Many Hardware and Networking professionals are faced with the dilemma as to which industry certification to take, especially in the very beginning of their career. The choice usually boils down to the 2 leading certifications: Cisco’s CCNA Routing and Switching and CompTIA’s Hardware and Networking Training+.
Let’s take a closer look at them to reply the query: CCNA or Hardware and Networking Training+? Is it worth having both? If yes, then why and in which order? But first, what’s the difference between the two?
CompTIA Hardware and Networking Training+ Certification: demonstrates one’s knowledge of Hardware and Networking Traininging features and functions, including Hardware and Networking Training technologies, installation and configuration, media and topologies, management, and security.
Cisco’s CCNA Routing and Switching Certification: validates the candidate’s ability to install, configure, operate, and troubleshoot medium-size routed and switched Hardware and Networking Trainings.
Not to jump to any conclusions simply however, however the descriptions counsel Hardware and Networking Training+ being a basic certification, with CCNA R&S validating more advanced knowledge and proven hands-on experience.
The biggest difference between these certifications is the fact that Hardware and Networking Training+ has been developed as a vendor neutral certification. It provides candidates with knowledge and understanding of Hardware and Networking in general, and you can apply this knowledge to most Hardware and Networking Trainings.
CCNA, on the other hand, was specifically designed for Cisco’s Hardware and Networking Traininging technology and products. Although the program does cover other Hardware and Networking topics too, the difference and the focus are obvious.
Keeping Your Experience in Mind
If you don’t have much Hardware and Networking Training experience and want an entry level yet professionally recognized certification, Hardware and Networking Training+ is a smart way to go. It is a very well-organized and structured program that aims to fill the knowledge gaps most people have in the beginning of their Hardware and Networking career.
Hardware and Networking Training+ teaches you what Hardware and Networking technology is. It may be a good foundation for Cisco’s CCNA (or Microsoft, or other vendor specific certifications for that matter), which teaches you to configure and troubleshoot this technology. So, if you’re a beginner, don’t look in the CCNA direction for now. Your time will come.
For those who have a few years’ Hardware and Networking Traininging experience and understanding, CCNA may be a very logical and career boosting way to go. It is a very in depth study of Hardware and Networking as a whole, including routing, protocols, Industry Penetration.
As the Hardware and Networking is vendor-neutral, it is recognized by almost all companies. Many of them, including Dell, HP, Ricoh, Sharp and Xerox require it.
Whichever certification you opt for, you need to start with evaluating your career goals, as well as the current level of experience and knowledge. Even people who have years of expertise under their belt should keep in mind to clear their schedule for lots of learning time, since the exams are powerful. Yet, hard as it all may be, your effort will definitely pay off, whether you choose the foundational Hardware and Networking Training+, or CCNA certification as a more advanced option.