Should I get Network+ before Security+?

A computer network with a security lock icon in the center

In the world of IT, certifications play a crucial role in demonstrating your knowledge and skills to potential employers. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in network or security, chances are you’ve heard of Network+ and Security+ certifications. Both certifications are offered by CompTIA and can be obtained after passing the respective exams. In this article, we’ll explore the question of whether you should get Network+ before Security+ and provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision.

What is Network+ Certification?

Network+ is an entry-level certification that validates your knowledge of networking concepts, protocols, and technologies. The certification covers a wide range of topics, including network architecture, infrastructure, security, and troubleshooting. It is designed for individuals who are just beginning their careers in IT and have little to no experience in networking. Network+ is also a prerequisite for other advanced certifications offered by CompTIA, such as Security+ and CySA+.

Obtaining Network+ certification can open up many job opportunities in the IT industry. With this certification, you can work as a network technician, help desk technician, or network administrator. Additionally, Network+ certification is recognized globally, which means that you can work in any country that recognizes this certification. It is a valuable asset to have on your resume and can help you stand out from other candidates when applying for IT positions.

What is Security+ Certification?

Security+ is a mid-level certification that validates your understanding of information security concepts and best practices. The certification covers a range of topics, including security threats, vulnerabilities, network security, access control, and identity management. It is designed for individuals who have at least two years of hands-on experience in IT security and are looking to take their careers to the next level. Security+ is also recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense and is a requirement for certain government positions.

One of the benefits of obtaining Security+ certification is that it is vendor-neutral, meaning that it is not tied to any specific technology or product. This makes it a valuable certification for individuals who work with a variety of different systems and technologies. Additionally, Security+ is recognized globally, making it a valuable certification for individuals who work in international organizations or who are looking to work abroad.

To obtain Security+ certification, individuals must pass a single exam that consists of multiple-choice and performance-based questions. The exam is designed to test an individual’s knowledge of security concepts and best practices, as well as their ability to apply that knowledge in real-world scenarios. Once an individual has obtained Security+ certification, they must renew it every three years to ensure that their knowledge and skills remain up-to-date.

Understanding the Difference Between Network+ and Security+ Certifications

The main difference between Network+ and Security+ certifications is the focus of the exam. Network+ covers networking concepts and technologies, while Security+ covers information security concepts and best practices. In other words, Network+ is more focused on the “how” of networking, while Security+ is more focused on the “why” and “what” of information security. Additionally, Security+ is considered to be a more advanced certification than Network+ and requires prior experience in the field.

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Another key difference between Network+ and Security+ certifications is the job roles they prepare you for. Network+ is ideal for individuals who want to pursue a career in network administration, network engineering, or network support. On the other hand, Security+ is designed for individuals who want to specialize in information security, such as security analysts, security engineers, and security consultants.

It’s also worth noting that Security+ covers a wider range of topics than Network+. While Network+ focuses on networking technologies and protocols, Security+ covers topics such as cryptography, access control, and threat management. This makes Security+ a more comprehensive certification for individuals who want to gain a deeper understanding of information security.

Which Certification Should You Get First, Network+ or Security+?

If you’re just starting out in IT and have little to no experience in networking or security, it’s recommended that you start with Network+ certification. This will give you a solid foundation in networking concepts and technologies, which you will need to understand in order to pursue Security+ certification. On the other hand, if you already have some experience in IT and specifically in security, it might make more sense to pursue Security+ first.

It’s important to note that both Network+ and Security+ certifications are highly valued in the IT industry and can lead to a variety of career opportunities. Network+ certification is particularly useful for those interested in network administration, while Security+ certification is more focused on cybersecurity and information security.

Additionally, it’s worth considering your long-term career goals when deciding which certification to pursue first. If you ultimately want to specialize in cybersecurity, starting with Security+ certification may be the better choice, as it will give you a more in-depth understanding of security concepts and technologies from the outset.

Pros and Cons of Getting Network+ Before Security+

One of the main advantages of getting Network+ before Security+ is that it provides you with a solid foundation in networking concepts and technologies. This will make it easier for you to understand the more advanced concepts covered in Security+. Additionally, Network+ is a prerequisite for other advanced certifications offered by CompTIA, such as CySA+ and PenTest+. However, one of the main disadvantages of getting Network+ before Security+ is that it can be time-consuming and costly.

Another advantage of getting Network+ before Security+ is that it can help you stand out in the job market. Many employers value candidates who have a strong understanding of networking, as it is a crucial component of many IT roles. On the other hand, one potential disadvantage of getting Network+ first is that it may not be as immediately applicable to certain job roles as Security+. For example, if you are primarily interested in cybersecurity, Security+ may be a more relevant certification to pursue first.

