A+, Network+, Security+: What Should I Take First?


A+, Network+, Security+: What Should I Take First?

You can take the A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications in any sequence. The good thing about taking these three courses is that all are offered by CompTIA, which is not restricted to a particular vendor. Passing the test and getting the certification depends on your knowledge about these technologies. Since these are all basic certifications with equal complexity, neither one of these builds a knowledge base for the other. The only requirement for these courses is a basic understanding of using computers.

The only question you need to ask yourself is which CompTIA certification makes the most sense for you. There is no sure answer to which course you should take before others. It all depends on what works best for you. You can make an educated decision once you understand what each of these courses entails.

CompTIA A+ Certification

The CompTIA A+ certification is a perfect starting point for those with no experience in the IT industry. It gives a ground-level understanding of IT, software, and hardware, along with a good understanding of how to build a career as an IT professional. An A+ certification will give you the knowledge and skills you need to set up a computer network and troubleshoot any networking issues.

The A+ certification consists of two exams that must be cleared to receive the certification. The first is the 220-301 which focuses on hardware and networking concepts. The second exam is 220-902 and is focused on issues like cloud computing, security, as well as installation and configuration of different OS. This is a well-recognized certification for beginners who want to start their careers in IT.

CompTIA A+ Certification (Exams 220-1001 & 220-1002)

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This course caters to providing the training opportunity to students for the 220-1001 (Core 1) and 220-1002 (Core 2) exam.

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CompTIA Network+ Certification

For many students, taking the CompTIA Network+ certification proves to be helpful before taking the A+ course. This is because Network+ is not as intensive as A+ and is concentrated only on networking concepts. In comparison, A+ has a wider scope, and many students find it more difficult to develop multiple knowledge areas at the same time.

Earning a Network+ certification requires passing a single exam. This course covers the configuration of networks as well as their management and problem-solving. It gives you expertise in both traditional and wireless networking. You also learn about advanced concepts like virtual networks and unified communication systems.

A resume that lists both A+ and Network+ makes a positive impression on recruiters. Managers get the idea that the person is focused on building their careers. The more certifications you have on your resume, the more hardworking and ambitious you will come across. Of course, you can also choose to take only one of these courses without any prior CompTIA certifications because they are sufficient in themselves to prove your understanding of networking concepts and skills.

QuickStart offers all three certifications at an affordable subscription price. Start your 30-day free trial to get your hands on in-demand CompTIA certifications

CompTIA Security+ Certification

The CompTIA Security+ certification is also something you can pass without any prior certifications. However, having a basic prior understanding of networking concepts like ports and networking tools will help you learn the ropes of networking and complete the course easily. This is because the Security+ certification expects you to already have this knowledge. Moreover, the prior knowledge that you possess makes it easy for you to follow the Security+ course content without requiring additional support or mentoring. If you don’t have this prior knowledge, or if you decide to take Security+ before A+ or Network+, then you will have to commit to self-learning outside of this course to come to par with other students taking the same course.

Security+ involves security issues as well as concepts like risk and threat identification, risk management, detection of intrusion, vulnerability attacks, setting up access controls, and cryptography.

Read more: What Are CompTIA Certifications and Are They Right for Us?

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The Preferred CompTIA Certs Priority

If you want to make a career in cybersecurity, your hiring manager would also like to see evidence of some knowledge about networking on your resume. Since Security+ focuses only on security issues without discussing other concepts of networking like hardware and software, you can increase your chances of getting the initial interview by also taking an A+ or Networking+ certification.

Which of these should you take first, and what is the preferred CompTIA certification?

Go for the A+ certification first if you can answer the following questions:

  • Do you have any experience of using computers? If not, then start with the A+ certification, because it will lay the groundwork for taking the Network+ and Security+ certifications later.
  • Do you want a diverse set of skills, or do you prefer to focus on a single area of expertise? An A+ certification will give you a wide scope of understanding of IT issues.
  • Can you envision yourself working in IT support? Because the A+ certification teaches you about multiple concepts, you will be useful to your company as an expert in IT support who can assist in responding to a variety of problems. 

Ask yourself these questions if you want to go for the Network+ certification first:

  • Do you want to build upon your existing knowledge of computers? If yes, then the Networking+ certification makes more sense. 
  • Do you want to take more advanced certifications like CCNP at a later stage in your career? If yes, then you should start with a Networking+ certification.
  • Do you want to go into a security-oriented role at some stage in your career? If yes, then you should build a basic understanding of networks by taking the Network+ course and following it up with the Security+ certification.

As a general recommendation, taking all three certifications is better than taking any single one of these since it gives you a well-rounded understanding of the core issues of networking and security. You can also use these basic certifications to take more advanced courses later, after gaining some practical experience in your job.

Talk to our experts to learn more about CompTIA certifications.

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