Roadmap to Success is a series of posts designed to help learners better understand certification pathways, career opportunities associated with those certifications, and next steps beyond certification.
The NetApp Certified Storage Associate (NCSA) is an intermediate-level certification that ensures learners have the knowledge and skills to effectively manage NetApp storage systems. As the foundational certification offered by NetApp, the NCSA is highly desirable among employers searching for candidates who understand the storage industry, as well as the specific features and functions of NetApp solutions.
NetApp, as a vendor specializing in storage solutions, offers just a handful of certifications. The certifications are designed to build upon one another, with the entry level being the Associate certification, followed by the intermediate Administrator level, and concluding with the advanced level Engineer certification. NetApp offers the following certifications:
Associate (entry level)
Administrator (intermediate level)
Engineer (advanced level)
For learners looking to combine their NetApp knowledge and skills with their experience with Cisco products, NetApp also offers FlexPod certifications:
NetApp Certified Storage Associate (NCSA)
The NCSA is an intermediate-level certification that is designed to affirm a learner’s basic understanding of NetApp storage systems and Data ONTAP administration and management solutions. While the NCSA is the foundational certification for all NetApp certifications, learners should have prior experience with Windows and/or UNIX, access to a NetApp FAS device, and ideally, have previously earned the CompTIA Storage+ certification.
The NCSA is made up of just one exam, for which CBT Nuggets provides training:
Typically, learners pursuing this certification path should have 1-3 years of experience and familiarity with storage products.
NetApp provides a variety of supportive materials to ensure learners are well prepared for certification exams.
Time allotted for exam: 1.5 hours (90 minutes)
Number of questions: 65
Passing score: 80%
Exam registration: Pearson Vue
Exam cost: $150-$200 (USD), depending on country and exam
Exam study guide: NCSA NS0-145 (free resource)
Practice exam: NCSA NS0-145 (free resource)
Supplemental resources: NetApp product descriptions; NetApp Library (technical manuals, white papers, knowledge base articles, etc.)
The Next Step
The NCSA is an intermediate-level certification that creates opportunities for further advancement professionally. Many learners who earn the NCSA continue on to pursue additional NetApp certifications, including the NCDA and NCIE. However, for learners looking to diversify their resume, many choose to pursue Cisco certifications, beginning with the Cisco and NetApp FlexPod Specialist, then moving on to the CCNA Data Center and CCNP Data Center.
The NCSA certification is valid for two years from the date the certification is earned. Learners can recertify by passing another NetApp certification exam that is a higher level exam. Learn more about recertification from the NetApp Certification Program Policies.
Payscale.com provides a helpful salary guide to help learners determine appropriate pay scales for job opportunities associated with the NCSA. Depending on professional experience, an employee who holds an NCSA can earn between $41,144 and $181,847. Roles that are common for those holding an NCSA include technical support engineer, senior software engineer, software product manager, and IT manager.
As storage needs continue to evolve and present ever more critical considerations in the IT industry, storage certifications will likely continue to increase in popularity and demand. Learners staying ahead of the demand by earning storage certifications now will likely have a bright future in IT.
Watch. Learn. Conquer the NCSA!