Can I skip Network+ for Security+?

A computer network with a security lock symbol in the center

When it comes to pursuing a career in cybersecurity, obtaining industry-recognized certifications is a must. CompTIA Security+ is one such certification that demonstrates a candidate’s proficiency in various aspects of cybersecurity, including network security, threat analysis, risk management, and more. However, many candidates wonder whether they can skip the Network+ certification and directly pursue Security+. In this article, we will explore the various aspects of this question and provide detailed information on whether it is recommended or not.

The difference between Network+ and Security+ exams

Before delving into the pros and cons of skipping Network+, it is crucial to understand the differences between the two exams. CompTIA Network+ is an entry-level certification that focuses on foundational knowledge of networking concepts such as configuring, troubleshooting, and managing networks. On the other hand, CompTIA Security+ is an intermediate-level certification that covers a broad range of cybersecurity domains such as intrusion detection and prevention, risk management, cryptography, and more.

While Network+ is a prerequisite for Security+, it is not mandatory to take Network+ before Security+. However, it is highly recommended to have a solid understanding of networking concepts before attempting the Security+ exam. This is because Security+ builds upon the foundational knowledge of networking concepts covered in Network+.

Another key difference between the two exams is their focus on practical skills. Network+ emphasizes hands-on skills such as configuring and troubleshooting networks, while Security+ focuses on practical skills such as identifying and mitigating security threats. Therefore, Security+ is more suitable for professionals who are interested in pursuing a career in cybersecurity.

Pros and cons of skipping Network+ exam

There are both advantages and disadvantages to skipping Network+ and directly pursuing Security+. On the one hand, Security+ certification is more well-known and recognized in the cybersecurity industry, and employers often prefer it to Network+. Moreover, Security+ covers many of the networking topics that Network+ does, albeit at a deeper level. Therefore, in terms of gaining knowledge, skipping Network+ might not be a significant disadvantage.

However, it is also essential to consider the drawbacks of skipping Network+. First and foremost, Network+ covers a wide range of networking concepts that are fundamental to understanding network security. Skipping this certification can mean missing out on the basics, resulting in a lack of foundational knowledge that can cause problems later on. Secondly, studying for Network+ before attempting Security+ can provide a broader perspective on the cybersecurity domain, helping candidates to make informed decisions and solve real-world problems.

Another factor to consider when deciding whether to skip Network+ is the level of experience and knowledge you already possess. If you have a strong background in networking and feel confident in your understanding of the concepts covered in Network+, then skipping this certification may not be a significant disadvantage. However, if you are new to the field or have limited experience with networking, it may be beneficial to take the time to study for and obtain the Network+ certification before moving on to Security+. This will ensure that you have a solid foundation of knowledge and skills to build upon as you pursue further certifications and career opportunities in the cybersecurity industry.

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How important is Network+ for Security+ certification?

While it is possible to skip Network+ and still achieve Security+ certification, it is worth noting that the former serves as an essential building block for the latter. Network+ provides a solid foundation in networking concepts such as protocols, devices, topologies, and more, which are integral to understanding network security. In contrast, Security+ requires a deeper understanding of these concepts, and without a solid foundation, candidates might struggle to keep up.

Moreover, Network+ certification also covers topics such as network troubleshooting, network architecture, and network operations, which are crucial for security professionals to understand. These skills are necessary for identifying and mitigating security threats, as well as for implementing security measures that protect against attacks.

Additionally, having Network+ certification can also enhance a candidate’s job prospects in the cybersecurity field. Many employers prefer candidates who have a strong foundation in networking concepts, as it demonstrates a well-rounded understanding of the field. Therefore, obtaining Network+ certification can be a valuable asset for those pursuing a career in cybersecurity.

The role of Network+ in preparing for Security+

Network+ plays a pivotal role in preparing for Security+. It provides a comprehensive understanding of networking concepts, strategies, and best practices. By obtaining Network+ first, candidates can then build on that foundational knowledge and understand how to apply it to real-world scenarios. Moreover, Network+ certification demonstrates that a candidate has taken the time to build a solid foundation of knowledge before proceeding to intermediate-level certification like Security+.

Another benefit of obtaining Network+ certification before Security+ is that it covers a wide range of networking technologies, including wired and wireless networks, cloud computing, and virtualization. This knowledge is essential for understanding the security risks associated with these technologies and how to mitigate them.

Furthermore, Network+ certification provides a strong understanding of network protocols, such as TCP/IP, which are critical for securing networks. Security+ builds on this knowledge by focusing on security-specific protocols and technologies, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and encryption. Therefore, obtaining Network+ certification first can help candidates better understand the security concepts covered in Security+.

Is it recommended to take Network+ before Security+?

In general, it is strongly recommended that candidates take Network+ before attempting Security+. By doing so, they can acquire a well-rounded foundational knowledge of networking concepts and acquire the skills necessary to evaluate, design and secure a network. Moreover, studying for Network+ can help candidates learn how to think critically about networking problems and come up with effective solutions. This knowledge can be directly applied to Security+ and enable candidates to stand out from the crowd.

However, there are some exceptions to this recommendation. For example, if a candidate already has extensive experience in networking and feels confident in their knowledge, they may be able to skip Network+ and go straight to Security+. Additionally, some employers may prioritize Security+ certification over Network+ and may require candidates to obtain Security+ first.

