How to Choose the Best Certification for Computer Networking

By Aarav Goel 29-Jun-2022
How to Choose the Best Certification for Computer Networking
The demand for IT professionals has never seen a downward trend. But, with the increasing dependency on AI and machine learning, the requirement for skilled professionals in several domains of networking is growing exponentially. There is a long list of technologies and tools related to caring for and feeding modern networks that IT professionals need to master, especially network admins. If you are considering a long-term career in the IT sector, you must choose a networking certification to validate your skills and boost your career.
In the IT industry, certifications are a highly regarded validation of skills and expertise of a domain or subject. If you are looking to start a rewarding career or upgrade your skills and pay grade, getting a certification is the best way forward.
But it’s not that simple. The best networking certifications are tedious to prepare for and take a while to earn. Although it isn’t as long as a university degree or a diploma, they are still difficult to prepare for. Thus, it is important to choose a certification that suits your career goals and skill set before you start preparing. 
Here are some courses to help you get started.

The Best Foundational IT Certifications:

Foundational certifications for IT professionals are targeted to candidates who are just starting their journey in the IT industry or currently hold an entry-level job and wish to move higher. These certifications give you a strong foundational understanding of important topics and concepts. The core certifications offered by CompTIA equip you with knowledge about various domains and guide you through your career in computer networking and lays the groundwork for all future certifications.

CompTIA IT Fundamentals (ITF+)

This is a fundamental certification that targets users who have scarce knowledge and experience of information technology. This certification introduces you to the IT world in an easy way. It gives you an overview of all the different avenues that are available to you so that you can decide if you want to pursue this career or not, based on your aptitude and interest. This is a very necessary first step.

CompTIA A+

While hiring junior-level employees, organisations regard CompTIA A+ certification as one of the most valuable certifications. This credential has become an unofficial industry standard for beginners, giving you knowledge beyond mere PC support. You also learn about troubleshooting and problem-solving. The CompTIA A+ certification covers several topics like networking, security, OS and mobile devices.
Without experience in the industry, it is difficult to build a strong career. Get a foundational certification and industry experience first and then you can move towards a networking specialisation.

Best Computer Networking Certifications

The CompTIA Infrastructure Career Pathway offers several certifications that are the best in the industry. These certifications are vendor-neutral and validate your skills as an IT professional working on equipment belonging to any vendor. These certifications are
  • CompTIA Network+
  • CompTIA Security+
  • CompTIA Linux+
  • CompTIA Server+
  • CompTIA Cloud+

CompTIA Network+

This certification prepares IT professionals for designing and managing networks. You can also work and manage network devices, troubleshoot network issues, maintain network security and enhance network performance. CompTIA Network+ gives you the skills required for roles such as systems engineer, network administrator, network analysts and network support specialists. If you are looking for a certification that is vendor-neutral and can advance your career in computer networking.

CompTIA Security+

This computer networking certification gives you the foundational skills that you need to carry out fundamental IT security functions. It covers the newest trends, technologies and techniques that are required for managing and mitigating risks, managing threats and detecting intrusion.
The CompTIA Security+ certification allows professionals to get an understanding of enterprise networks and keep them connected and secure. This prepares you for roles such as security administrator, systems administrator, junior IT auditor or penetration tester and network engineer.

CompTIA Linux+

This certification covers various concepts that include the command line interface, system configuration, network services and settings, scripting basics and system security. A professional with a Linux+ certification has a working knowledge of configuring, booting and troubleshooting system network services and settings, writing scripts and carrying out SQL data manipulation.
With CompTIA Linux+, you are prepared for roles like systems administrator, technical support specialist, Linux administrator and network administrator.

CompTIA Server+

This certification prepares professionals for job roles in cloud environments and data centres. Your skills as a physical and virtual server administrator are validated with this certification. It covers various server admin skills such as server hardware installation, server hardware management, server administration (which includes virtualisation and high availability), disaster recovery and security and troubleshooting. This certification is well-suited for professionals looking for roles like data center technician, systems administrator, server administrator and network administrator.

