To Comptia, or not to Comptia....

ffhopkins46ffhopkins46 Member Posts: 21 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hi guys,

I'm brand new to the forum so this is my first post. I'm just starting to pursue a career in IT and know it's best to start from the ground up. However, now that Comptia has annual fees, continuing education cred, not to mention are completely greedy considering all of the bottom level certs are the most expensive...should I just work toward my CCENT/CCNA?

I'm ready to take A+, I've reviewed Net+ study guide and CBT Nuggets, and I half way through Gibson's Security+ "oracle" lol. I believe Sec+ would be a good move considering I'm military and have a clearance and will eventually pursue D.O.D. contracting.

And yes, I'm completely green outside of self study and a genuine interest I'm finally pursuing. ANY suggestions would be greatly appreciated...
"The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will." Vince Lombardi


Comments

  • RoguetadhgRoguetadhg CompTIA A+, Network+. Member Posts: 2,489 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I would say go for it since you're already with the government.
    In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
    TE Threads: How to study for the CCENT/CCNA, Introduction to Cisco Exams

  • ffhopkins46ffhopkins46 Member Posts: 21 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Advanced Security certs are what Im going for after building a foundation. Since I wanna go the cisco route, should I still get A+? I've procrastinated so long and restarted studying for it I've basically got it memorized! Or should I just get Sec+ and aim for CCENT?
    "The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will." Vince Lombardi


  • ffhopkins46ffhopkins46 Member Posts: 21 ■□□□□□□□□□
    or net+?
    "The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will." Vince Lombardi


  • RoguetadhgRoguetadhg CompTIA A+, Network+. Member Posts: 2,489 ■■■■■■■■□□
    A+ and Net+ seem to be what Security+ rides ontop of. Rather, the content within Security+ makes more sense because I studied for A+ and Net+.

    From reading:

    CompTIA Continuing Education Program

    I would say go for the three tests (A+, Net+, Security+). First. Branch out later. CompTIA likes to toss in a little bit of everything from everyone.

    You'll only need to pay for the highest test to stay certified. Im cloudy on the subject for renewals.
    In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
    TE Threads: How to study for the CCENT/CCNA, Introduction to Cisco Exams

  • ffhopkins46ffhopkins46 Member Posts: 21 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks!
    "The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will." Vince Lombardi


  • nelnel Member Posts: 2,859 ■□□□□□□□□□
    In my opinion i would not comptia.

    Although they are decent entry certs there are more valuable certs out there, which with a tad more effort, are achievable regardless of current skill level. I also do not believe the costs are justified with the comptia certs. Comptia appears popular in the US but whilst i have worked in the UK and Oz i have seen little interest in any of their products. If i were to start from the beginning, i would have skipped my A+ and N+. These were the older exams, hopefully they have improved since then. For anyone new to IT and they are starting at an entry level position i would always say go with a MS/Cisco combo. i.e. MCITP:SA & CCNA.
    Xbox Live: Bring It On

    Bsc (hons) Network Computing - 1st Class
    WIP: Msc advanced networking
  • ffhopkins46ffhopkins46 Member Posts: 21 ■□□□□□□□□□
    What do you mean by MCITP:SA? What does the SA stand for?
    "The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will." Vince Lombardi


  • DarrilDarril Member Posts: 1,588
    Welcome to the forums.

    Mostly, I'd strongly recommend focusing on one and finishing it. You can do it all, but you can't do it all at the same time.

    If you're ready to take the A+, I say take the A+ exams. It will give you a success that you can build on.

    Your post implies you're doing something other than IT right now. You need to give a hiring manager a reason to bring you in for an interview beyond your experience. Going through the process of learning the content and passing the exams for A+, Network+, and Security+ will give you credibility and give you more chances at landing an interview and an IT job when you get out. From a hiring manager's point of view, there's a huge difference between someone saying "I could have passed that exam" and "I passed that exam and have the certification."

    If you plan on pursuing a DOD contracting job in IT and you have a clearance, a Security + certification is a must. It's a job requirement and while some employers will give you some time after you start the job to complete it, you'll lose the job opportunity against someone else that has the cert if you don't have it when you start looking for a job.

    Last, while a CCNA is valuable for specific jobs, it isn't a requirement in as many jobs. Also, in my experience with DOD contracting jobs, jobs that required a CCNA also required a security certification (such as Security+) also. The CCNA on its own wasn't enough.

