FAQs: CCNA vs. A+
When it comes to getting IT certified, there are many options and you might be wondering what the best choice that will get your career up to speed is. If you want to become an expert in IT security, then CCNA and A+ can be the right picks for you. However, what is the difference between these two certifications, and which one is more relevant?
Both CCNA and A+ cover the knowledge of security methods and principles in the IT industry. However, the CompTIA A+ will get you into the field of cybersecurity fast and land you a job in a helpdesk, while CCNA will fit you into the network administrator position with the actual cybersecurity work.
In this article, I will discuss the relevance of both CCNA and A+, and to what purposes may these certifications serve. I will explain what you should expect from the preparation and study time, and what it will take to pass these exams. Also, I will talk about their value, which today is quite a debatable question among IT candidates.
Relevance Of The CCNA vs. A+
It is essential to point out that even though both CCNA and A+ share similar concepts and principles, these two certifications are different and serve different purposes. Many IT professionals nowadays have both certifications. Therefore each of them means a different thing.
Firstly, when a person possesses a CompTIA A+, it means that the same person is adequate for working in the field of helpdesk, hardware, and software. On the other hand, if a person has obtained CCNA, it means that that person is competent to work in networking. This is the main difference between these two certifications, and in case of looking for a job, be sure that the hiring manager or supervisor will pay close attention to this point.
Secondly, as I already explained the main differences, it is clear now that two certifications mean two different career paths. Therefore, if you are concerned with the relevance of certifications, the first thing you need to think about is your end goal. What you actually want to achieve and get from the certification will tell you which one to pick.
The CCNA certification is focused on networking technology, automation, and security. Its main objective is to teach candidates how to handle or prevent cyber-attacks. In the core of the CCNA are the principles of network and system security, and in the course of preparation, the candidates obtain solid skills for managing hacker attacks. Even though it is quite similar to the principles of the A+ certification, CCNA aims towards a higher position in the workplace, not only as a helpdesk technician.
The A+ certification is mainly focused on jobs such as helpdesk technician or computer repair. It leans more towards hardware, troubleshooting, software, printers, and the basics of networking. The CompTIA A+ is widely recognized, and it states that it is competent for getting a job in helpdesk technology, service technology, or desktop support. The certification is positioned at an entry-level, so it could be a good foundation for further learning and improvement.
Therefore, if you want to determine the relevance of these two certifications, the only things that can give you an answer to that question are your priorities. The relevance of the certifications you want to obtain depends entirely on you. The certification you will obtain refers to the job position you want to land. So, before choosing an exam, you need to pick your career path, i.e., you need to think about the end goal.
Time To Study For CCNA vs. A+
Time is really delicate thing to discuss, especially when it comes to preparing for an exam. How much time a person will need to get ready for an examination usually depends on their capability to study and cover the whole material.
However, on average, it usually takes 10-15 weeks to prepare for the CCNA exam. If you are diligent and disciplined, and you study for 10 hours a week, then you can get ready for the exam in this time interval.
On the other hand, CompTIA A+ might require slightly less time for preparation. It usually takes 10-12 weeks for beginners, while for the more experienced ones, the preparation can be done earlier.
Career Outcomes Of The CCNA vs. A+
Even though CCNA and A+ might be similar in the objective, their outcomes are not the same, i.e., the certification you obtain might serve you for different purposes. When I talk about different purposes, I refer to different job positions. The certification you obtain determines your job position, and your job position will impact the way in which your career path is headed.
When it comes to obtaining the CCNA certification, you should know that you will have a lot of job opportunities on the market. Since Cisco is the leading figure in the IT world, you can expect a lot of open doors for your career path. So, you can land a job as a Network Engineer, Network Administrator, Technical Support Engineer, System Administrator, etc.
On the other hand, with A+ you will have opportunities to start jobs that offer hands-on experience, and long hours of training. You can get a job as a Technical Support Specialist, Helpdesk Tech, Associate Network Engineer, etc. The A+ certification will ensure you a solid job position along with a solid monthly salary.
How Hard Is The CCNA Compared To A+?
These two exams are somehow on similar difficulty levels. They are both entry-level IT exams, and they both require quite the time for preparing and studying. CCNA and A+ focus on different objectives and principles; however, that does not mean that one is easier than the other.
On the contrary, each of them requires a good time of practice, and usually, it depends on the individual how hard the exam is going to be.
As you could see, CCNA and A+ are on a similar level of difficulty, but they are focused on different objectives. The two certifications cannot really be compared since they serve differently to different people. Once you determine what your end goal is, you will know which exam you need.