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9 career-boosting Wi-Fi certifications

Network and security pros can benefit from adding vendor-neutral or vendor-specific certifications to your resume

 

If you’re looking to add more certifications to your resume, don’t forget about wireless! Whether you’re just starting your IT career, have been in IT before Wi-Fi was a thing, or even if you have a non-IT position, there are certifications to help prove your wireless knowledge and skills.

For starters, there are vendor-neutral certifications from Certified Wireless Network Professionals (CWNP), one of most popular programs in the wireless world. These are great if you aren’t already loyal to a networking brand. And even if you already have a favorite brand, these go deeper into the 802.11 standards and radio frequency (RF) technology without all the proprietary details and brand specifics.

Vendor-neutral wireless credentials are also useful for security professionals who want to extend ethical hacking or penetration testing from the wired to wireless networks.

In addition, there are vendor-specific certifications from the companies that offer Wi-Fi gear and platforms.  And there are even some certs that won’t cost you a penny. Here are nine Wi-Fi certifications that can increase your knowledge of the technology and help take your career to another level.

1. Certified Wireless Specialist (CWS)

The Certified Wireless Specialist (CWS) vendor-neutral certification covers the basics of Wi-Fi for those in non-technical positions, such as sales and marketing, in Wi-Fi related businesses, or for those in IT who are new to Wi-Fi. This certification is meant to validate basic enterprise Wi-Fi terminology and a basic understanding of the hardware and software used in enterprise wireless local area networks (WLANs). It touches on RF characteristics and behaviors, 802.11 standards, and Wi-Fi security and features. The content is designed to be learned at a self-paced level with text materials and/or video classes. The exam is just an online test with 60 multiple choice, single answer, questions with a 90-minute time limit.

Organization: Certified Wireless Network Professionals (CWNP)

Price: $149.99 for the CWS-101 Exam

How to prepare: Purchase the study guide, eLearning video course, practice test, or a kit/bundle.

2. Certified Wireless Technician (CWT)

Certified Wireless Technician (CWT) is the entry-level vendor-neutral certification for those in IT who want to prove they can do the basic install and configuration of wireless access points (APs). It is a more advanced certification than CWS.  It only touches on the design aspects of WLANs, but it covers enough of the 802.11 and Wi-Fi features and protocols for a basic Wi-Fi technician who installs or configures smaller networks. Like the CWS, the content is designed to be learned at a self-paced level with text materials and/or video classes. The exam is an online test with 60 multiple choice, single answer, questions with a 90-minute time limit.

Organization: Certified Wireless Network Professionals (CWNP)

Price: $149.99 for the CWT-101 Exam

How to prepare: Purchase their study guide, eLearning video course, practice test, or a kit/bundle.

3. Certified Wireless Network Administrator (CWNA)

The Certified Wireless Network Administrator (CWNA) vendor-neutral certification is more in-depth than the CWT, although there is no prerequisite for this certification beyond the recommendation to have basic knowledge of networking (routers, switches, TCP/IP, etc.) and one year of work experience with wireless LAN technologies. It covers the design and configuration of WLANs and is actually the required base certification you must obtain before proceeding to their higher security, design, analysis, or expert certifications. You can utilize their text book and practice tests to self-study, but if you’re really new to the world of wireless you might consider live training classes to get more interactive and hands-on training. The 60 multiple choice/multiple answer exam has a 90-mintue time limit and must be proctored via Pearson VUE, but it can be taken in-person or online with an appointment.

Organization: Certified Wireless Network Professionals (CWNP)

Price: $225 for the CWNA-108 Exam

How to prepare: Attend live classes, or purchase their study guide, practice test, or a kit/bundle.

4. GIAC Assessing and Auditing Wireless Networks (GAWN)

The GIAC Assessing and Auditing Wireless Networks (GAWN) vendor-neutral certification is for IT and security pros who want to do wireless-based ethical hacking or penetration testing, or other IT staff who want to thoroughly understand wireless vulnerabilities. This certification covers cracking encryption, intercepting transmissions, and performing other attacks on Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth, DECT, RFID, and Zigbee devices. GIAC offers in-person live training as well as online live courses, plus on-demand classes. There is no hard prerequisites for this certification, but related work experience and some college-level courses are recommended. The 75-quesiton exam has a 2-hour limit and is proctored remotely via ProctorU or in-person via Pearson VUE.