    Good luck.
  • joshmindseyejoshmindseye Registered Users Posts: 1 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I agree with Darril. I myself have a clearance with the government as well (u.s. army). I have the luck of being in the IT field (25B). While I was deployed in afghanistan, I worked in a Battalion level help desk that handled 25,000 users. I worked along side D.O.D. contractors and learn a lot from them, I still keep in touch with them to this day (got to keep those contacts for when I get out). The company they worked through REQUIRED A+ and Security + at a minimum within 6 months of getting the job, on top of the security clearance. They all told me you should at least get A+ and Secuirty + if you want a job that's better than a trouble ticket processor. I get out in less than 24 months, can't wait to contract with D.O.D.
  • matt333matt333 Senior packet farmer Bay AreaMember Posts: 268 ■■■■□□□□□□
    my two cents on comptia is that I have never gotten a " wow you have your network+?!" but I have gotten a similar response when people see that I have my CCNA. if you want a good bang for your buck go for your CCNA, the concepts you learn from it are worth it even if you dont use cisco gear.

    Comptia exams are not cheap too so if your interested in saving some money skip Comptia

    Up to you, good luck in whatever you decide
    Studying: Automating Everything, network API's, Python etc.. 
    Certifications: CCNP, CCDP, JNCIP-DC, JNCIS-DevOps, JNCIS-ENT, JNCIS-SP
  • EV42TMANEV42TMAN Member Posts: 256
    The MCITP:SA means Server Administrator
    MCITP (Microsoft Certified IT Professional) | Training Courses for IT Professionals
    its the step before enterprise administrator in the Microsoft Server 2008 track

    I will say getting Net+ before cisco will help you will cisco and to get the A+ because some places require it regardless of your other qualifications so just knock it out and move on to the next certification
    Current Certification Exam: ???
    Future Certifications: CCNP Route Switch, CCNA Datacenter, random vendor training.
  • ffhopkins46ffhopkins46 Member Posts: 21 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Darril wrote: »
    Welcome to the forums.

    Mostly, I'd strongly recommend focusing on one and finishing it. You can do it all, but you can't do it all at the same time.

    If you're ready to take the A+, I say take the A+ exams. It will give you a success that you can build on.

    Your post implies you're doing something other than IT right now. You need to give a hiring manager a reason to bring you in for an interview beyond your experience. Going through the process of learning the content and passing the exams for A+, Network+, and Security+ will give you credibility and give you more chances at landing an interview and an IT job when you get out. From a hiring manager's point of view, there's a huge difference between someone saying "I could have passed that exam" and "I passed that exam and have the certification."

    If you plan on pursuing a DOD contracting job in IT and you have a clearance, a Security + certification is a must. It's a job requirement and while some employers will give you some time after you start the job to complete it, you'll lose the job opportunity against someone else that has the cert if you don't have it when you start looking for a job.

    Last, while a CCNA is valuable for specific jobs, it isn't a requirement in as many jobs. Also, in my experience with DOD contracting jobs, jobs that required a CCNA also required a security certification (such as Security+) also. The CCNA on its own wasn't enough.

    Good luck.

    Thanks for the advice. So the sec+ and ccna combo won't be enough initially in your opinion? My only gripe with Comptia is expense. I've enjoyed the study material but feel as if much of it was too broad to actually apply real-world. The study guides focused more on teaching vocabulary than application and that's one thing that motivated me about the cisco track. I can understand that many employers will want to see progression but even more will want me to have some idea of applying the concepts behind the information. Sadly, A+ is considered the lowest certification on comptia's track yet at least if a person is proactive they can build and repair a pc. Net+ felt like a terminology class. My sec+ studies have been great with the your book Darrill. Very focused and easy to read, which took away some anxiety I had about starting it.
    "The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will." Vince Lombardi


  • ffhopkins46ffhopkins46 Member Posts: 21 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I can see a slight division amongst the CCNA and "Mostly Microsoft" clans here on the forum!icon_lol.gif

    I know in the end I will pursue my CCNA and it will probably take a few months. Maybe not the proposed 6 months because I work 24/48 (firefighter) and study/watch CBT Nuggets around 8 hours each day I'm off. In all realism, Comptia needs to really reconsider their business model.

    Thanks everyone for the input!

    A+.......$356
    NET+....$258
    SEC+....$278
    CCENT..$125

    Knowing that quite possibly my first human resource interviewer may not know what they are and will probably think Comptia is a Computer store......priceless. <not my quote>icon_thumright.gif
    "The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will." Vince Lombardi


  • RoguetadhgRoguetadhg CompTIA A+, Network+. Member Posts: 2,489 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I wouldn't count CCENT in of itself. You'll really need to get the CCNA to make it worth the work. Together you'll spend about 300 for CCNA.

