A typical day of a network administrator entails configuring complex networks, and managing, controlling, and monitoring server infrastructures. Ideally, such a professional should have a degree in computer science, business management, engineering, or other relevant computer-related fields.
But did you know that you can also qualify for this title without a college degree? Wondering how? Well, keep reading to know the path to a successful networking career using CompTIA Network+ or Cisco Exam-Labs CCNA certifications.
This post is not a direct comparison between the two named credentials. Rather, it aims to present you an overview of both options and ensure you make an informed decision when setting your career goals. And first, let’s look at a few reasons to pursue an IT badge.
Major Perks of Having IT Certification
Before exploring the details of particular credentials, you may want to know why you need them at all. So, these are three main points to consider:
- Get hired
Earning an CompTIA Certification shows that you are ready to invest in your career and will give your job prospects a huge boost. Competition for the available IT vacancies is ridiculously high, and it only takes a quick look at your resume to either make or break your professional ambitions. If you have a way to verify your knowledge and keep updated skills, then you better grab it with both hands!
- Earn promotions
Individuals who earn a promotion at the workplace have mastered the art and know what it takes to become a first-class performer. In IT, there’s no better way to climb the corporate ladder than obtaining a credential in your area of specialty.
- Gain guaranteed job retention
Working in a volatile industry like IT can be challenging. Businesses and enterprise organizations are always looking for ways to upscale their services and ensure a steady flow of income. But, if you have modern skills and are able to go with the wave, you’ll earn recognition from your employer and your value will bring you job security.
Now, when you know some of the benefits of possessing a credential, it’s time to know more about the variants available. Let’s start with the one provided by CompTIA Security+ Certification .
CompTIA Network+ – Is It the Best Option?
The CompTIA Network+ credential is a perfect starting point for individuals looking to launch an IT career in the networking domain. Speaking of the requirements, there are no strict points, though it’s recommended to have 9-12 months of experience or be CompTIA A+ certified.
Contrary to what many vendor-specific accreditations entail, CompTIA Network+ prepares candidates to support and manage networks irrespective of the platform they choose to work with. This helps you build the foundation you will need before choosing an area of specialty within the networking infrastructure. Moreover, what many people don’t know is that Network+ is the only industry-recognized badge whose content covers both wireless and wired networks.
Important Exam Objectives
The CompTIA Network+ credential confirms if learners can successfully configure, troubleshoot, and manage networks. Also, it tests if a candidate has a basic understanding of the latest networking solutions including virtualization and cloud technologies. Its outline involves the following topics:
- Network operations
- Networking concepts
- Network security
- Network troubleshooting and tools
- CompTIA Network+ Certification
Overview of Cisco CCNA Certification
Cisco is the second globally known certification vendor that covers networking, thus, for many specialists, becoming Cisco CCNA accredited is the first step when preparing for a career in IT. The new CCNA curriculum is updated to prepare learners for the current associate-level job roles.
Unlike in the past when candidates had to attempt multiple exams on their way to achieving the CCNA certification and were required to choose a specialization at this level, the entire training has been condensed into one common badge and involves a variety of fundamental topics for different IT careers. And you need to pass only one exam to validate all this knowledge as well as have an opportunity to take your career in any direction, with minimal effort.
Here’s an overview of the topics assessed by CCNA test (Cisco 200-301):
- Automation and Programmability
- Security Fundamentals
- IP Services
- IP Connectivity
- Network Access
- Network Fundamentals
- CompTIA A+ Certification
Cisco offers no formal prerequisites for attempting its new CCNA assessment. However, candidates should possess prior knowledge of the topics before signing up for the test. Also, it will be helpful to have at least one year of experience in managing Cisco solutions, and also be familiar with IP addressing and network fundamentals.
Your Financial Prospects
The latest statistics have shown that aside from verifying foundational IT knowledge and core skills, CompTIA Network+ and Cisco CCNA create a great path to well-paying job roles. According to PayScale.com, Network+ certified professionals earn about $65k annually. The average salary for CCNA accredited specialists is $78k per annum as stated on the same website.
Cisco CCNA vs CompTIA Network+: Who Wins?
So, which credential should you go after? Well, as you can see, both badges are unique in different ways, with certain attributes that make them suitable for specific candidates.
For newbies looking to get started in IT networking, CompTIA Network+ perfectly fits the bill. And remember that it is vendor-neutral which will give you a wider range of available positions and organizations to work for. However, if you have a few years of experience in managing Cisco products and solutions, the new CCNA certification could be what you need to steer your career in a new direction.
In a nutshell, what you choose will depend on your interests, current experience level, and the ultimate goals.
Practice Tests — Your Permanent Helper
Regardless of which of these credentials you’ll pick, you need to pass an exam to earn any of them. Of course, when preparing for these assessments you can utilize vendor-provided study resources but why not to broaden the scope of your materials? After learning all the topics, you can try to do practice tests to see if you are completely ready to face the assessment. These are sets of questions and answers that will show you the exam environment and help you find out the concepts you need to pay attention to.
If you want to launch a career in the networking domain, now you know where to start from. Both CCNA and Network+ have some advantages and the choice will depend on your preferences, career needs, and primary objectives. Here’s hoping this post has highlighted what you should know in preparation for the latest technological trends in IT networking. Choose your badge, take the official training, revise with practice tests, and improve professionally through passing the exam. It’s time to advance!