CompTIA Network+ vs CCNA: Charting Your Course in Networking

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CompTIA+ VS CCNA

Let’s face it! The digital space thrives on the backbone of robust networks, making network professionals highly sought-after individuals. Navigating the competitive IT job market requires individuals to equip themselves with the necessary skills and certifications to stand out from the crowd. Two prominent certifications in the networking domain are CompTIA Network+ and Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA). Both hold immense value, but they cater to slightly different audiences and career goals. This comprehensive guide delves into the details of each certification, empowering you to make an informed decision as you embark on your networking journey.

The Growing Demand for Network Professionals:

The global network administrator market is expected to reach a staggering $90.2 billion by 2026, according to a recent report. This exponential growth signifies the critical role network professionals play in ensuring the smooth operation of businesses and organizations worldwide. Earning a recognized network certification equips you with the essential knowledge and skills to capitalize on this flourishing job market.

Understanding CompTIA Network+:

CompTIA Network+ is a vendor-neutral certification that validates your foundational knowledge and skills in network concepts, technologies, and practices. Designed for entry-level IT professionals, it serves as a stepping stone for various networking careers and is a prerequisite for several advanced CompTIA certifications.

Major Domains

CompTIA has defined all the major areas of the exam along with their respective weightage in their exam guide. These are as follows:

Domain Percentage In The Exam
Networking Concepts 23%
Network Implementation 20%
Network Operations 19%
Network Security 14%
Network Troubleshooting 24%

Benefits of Earning CompTIA Network+:

  • Vendor Neutrality: Unlike vendor-specific certifications, Network+ equips you with a broad understanding of networking principles applicable across various vendors and technologies, making you a more versatile IT professional.
  • Career Prospects: According to a study by CompTIA, individuals with Network+ certification hold an average salary of $77,783 in the United States. Earning this certification significantly improves your job placement opportunities and earning potential.
  • Solid Foundation: Network+ lays a strong foundation for further IT specializations, such as network security, cloud computing, and network administration. Whether you aim to become a network administrator, network security specialist, or cloud engineer, Network+ provides a solid foundation upon which you can build your expertise.

Delve into the details of: CompTIA IT Certification Roadmap

What Is the CCNA Certification?

The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification validates your understanding and ability to install, configure, operate, and troubleshoot Cisco networking devices and technologies. It caters to individuals seeking careers specifically focused on Cisco solutions and serves as a stepping stone toward advanced Cisco certifications.

Major Domains

Cisco has defined all the major exam objectives for its CCNA certification which are accompanied by their receptive weightage in the exam. They are as follows:

Domain Percentage In The Exam
Network Fundamentals 20%
Network Access 20%
IP Connectivity 25%
IP Services 10%
Security Fundamentals 15%
Automation and Programmability 10%

Benefits of Earning CCNA:

  • Specialization in Cisco: CCNA equips you with in-depth knowledge of Cisco products and solutions, making you a valuable asset for organizations heavily reliant on Cisco networking infrastructure.
  • Career Advancement: CCNA serves as a stepping stone towards advanced Cisco certifications like CCNP and CCIE, which can lead to higher-paying network engineering roles.
  • Hands-on Skills: The CCNA curriculum emphasizes practical skills through simulations and labs, enabling you to gain experience with configuring and troubleshooting Cisco devices, preparing you for real-world scenarios.

Discover insights on: Cisco Certified Technician 

Exam Overview: Network+ vs CCNA

Network+ Exam CCNA Exam
Exam Code N10-009 200-301
Exam Format Multiple-choice and performance-based Multiple-choice, drag-and-drop
No. Of Questions 90 questions 120 questions
Exam Duration 90 minutes 120 minutes
Passing Criteria 720 (on a scale of 100-900) 825 (out of 1000 points)
Exam Cost $659 USD $300 USD
Experience Level Early career Early career

Choosing the Right Path: CompTIA Network+ vs CCNA

Here’s a table summarizing the key differences between CompTIA Network+ and CCNA:

Feature CompTIA Network+ CCNA
Vendor Focus Vendor-neutral Cisco-specific
Exam Format Multiple choice and performance-based Multiple choice and simulation
Target Audience Entry-level IT professionals Individuals seeking Cisco-focused careers
Key Learning Areas Foundational networking concepts, technologies, and practices In-depth knowledge of Cisco devices, technologies, and configuration
Career Benefits Broad range of networking job opportunities Specialization in Cisco networking and potential for career advancement in Cisco environments

While both these certifications validate networking knowledge and skills, they differ in terms of focus, content, vendor specificity, and career implications. Let’s delve into the key differences between these two certifications:

Focus and Scope

Network+: This certification provides a broad and vendor-neutral foundation in networking concepts and practices, covering a wide array of topics such as networking protocols, troubleshooting, network devices, security, and more.

This certification is designed for individuals who are relatively new to the networking space and are looking to establish a strong base of networking knowledge. 

CCNA: The CCNA certification offers a comprehensive scope that covers fundamental networking concepts, routing and switching technologies, network security, and more. Its focus on hands-on skills, problem-solving, and preparing candidates for further certifications makes CCNA an excellent choice for those looking to start or advance a career in networking.

