comptia network+ vs ccna

CompTIA Network+ vs CCNA: Which Certification Is Better?

Many beginners in cybersecurity and IT often wonder which certificate is better: CompTIA Network+ or CCNA. Let's begin by exploring the differences between these two tests.

Updated at April 11, 2024

Obtaining certificates demonstrates to employers your commitment to your education and career. Certifications also serve as confirmation that you are capable of performing the tasks you claim to be capable of. CompTIA Network+ and Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) are two of the most popular IT networking certifications on the market.

However, this isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison. It’s not only an issue of personal choice. In fact, many IT professionals who specialize in infrastructure are likely to hold both qualifications. The question is, which should you go for first? This article will compare the CompTIA Network+ vs CCNA certifications. Let’s dive in!

On this website, we provide thousands of practice questions for both Network+ and CCNA exams to help users easily achieve their goals on the first attempt. Visit Passemall to take the practice tests now!

What Are They: CompTIA Network+ vs CCNA Certificate?

comptia network+ vs ccna

Overview of CompTIA Network+

The CompTIA Network+ certification, introduced in 1999 by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), is a highly coveted, vendor-neutral accolade for those striving to excel in the field of IT networking. This certification recognizes an individual’s expertise in configuring, managing, and fixing a variety of networking technologies.

The Format and Structure of the Exam

The Network+ certification exam comprises 90 questions, a combination of multiple-choice and hands-on performance-based, which must be answered within 90 minutes. The exam can be taken either in-person or online at authorized testing centers and is recognized globally, with a validity of three years.

Topics Covered in the Network+ Exam

The Network+ certification exam assesses an individual’s mastery over a wide range of topics, including:

  • General Security Concepts
  • Threats, Vulnerabilities and Mitigations
  • Security Architecture
  • Security Operations
  • Security Program Management and Oversight

Some of the specific areas the exam delves into are:

  • Network protocols and technologies such as TCP/IP, DHCP, and DNS
  • Various network topologies, such as star, mesh, and bus
  • Implementation of security measures, such as firewalls and cryptography
  • Enhancement of network performance and optimization
  • Efficient troubleshooting to resolve network problems

Job Roles for Network+ Certified Individuals

Network+ certification opens the doors to a range of entry-level to mid-level IT networking positions, including network administrator, network analyst, and technical support specialist. For larger organizations, Network+ certified individuals can prove to be a valuable asset, supporting enterprise-level networks.

Benefits of Obtaining a Network+ Certification

Earning the Network+ certification has numerous advantages, including:

  • Validation of IT networking skills and knowledge
  • Increased earning potential and job prospects
  • Demonstration of one’s commitment and dedication to the IT industry
  • Staying abreast of the latest advancements and technologies in the field
  • Improved problem-solving and critical thinking abilities

Try our free Network+ question bank now to familiarize yourself with what to expect on the real exam!

Overview of Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

The inception of the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification dates back to 1998 and it has since been recognized as one of the most coveted certifications in the IT sphere. It is intended for individuals who aspire to build a successful career in network administration and possess a comprehensive understanding of Cisco technologies. The CCNA certification is specifically designed for novice network engineers and offers a thorough comprehension of network infrastructure, routing, and switching.

The Format and Structure of the Exam

To earn the CCNA certification, one must pass the CCNA exam, which is a challenging test with a duration of 120 minutes. The exam comprises 100-120 questions, including multiple-choice and simulation-based queries. Its primary objective is to assess an individual’s competency in installing, configuring, and troubleshooting Cisco network systems. The certification remains valid for three years.

Topics Covered in the CCNA Exam

The CCNA exam covers a broad range of topics, including:

  • Network Fundamentals
  • Network Access
  • IP Connectivity
  • IP Services
  • Security Fundamentals
  • Automation and Programmability

Job Roles for CCNA-Certified Individuals

Individuals who hold a CCNA certification can explore a plethora of job roles in the IT industry, including network administrator, network engineer, network support specialist, and network analyst. The CCNA certification equips individuals with the necessary knowledge and skills to work with Cisco networking systems and serves as a stepping stone for pursuing higher certifications such as CCNP or CCIE.

Benefits of Obtaining a CCNA Certification

Holding a CCNA certification offers a multitude of benefits to individuals, including heightened marketability and an elevated earning potential. Organizations worldwide actively seek professionals who hold CCNA certifications, as they possess a strong understanding of Cisco networking systems. The CCNA certification showcases an individual’s commitment to professional development and serves as a testament to their knowledge and skills. Moreover, CCNA-certified individuals have access to a wealth of resources, including training and support from Cisco, as well as a network of peers and mentors in the IT industry.

You can get our CCNA practice test questions to evaluate your knowledge level and familiarize yourself with the test format.

CompTIA Network+ and CCNA: Which One Is Right for You?

Making the choice between CompTIA Network+ and Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) can be a daunting task, especially when both certifications offer unique advantages and cover distinct aspects of network technology. It is imperative to understand what each certificate entails before reaching a conclusion.

comptia network+ vs ccna

One of the deciding factors between CompTIA Network+ and CCNA is the type of employment you have in mind. If your goal is to work in network administration, security, or support, then Network+ is a suitable choice. It provides a comprehensive understanding of network technologies, including security, cloud computing, and virtualization. On the other hand, CCNA is better suited for individuals seeking jobs in a Cisco-centric environment. CCNA focuses on the implementation, design, and management of Cisco networks, making it ideal for those interested in network engineering or administration.

