job market. Those who are serious about their careers should consider one or more of these best-of-breed networking certifications to set themselves apart from the competition.

Credit: ShutterstockCredit: ShutterstockWhen it comes to the care and feeding of modern networks, there's quite a list of tools and technologies that qualified IT professionals must master — especially those who aspire to work as network administrators.

In addition to the servers and clients that make up the endpoints in such environments, there's a lot of network infrastructure to worry about. This includes switches and routers (both physical and virtual), plus a raft of appliances and services, such as unified threat management (UTM), next-generation firewalls (NGFs), WAN optimization, and spam, email and content filtering.

Wrapping your head around all these certification options and specialties can be challenging, but knowing where to start can help. We looked at five networking certifications (in their order of appearance in the job boards table that follows) that we consider to be leaders in the field of networking for 2018.

To pick our leaders, we looked at the state of networking certification, examined various market and salary surveys, and performed an informal job board survey that reveals the number of job posts across the U.S. in which our featured certifications were mentioned on a given day.

Job Board Search Results (in alphabetical order, by certification)*

Certification
SimplyHiredIndeedLinkedIn Jobs
LinkUp
Total
CCIE (Cisco)1,6641,7981,9887576.207
CCNP (Cisco)3,7084,0454,1511,68413,588
JNCIE-ENT (Juniper)**2223
1711
73
Network+ (CompTIA)5475824362191,784
WCNA (Wireshark)***2022341591

*See our complete methodology for selecting top five certifications in the Best Certifications series. ** Searches for only "JNCIE" resulted in a total of 703 job listings. *** Searches for only "Wireshark" resulted in a total of 2,848 job listings.

The featured certifications represent all major tiers of networking job roles, from the entry (Network+) to the expert level (CCIE). A person just starting out in networking, most likely as a technician or junior administrator, can expect to make about $47,000. Mid-tier network administrators and engineers make an average of $66,000 to $84,000, and CCIEs average around $116,000.