CompTIA Cloud+

This certification enables IT professionals to automate and deploy cloud environments securely to support the high availability of business data and systems. IT professionals with the Cloud+ certification also have the capabilities to troubleshoot capacity, connectivity, security and automation issues. It prepares you for IT roles like senior systems administrator, systems engineer, senior network engineer, cloud engineer and senior network engineer.
The foundational CompTIA networking certifications have been designed to work together in a way where each certification builds on and relates to the other one in the category. These certifications also provide skill-based and vendor-specific certifications and skills that can be useful while operating any system or device. 
The foundational CompTIA certifications mentioned in this article can lay the foundation for the following vendor-specific credentials:
  • VMware Certified Professional
  • Certified Entry-Level Python Programmer Certification
  • AWS Certified Advanced Networking Specialty
  • Juniper Networks Certification Program
Interestingly, CompTIA computer networking certifications also give you a solid foundation for Cisco certifications. They are not a mandatory requirement but are recommended highly.

Cisco Computer Networking Certifications:

Cisco certifications are the most popular vendor-specific certifications for IT professionals in computer networking today. Combined with CompTIA certifications, a Cisco credential will back up your expertise within your job domain and you can apply your newly acquired skills to specific tools. 
Cisco certifications are classified by experience - Associate level, Professional level and Expert level.

CCNA certification:

The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) is a computer networking certification that gives your knowledge on network access, IP services, IP connectivity, automation, security fundamentals and programmability. It works well if you’re in roles like network specialist, network administrator and network engineer.

CCNP certification:

The new version of Cisco Certified Network Professional certification has replaced the CCNP certification. It includes enterprise infrastructure, virtualisation, architecture, security, automation and network assurance. You need to have 3-5 years of experience related to the implementation of enterprise networking solutions before you can apply for this credential.

CCIE certification - Enterprise Infrastructure:

Previously, this certification was known as the CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert) Routing and Switching. It is designed for experts with over 5-7 years of experience in networking. With this credential, you are technically equipped to troubleshoot, plan and operate complex enterprise networks.

Benefits of Getting a CompTIA Certification

From the various applications, job roles and certification options mentioned, it must be clear now why CompTIA networking certifications are the right choice for your career. Here’s how CompTIA can help you further to achieve a career milestone and get certified.
  1. Choose a CompTIA certification. The Career Roadmap and IT Career Center that CompTIA offers can help you explore the available jobs in the IT domain. These are resources that you will find useful for determining the certifications you should choose for your desired job role.
  2. Prepare for your certification exam. It is important to study for your certification exam in the right way. Koenig offers you multiple training programs in partnership with CompTIA and Cisco, to give you all the resources you will need to master the exam and earn your credential. With 1-on-1 classes with expert instructors, flexible study hours and more than adequate study material, Koenig gives you everything you will need to ace the exam. You can also take advantage of practice tests and other free resources available on the internet. 
  3. Give the exam the right way. CompTIA allows applicants to choose between online testing and in-person testing. The latter is carried out at designated test centres, while the former can be taken from the comfort of your workplace or home.
  4. Claim your credential and get a job. Once you clear your exam and earn your credential, you have a digital badge that you can claim, which will aid you while you are looking for job opportunities that are related to your skillset and certification. 

Take the First Step Today:

Networking certifications are a valuable credential for IT professionals today. Make sure you explore all the different options available before you, before settling down on a certification that will help you achieve your professional and financial goals. 
Almost every business today, irrespective of size or industry, uses computers and requires network incorporation at some level or other. Koenig helps you understand the choices in certifications, gives you proper guidance through experts from the industry and lets you study at a pace that is suited to your schedule. Give your career the boost it needs and enroll in a training course today.
Aarav Goel

Aarav Goel has top education industry knowledge with 4 years of experience. Being a passionate blogger also does blogging on the technology niche.