Recent graduates and seasoned professionals alike may find themselves baffled when contemplating the correct certification paths for their career. Information technology is an extremely broad field with many specializations and different certification paths. Professionals who are focused in one specialization may find the certifications from another specialization useless to their career so it is very important for them to do adequate research.
For entry-level certifications, CompTIA is usually highly prized. CompTIA certifications are inexpensive compared to other certifications and are usually best done at the beginning of a professional’s career or during their education. CompTIA has a variety of certifications which is what makes it such a useful certification industry. These certifications can range from Network+ which is beneficial for network engineers and A+ which is beneficial for help desk and administrator staff. Security+ is very helpful for many government contract and Server+ is aimed at server administrators.
Cisco certifications are the premiere networking certification and many employers value this certification even if they do not use Cisco products. Cisco products are extensively used throughout the world and a higher level Cisco certification is usually very helpful wherever a professional chooses to go. Any professional who wants to get serious about networking should either begin with the Cisco Certified Network Associate certification or the CompTIA Network+ certification. Network+ is a briefer exam but the Cisco exam offers paths for upgrades.
Microsoft training can be helpful for many professionals. Microsoft IT certifications span from help desk issues through systems administration and they are valuable for those who are interested in user support and IT administration. Microsoft does not provide comprehensive networking certifications which means they are not suitable for network engineers or network administrators. Microsoft certifications range from easy to extremely difficult and the certification paths available can be quite extensive. This means that a professional can continue to grow along with their Microsoft certification path.
Which IT Certification Is Right For Me?
Networking engineering is an extremely fast-growing field. Entry-level network administrators should look into either a CompTIA Network+ certification or a Cisco Certified Network Associate certification. For those who are just starting out and are interested in a position soon, CompTIA may be the fastest path. However, those who want to truly develop their skills may be better served by a Cisco Certified Network Associate certification. Those who are interested in networking for secure contracts should consider getting a Security+ from CompTIA as it is often a requirement.
Those who are interested in systems administration or similar careers will often be better served by a Microsoft certification or either a CompTIA A+ or Server+. There are many Microsoft certification paths and they change often so a professional should make sure to check their certification requirements regularly. New technology for Microsoft becomes obsolete sooner than Cisco technology so having more current Microsoft certifications is often more important. Microsoft often offers upgrade paths from obsolete certifications so that professionals can renew their certifications quickly and easily.