All You Need To Know About CND Certification In 2024

12 min read

We are currently residing in the digital age of incredible opportunities, connections, and innovation, but it also comes with a growing threat: cybercrime. According to a recent (ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce Report, the global cybersecurity workforce gap is projected to reach a staggering 3.4 million by 2024. This means organizations are scrambling to find qualified professionals to safeguard their networks and data from cyberattacks.


If you’re an IT professional seeking a rewarding career in cybersecurity, the Certified Network Defender (CND) certification by EC-Council might be your perfect stepping stone to get a head start in this lucrative space. This vendor-neutral certification validates your ability to implement essential network security controls, identify and address vulnerabilities, and effectively respond to security incidents.


In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into everything you need to know about the CND certification. We’ll explore its purpose, benefits, career prospects, and how to prepare for the exam.  By the end, you’ll be well-equipped to decide if the CND certification is the right step for your cybersecurity career journey.

What is the CND Certification (Certified Network Defender)?

The Certified Network Defender (CND) certification, offered by the internationally recognized EC-Council, equips IT professionals with the foundational knowledge and skills necessary to secure and defend networks against cyberattacks. It’s a vendor-neutral certification, meaning it applies to a wide range of network security solutions and technologies, making it a valuable asset regardless of the specific network environment you work in.

A Look At The Exam

Here are the essential details for the Certified Network Defender exam:

Exam Code  312-38
Exam Format  Multiple Choice Questions 
No. Of Questions  100
Exam Duration  4 Hours 
Passing Score  70%
Availability EC-Council Exam Portal 

Core Focus Areas of CND Certification

The CND curriculum encompasses various crucial aspects of network security, which have been specified into different domains and related modules. They are as follows:

Domain Sub Domains  No. Of Questions Weightage (%)
Network Defense Management Network Attack and Defense Strategies - 7 questions 7 10%
Administrative Network Security  3
Network Perimeter Technical Network Security 6 16%
Network Perimeter Security 10
Endpoint Protection Endpoint Security – Windows Systems 5 15%
Endpoint Security – Linux Systems 4
Endpoint Security – Mobile Devices  3
Endpoint Security – IoT Devices  3
Application and Administrative Application Security 4 13%
Data Security  9
Enterprise Virtual, Cloud, and Wireless Network Protection Enterprise Virtual Network Security  4 12%
Enterprise Cloud Security  3
Enterprise Wireless Network Security 5
Incident Detection Network Traffic Monitoring and Analysis 7 14%
Network Logs Monitoring and Analysis 7
Incident Response Incident Response and Forensics Investigation 6 10%
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery 4
Incident Prediction Risk Anticipation with Risk Management  3 10%
Threat Assessment with Attack Surface Analysis 4
Threat Prediction with Cyber Threat Intelligence 3

Eligibility Requirements

Before the decision to pursue a particular certification, it is essential to consider its eligibility criteria and determine if you meet the requirements to appear in the exam. Here is the eligibility criteria for the CND certification:

Path 1: Official Training

Attend an official EC-Council training course, that is targeted for all skill levels. The training does not require any prior cybersecurity experience.

Path 2: Have Relevant Work Experience

Candidates must have at least two years of work experience in the following domains:

  • Network Defense Management 
  • Network Perimeter Protection 
  • Endpoint Protection
  • Application and Data Protection
  • Enterprise Virtual, Cloud, and Wireless Network Protection 
  • Incident Response
  • Incident Prediction

Cost Of The CND Certification

As discussed above, there are two paths to meeting the eligibility criteria for CND certification. The cost of CND Certification will vary depending on which path you choose. The CND certification cost breakdown is as follows:

Path 1: Attend Official EC-Council Training

Cost Of Official CND Training Course $550
Exam Voucher Price $550

Path 2: Exam Attempt Without Official Training

Submit an Eligibility Application Form  Yes
Non-Refundable Fee for Eligibility Application Form  $100
Approval Required From EC-Council Cert Department  Yes
Exam Voucher Price  $550 


The Certified Network Defender (CND) certification is valid for 3 years. In order to maintain their certification, professionals are required to earn 120 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) through various activities that may include attending relevant training, conferences, webinars, or participating in self-study.