Pros and Cons of Getting Security+ Before Network+

If you have some experience in IT and specifically in security, getting Security+ before Network+ might make more sense for you. This is because Security+ is a more advanced certification than Network+ and requires prior experience in the field. Additionally, Security+ is recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense and is a requirement for certain government positions. However, one of the main disadvantages of getting Security+ before Network+ is that it might be more challenging for you to understand the networking concepts covered in Network+ without prior experience.

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Another advantage of getting Security+ before Network+ is that it can help you stand out in the job market. Employers often look for candidates who have advanced security skills and certifications, and Security+ can demonstrate that you have those skills. However, if you are just starting out in IT and have no prior experience, it might be better to start with Network+ to gain a solid foundation in networking concepts before moving on to more advanced security topics.

Which Certification is More Useful for Your Career, Network+ or Security+?

Whether Network+ or Security+ is more useful for your career depends on your career goals and the type of job you are interested in. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in networking, then Network+ is more useful for you. On the other hand, if you’re interested in pursuing a career in security, then Security+ is more useful for you. Keep in mind, though, that both certifications are highly valued by employers and can help you stand out in a competitive job market.

It’s also important to consider the level of difficulty of each certification. Network+ is considered to be a more entry-level certification, while Security+ is more advanced and requires a deeper understanding of security concepts. If you’re just starting out in your career, Network+ may be a good place to start, while Security+ may be more appropriate for those with more experience or who are looking to specialize in security.

How Difficult Are the Network+ and Security+ Exams?

The difficulty of the Network+ and Security+ exams depends on your level of experience and preparation. Both exams are considered to be challenging and require a solid understanding of the concepts and technologies covered. However, with proper preparation and study, both exams are definitely passable.

It is important to note that the Network+ and Security+ exams are constantly updated to reflect the latest technologies and industry trends. This means that even experienced professionals may need to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in order to pass the exams. Additionally, the exams may include scenario-based questions that require critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Therefore, it is recommended to not only have a strong understanding of the concepts, but also to practice applying them in real-world scenarios.

How Much Does It Cost to Get Certified in Network+ and Security+?

The cost of getting certified in Network+ and Security+ varies depending on where you live and how you choose to prepare for the exam. Generally, the cost of taking both exams is around $550. Additionally, there are costs associated with study materials and courses. However, CompTIA offers discounted exam vouchers and free resources to help you prepare for the exam.

What Are the Job Opportunities Available for Certified Professionals in Network+ and Security+?

Certified professionals in Network+ and Security+ are highly valued by employers and can pursue a range of job opportunities in the IT industry. Some of the most common job roles include network administrator, network engineer, cybersecurity analyst, and information security specialist. The average salary for professionals with Network+ and Security+ certifications is around $70,000 per year.

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What Are the Prerequisites for Taking the Network+ and Security+ Exams?

There are no specific prerequisites for taking the Network+ and Security+ exams. However, CompTIA recommends that you have at least nine months of hands-on experience in the field before taking the exams. Additionally, it’s recommended that you have a solid understanding of the concepts and technologies covered in the exams.

How Long Does It Take to Prepare for the Network+ and Security+ Exams?

The amount of time it takes to prepare for the Network+ and Security+ exams depends on your level of experience and knowledge of the concepts and technologies covered. Generally, it’s recommended that you devote at least six to eight weeks of study for each exam. However, this can vary depending on your learning style and pace.

Tips for Passing the Network+ and Security+ Exams on Your First Attempt

Here are some tips to help you pass the Network+ and Security+ exams on your first attempt:

  • Start studying early and create a study schedule.
  • Use multiple study materials, such as books, videos, and practice exams.
  • Take practice exams to test your knowledge and identify areas where you need improvement.
  • Focus on understanding the concepts and technologies covered, rather than just memorizing information.
  • Stay calm and confident during the exam.

Frequently Asked Questions About Getting Certified in Network+ and Security+

Here are some frequently asked questions about getting certified in Network+ and Security+:

  • Q: How long is the Network+ exam?
  • A: The Network+ exam is 90 minutes long.
  • Q: How many questions are on the Security+ exam?
  • A: The Security+ exam typically has 90 multiple-choice and performance-based questions.
  • Q: Is there a time limit for taking the exams?
  • A: No, there is no time limit for taking the exams. However, it’s recommended that you take them within 12 months of your last attempt.
  • Q: Do I need to renew my certification?
  • A: Yes, both Network+ and Security+ certifications are valid for three years. To renew your certification, you’ll need to earn a certain number of continuing education units (CEUs) or retake the exam.

In conclusion, whether you should get Network+ before Security+ depends on your level of experience and career goals. If you’re just starting out in IT and have little to no experience in networking or security, it’s recommended that you start with Network+ certification. On the other hand, if you already have some experience in IT and specifically in security, it might make more sense to pursue Security+ first. Regardless of which certification you choose, both Network+ and Security+ are highly valued by employers and can help you advance your career in the IT industry.

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