CCNA or Network+ – Which Certification is the Best in 2023?

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CCNA or Network+ – Which Certification is the Best in 2023?
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CCNA or Network+: Which Certification is the Best in 2023?


In today’s digital landscape, cybersecurity plays a crucial role in protecting sensitive information and maintaining the integrity of networks. As the demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals continues to rise, obtaining the right certifications becomes essential for career advancement. Two popular certifications in the field of cybersecurity are CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) and Network+. This article aims to compare and contrast these certifications to help aspiring professionals make informed decisions.

What is CCNA?

CCNA, which stands for Cisco Certified Network Associate, is a certification program offered by Cisco Systems, a renowned leader in networking solutions. CCNA is designed to validate an individual’s knowledge and skills in installing, configuring, operating, and troubleshooting small to medium-sized networks. It covers various networking concepts, including network security, routing and switching, wireless networks, and network automation.

What is Network+?

Network+ is a vendor-neutral certification offered by CompTIA, a non-profit trade association. This certification is focused on assessing an individual’s understanding of networking concepts and principles. Network+ covers topics such as network infrastructure, network operations, network security, and network troubleshooting. It is recognized globally and provides a strong foundation for a career in IT networking.

Scope and Coverage

CCNA certification provides a comprehensive understanding of Cisco networking technologies. It covers a wide range of topics, including IP addressing, routing protocols, LAN switching, network security, and network automation. CCNA also offers specialization options, allowing individuals to focus on areas like cybersecurity, wireless, or data center networking.

On the other hand, Network+ certification has a broader scope that encompasses both vendor-specific and vendor-neutral networking concepts. It covers areas such as network technologies, installation and configuration, media and topologies, management, and security. Network+ provides a well-rounded knowledge base suitable for various IT networking roles.

Exam Structure and Difficulty

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The CCNA exam consists of a single comprehensive exam that covers all the required topics. The exam includes multiple-choice questions, simulation-based questions, and hands-on labs to assess practical skills. The CCNA exam is known for its difficulty level, requiring candidates to have a solid understanding of networking concepts and hands-on experience with Cisco devices.

The Network+ exam, on the other hand, consists of a single exam that evaluates the candidate’s knowledge and understanding of networking concepts. The exam includes multiple-choice, drag-and-drop, and performance-based questions. While the Network+ exam is challenging, it is considered slightly less difficult than the CCNA exam.

Industry Recognition and Demand

Both CCNA and Network+ training certifications hold significant recognition in the industry. However, CCNA is particularly well-regarded due to Cisco’s dominance in the networking market. Many organizations prioritize candidates with CCNA certification for networking positions. CCNA is widely recognized as a benchmark of excellence in networking expertise.

Network+ certification, being vendor-neutral, is highly regarded as a foundation-level certification by employers across various industries. It demonstrates a candidate’s fundamental understanding of networking concepts and principles. Network+ is often sought after by organizations looking for well-rounded IT networking professionals.

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Career Opportunities

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CCNA certification opens up various career opportunities in the networking field. Certified professionals can pursue roles such as network administrator, network engineer, systems engineer, or cybersecurity analyst. CCNA provides a solid foundation for further specialization within the Cisco certification track, such as CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional) or CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert).

Network+ certification also offers a wide range of career opportunities. It prepares individuals for roles such as network technician, help desk technician, IT support specialist, or system administrator. Network+ serves as a stepping stone for further advanced certifications, such as CompTIA Security+ or CompTIA Cloud+.

Comparison: CCNA vs. Network+

In summary, CCNA and Network+ certifications have distinct characteristics that cater to different career paths and objectives. Here’s a brief comparison:

FocusCisco networking technologiesNetworking fundamentals
DifficultyMore difficultLess difficult
Cost$325 USD$399 USD
Exam duration90 minutes90 minutes
Number of questions6080
Passing score825720
Job rolesNetwork engineer, network administrator, network technicianNetwork technician, help desk technician, IT support specialist

Choosing Based on Career Goals

Choosing between CCNA and Network+ depends on your career goals and aspirations. If you are specifically interested in working with Cisco technologies and networking solutions, CCNA is an excellent choice. It provides in-depth knowledge and expertise in Cisco networking technologies, which are widely adopted in the industry.