Vendor Neutrality vs. Vendor Specificity

Network+: The CompTIA Network+ certification is vendor-neutral, indicating that it doesn’t favor any specific vendor’s technologies when providing individuals the related knowledge. Instead, it covers general networking concepts applicable to a variety of networking environments. 

CCNA: The CCNA certification, on the other hand, is vendor-specific, concentrating on Cisco networking equipment and technologies. It prepares candidates to work with Cisco’s networking solutions and infrastructure and even apply these skills on a larger scale.

Prerequisites

Network+: The are no strict prerequisites for appearing in the CompTIA Network+ exam. However, it is recommended that candidates carry the CompTIA A+ certification and a minimum of 9-12 months of hands-on experience working in a junior network administrator/ network support technician job role. 

CCNA:  While there are no formal prerequisites for the CCNA certification, Cisco recommends candidates should have the following 

  • At least one year of using and implementing Cisco products and solutions. 
  • Basic knowledge of IP addressing.
  • Knowledge of network fundamentals.

Certification Renewal

Both certifications require periodic renewal to ensure that professionals stay up-to-date with the rapidly evolving field of networking. 

Network+:  The CompTIA Network+ certification expires after 3 years and renewal can be achieved by earning relevant Continuing Education Units (CEUs).

CCNA: The CCNA certification is usually valid for up to 3 years and can be renewed by either of these three methods: 

  • Take and pass the Certification Exam.
  • Use Continuing Education Credits.
  • Combine Exams and Continuing Education.

Career Implications

Network+: The Network+ certification can serve as a great foundational credential to help individuals who are new to the IT networking space. As a result, it is ideal for individuals looking for entry-level positions such as network administrators or technicians. 

It provides a well-rounded understanding

CCNA: The CCNA certification is considered to be relatively more advanced, demonstrating a higher level of expertise, particularly in Cisco technology. This certification can help you land roles such as network engineer or systems administrator, especially in organizations that actively make use of Cisco products and services. 


Explore further: Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate Certification

CCNA vs Network+: Future Job Prospects

Job Prospect for Network+

Future Job Prospects for Network+:

CompTIA’s Network+ certification is another well-recognized credential in the networking field. It focuses on foundational networking concepts and is an excellent starting point for those new to networking or seeking a broader IT skill set. Here are the potential job roles for Network+:

  • Help Desk Technician: Network+ certified professionals possess the skills to assist in resolving networking issues, making them valuable members of IT support teams.
  • Network Support Specialist: Individuals with Network+ certification can find roles as network support specialists, aiding in the setup, maintenance, and troubleshooting of network infrastructure.
  • IT Technician: For entry-level positions that require a grasp of networking fundamentals, such as setting up and maintaining hardware and software, Network+ certification is a strong advantage.
  • Field Technician: Network+ certified individuals can excel as field technicians, where they work on-site to install and maintain network equipment and connectivity.
Job Prospects for CCNA

Future Job Prospects for CCNA:

Cisco’s CCNA certification has long been considered a gold standard in the networking industry. With a curriculum that covers a broad range of networking topics, including routing, switching, security, and wireless networking, CCNA-certified professionals are well-equipped to handle complex network infrastructures. The certification is recognized globally and is often a requirement for many mid-level and senior networking roles.

The CCNA is a valuable IT certification, with over 9,000 job listings on Glassdoor and 6,000 on Indeed that mention the certification in the US, as of March 2024.

  • Network Engineer: CCNA certification is often a prerequisite for network engineer positions. These professionals design, implement, and manage network solutions, making them crucial assets for organizations of all sizes.
  • Network Administrator: Network administrators are responsible for day-to-day network operations, troubleshooting, and ensuring network security. CCNA-certified individuals are preferred for these roles due to their comprehensive understanding of networking principles.
  • Security Analyst: Cybersecurity is a growing concern, and CCNA’s coverage of security concepts makes certified individuals appealing candidates for security-related roles such as security analysts.
  • Cloud Administrator: As cloud technologies become integral to modern networking, CCNA-certified professionals are sought after for roles involving the setup and management of cloud-based networks.
  • Wireless Network Engineer: With the proliferation of wireless technologies, the demand for experts who can design and manage wireless networks continues to rise. CCNA provides a solid foundation for these roles.

Find Out More About: Cisco DevNet Associate Certification Worth

Factors to Consider When Choosing:

i) Current IT experience and career goals:

If you’re new to IT and aiming for a broad foundation in networking, Network+ is a great starting point. It prepares you for a wider range of entry-level networking roles and serves as a stepping stone for various IT specializations. If you’re specifically interested in working with Cisco technologies and envision a career path within Cisco environments, CCNA is the ideal choice.

ii) Learning style:

Network+ emphasizes vendor-neutral theoretical knowledge and a broader understanding of networking concepts. CCNA, on the other hand, delves deeper into Cisco-specific technologies and emphasizes hands-on skills through simulations and labs. Consider your preferred learning style when making your decision.

iii) Budgetary constraints:

The cost of each exam and training materials can vary. Network+ is generally more expensive than CCNA. Factor in these costs when making your choice.

