PCCSA Certification Has Been Retired

This certification has been replaced by Palo Alto Networks with new certification(s).

Certification Details

If you want to launch your IT career in some networking security roles, then the PCCSA certification is definitely for you to opt for.

About PCCSA Certification

The PCCSA is intended to verify the technical knowledge that entry-level network security specialists are expected to have to keep pace with the fast-changing nature of technology. It proves that candidates have an in-depth mastery of the latest concepts relating to network-based cyberattacks and relevant technologies to mitigate the same. By acing the PCCSA exam, you will be confirming your ability to detect and manage cyber threats in the modern IT landscape and future platforms in addition to verifying your general expertise in the field of cybersecurity.

Target Audience

The PCCSA certificate is intended to validate all individuals connected to cybersecurity. This group includes system engineers, sales executives, security administrators, and students planning to enroll in cybersecurity courses.

Certification Requirements

All in all, the PCCSA certification has no formal prerequisites. The only recommended training include enrolling in the Cyber Security Foundation digital learning course and accessing the Palo Alto Networks Cyber Security Academy Cybersecurity Survival Guide before registering for the official test.

PCCSA Test Overview

The Palo Alto PCCSA exam brings a maximum of 50 questions within a time limit of 60 minutes. It costs $100 per attempt, with English being the only language option. Like most of the exams offered by Palo Alto Networks, the PCCSA test is administered at Pearson VUE and can be scheduled through the same website. The types of items that you’ll encounter in the final test are multiple-choice, scenarios with graphics, and matching patterns.

PCCSA Test Objectives

The Palo Alto PCCSA exam tests 3 broad topics including the following:

  • Cybersecurity Foundation;
  • Cybersecurity Gateway;
  • Cybersecurity Essentials.

The first area focuses on your ability to manage concepts within the cybersecurity landscape. It’s done by confirming if the exam-takers understand the current computing trends, SaaS application risks, threat vectors, and examples of high-profile cyberattacks. Besides, such a topic covers cyberthreats, the security basics of endpoint technologies, cyberattack types and techniques, and Wi-Fi advanced threats. In particular, candidates will have to learn how to deal with cyberattack strategies, malware, bots, botnets, and high-level constant threats.

Conversely, the topic of cybersecurity gateway addresses the details of the connected globe, logical, physical, and virtual addressing, and the package encapsulation alongside lifecycle. What’s more, it emphasizes the knowledge of network security models, data center & cloud security, network security technologies, and the concepts of endpoint security. In addition, it will verify if a student is well-conversant with the security of the cloud, storage, virtualization platforms, and networking concepts. Finally, within such an area, examinees will learn more about OSI, Zero Trust, NET, DevOps, east-west protection of traffic, and ITIL basics.

Lastly, the domain of cybersecurity essentials will cover the security operating platform, network security management like Panorama, endpoint protection, and cloud security or Prisma. Also, such a segment addresses the logging service and application framework. To easily master the concepts covered by this testing scope, exam-takers should understand how to analyze and prevent malware, withstand the exploit, analyze behavioral concepts, and next-generation firewalls. Besides, candidates must showcase proficiency in such terms as cortex XSOAR, data lake, IoT security, and Prisma SaaS.

Career Opportunities and Annual Salary

In all, PCCSA certified IT nerds possess fundamental IT knowledge to help them manage cybersecurity threats affecting the existing environments and future platforms. This means that upon completing the PCCSA, candidates will have built an unrivaled reputation within their IT departments as the most reliable go-to specialists for everything cybersecurity management at the entry-level. Overall, this training qualifies candidates for the roles listed below:

  • Network Engineer;
  • Associate Information Security Engineer;
  • Network Security Analyst;
  • Network Security Engineer;
  • Systems Engineer;
  • Network Administrator;
  • Security Engineer.

PCCSA Job Descriptions by Roles

Here’s what you should know about the 3 popular job roles associated with the PCCSA certification and their related salaries:

  • Network Engineer

    As a rule, a network engineer designs and implements operational network infrastructure. In many IT departments, these individuals are tasked with resolving a wide range of network-centered issues that might have been escalated by the support tiers. As part of their day-to-day operations within organizations, network engineers may also mentor fellow team members and address user needs as well as various challenges. When it comes to the salary that such a specialist gets yearly, it equals around $75k as stated by Payscale.com.

  • Security Engineer

    Conversely, the role of a security engineer involves performing an in-depth risk assessment, detecting vulnerabilities in network systems, and configuring network systems to improve the available features of security. In summary, these IT specialists maintain everything related to hardware and software concerning security. Regarding the annual pay received by the beginning specialists, it reaches about $72k.

  • Associate Information Security Engineer

    In modern IT departments, the associate information security engineers will be responsible for coordinating, developing, evaluating, implementing, and administering a ton of security and compliance concepts. They may also participate in the planning and execution of an organization’s information security policy depending on the scope of their role within the company. All in all, these specialists get around $70k per annum as Payscale.com claims.

Career Path

While the PCCSA certificate is never mentioned as a mandatory requirement for attaining top-level certifications within the professional Palo Alto Networks career path, it is an exciting option that provides examinees with lots of nice opportunities to have relevant skills. Generally, students who obtain the PCCSA will almost certainly want to steadily climb the corporate ladder by enrolling in advanced-level validations. And the two most popular options here include the Palo Alto Networks Certified Network Security Administrator or the PCNSA and the Palo Alto Networks Certified Network Security Engineer, also known as the PCNSE. If, for some reason, you are considering shifting gears by focusing on a completely different career path, here are your best options at a higher level:

  • Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP);
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM);
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA);
  • CCIE Security.