Benefits of a Vendor-Neutral Approach

The vendor-neutral nature of the CND certification offers several advantages that can be particularly beneficial for IT professionals:

  • Broader Applicability: The knowledge and skills gained are relevant across different network security vendors and solutions. This means you’re not limited to working with specific security products from a single vendor. Instead, you can confidently navigate diverse network environments and adapt your expertise to the security tools and technologies in place.
  • Flexibility: The vendor-neutral approach provides flexibility in your career path. You’re not restricted to working within the ecosystem of a particular security vendor. This opens doors to a wider range of job opportunities and allows you to tailor your skills to the specific needs of your chosen role.
  • Strong Foundation: The CND certification provides a solid platform for further specialization in specific security domains. The vendor-neutral foundation ensures you have a comprehensive understanding of core security principles that apply across different technologies. This strong base allows you to seamlessly transition into more specialized areas of cybersecurity, such as cloud security, ethical hacking, or security analytics, depending on your interests and career goals.

Why Pursue The CND Certification? A Look at the Advantages

Having established the core functionalities of the CND certification, this section will highlight the compelling reasons why IT professionals should consider pursuing it:

Enhanced Earning Potential

The CND certification is a valuable credential that can significantly boost your earning potential. According to a report by Indeed, IT professionals with a CND certification earn an average of 15% more than those without the certification. This translates to a potentially higher starting salary and increased earning potential throughout your cybersecurity career.

Career Advancement Opportunities

The CND certification unlocks a gateway to exciting career opportunities in network security. It equips you with the foundational knowledge and skills sought after by employers for various cybersecurity roles. If you’re in an entry-level role, getting your hands on this certification can allow you to gain

Increased Credibility and Recognition

Earning the CND certification demonstrates your commitment to cybersecurity best practices and your dedication to professional development in the field. This recognized credential adds credibility to your resume and sets you apart from other candidates in a competitive job market.

Strong Foundation for Further Specialization

As discussed earlier, the CND certification provides a solid foundation for pursuing further specialization in specific cybersecurity domains.  This vendor-neutral certification ensures a comprehensive understanding of core security principles, allowing you to seamlessly transition into more specialized areas like:

  • Cloud Security: Gaining expertise in securing cloud environments and protecting data stored in the cloud.
  • Ethical Hacking: Learning penetration testing techniques to identify and exploit vulnerabilities ethically, helping organizations strengthen their security posture.
  • Security Analytics: Developing skills to analyze security data, identify trends and patterns, and detect potential cyberattacks.

Improved Network Security Expertise

The CND certification process equips you with a deeper understanding of network security concepts, threats, and mitigation strategies.  This comprehensive knowledge empowers you to:

  • Implement robust network security controls: You’ll gain the ability to configure firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention systems (IDS/IPS), and other essential security controls effectively.
  • Proactively identify and address vulnerabilities: The CND curriculum equips you with the skills to assess network security posture, identify vulnerabilities, and recommend appropriate mitigation strategies.
  • Respond effectively to security incidents: You’ll develop the skills to analyze security incidents, contain threats, recover from attacks, and learn from security events to improve future prevention efforts.

Read more: CompTIA Network +  Vs CCNA: Charting your Course in Networking

CND Certification Salary

Salary Prospects With The CND Certification

The Certified Network Defender certification can significantly impact your earning potential in the cybersecurity field. While exact salaries can vary depending on factors like experience, location, and industry, IT professionals with the CND certification generally command higher salaries compared to those without the certification.

The average annual salary for a CND Certified professional is around $122,108 per year, as per ZipRecruiter

Here is a more detailed look at the prospective CND salaries, varying by location:

Location Annual Average Salary
Santa Clara, CA $147,314
Federal Way, WA $145,082
Washington, DC $144,820
San Francisco, CA $142,388
Los Angeles, CA $138,778
Marysville, WA $138,753

How Does The CND Certification Compare With Other Programs?

When deciding on whether you should pursue a particular certification, it is important to compare with potential alternatives. Here is a look at how the Certified Network Defender certification compares with two other popular networking certifications: Cisco’s CCNA and CompTIA Network+:

CND vs CCNA vs Network+

Certification Focus Vendor Type Security Focus
CND Network Security Vendor Neutral Identifying, managing, and mitigating network security risks
CCNA Networking Vendor Specific (CISCO) Network security fundamentals
Network+ Networking Vendor Neutral Network security basics, common attacks, related defense techniques

Jobs With The CND Certification

The CND certification is a quite valuable certification, and as a result, opens doors to different job roles, there are different job roles you can choose to pursue. 

  • Network Administrators 
  • Network Security Administrators
  • Network Engineer
  • Security Analyst 
  • Network Security Engineer 
  • Network Security Analyst
  • Cybersecurity Engineer

Learn More About Popular Jobs: In-Demand Tech Jobs

Target Audience

The CND certification is considered ideal for the following:

  • Students/ IT Professionals/ Other industry professionals planning a career in cybersecurity 
  • Anyone who wants to start a career in blue team and network security.