The level of experience you have in the field is another significant consideration. Network+ is considered an entry-level certificate and is recommended for those with limited exposure to network technology. In contrast, CCNA requires a higher level of experience and is suggested for individuals who have been working in the field for several years and possess a robust understanding of network technology.

Cost and time investment are also crucial factors to consider. In terms of cost, obtaining the CCNA certification is cheaper at $300 compared to the Network+ certification, which costs $369. In terms of time, CCNA demands a significant investment of time as it covers more advanced networking technology.

Ultimately, the decision to pursue a specific certification will depend on your career goals and level of experience. If you’re just starting out and aiming for a broad understanding of network technology, then Network+ is the suitable choice. However, if you have a few years of experience and wish to specialize in Cisco networking technologies, then CCNA may be the best fit.

Why Should You Take Network+ Before Taking the CCNA Exam?

Let’s discuss the reasons why you should take the Network+ certification exam before taking the CCNA certification exam.

Network+ requires less knowledge than CCNA.

Although there is significant overlap in the content between the CompTIA Network+ and CCNA exams, the CCNA requires test-takers to learn and master a greater amount of material in order to pass.

For instance, the CCNA covers much of the same fundamental networking topics as the CompTIA Network+, such as the OSI model and subnetting concepts. However, it also places a strong emphasis on Cisco device configuration, necessitating test-takers to have a deep understanding of dozens of Cisco IOS commands and their application in various scenarios.

This means that in order to pass the CCNA, exam takers will need to go beyond what is taught in the Network+ certification.

Network+ has a shorter time frame than CCNA.

Teaching both classes requires similar preparation. The difference lies in the duration of the classes, distinguishing CCNA from Network+.

Typically, the Network+ certification is delivered in a single 45-hour course at most universities. On the other hand, the CCNA certification is considerably longer and is often taught in three separate 45-hour courses. This means that college instructors must spend three times as much time covering Cisco’s official curriculum as CompTIA’s.

You may be wondering why the CCNA certification requires more course hours. The additional hours are primarily dedicated to configuration and troubleshooting labs, which are integral parts of CCNA preparation. These labs provide hands-on experience in using Cisco’s IOS operating system.

A thorough understanding of the IOS operating system is essential for anyone planning to take the Cisco CCNA certification. Learning the necessary IOS commands is crucial for passing the CCNA exam, which is why CCNA test takers must have a significant amount of experience.

Network+ has easier performance-based questions than CCNA.

Many test takers express concerns about navigating through the performance-based questions, also known as PBQs, included in various IT and cybersecurity exams.

In the case of the CompTIA Network+ certification, many PBQs consist of multi-step questions. This means that to arrive at the correct answer, test takers must perform two or more tasks. Some test takers have encountered difficulties with these questions by not reading the entire question or assuming they have solved it prematurely, only to realize that further work is required.

In contrast, the Cisco CCNA certification requires test takers to utilize specific commands to accomplish configuration and troubleshooting tasks. If you lack knowledge of the necessary commands, you may find yourself unable to progress. However, with the Network+ certification, there may be some room for guessing if you find yourself stuck.

Read more >> CompTIA Network+ Vs Security+: Which One Should You Choose?

The CCNA requires prior experience.

Due to the absence of many actual configuration tasks in the CompTIA Network+ certification, it is technically possible to pass the Network+ exam without significant practical expertise, although this approach is not recommended. In fact, there have been test takers who have successfully passed the Network+ exam solely through book study, without any practical lab or real-world experience.

For the CCNA, this is not the case. Without actual lab or job experience, passing the Cisco CCNA would be practically impossible.

Preparation for Network+ and CCNA Exams

Study Materials and Resources

Achieving success on the CompTIA Network+ vs CCNA tests exams requires access to top-notch study materials and resources. There are numerous options available for individuals aspiring to obtain these certifications, including official study guides, practice exams, online lessons, tutorials, and study groups.

Both CompTIA and Cisco offer their official study guides and practice exams for Network+ and CCNA certification seekers, in addition to several online courses and tutorials. Furthermore, there are various third-party study aids available, such as books and video tutorials, which can complement the official study materials.

Recommended Study Strategies

A structured and well-organized study plan is crucial to passing the Network+ and CCNA certification tests. Breaking down the material into manageable chunks and dedicating a set amount of time each day to studying are two recommended strategies.

Hands-on experience and practice exams are also important to reinforce what has been learned, evaluate comprehension, and pinpoint areas that require additional attention.

Tips for Success on Exam Day

Arriving well-rested and prepared, both mentally and physically, on exam day is critical. Here are a few tips to help you succeed:

  • Read the questions attentively and thoroughly to fully comprehend what is being asked.
  • Manage your time wisely during the test.
  • Take deep breaths and remain calm to maintain focus.
  • Review each answer before moving on to the next question.
  • Don’t be discouraged if you encounter difficult questions.
  • Maintain confidence and a positive outlook throughout the exam.

By following these strategies, dedicating time and effort to preparation, and staying focused on your goals, you increase your chances of success on the CompTIA Network+ vs CCNA exams. The key to success is to remain dedicated, continually improve your IT knowledge and skills, and never stop learning.

Take the CompTIA Security+ Practice Test now!


When comparing CompTIA Network+ vs CCNA certifications, obtaining the CompTIA certification is considered one of the wisest investments you can make. This certification will enable you to quickly identify various networking infrastructure solutions.

Moreover, it will provide you with a solid foundation in networking technology and open up opportunities to work in a variety of professions. So, why not pursue this certificate?