It is also important to note that while Network+ provides a strong foundation for Security+, it is not a prerequisite. Candidates can still pass Security+ without taking Network+, but they may need to put in extra effort to fill any knowledge gaps they may have in networking concepts.

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Alternatives to Network+ for Security+ preparation

While Network+ provides an excellent foundation for Security+, there are alternatives that candidates can consider. For instance, Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) covers much of the same material as Network+ but goes into greater depth. Cisco CCNA is often preferred by employers due to its level of difficulty and comprehensive coverage of networking concepts. Another alternative is to consider a cybersecurity boot camp focused on Security+ that covers key networking concepts in-depth.

Another alternative to consider is CompTIA A+, which covers hardware and software concepts in addition to networking. While it may not go into as much depth as Network+ or CCNA, it provides a well-rounded foundation for Security+ preparation. Additionally, candidates can also explore online courses and study materials, such as practice exams and study guides, to supplement their preparation for Security+.

It’s important to note that while these alternatives can provide a strong foundation for Security+ preparation, they may not cover all of the specific topics and objectives outlined in the Security+ exam. Candidates should carefully review the exam objectives and ensure that their chosen preparation method adequately covers all of the necessary material.

The overlap between Network+ and Security+ topics

There is a considerable overlap between the topics covered in Network+ and Security+. For instance, both certifications cover networking concepts such as TCP/IP, VLAN, DNS, and more. However, Security+ extends these concepts further and explores how they relate to securing a network. By studying for Network+, candidates can gain a deeper understanding of these concepts, enabling more effective cybersecurity decisions.

Additionally, both Network+ and Security+ cover topics related to wireless networking, such as Wi-Fi standards, encryption protocols, and authentication methods. Understanding these concepts is crucial for securing wireless networks, which are becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s connected world. By obtaining both certifications, candidates can gain a comprehensive understanding of networking and security, making them valuable assets to any organization.

How much time and effort can you save by skipping Network+?

The amount of time and effort saved by skipping Network+ is minimal. While it is true that Security+ covers much of the same content as Network+, the latter is an entry-level certification that focuses on fundamental knowledge. Therefore, studying for Network+ doesn’t take more than a few weeks to a month for most candidates. The knowledge gained by studying for Network+ is translatable to many other certifications, thus making it an excellent investment of time and effort.

Real-world scenarios where knowledge of Network+ is relevant for Security+

In real-world scenarios, knowledge of Network+ concepts is essential for effective cybersecurity. For instance, understanding how to configure VLANs is vital for ensuring proper network segmentation, an essential aspect of network security. Similarly, understanding how to troubleshoot connectivity issues and configure routers can be a significant asset in responding to network security incidents. Additionally, Network+ knowledge can help cybersecurity professionals understand the relationship between various network components and the potential security risks that exist.

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The impact of not taking Network+ on future career prospects in cybersecurity

Not taking Network+ certification can have a negative impact on future career prospects in cybersecurity. Employers often look for candidates with a well-rounded skill set, and having foundational knowledge in networking concepts can make candidates more desirable. Moreover, learning how to think critically about networking problems can help candidates become more effective cybersecurity professionals. Therefore, while skipping Network+ might seem like a good time-saving measure, it can end up being detrimental in the long run.

Opinions from industry experts on the importance of Network+ for Security+

Industry experts often emphasize the importance of Network+ certification before proceeding to Security+. They point out that Network+ provides a solid foundational knowledge of networking concepts and provides the necessary skills to work effectively in network security. Moreover, Network+ demonstrates a candidate’s commitment to learning and building a comprehensive understanding that can benefit them in future cybersecurity roles.

Tips for self-study if you choose to skip Network+

If you choose to skip Network+ and proceed directly to Security+, there are still ways to acquire foundational knowledge. For instance, there are many online resources dedicated to Network+ that can provide comprehensive coverage of networking concepts. Additionally, reading network+ textbooks and whitepapers can provide the necessary foundational knowledge. However, regardless of the approach taken, it is essential to ensure that the knowledge gained is comprehensive and covers all necessary topics.

Comparing the difficulty level of Network+ and Security+

Comparing the difficulty levels of Network+ and Security+ is a subjective matter that can vary depending on the individual’s background and experience. However, in general, Security+ is more advanced in terms of content and covers more sophisticated concepts than Network+. Therefore, it is safe to say that Security+ is a more challenging exam than Network+. However, undertaking Network+ first can make Security+ easier to understand and pass.

A step-by-step guide to preparing for the Security+ exam without taking the Network+

While it is recommended that candidates take Network+ before attempting Security+, it is still possible to prepare for the latter without taking the former. Here is a step-by-step guide to preparing for Security+ without taking Network+:

  1. Familiarize yourself with Security+ exam objectives
  2. Understand the core concepts and strategies of network security
  3. Review and learn common networking concepts such as TCP/IP, DNS, and VLANs
  4. Learn the fundamentals of encryption, cryptography, access control, and digital forensics
  5. Practice using multiple choice questions and simulations to prepare for the exam questions
  6. Consider taking an online or in-person Security+ boot camp


In conclusion, while it is possible to skip Network+ certification and proceed directly to Security+, it is strongly recommended that candidates obtain Network+ first. Network+ provides a solid foundational knowledge of networking concepts, which are essential to understanding network security. Moreover, studying for Network+ can help candidates think critically about networking problems and come up with effective solutions. However, if you choose to skip Network+, there are still many resources available to acquire the necessary foundational knowledge to succeed in Security+ certification.

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