Certifications / Security

How To Pass the Palo Alto PCNSE Exam

by Team Nuggets
How To Pass the Palo Alto PCNSE Exam picture: A
Published on May 5, 2022

Palo Alto Networks' Certified Network Security Engineer (PCNSE) certification, is a highly sought-after professional certification. It validates that candidates have the knowledge to design, install, configure, manage, and troubleshoot the majority of Palo Alto Networks security systems.

The credential is typically held or sought by security engineers, pre-sales system engineers, and system integrators. But anyone who works with Palo Alto firewalls may find the PCNSE beneficial.

In this post, we discuss PCNSE exam prerequisites, exam topics, and important tips to pass to help learners pass the exam.

Who Should Take the PCNSE Exam?

Anyone who is interested in taking the PCNSE exam should have a fair knowledge of how to install, configure, manage, and troubleshoot Palo Alto firewalls. Customers who utilize Palo Alto Networks technologies value-added resellers, pre-sales system engineers, support personnel, and system integrators are all included.

What Experience is Required for the PCNSE?

To earn a PCNSE certification, it's recommended that you have three to five years experience in networking or network security. You should have a minimum of six months of hands-on familiarity with Palo Alto Networks security devices. Also, you're encouraged to have a minimum of a year of experience in managing next-generation Palo Alto firewalls.

What Topics Does the PCNSE Exam Cover?

Earning a Palo Alto PCNSE certification requires knowing how to implement Palo Alto firewalls. Candidates have 80 minutes to complete the 75-question exam, which features multiple choice, scenario-based, and matching questions. A score of 70% or higher is required to pass the exam. The PCNSE exam consists of the following domains:

  • Planning and Core Concepts                                19%

  • Deploy and Configure                                        32%

  • Deploy and Configure Firewalls Using Panorama        13%

  • Manage and Operate                                        16%

  • Troubleshooting                                                20%

A candidate who is interested in earning a PCNSE certification should start his/her preparation at least four months before taking the exam, while studying all the exam objectives covered by the PCNSE blueprint.

You shouldn't only have a theoretical knowledge of configuring the Palo Alto next-generation firewall, but also have practical experience deploying, configuring, and troubleshooting them using Panorama.

Strategies for Passing the PCNSE Exam

To earn the Palo Alto PCNSE certification, you’ll need to study diligently. The following tips can help you to prepare more effectively to take the PCNSE exam.

1. Use a Study Guide

Create a study schedule based on the relevance of the topics you need to know. Make sure to cover all the areas covered on the exam. At the same time, don’t want to spend too much time on topics you’re already familiar with

You should plan to use the PCNSE study guide and a comprehensive training course that covers all the exam objectives mentioned in the PCNSE blueprint. Study each exam objective and take into account how long each section of the exam objective will take you.

2. Take a PCNSE Training Course

CBT Nuggets PCNSE training will undoubtedly assist you in preparing for and passing the PCNSE exam. Trainer Keith Barker, one of CBT Nuggets' top trainers, covers all the important topics covered on the PCNSE blueprint.  

This 15-hour course covers five skills consisting of a total of  113 videos! If you spend 30 minutes a day, five days a week watching this course, it should take you about six weeks to get through the PCNSE course.

3. Pace Yourself so You Stay Focused

Studying can cause unpleasant flashbacks, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Keep in mind that the goal of learning and certification is to get more familiar with Palo Alto Network technologies.

Pay attention to what works for you and stay away from bad habits like multitasking. Maybe you think such late-night cramming sessions will help you learn ideas, but they aren’t the most effective approach to do so.

4. Join a Palo Alto-focused Online Community

Look around your company to see if anyone can help you prepare for the Palo Alto Network Security Engineer exam. You may also discover a group on LinkedIn or Facebook or join an online community.

Palo Alto LiveCommunity Blog provides you with all the relevant information and updates about the PCNSE and other cybersecurity certifications. You can follow the latest topics about the PCNSE on Indeni Community, and the PCNSE discussions can also be found on ExamTopics Discussions. You can also find some useful PCNSE discussions on the PANgurus forum.

Final Thoughts

Earning PCNSE certification can open up a lot of doors for you. It validates that you’re a competent network engineer who can leverage Palo Alto’s next-generation firewall methodologies.

Not only are there going to be plenty of job opportunities, but you should be able to command a strong salary. According to Payscale, IT pros who have the PCNSE certification earn roughly $93,000 USD per year.

Passing the Palo Alto PCNSE exam is not easy, but with the right resources and approach, your odds of getting PCNSE-certified increases. Good luck on your next exam journey.


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