Organization: Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC)

Price: $849 for the GAWN Exam

How to prepare: Attend live classes in-person or online, or utilize on-demand online classes.

5. Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) Enterprise Wireless

The Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) Enterprise Wireless vendor-specific certification would prove your enterprise wireless knowledge and skills, particularly within a Cisco environment. Though there’s no formal prerequisite for this certification, it’s recommended to have 5–7 years of experience designing, deploying, operating and optimizing enterprise Wi-Fi networks. This certification requires passage of two exams. First a qualifying 120-minute exam that covers core enterprise technologies, which is also the base exam for three other certifications as well. Then, there’s a hands-on 8-hour lab exam that covers enterprise wireless networks through entire network lifecycle, from designing and deploying to operating and optimizing. Exams can be taken online or in-person, proctored via Pearson VUE.

Organization: Cisco Systems

Price: $400 for ENCOR 350-401 and $1,600 for CCIE Enterprise Wireless v1.0

How to prepare: Attend live classes in-person or online, utilize on-demand online classes, or practice labs.

6. Aruba Certified Mobility Associate (ACMA)

The Aruba Certified Mobility Associate (ACMA) vendor-specific certification will demonstrate your networking knowledge and ability to deploy, manage, and troubleshoot Aruba gear. It covers the Aruba Mobile First Platform, based on the Aruba Mobility Conductor and Controller architecture, and focuses on how to configure Aruba WLAN features and integrated firewalls. There is no formal prerequisite, but you do need an HPE Learner ID, which is available to HPE customers or through partners. The 60-quesiton exam has a 90-minute time limit is proctored via Pearson VUE, taken either online or in-person.

Organization: Aruba Networks

Price: $230 for the HPE6-A70 Exam

How to prepare: Attend live classes, utilize on-demand online classes, study guide, or practice labs

7. RUCKUS Certified Wi-Fi Associate (RCWA)

The RUCKUS Certified Wi-Fi Associate (RCWA) certification is a vendor-specific credential and demonstrates your ability to design, deploy, optimize, manage, and troubleshoot RUCKUS Wi-Fi products in a variety of production environments. Though there is no prerequisite for this certification, you should have a basic understanding of the 802.11 standards, RF fundamentals and methodologies, routing and switching, and the unique features of RUCKUS gear. They provide free online courses and resources to help you prepare for the 52-question exam. The exam has a 2-hour limit and is remotely proctored by ProctorU.

Organization: CommScope

Price: $150

How to prepare: Free online on-demand courses, study guides, and practice test.

8. Extreme Networks Associate (ENA)

The Extreme Networks Associate (ENA) vendor-specific certification helps you validate your ability to properly configure, deploy, manage and troubleshoot Extreme Networks environments. There is no formal prerequisite in order to pursue this certification. Extreme offers free training and certifications via their Extreme Academy. Free live classes don’t appear to always be offered, but you can access them on-demand.

Organization: Extreme Networks

Price: Free

How to prepare: Attend live classes online classes, utilize free on-demand online courses, or eLearning video courses

9. Tanaza Wi-Fi Networking Certification

The Tanaza Wi-Fi Networking Certification is a very simple certification program provided by Tanaza, which provides a third-party cloud-based network management platform that you can utilize across multiple Wi-Fi brands and access point (AP) models. The platform allows centralized monitoring, captive portal, and management of the general wireless configuration. This certification demonstrates that you can utilize the Tanaza Cloud Dashboard and their platform. This is an un-proctored and “open book” exam taken via a Google Doc form.  You can try as many times as you want. Once you pass, you receive a “certified professional” logo in a few days. This certification itself might not add much weight to your resume, but it could be a easy way to learn a new platform and add to your list of skills.

Organization: Tanaza

Price: Free

How to prepare: Free online documentation

https://www.networkworld.com/article/3653248/9-career-boosting-wi-fi-certifications.html

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