Palo Alto Networks Certifications: Explore Cybersecurity from A to Z
Palo Alto Networks is known as the world’s leading provider of cybersecurity products and services. In addition, it offers a comprehensive certification program designed to validate the IT professionals’ expertise in security management with the help of its products. The certificates of this vendor are suitable for anyone who wants to demonstrate the skills necessary to secure the Internet connections and improve a career in the cybersecurity field.
Palo Alto Networks Certification Program
The Palo Alto Network certification program is divided into three major paths depending on the professional roles. They are the following:
- Entry-Level track;
- Administrator track;
- Engineer track.
The first two tracks have a single certification for each of them. The Entry-Level path includes PCCSA, while the Administrator track is presented by the PCNSA certificate. As for the Engineer option, it offers a total of three certifications, namely PCNSE, PCCSE, and PCSAE. If you want to go for this program, you need to know the details of each pathway. Thus, the company provides the potential candidates with the following certificates:
- PCCSA: Palo Alto Networks Certified Cybersecurity Associate
This certification is designed to validate one’s knowledge and skills needed for the entry-level network security roles. The potential candidates for this path are those individuals who interface with the cybersecurity of an organization, including System Engineers, Security Administrators, Sales Executives, and the students who want to enter the field of cybersecurity. To get the certificate, you must pass a 70-minute qualifying exam. It covers the areas, such as cybersecurity landscape, cyber threats and attack lifecycle, cyberattack types and techniques, data center and Cloud security, network security technology, wireless threats and advanced threats, as well as malware analysis.
- PCNSA: Palo Alto Networks Certified Network Security Administrator
This certificate is created to validate the candidates’ knowledge and skills in core features of Palo Alto Networks next-gen firewalls. The applicants should be able to demonstrate their competence in effectively deploying firewalls to securely allow traffic based on the users, applications, time-based policy, and content. To earn this certification, you should complete the required training, which is EDU-210, and pass a 90-minute exam that will have about 50 questions. It is also recommended that the students first obtain the PCCSA certificate, but it is not a formal requirement that you must fulfill. The PCNSA test covers the following subject areas: next-generation security platform & architecture; security & NAT policies, App-I, Content-ID, URL Filtering, security best practices, and monitoring and reporting.
- PCNSE: Palo Alto Networks Certified Network Security Engineer
This certificate is aligned with the fast-paced changes that are taking place in the cybersecurity field. The candidates for the certification are equipped with the skills and knowledge to follow industry best practices. To obtain it, you must ace the PCNSE exam, which is designed to evaluate your competence in the following areas: PAN-OS software, GlobalProtect, Panorama, and other domains of the Palo Alto Networks security and network platform. These are the skill areas that the Firewall Administrators must understand and should also be able to design, install, troubleshoot, configure, and maintain a wide range of Palo Alto Networks implementations. PCNSA and PCCSA are not indicated as the prerequisites for the PCNSE certificate, although holding these will give the applicants an advantage among others.
- PCCSE: Prisma Certified Cloud Security Engineer
This certification is developed to validate the applicants’ knowledge, abilities, and skills as they relate to on-boarding, deploying, and administering different aspects of Prisma Cloud. The candidates for this certificate will be required to demonstrate their comprehensive expertise in Palo Alto Networks Prisma Cloud resources and technology. The target audience for the certification is Cloud Support, Cloud Security and DevOps Professionals, Cybersecurity Architects, Team Leads, Appsec Engineers, and so on. To get this certificate, you must pass a single test. The prerequisite exam covers numerous areas, including installation and upgrading, visibility, security & compliance, Cloud Workload Protection Platform, data loss prevention, web application & API security, Dev SecOps security (Shift-Left), and Prisma Cloud administration.
- PCSAE: Palo Alto Networks Certified Security Automation Engineer
This certification is aimed at those professionals who want to demonstrate their skills, abilities, and knowledge of the use of the Palo Alto Networks Cortex XSOAR functionality. The group of potential candidates includes System Engineers, Administrators, Analysts, Partners, and Customers. These individuals must be ready to demonstrate competence in developing, administering, and analyzing Cortex XSOAR security orchestration and automation as well as the response platform using native threat intelligence management. To obtain the certificate, you must complete the qualifying exam that encompasses such knowledge areas as playbook development, incident types, indicator types, layouts, and fields. It also evaluates your knowledge of automations, integrations, and related concepts, solution architecture, content updates & content management, UI workflow, dashboards, and reports.
Palo Alto Networks Certifications and Career Prospects for Certified Professionals
After obtaining any Palo Alto Networks certification, you will possess the sufficient competency to protect your enterprise infrastructure from the most advanced cyber threats. The professionals with the certificates from this vendor can land a variety of cybersecurity jobs and count on a decent salary. For example, according to PayScale, the IT Practitioners holding PCNSE can earn approximately $93,000 per year. The individuals with PCCSA or PCNSA can expect to get a bit less if they have PCNSE, but the exact salary will depend on the specific job role and their level of experience.
The PayScale platform reports the following average salaries for the PCNSE certified professionals:
- Network Security Engineer: from $58,000 to $128,000;
- Network Engineer: from $51,000 to $108,000;
- Network Architect: from $80,000 to $154,000;
- Security Consultant (Information Technology/Networking/Computing): $102,750;
- Senior Security Consultant: $147,395;
- Security Engineer: from $62,000 to $134,000;
- Senior Network Engineer: $115,000.
As you can see, if you opt for this certification program and obtain at least one certificate from the available options, you will get a lot of benefits.