Conquering the CND Certification Exam With Effective Preparation Tips

Earning the CND certification requires dedication and focused preparation. Here are some key strategies to maximize your chances of success:

Utilize Official Resources

EC-Council offers a comprehensive suite of official training materials, including instructor-led courses, video lectures, practice exams, and study guides. These resources are specifically designed to align with the CND exam objectives and provide in-depth coverage of the relevant topics.

Explore Additional Resources

Supplement your studies with reputable online courses, books, and communities dedicated to CND exam preparation. Look for resources that offer practice questions, comprehensive explanations, and insights from experienced CND professionals.

Hands-on Practice is Key

While theoretical knowledge is crucial for mastering network security concepts, practical experience is equally important. Going beyond textbooks and video lectures, consider participating in hands-on labs or simulations offered by online platforms or training providers. These labs provide a safe environment to experiment with security tools and techniques, mimicking real-world scenarios you might encounter in the field. If such resources are unavailable, setting up a home lab environment can be a resourceful alternative. There are numerous open-source security tools and freely available virtual machines that you can leverage to build a basic network environment for hands-on practice. Experimenting with these tools firsthand will not only solidify your understanding of their functionalities but also enhance your problem-solving skills in a practical context. This practical experience will prove invaluable when you encounter real-world security challenges in your professional career.

Join Online Communities

Participating in online forums and communities focused on the CND certification can be a valuable asset. Engaging with other candidates and experienced professionals allows you to ask questions, share experiences, and gain valuable insights that can enhance your preparation.

Develop a Personalized Study Plan

Create a study schedule that caters to your learning style and available time. Identify areas that require extra focus and allocate more time for in-depth practice. Consistency and focused study sessions are key to effective preparation.

Practice Makes Perfect

Take advantage of practice exams offered by EC-Council and other reputable sources. Practice exams are an invaluable tool that goes beyond simply assessing your knowledge retention. You can also use Dumpsgate’s CND dumps. They familiarize you with the exam format, question styles, and time constraints you’ll encounter in the actual exam. By taking practice exams regularly and using these dumps, you’ll gain experience in applying your knowledge to scenario-based questions and develop effective test-taking strategies. 

Analyze your performance on practice exams thoroughly. Identify areas where you consistently struggle or make careless mistakes. Revisit those topics in your study materials, consult additional resources for clarification, and conduct further practice on those specific concepts. This targeted approach ensures you solidify your understanding of the most challenging areas and approach the actual exam with increased confidence.

Stay Focused and Motivated

The CND certification journey requires dedication and perseverance. Develop a study schedule that fits your lifestyle and stick to it. Surround yourself with positive influences who will encourage and support you throughout the preparation process.


Throughout this comprehensive guide, we’ve explored the CND certification in detail, delving into its purpose, core focus areas, and the significant advantages it offers for IT professionals seeking a career path in cybersecurity.

If you’re an IT professional seeking a dynamic and well-paying career in cybersecurity, the CND certification is an excellent first step. It equips you with the foundational knowledge and skills necessary to secure and defend networks against ever-evolving cyber threats. By pursuing the CND certification, you demonstrate your commitment to network security best practices and open doors to a wide range of exciting career opportunities.

More On Cybersecurity: 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Absolutely! The CND certification is globally recognized, and its addition to your resume conveys to employers that you can make a valuable contribution to their security team. This is because this certification validates that you carry the advanced knowledge and skills to tackle cyber threats to an organization’s network structure.  In addition to that, having such a valuable certification in your arsenal can also allow you to negotiate for a better salary package.

While the CND certification is an intermediate-level professional program, it can be applicable and useful for beginners as well. However, it might be useful if you already have a fundamental knowledge of networking concepts.

A Certified Network Defender is responsible for identifying, protecting, and preventing any existing or potential cyber threats to a network. This involves inspecting networks for malware or unauthorized access, conducting penetration testing, identifying vulnerabilities, and taking steps to mitigate or fix them.

The amount of time it takes to become a CND varies, depending on individual factors. Firstly, you will need to meet the eligibility requirements set out by the EC-Council which typically include having at least 2 years’ worth of experience in areas that have been defined. As for the exam experience, the CND is a five-day certification, with a four-hour exam. Preparation for this certification typically takes candidates about 2 months for thorough coverage.

Yes, in order to take the Certified Network Defender, candidates should have an educational background and at least 2 years of working experience.



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