CCNA or Network+
Network professionals often face the dilemma of which industry certification they should take, especially at the beginning of their careers. The two most popular certifications are Cisco’s CCNA Routing and Switching and CompTIA Network+.
Let’s take a closer view to answer the question: Network+ or CCNA? Is it worth having both? If yes, which order should you use? First, what is the difference between them?
CompTIA Network+ Certification: This certification demonstrates one’s understanding of networking features and functions including media and topologies, configuration and installation, management, security, and management.
Cisco’s CCNA Routing and Switching Certification validates the candidate’s ability to set up, configure, operate and troubleshoot small-sized switched and routed networks.
While it is not a good idea to jump to conclusions, the descriptions suggest Network+ as a fundamental certification. CCNA R&S validates more advanced knowledge.
Network+ was created as a vendor-neutral certification. This is the biggest difference between these certifications. It equips candidates with knowledge and understanding about networking in general and can be applied to most networks.
CCNA was designed specifically for Cisco’s products and networking technology. The program covers other topics in networking, but the main focus and difference are clear.
Network+ certification is a popular choice for network specialists because it’s easier to pass. It does require more knowledge and understanding than CCNA. Network+ graduates who pass Network+ with flying colors might be disappointed if they are expecting the same level of difficulty as CCNA.
Let’s face facts: CCNA doesn’t make a lot of sense. It is difficult. Employers value it because it is difficult. Although it is an entry-level test, it requires at least 1-3 years of network experience. CCNA requires a lot of study and practical experience. You should also get some Cisco routers or switchers – even the low-end ones – to gain some knowledge with their technology. It is not something you can do by simply reading a few articles online. Many users, however, share their experiences with passing Network+ after reading a book or two.
Network+ is not a simple task. CompTIA recommends that you have an A+ certification and nine months of networking experience before you attempt to pass Network+ certification. It’s always nice to know that someone else didn’t have too much trouble.
Keep Your Experience in Focus
Network+ is a great way to get a professional certification if you don’t have any networking experience. It is a well-structured program that fills in the knowledge gaps that most people have at the beginning of their career as a networker.
Network+ teaches you about networking technology. It can be a good foundation to Cisco’s CCNA (or Microsoft or other vendor-specific certifications), which teaches you how to troubleshoot and configure this technology. If you are a beginner, do not look at the CCNA route. Your time will come.
CCNA is a great way to boost your career if you have some networking experience. It covers all aspects of networking, including routing protocols and network design. Even companies that do not use Cisco equipment appreciate the CCNA’s depth and complexity. Without hands-on lab experience, it is almost impossible to become a CCNA. This combined with advanced knowledge is extremely valuable.
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