Training and Certification

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

November 16, 2015

Bita Beigishah

The simple answer is that you can take any of these CompTIA certification exams in any order you like. If you have the knowledge, and can pass the test, you can get certified. CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+ are all entry level certifications. If you have a strong working knowledge of computers, you should be able to jump right in to any of these three CompTIA courses.

Should I take A+ or Network+ first?

People who are inexperienced with IT work should start with the CompTIA A+ certification. I personally believe that it is useful to have a fundamental understanding of computer hardware, software, and how everything works together if you want to have a career in IT.

If you’re setting up a network, and a few PC’s can’t seem to connect, those A+ troubleshooting skills may come in handy. Some students prefer to go through Network+ before the A+ certification exams. The CompTIA Network+training course material is a bit less dense, and focuses specifically on networking knowledge, while A+ covers a wide variety of topics. This makes Network+ easier for some students to complete.

Download the Network+ Study Guide

Do I need Network+ to understand Security+ material?

While you can go into a CompTIA Security+ certification training as a newbie, it will definitely be useful to have a good understanding of concepts such as networks, computer ports, and various tools in a Windows computing environment. These topics aren’t covered in as much depth as they are in the A+ and Network+ exams because it is assumed that you already know this information. If you only want to pursue A+ or Network+, read about the value of Network+ in this blog post – “Is the CompTIA Network+ Worth it?“. If you opt for only A+, then read this post – “How I Passed the CompTIA A+ 900 Series Exam in 6 Days“. If you plan on taking A+, you may want to consider taking the 900 series exams before they retire on July 31st, 2019.

Having that knowledge base is extremely helpful when trying to grasp the concepts of the Security+ course material. Should you decide to train for this exam first, you may find that you need to go out on your own and review some additional information that will help you to better understand the topics on the Security+ exam.

It’s important to remember that if you’re trying to get into a cyber security job and have little experience with only a Security + certification, hiring managers may view your resume with a healthy dose of skepticism. The documentation that proves that you are knowledgeable in hardware, software, and networking is a big factor when HR managers are screening for interviews.

If you do conclude that all three certifications best position you for career success, search for training deals that enable you to take all three courses in an accelerated yet reasonable time period.

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