Network+ vs CCNA: Salary Prospects

At the end of the day, whichever certification path you end up pursuing, your salary paycheck as a result of it is often an important consideration. Let’s take a look at the prospective salary potential both of these certifications have to offer.

Comptia Network Salary

1. CompTIA Network+ Salary In 2024

Median Salary: 

On average, the annual salary for Network+ certified individuals, according to ZipRecruiter, is $91,460 per year

Here is a further look at how the salary figure may vary depending on your location.

Location Annual Average Salary
San Mateo, CA $106,081
Green River, WY $105,704
Boston, MA $104,979
Berkeley, CA $103,985
Santa Monica, CA $103,515
Queens, NY $102,678
CCNA Salary

2. CCNA Salary In 2024

Median Salary: 

On average, the annual salary for CCNA-certified individuals, according to ZipRecruiter,  is $82,062 per year

Furthermore, here is a glimpse at how your salary package with CCNA might vary based on your location in the US.

Location Annual Average Salary
Inverness, CA $110,597
Santa Cruz, CA $103,602
Sunnyvale, CA $101,739
Arlington, VA $101,226
Kent, WA $98,588
Vacaville, CA $98,200

Additional Considerations:

While Network+ and CCNA are popular choices, other certifications might align better with specific career paths. Here are a few examples:

Juniper Networks JNCIA-Cloud: Caters to individuals seeking expertise in managing and automating cloud-based Juniper Networks infrastructure.

The Bottom Line

Both CompTIA Network+ and CCNA offer valuable credentials for aspiring network professionals. Network+ provides a solid foundation in networking fundamentals, preparing you for a broad range of entry-level IT roles. CCNA equips you with in-depth knowledge of Cisco technologies, making you a specialist in Cisco environments and opening doors to advanced career opportunities.

As you weigh the options, remember that both certifications hold significant value in the job market. Ultimately, the best choice depends on your individual career goals, learning style, and budget. Carefully evaluate your priorities and leverage the information provided in this guide to make an informed decision.

More On Cisco Certifications: 

More On CompTIA Certification:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

It is essential to understand the syllabus content in order to be able to successfully pass the exam. In order to aid candidates in conquering their syllabus material and gaining a good understanding of concepts, CompTIA offers interested individuals the CompTIA CertMaster Learn

This is an eLearning solution with the purpose of helping candidates get acquainted with the syllabus in line with the relevant CompTIA exam objectives. The platform includes interactive videos, practice questions, as well as, performance-based questions to provide support to candidates preparing for their exam 

The Official CompTIA Network+ Study Guide is also available for the same purpose.Practice is also a crucial part of the preparation process. Our Edurely CompTIA Network+ exam dumps serve as the ideal preparation tool to amp up your practice and help you appear in the exam more confidently.

In order to prepare for the CCNA certification exam, you can must first familiarize yourself with the exam topics tested, understand them, and then accordingly prepare for them. You can also get help from the get help from the official resources available on the Cisco website

However, oftentimes, that on its own is not enough. Hence, you can get help from our CCNA exam dumps that contain real exam questions with verified answers to aid candidates in leaving no stone unturned when preparing for the CCNA exam.

Both the CompTIA Network+ and the CCNA certification have similar exams since they both have many overlapping concepts and topics.

However, the CCNA certification syllabus covers almost all the topics covered under the Network+ but also covers some additional topics, providing more in-depth and practical knowledge and training.

If you already have CompTIA Network+, you’ve covered a solid foundation of networking concepts. Whether you need CCNA depends on whether you want to specialize in Cisco networking or work with Cisco equipment. CCNA is more focused on Cisco technologies and can be beneficial for Cisco-specific roles. If you’re looking for broader networking knowledge, CompTIA Network+ might be enough.

Difficulty is subjective and depends on your prior IT experience and learning style. Network+ focuses on broader networking concepts, potentially making it easier for beginners with no prior knowledge. CCNA dives deeper into Cisco specifics, which might be easier for individuals already familiar with Cisco technologies. However, both require dedication and studying to pass their respective exams.

CompTIA Network+ is generally recommended for individuals with no prior IT experience. It provides a strong foundation in fundamental networking concepts applicable across various vendors, preparing you for entry-level IT roles and potentially sparking your interest in different networking specializations.

Both Network+ and CCNA can be valuable stepping stones for a network security career. Network+ lays a broad foundation in networking fundamentals, including security principles. This knowledge is crucial for understanding the core concepts of network security. While CCNA doesn’t directly focus on security, its hands-on experience with configuring and troubleshooting Cisco devices can be valuable for network security professionals managing Cisco infrastructure.

While CCNA equips you with valuable knowledge and skills specific to Cisco technologies, it might not be sufficient on its own to land a network engineering job. Earning additional certifications, such as CCNP or security-focused certifications like CompTIA Security+, can significantly enhance your employability and career prospects.

Yes, CompTIA Network+ can qualify you for various entry-level IT roles, including network support technician, network administrator, or help desk technician. Additionally, it serves as a valuable stepping stone for pursuing further specializations in networking, such as network security or cloud computing, expanding your career opportunities

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