    Keep in mind that CompTIA has a far wider reach than any vendor specific exam - like Cisco or Microsoft. It's entry level and Basic. To make use of the vendor specific, you'll really need to know where you want to go, or what job you would be able to use it with. With CompTIA, you can flash it to be and atleast be given some credit with a well-rounded, entry-level knowledge. Taking my Cisco Cert to a windows domain wouldn't be worth too much unless I had MS certs. Atleast CompTIA goes with everything - like the color black. :)

    My 2 cents atleast.
    In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
    TE Threads: How to study for the CCENT/CCNA, Introduction to Cisco Exams

  • DarrilDarril Member Posts: 1,588
    Over 900,000 people have obtained the CompTIA A+ certification and a good portion of these people have moved on to successful IT careers. You might object to the cost of taking the exams, but I don't think the problem is CompTIAs business model. Similarly, I'm not sure that thinking an interviewer will be ignorant about CompTIA is an effective plan for your success, especially if you plan on seeking a job with a DOD contractor.

    My CISSP exam cost me $600 plus $65 annually. My SSCP exam cost me $300 plus the cost of driving to another city and staying overnight at a hotel to get a good night's rest beforehand. I could have chosen to complain about (ISC)2, or their costs, or their lack of enough tests in my area, or...., but instead I focused on the value of the certifications. I decided they were valuable to me, I did the best I could to achieve them, and they have proven to be exceptionally valuable to me. Thankfully, the effort I poured into mastering the material for Security+ helped me immensely for these certs and I was able to pass both successfully the first time.

    If you plan on pursuing a DOD job, having a Security+ cert and a security clearance will make you easier to hire. A Security+ and CCNA might give you the right credentials for the right job, and the Security+ plus a Microsoft cert might give you the right credentials for a different job. However, as a career changer, you might it find it more challenging to get interviewed and hired than someone that has been working in an IT job for the past three or so years.

    In my opinion, the A+, Network+, Security+ trio will give you value as a career changer in two ways. First, they will help ensure that you fill in many of the information holes that may be second nature to someone working in IT. Second, it'll give your resume more credibility that you do know the material. And I can't stress enough that just reading a book without actually passing an exam doesn't give you the same level of knowledge. Studying to ensure that you don't have to pay for the exam a second time requires a different level of effort than just reading a book or watching videos.

    I don't have a dog in this fight. I don't get anything extra if you choose to pursue CompTIA certs or bypass them, but I am curious. Your original post indicated that you were ready to take A+, reviewed material for Network+, and were halfway through a Security+ book. Your last post indicated you plan on pursuing the CCNA. Have you decided on what exam you plan on taking first?
  • ffhopkins46ffhopkins46 Member Posts: 21 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Darril.........I was planning to take the Sec+ first as of my first post. I didn't know anything about security in IT and after the CBT Nuggets vids and your book...I see that it's what I want to do. I studied for A+ for months and I still review the material and do practice tests a least an hour every other day to keep it fresh (my job allows me much time to study). I see your point in taking the A+ exam being that I feel prepared for it. It does make more sense to start at the bottom.

    I really just wanted to get an idea of how to approach my education in IT knowing that I do want to achieve CCNA and now I'm intersted in security as well. My plan was to get sec+, ccent, then ccna. Later, to pursue possibly MCITP and higher security(SSCP). I guess I shouldv'e also stated I don't plan to really leave my current career until I acheive my CCNA and Sec+ at minimum.
    "The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will." Vince Lombardi


  • RoguetadhgRoguetadhg CompTIA A+, Network+. Member Posts: 2,489 ■■■■■■■■□□
    So im confused. I'm seeing your Certs listing A+.

    Do you have your A+?

    If so, Congrats :)
    In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
    TE Threads: How to study for the CCENT/CCNA, Introduction to Cisco Exams

  • ffhopkins46ffhopkins46 Member Posts: 21 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Not yet listed it wrong lol. It's what I was about to take. Hold the drinks.....icon_study.gif
    "The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will." Vince Lombardi


  • MrXpertMrXpert Member Posts: 586 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Far more worthwhile if you get both CCENT and CCNA. It will be harder to achieve but it will show you really know your stuff at that level.
    I'm an Xpert at nothing apart from remembering useless information that nobody else cares about.
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