Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Salary and Career Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue as a Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP). Read on to learn more about career options along with salary and education information. Schools offering Computer Networking degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Cisco Certified Network Professional Do?

Becoming a Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) helps an individual to qualify for a job as a network architect or a network technician (i.e. network administrator) for organizations that use Cisco networking technology. Network architects are responsible for the creation and design of various types of networks; they consider company needs, implement security measures, and address vulnerabilities when designing networks. They often serve as network engineers, working with hardware engineers to build or repair the networks. Administrators work for a company to maintain or repair networks, recommend software upgrades, train users, and address security threats. In some cases, they also work with architects to plan new networking infrastructure. Upon earning a CCNP, either of these professionals would be considered qualified to design or manage Cisco networks. See the table below for some quick job stats on these jobs.

Network Architects Network Administrators
Degree Required Bachelor's; MBA may be preferred Bachelor's
Education Field of Study Computer science, information systems or related field Computer science, information systems or related field
Certification Option Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)
Key Responsibilities Design, install, test and monitor local area networks (LANs) as well as wide area networks (WANs) Operate, maintain and train others how to use LANs and WANs
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 9% 8% (for network and computer systems administrators)
Median Salary (2015)* $100,240 $77,810 (for network and computer systems administrators)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What is a Cisco Certified Network Professional?

A Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) isn't a career path but an industry designation. If you're a network professional you can earn the CCNP credential to prove your competence in working with Cisco networks. You'll be eligible to earn CCNP certification if you're a network technician, network architect or network engineer with at least a year of work experience.

As a network architect, it's your responsibility to plan, install, test and monitor local area networks as well as wide area networks. You'll configure communications systems for businesses, corporations and government agencies. In addition to working on networks, you may also oversee the implementation of Internet services and other data communication systems.

What Education Will I Need?

As a network architect, you're typically required to have at least a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field. One type of bachelor's degree you might consider is a Bachelor of Science in Network Engineering. Such a program will provide you with an overview of network security, data communications, network protocols, routers, switches and server systems. Some employers may prefer to hire network engineers who have a graduate degree as well as a bachelor's degree. Programs in information systems and systems management are also applicable.

How Can I Gain Certification?

If you're interested in becoming a CCNP, you must first earn the Cisco Certified Network Associate designation. You must then pass three examinations covering Cisco IP routing, Cisco switched networks, and Cisco IP networks troubleshooting and maintenance. Cisco also offers a learning network that can prepare you to sit for the examinations. Cisco's learning network will allow you to take advantage of authorized training, study resources and practice tests (learningnetwork.cisco.com).

What Salary Can I Earn?

As of January 2017 PayScale.com reported a variety of salary ranges for professionals with a CCNP certification. For example, network architects made between $86,893 and $153,666. In comparison, network administrators with the CCNP earned between $45,641 and $92,184, per PayScale.com.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median annual salary for all network architects, which they consider synonymous with network engineers, was $100,240 as of May 2015. Network and computer systems administrators earned a median of $77,810 the same year.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Those with a bachelor's degree in computer science can find a healthy amount of job options in their field. Computer programmers, for example, test and write the code used by applications and programs, ensuring that programs function properly. Computer systems analysts are the people who bridge the gap between information technology and business, studying the functionality of a company's systems and how to optimize them. There are also electronics engineers who design everything from communications systems to GPS systems. Vendor certifications similar to the CCNP are available for these positions and would vary with professional goals.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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