What's compTia and how does it stack up against ccna?

Cc certs are Cisco centric, that much I know. And almost everywhere on the web I see ccna, ccnp, etc. But nobody in the IT world talks about CompTIA.

To add to that question, what are some of the other certifications? MikroTik? Ubiquity? Pfsense?
I know windows has a ton, and I found Google’s on Coursera…
I’m not going to chase all of those, as I’m just trying to get my foot in the door of the industry, and am just tinkering with fundamentals. I am aware that it’s best to see what the employer needs and is willing to finance.

I’m watching this video and even bought the 3 dollar book. Very useful as an introduction to fundamentals.

CompTIA provides (among a few others) the A+ certification, which is considered the bare minimum in the field (in the eyes of hiring managers) and often mocked by holders of said A+ certification.

It is a good indicator that you can perform “helpdesk” duties, but it is by far the be-all-and-end-all. If you get it (probably still should - mind you they expire these days - I am grandfathered in FWIW) you will definitely want to supplement it with certifications for your desired specialty.

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I don’t know if this is still the case but the Redhad ‘cert’ was definitly worth it’s investment as it wasn’t as easy to ‘cheat’ as some of the simpler certs.

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Really depends on the job, CCNA and all those are under cisco are for network admin type jobs

Comptia, is more diverse entry level certs A+, Sec+, Net+, Linux + etc. all entry level stuff.

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Comparison wise, the Network+ could be viewed as a vendor neutral equivalent of CCENT. However, if you know now that networking is something you want to do, then I would skip Net+ and just go CCENT/CCNA.

Other than that, CompTIA shines in a jack of all trades methodology. You will get detailed information in various aspects of the “tech” you’re studying. A+ covers workstation components and software, diving deep into both to give you the tools necessary to enter help desk or desktop support. Net+ gives you networking knowledge applicable to a home office all the way to getting a job at an ISP. Sec+ goes over some technical, some compliance stuff, overlapping with Net+, but a lot of jobs require it (especially government level).

Cisco certs will scale like crazy. CCNA tests you over a basic Cisco networking setup, whereas CCNP, the next logical progression, adds extra hardware and components into the mix. You eventually go up to the design and “architect” levels, the last being CCIE. Enjoy your jacket with embroidered cert number and coffee mug, because you earned it :wink:

If networking isn’t your thing (I get it), there are tons of options in the VMware, RedHat, and Microsoft side for infrastructure and systems engineering. There are a ton in cloud space as well, for AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.


Yeah, I thought as much,…nothing wrong with it, just I don’t know if I should actually spend money/time to get certified to be at a helpdesk…

:drooling_face: This is probably my goal right now. Where I live, the pay is good and the job in demand! Also it sounds very interesting :smiley:

Hold on there…You’re telling me if I want networking, I have no business lookig at Red Hat? Also what is the difference between system engineer and networking? I’d google, but am currently at work (coffee break. Will explore more at home.)
Damn…seems I need to make a career path plan…also, am I late if I want to “join the party” at 30 and have no formal technical education on anything computers?

No, you are not late to join the party at 30. I will be fifty-five years old this year. If I am not too old you aren’t either.


The overwhelming response to this is probably going to be “it depends”. You will still touch networking in everything you do. However, a network admin, network engineer, and network architect are very different than on the systems side. Networking jobs facilitate the company network, going as far as isolating departments and branches based to have their own segregated or virtual network. Also, you would control the remote connections and what not.

In that respect, a systems engineer is often responsible for the application servers, web servers, file servers, database servers, etc. There is still networking involved, but at a large company the heavy stuff will be deferred to the network admin.

At my company, I do everything, so they call us DevOps and give us a fancy paycheck :wink: But it is a small company, only about 15 Ops people total and less than 150 in the entire company.

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Not at all, don’t let anyone tell you that. As long as you are capable of learning you can do it.


Yeah, I kind of have this fear/respect/admiration for the super experienced/knowledgeable people in their mid 20’s and sometimes I just feel like I missed out on a lot. I’m learning not, though and thankfully I stray away from these thoughts as much as possible :slight_smile:

Yeah, I’ve read a few descriptions and a few posts on reddit about the differences and it turns out the lines are pretty blurry in practice.
In the city I’m currently residing, I don’t expect to be working in a big company, especially with a Linux system. It would be mighty fine, to get to know complex systems, though. :smiley:

Well, you could always use Network simulation software to simulate a complex system to learn.

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That’s what I’m doing right now with packet tracer. I’ll be learning gns3 a bit later after I get comfortable with pt

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What I like with CompTIA is the ease of maintaining the cert with CEs (continuing education). Cisco requires retesting. IMO sec+ opened a lot of doors, so it might not be hard but it’s a great start.

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