A+, Network+, Security+: What Should I Take First?
Beginners in the IT profession often ask this question but this question is also not uncommon among professional IT personnel who might have some years of established industry experience, and the question is, which CompTIA certification should I opt for first? A+, Network+ or Security+?
The most important point out of which all this confusion rises is a lack of understanding of the CompTIA course structure, what it entails and where exactly does it provide help in career advancement?
To end this confusion once and for all and in this most comprehensive manner possible, we are providing a detail explanation on what exactly these courses cover and is there a set order to take them or not.
So let’s start with the basic explanation of these three course first.
This certification forms an important part of the basic level of CompTIA certifications. It was first introduced in 1993 and since then, it has been considered one of the best courses for beginners in the IT industry. This course covers many different fundamental concepts in great detail and after completing it, one can expect to become incredibly proficient in IT related tasks like security, troubleshooting, maintenance, software installation etc.
If a professional just opts for this certification only and doesn’t do the other ones, it can expect to easily land a job as a computer technician or in other similar roles at the same level of competency.
This course is vendor and platform neutral so irrespective of whether an organization uses Microsoft, Apple, IBM or any other OS, the person who has done this certification will be able to handle all of them with relative ease.
This certification is internationally recognized just like other CompTIA certifications.
Again, a beginner level certification just like A+, the Network+ certification allows professionals to become more competent in network related tasks, issues and topics. Individuals who successfully complete this course will become more adept at understanding different aspects of the network such as topologies, media, installation & maintenance, security among others.
If you did the A+ before this one, you will see that most of these concepts were touched upon briefly in the A+ certification, and this certification covers them in much great detail.
The recommendations for undertaking this course are at least 9 months of experience in an IT job that revolved around networking related tasks, but its not mandatory and if you are really dedicated enough to learn the concepts, you will be able to ace it even without the required experience.
Just as the name implies, this certification increasingly focuses on security related concepts and real world requirements like managing end point security, demarcating policies and deploying them for access control and overall network security among others.
The amount of cyber-attacks experienced by firms all across the world have greatly increased in numbers over the past few years, making a certified professional a high demand individual in the IT field.
This is a beginner level course and although CompTIA recommends that you have around 2 years of experience in a cyber-security related role to complete it, you can even do without it.
Which One Do We Exactly Opt For First?
Well, CompTIA doesn’t provide any set order for this and you can take all three of them in the order you like, but if you really need to make an informed decision, here are some things that will really help you out:
CompTIA’s Advanced Level Certifications:
While these three certifications we talked about earlier are beginner level certifications, CompTIA also offers Advanced level certifications, and if you knew more about them, making the right move as far these beginner level certifications are concerned, will become much more easier.
CompTIA’s advanced level certifications are divided into two different paths, with each one of them focusing a specific career that an IT professional might want to undertake i.e. Cyber security and Infrastructure.
As an IT professional, you will have to make a move to advance your career to the next level and choose a more specific career path for yourself, and if you are planning to either become an advanced level certified professional in either Cybersecurity or infrastructure, these advanced level courses will help you out.
But if you got it figured out as to which field you will exactly pursue, then the choices at the beginner level certifications becomes much easier. For Cybersecurity, individuals often opt for only the Security+ certifications before moving on to the next level, while individuals who want to have a greater role in their organizations as far as infrastructure is concerned, opt for Network+ certification only.
The A+ certification is quite basic and if you have been working for a certain time in the IT industry, you can easily skip it as it will cover most concepts that you know about already. For the other two, it’s recommended that you go for both as no matter which career path you opt for, the concepts taught in each of them complement each other perfectly and help the individuals taking these courses to have more versatile knowledge on another IT aspect that are highly related to their field.
On top of this, there is no harm if you go for all three as it increases your chances of securing a much better career profile that could allow you to land IT related jobs much more easily.
And if you are looking to prepare for either the Network+ or Security+ Certification, you can enroll yourself in Quickstart’s specialized courses that are meant to increase your chances of passing each of these certifications in the first attempt.
You can even opt for self-preparation, but considering the amount of investment and time that could end up wasted if you miss it in the first attempt, it’s a good idea to enroll yourself in these specially primed, preparatory course offered by Quickstart.