The Security Certified Program is a network security training program that includes several certification options for information technology professionals. The three main levels are Security Certified Network Specialist (SCNS), Security Certified Network Professional (SCNP), and Security Certified Network Architect (SCNA). These certifications are earned sequentially, and the SCNS certification is the first step. To qualify, you must have a minimum of two years experience in networking and complete a 5-day course. The training program is generally available online.
Security Certified Network Specialist
The SCNS certification prepares information technology professionals to enter the field of network security. Additionally, the process meets the Department of Defense (DoD) guidelines in their 8570 mandate for Level 1 IT positions, which must be filled by certified personnel. Upon completion of the core course, which is offered at computer training sites across the country, graduates are prepared for a 60-question examination.
Those interested in pursuing SCNS certification should have at least two years of technical experience in networking. It is recommended that applicants have previously earned CompTIA Security+ certification.
Certification requires completion of the 5-day Tactical Perimeter Defense course and its related examination. Topics covered include:
- Network defense
- Hardening routers
- Access control lists
- Implementing IPSec and virtual private networks
- Securing wireless networks
Security Certified Network Professional
Network professionals seeking additional security skills may pursue the Security Certified Network Professional designation. Also, government employees seeking Level 2 eligibility according to DoD mandates may fulfill the requirements by achieving SCNP certification.
SCNP applicants must have completed all the requirements for the SCNS certification and be in good standing.
Students complete the Strategic Infrastructure Security course and an exam in order to fulfill certification requirements. Specific topics of study include:
- Packet structures
- Security policies
- Risk analysis
- Ethical hacking
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Security Certified Network Architect
The SCNA certification provides students with insight on different types of hardware and software, and how to implement and develop network security strategy and policy. The coursework is for advanced, experienced IT professionals.
Currently, certified SCNPs are eligible to take the courses necessary to pursue the SCNA designation. Students should understand networks, networking, and network security.
Students complete two advanced courses in network security, Advanced Security Implementation and Enterprise Security Solutions. Topics of study include:
- Law and legislation
- Wireless security
- Secure e-mail
- PKI policy and architecture
Popular Career Options
The SCNP designation is a middle-tier certification that prepares those who complete the process for a variety of career paths, including the following:
- Security professional
- Security management
- Wireless security specialist
- Cisco Security specialist
- Ethical hacking specialist
Information technology (IT) professionals who have earned the SCNS designation may fill the following roles:
- IT technician
- Information Assurance Technical (IAT) Level 2 Position (government employee)
A recipient of the SCNA designation generally fulfills a leadership role within an information technology department. Specific positions may include:
- Security administrator
- Information technology manager
Employment Prospects and Salary Info
Individuals who hold both a bachelor's degree in an IT-related field and the SCNA credential may find jobs as network architects. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that median salaries for these professionals came to $100,240 in 2015. A 9% increase in job opportunities was projected by the BLS for computer network architects from 2014-2024.
There are a wide range of training programs and certifications available depending upon interest, career goals, and specific hardware or software needs. Various vendors, such as Microsoft, Novell, and Cisco, offer some of the most recognized designations.
Information technology professionals can enroll in the Security Certified Program to train for three different levels of certification. Individuals with these credentials can work various IT jobs and may wish to pursue additional certifications.