If you’re passionate about engineering or network security, you should consider certification via the Palo Alto Network Security Administrator (PCNSA) exam. PCNSA certification shows employers you’re serious about rising to the top of your field, and it can significantly boost your earning power.
Payscale estimates average earnings with this certification to be around $95,000 annually, with many roles exceeding six figures. You don’t have to slog through exam preparation alone. SNU’s PCNSA certification workshop gets you ready for the exam and for the life that lies ahead of the test.
What Is PCNSA Certification?
As a leading security platform provider, Palo Alto Networks is increasingly relevant to companies across the globe. Its security operating platform helps mitigate a number of security threats, ensure corporate information is safe, and potentially prevent a wide range of cyber crimes.
PCNSA certification teaches network administrators, engineers, and other security experts how to prevent, detect, and manage threats. Those who pass the certification test prove their mettle as security experts, potentially making them more valuable to employers.
Benefits of PCNSA Certification
PCNSA certification offers an objective measure of your skills and experience. In a world where employers get an avalanche of resumes and plenty of big promises in cover letters, this may help you stand out. Some reasons to consider certification include:
PCNSA-certified employees earn an average of nearly $100,000 annually. With certification, you may get a pay bump for several reasons:
- Some employers tie promotions to specific, demonstrated skills.
- You may be able to convince your employer to pay for testing and promote you to a different role if you pass.
- If you’re not currently working in the field, PCNSA may open industry doors.
- Even if you are working in the industry, you might be able to transition to a different company that offers better pay and benefits.
- You may crack career ceilings. At many companies, the only way to advance to higher positions is with specific training and experience—no matter how good you are at your job.
Climbing the corporate ladder
Where do you want to go in your career? The PCNSA certification may open new opportunities in management, high-level network administration, or even as a business owner or startup entrepreneur. PCNSA is not just another certification. It’s a challenging test that shows you have the skills necessary to thrive in the industry.
More job opportunities
Some jobs exclusively use Palo Alto protocols. They don’t just want empty reassurances that you are good at security management. They only want to hire people with specific experiences and the right certification.
A generation ago, hiring managers had to read your resume. Now, they may never even see it. Many companies, especially those in tech, use resume keyword scanners to determine whether a candidate gets a call-back or interview. PCNSA is another keyword you can include on your resume. In many cases, it may mean the difference between getting a call or your resume going in the virtual trash heap. That’s especially true if the role relies heavily on PCNSA engineers. Certifications matter more now than ever, especially as companies become more security-conscious. Ensure your resume does not get filtered out.
Proof of your skills
In a world of LinkedIn, personal websites, and endless marketing, it can be difficult to assess who really has the skills they claim to and who is just really good at self-promotion. PCNSA leaves no doubt about your abilities. You’ll stand head and shoulders above candidates who don’t have this certification, even if they're great at marketing themselves. There’s no substitute for knowing how to do the job. PCNSA shows you can hack it from day one. Employers want to hire people who can devise and implement meaningful security solutions, not just write good cover letters. Prove your worth with a certification that fully documents everything you’ve mastered.
Greater job security
Economies change. It’s a fundamental truth. Over the life of your career, you’ll likely see several economic downturns. Companies you work for might close, rebrand, or merge. You may see colleagues get laid off. Research consistently links more education to greater job security. The right education matters even more. PCNSA certification shows that you have a specific, unique set of skills that will always be in demand. That can offer greater job security, especially during challenging economic times. Greater job security means less stress, more flexibility in your personal life, and a chance to accumulate more wealth because you’ll spend less time unemployed.
Where Can You Get PCNSA Certification?
PCNSA certification is now available as an online proctored test, which means you don’t have to travel or even show up in person to take it. Like many other tests, it is administered by Pearson, a third party. To take the certification exam, you must register an online account with Pearson, provide identification, sign in, and register for a testing date.
How Long Does PCNSA Certification Take?
The process of becoming qualified to take PCNSA can be a long road. Although anyone can test, you’ll usually need 3-5 years of experience working on network security or administration to have the knowledge framework necessary to pass the test. A layperson can’t just walk in off the street, take an exam prep course, and pass the test. If you’re new to the industry, a program such as SNU’s bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity or network management can help you master the skills you need to pass the PCNSA test. Adult learners can shorten the timeline to graduation via prior learning, including SNU’s prior learning assessment.
The PCNSA certification test itself has a maximum time of 80 minutes to answer 50 questions, either online through a virtual proctor or in person at a testing center. You’ll get your results emailed shortly after taking the test—often in just a few minutes.
Certification lasts for two years. Once you are certified, you must recertify to maintain this credential, and that requires taking the test again.
Preparing for the Exam
Imagine investing just 6 hours of your time to dramatically improve your job prospects, show your employer your commitment, and get closer to the life—and salary—of your dreams. That’s exactly what SNU offers. Our six-hour PCNSA certification course prepares network engineers, site administrators, and aspiring security experts to pass the test the first time. We’ll cover all the basics, including:
- Interface configuration
- APP-ID and content-ID
- URL filtering
- NAT and security policies
- URL filtering
- SSL decryption
- Monitoring and reporting
- Site-to-site VPN
- Active/passive high availability
The course includes an exam voucher, which means everything is covered under one price tag.
No matter what you’re passionate about, SNU you can help you find a career track that puts your passions to work. We can help prepare you for your next chapter—whatever that is. To learn more and for more tips for adult learners, subscribe to our blog.
*This posted was originally published in August 2019 and has been updated