I'm currently attending Devry University and will be finishing up with my Associates degree in network administration in two months. My question is, should I prepare for my CompTIA A+ certification first, followed by the CCNA or vice-versa? I only asked this because I'm unemployed and have no IT experience and am looking for the best way to jumpstart my career in IT. Is there anyone that's been in the IT field for so time have any good advice on the best approach to take? Any advice will be helpful, thanks.
What would you like to do? A+ will get you in on the hardware/desktop side of things.
CCNA will get you more into the network side of things. While >I< like the network better, that doesn't mean everyone does!
The CompTIA Network+ may be a good place to start before CCNA as well, if you have have had no exposure whatsoever to building networks.
I definitely want to get into networking but I have no certifications and will only have my Associates come June, which I'm not sure what type of opportunities that will leave me without having any work experience in the networking field or PC repair. I'm assuming it would be wise to get my A+ then Network+ before pursuing my CCNA is what you are saying? On average, how long does it take to study for the A+ certification before you would take the exam?
That really depends on the individual. If I remember correctly, the A+ covers a broad range of topics, if you want to focus on Networking and feel that your knowledge is not sufficient for the CCNA, then I would suggest as Scott did, the Network+ certification. Since you have already gone to school, you should have the requisite knowledge to start in a desktop/systems role if that is what you desire, but if you want to focus on networking, go the CCNA route.
They all cover a broad range. But whether that's problematic or not depends on your study or exposure. Going from zero to CCENT can be incredibly daunting as well! (Until such time that years later you look back on it thinking "wow, that was simple stuff!")
A+ is just about pc architecture for desktop tech etc. In the UK it wont really help you get a job, depends where you are in the world. CCNA is a different challenge altogether and networking obviously.
If you took the CCNA curriculum that is part of the Devry degree, then I would suggest going directly into the CCNA. Take the two exam method, and begin with the CCENT. You may fine the smaller set of topics to be less daunting than the combined topics of the CCNA one exam path.
Scott is right. Originally I took the A+. Network+, some Microsoft certs, then CCNA. I thought the CCNA was difficult, so I started from what I thought was the beginning. Since I did self-study, picking up the CCNA books with no experience was a bit overwhelming. So I put them down and picked up "easier" certs. Knowing what I know now, I wish I would have went directly into the CCNA, because networking is what I enjoy the most.
Although, I can't say it was a bad decision, those certs helped me land jobs in different IT roles, and I feel I'm a better Network Engineer because of that experience. It also helped to hone my self-study skills, and now I am able to sit down and prepare a plan of attack when I'm approaching a certification (except for the CCIE, I'm still working on that plan lol).
Good luck with whatever path you choose.
Since you are interested in Networking, I'd recommend focusing your energy on the CCENT/CCNA. Network+ is certainly a step in that direction, but you'll get more respect from the CCNA. I don't see that the A+ would benefit you that much unless you are wanting to get a broad hardware certification prior to starting down the network path.
Well, it just depends on what you want to do. I don't see how the A+ certification can hurt. That's how I got into IT. I got my A+, got a job, and took my career from there. I have had a lot of variety in my career, but I wouldn't trade that for anything. That gave me an understanding of how all of the pieces fit together.
If you want the A+, get it. You can't go wrong with getting certified. Just remember that Cisco certifications are highly recognized in the IT arena, so getting CCENT/CCNA will boost your chances for employment significantly and will help you take your career to the next level.
Message was edited by: ErickB
If you are interested in networking as a career (it's a great job!) then definately start out with CCENT (ICND1). make sure you really have mastered those topics, then move onto CCNA (ICND2).
I wouldn't bother with A+ unless you want to be dealing with PC harware issues (yuck!)
I can't tell you what would be best for you, but I can tell you what I did. I to attended Devry and also recieved my associates in Network Systems Administration. After completing my degree, I went certification crazy. I recieved my A+, Network+ Security+ and CCENT. While getting my certifications I worked in the help desk side if IT for six months. I then got a Network Technician position and a year and a half after that Systems Administrator. So the sky is the limit in this field. Start with the CompTia certs and work your way up.