CCNA or Net+? Lets talk
Updated: Nov 24, 2021
I'm writing this as I listen to Adele's new album, by the way... it's fuego. Alright, so let's get straight to the point. CCNA or Net+, which is right for you? This is a question that really relies on the research you've done that best fits your career. It could be one cert, or it could be both. More knowledge is always needed, and certifications provide you with a structured experience. I'll begin this topic by giving which version of the exams I took.
For CCNA, I took the 200-301 exam, and for Network+, the N10-007 exam. When I was deciding which certification would be best for my career, I remember one engineer gave me a vague description of how he saw the two in comparison, he said, "CCNA is a mile deep in information, but not very broad, and the Network+ is very broad in information but does not dive very deep". Basically meaning CCNA can be more extensive in study material, but Net+ covers a wider variety of material, but doesn't go into extensive detail like the CCNA. But of course this is all opinion based. To this day, I agree with him to an extent. A lot has changed, and both certifications provide a vast amount of information. I want to be very honest and non-biased in my opinion of the two. I respect both certifications greatly which is why I did my best to obtain each.
The reason at the time I took Net+ was to see if I would like the networking world more than the Security/Cyber side. I took it as a stepping stone in obtaining my CCNA, so it served as my gateway into networking. I did not want to jump into CCNA, learning a lot about Cisco devices and spending that time giving it attention, to end up not enjoying how networking works. I took my Net+ exam and enjoyed it so much it persuaded me to continue on that networking journey.
In a realistic sense, I've used my CCNA knowledge more. Only because the CCNA is a lot more technical, and that my environment requires me to know how Cisco technologies work. Taking the CCNA, it focused a lot more on how network devices transmit data between each other, troubleshooting processes, and the logic behind it, more specifically towards Cisco devices. In that sense, CCNA provides great networking knowledge but provides knowledge more oriented around being in a Cisco environment.
Amount of time studied:
I spent 5 months studying for my CCNA. If I had to sum up my consistency, I would say out of those 5 months I was consistent with my studying for 3 months. The other 2 months were on and off studying.
Instructional videos, online forums/blogs, books, physical + virtual lab equipment, simulated exams.
Looking at the Net+, I obtained a great amount of knowledge as well. Network+ opened me up to the world of networking more than the CCNA did. I learned more about what the networking world had to offer, but less about how to configure and troubleshoot devices. Network+ provided me with enough information to distinguish between different network technologies and what their purpose was, but not how to analyze issues these technologies can succumb to. It gave me great information on the key points of network technologies, but not how to implement or configure them for certain environments.
Amount of time studied:
I spent roughly 1 month, at most 2 months of studying. I was pretty consistent, but another thing to add is I was in an instructor-led class for around two weeks before taking my exam.
Books, two week instructor led course, simulated exams.
Which to take?
Depends on where you want to go in your career. If you plan on diving very deep into networking and getting hands-on with equipment, then in my opinion, CCNA. If you need just the fundamentals so you understand how networking intertwines in the Tech world, then Network+. CCNA teaches fundamentals as well, but if you're not working on Cisco equipment, a lot of knowledge you may learn in obtaining your CCNA can be wasted. At the end of the day, neither is a wrong answer. Do some research, and see which best fits your career. It might be both.