However, if you prefer a broader approach to networking and want to keep your options open across different vendors and technologies, Network+ is a suitable option. Network+ offers a solid foundation in networking concepts and principles, making it adaptable to various IT networking environments.

Cost and Resources

The cost of obtaining CCNA certification includes exam fees, training courses, study materials, and lab equipment if necessary. Cisco exams typically have a higher price point compared to other certifications. Additionally, candidates may need to invest in networking equipment for hands-on practice.

On the other hand, Network+ certification costs are relatively lower. The exam fees and study materials are more affordable compared to CCNA. Network+ is also known for its accessible resources and study materials available online.

Time Required for Preparation

Preparing for the CCNA certification requires dedicated time and effort due to its extensive coverage. Candidates should allocate several months for study and practice. It is crucial to gain hands-on experience with Cisco devices and technologies to confidently attempt the exam.

The preparation time for Network+ certification is relatively shorter compared to CCNA. Candidates can typically prepare for the Network+ exam within a few months, depending on their prior knowledge and experience in networking.

Training and Study Materials

For CCNA certification, Cisco offers official training courses through authorized learning partners. These courses cover the required topics in detail and provide hands-on practice opportunities. Additionally, there are numerous study guides, practice exams, and online resources available to supplement the learning process.

Network+ certification also offers official training resources through CompTIA’s authorized partners. These resources include study guides, online training courses, and practice exams. Many online platforms provide comprehensive study materials and practice tests specifically tailored for the Network+ exam.

Renewal and Recertification

CCNA certification is valid for three years, after which recertification is required. Recertification can be achieved by passing any current CCNA-level exam or a higher-level Cisco certification exam. This process ensures that certified professionals stay up to date with the latest networking technologies and practices.

Network+ certification is also valid for three years. To renew the certification, candidates must earn continuing education units (CEUs) through various professional development activities or pass the most recent version of the Network+ exam. Renewal helps individuals maintain their knowledge and skills in the evolving field of networking.

Factors to Consider

When deciding between CCNA and Network+, consider the following factors:

  1. Career goals: Determine whether you want to specialize in Cisco technologies or keep your options open across different vendors.
  2. Industry demand: Research the job market to understand which certification is preferred for the specific roles you are targeting.
  3. Budget: Consider the cost of training, exam fees, and study materials associated with each certification.
  4. Time commitment: Assess the time you can dedicate to studying and preparing for the certification exam.
  5. Learning style: Consider the availability and suitability of training resources and study materials for your preferred learning style.


Choosing the right certification for cyber security, whether it’s CCNA or Network+, depends on your career goals, preferences, and resources. CCNA offers specialized knowledge in Cisco networking technologies and is highly regarded in the industry. On the other hand, Network+ provides a broader foundation in networking concepts and is recognized globally. Assess your aspirations and consider the factors mentioned above to make an informed decision that aligns with your career path in the field of cyber security.


1. Can I pursue both CCNA and Network+ certifications? Yes, you can pursue both certifications if you want to gain a comprehensive understanding of networking concepts and increase your marketability in the industry. Having both certifications demonstrates a strong foundation in networking principles.

2. Which certification is more suitable for a career in network security? While both certifications cover network security topics, CCNA has a specific security specialization track. If you aim to specialize in network security, obtaining CCNA with a security focus would be beneficial.

3. Are there any prerequisites for CCNA or Network+ certifications? There are no official prerequisites for Network+ certification. However, for CCNA, Cisco recommends having a basic understanding of networking concepts and at least one year of experience working with Cisco devices.

4. Will obtaining CCNA or Network+ guarantee a job in cyber security? Certifications alone do not guarantee a job, but they significantly enhance your chances of securing one. Employers often value certifications as proof of knowledge and commitment to professional development.

5. How often do CCNA and Network+ certifications need to be renewed? Both certifications need to be renewed every three years. Renewal processes involve passing recertification exams or earning continuing education units (CEUs) through professional development activities.

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