Need some advice on which cert to get first.

pianoman35pianoman35 Member Posts: 7 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hi Everyone,

First of all, I'm Chris. I graduated college with a Bachelor of Technology (B.T) in Network Administration and an A.A.S in Computer Information Systems, but before I graduated, I needed to find an internship ASAP in order to get the credits so I ended up working in web development for 3 years as my first job right out of college and is what I'm doing right now. I'd really like to move up in my career and go back to my college roots because I find that System/Network Administration is still what I'd really like to do. Data centers have always fascinated me as well. The only problem is, I have no certifications and it seems kind of hard to find a job without any work experience in the field. It seems like the certifications help a lot and I'd like some advice on which certification to get first and which order I should get them. I was thinking of going for the A+ first and then the Network + or CCNA. Any help is greatly appreciated!



  • SharkDiverSharkDiver Member Posts: 844
    The path alot of people take is the A+, then Net+, then CCENT and CCNA. (You can just do CCNA in one exam or take the CCENT and CCNA exams separately (ICND1 & ICND2))

    I, personally, would skip the A+ and go for the Net+ and then go on to CCNA. The A+ has a lot a material to remember, and unless you want to fix PCs, you may never need the information again. I found some of the A+ to be purely trivial. (Example - How many pins are on a Pentium 4 chip?)

    Good luck to you in whatever you choose.
  • Concerned WaterConcerned Water Member Posts: 338
    I would skip Net+ and go directly for CCENT or CCNA.
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  • goldenlightgoldenlight Member Posts: 378
    ONly Get A+ if you want to repair computers .

    Personally I would take the CCNA in 2 parts. That way you will have a complete understanding of the technology.

    Self study is definitely the way to go.
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  • srabieesrabiee Member Posts: 1,231 ■■■■■■■□□□
    I don't know why, but a lot of people skip over Server+ or don't even mention it in these types of threads. I consider the Server+ to be sort of like the "A+ Advanced." It builds off of what you learned in the A+ and seems like a natural progression to me. It's also the CompTIA cert that I enjoyed studying for the most. Also, it doesn't expire like the other certs do. It's worth a look into at the very least.
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    Bachelor of Science - Information Technology Network Design & Management (WGU - Completed August 2014)
  • pianoman35pianoman35 Member Posts: 7 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the input so far guys, it's REALLY helpful! It sounds like what I should do is skip A+ and instead go for Network + then CCNA? Either that or A+ then Server +, Network + then CCNA? They kind of lead into the more difficult certification so it may be a nice way to go I'm thinking.
  • f0rgiv3nf0rgiv3n Connection Overlord Member Posts: 598 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I do think that a progression might be helpful for your studies. A lot of people downplay A+, Net+, etc... but those really do benefit you. It gives you a good understanding and foundation.

    Going straight to CCNA i feel wouldn't give you as round of a knowledge-base that going A+/Net+ -> CCNA would give you.

    Knowing the best-practices from the ground up (which A+, Net+ would help) from A+ to Net+ to CCNA gives you a solid foundation.

    That's my two cents :) I did A+, Net+ and I never regret it. If I had to do it again I would still do both of them.
  • Master Of PuppetsMaster Of Puppets Member Posts: 1,210
    Since you have a BA in Network Administration, there is the possibility than N+ will put you to sleep. IMHO, as far as getting hired it won't make much of a difference when you have that degree. However, for the sake of learning more, it is not a bad idea at all. Even more so if you feel a little rusty on the networking side and haven't dealt with it or reviewed. The CCNA will be great, no doubt. With it I think you will be in a great position to get a networking job.
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  • pianoman35pianoman35 Member Posts: 7 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Since it's been awhile since college, I think going for the Network+ first would be good just for review and then that will better prepare me for studying for the CCNA since I'll have reviewed the easier stuff.
  • kurosaki00kurosaki00 Member Posts: 973
    I see you have a major in IT related
    so.. Id say skip A+ and N+
    Do you know how to work with printers? do you know how to connect them through IP, what kinds of printers there are
    basic troubleshooting steps?
    What are common systems/network terms and what they do like DNS, DHCP, IP, Packet, bandwith, etc
    basic wireless stuff like what is 2.4ghz, 5ghz, difference between 802.11a/b/g/n etc
    and so on...

    If you do, skip A+and Net+
    go for CCNA and Sec+, and jump to MS stuff
  • jmfdjmfd Member Posts: 30 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I chose to skip A+ and Net+ and go straight for CCNA. I agree that most of A+ is trivial unless you actually want to fix PCs.
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  • burfectburfect Member Posts: 128
    jmfd wrote: »
    I chose to skip A+ and Net+ and go straight for CCNA. I agree that most of A+ is trivial unless you actually want to fix PCs.

    With a BS in CIS and an A+ (sometimes N+) on the majority of entry-level positions it's hard for me to agree with this.. It's almost as if the A+ and N+ are more valued than a BS in CIS if you lack the experience.
  • unfbilly11unfbilly11 Member Posts: 100 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Coming from someone that just took the A+ and Net+, I'd say where you should start depends on how good you are at teaching yourself the technical material. Me personally, I was terrible at this. I didn't know how to study for these tech exams so it took me awhile to actually learn the material. There's no way I would've been able to jump right into CCNA or MCP without teaching myself how to learn the material on my own. THAT is what A+ and Net+ were good for, in my opinion. Teaching me how to teach myself...if that makes sense.

    You have a bachelor's in a technology field so you may be better than me at studying and skip right to CCNA, but I know I would've had a tough time taking CCNA or other more advanced certs right off the bat.
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