Getting certified is an incredibly thrilling journey, but it can be a bit intimidating. If you’ve decided to pursue a certification in IT but found the amount of directions to go overwhelming, just read on to hear about three foundational certifications you can earn and which one is right for you!

Despite tremendous need in the Tech sector, millions of jobs go unfulfilled every year. There just aren’t enough skilled workers to fill these jobs. This is a very good problem to have! It means that you have the golden opportunity to learn new skills and enter an industry that is DESPERATE for skilled workers.

These aren’t low-paying high-labor jobs either, while It differs by region, Tech pays EXTREMELY well. For instance, the US Tech sector on average pays anywhere from $80,000-$105,000 per year for intermediate skilled Tech workers. Tech is an extremely fruitful career choice. Yet, it does requires learning something new and lots of practice.

With study and some certification, you could make a significantly larger amount of money, learn some awesome skills, and unfortunately become the person every elderly friend calls when they have a broken laptop.

CompTia Certifications are the gold-standard for jumping into the skill based technical side of Information Technology. While there are numerous certifications, three of them are incredible foundational certs for being able to work in IT.

CompTia A+, CompTia Security+ and CompTia Networking+ are some of best starting certifications for a career in networking. They help create a successful foundation for pursuing numerous career paths. How do you know which one you should pick? Read on!

Which CompTia Certificate is right for me?

Ultimately, in IT, learning a new skill is never wasted. Yet it can help to specialize depending on the long-term direction you want to take with your career as well as help find work that you like to do. CompTia actually offers quite a few certificates but for those starting out and learning in IT, Network+, A+, and Security+ are some of the best foundational certifications.

For the Vigilant: CompTia Security+ (The sy0-401 Exam)

Cybersecurity is one of the largest growing IT needs in the world. Just turn on the news and you’ll see story after story of companies, governments, and more being systematically hacked. DDoS attacks have become commonplace for big businesses and even everyday computer use can result in collecting large amounts of Malware.

Security+ is for those who want a fast-paced career creating iron-clad defenses against outside intruders and creating systems for businesses to keep information secure. Not only does this certification cover numerous styles of security, it also covers the theory behind it, the mindset of trying to keep information from being lost, stolen, or destroyed. Taking the sy0-401 Exam is a perfect path for those who love being on watch, making systems that are unbreakable, and consistently checking in to insure users’ data is private and safe. That also includes basic security in regards to good Data storage.

Security+ is the first step towards many possible careers, from for-hire security work in the private sector to a government job helping keep hackers out from the most sensitive information.

For the Problem Solver: CompTia Networking+ (The n10-006 Exam)

DHCP, POP3, WAN, LAN, VOIP, DNS, DWDM. Networking is full of hundreds of little terms and acronyms that often go unnoticed in every-day use. It requires a wide breadth of knowledge and some significant problem solving skills to be successful in Networking.

Networking is one of the most challenging IT categories. If one thing goes wrong in a network set-up, it KILLS productivity. If everything goes right, you may not even appear to be doing much to the casual observer! The Networking+ Certification covers the troubleshooting process to find where and what is going wrong within a network, set-up new Networks, and covers the numerous skills to be successful in connecting devices. If you desire a career where every day presents new challenges and you can continually pursue improvement (Network standards change fast!) taking the n10-006 Exam is the right fit for you.

The underlying knowledge allows you to understand not only what to do in regards to networking, but how it works. How Data seamlessly goes from one computer to the next, and all the background knowledge involved with that.

Networking+ is a foundational certification that can begin the journey towards being a Network engineer, designing and creating the infrastructure behind a big business and helping thousands of users stay connected.

For the Tinkerer and Undecided: CompTia A+ (The 901 and 902 Exams)

The A+ Certification is the Jack-Of-All-Trades IT cert. Covering everything from basic Hardware set-up, Software, Troubleshooting, and more. A+ consists of two exams (As opposed to the one involved with Network+ or Security+). The first exam, 901, covers the Hardware and relevant software side needed for basic computer, network, and device set-up. 902 takes it a step further on the software side by getting very in-depth with Windows and other OS as well as more involved security and IT procedures. The A+ Cert is perfect for the tinkerer or even someone who is somewhat undecided on what path they want to take in IT.

If you like to build physical desktop computers, need to run and troubleshoot most office equipment, or want to know how to solely set-up a small office, A+ teaches all of that. Covering everything from what parts are in a computer to the different devices, OS, and technologies that are common in the workplace, this cert is a GREAT foundation for going further with CompTia.

A+ is a great step in the direction toward being an IT generalist. In fact, it is a great certification to get in conjunction with Security+ or Networking+ as it sets the stage for more learning. Even so, with A+ you can start working towards a fulfilling career and make the decision to specialize later.

Which CompTia Certification should I choose?

All three of these offer an exciting, rewarding, and fun career path in IT. Whether you like being on guard and setting up unbreakable systems, building computers and setting up an office, or even wiring the Ethernet cables from a server room to the required port, these three certs offer strong foundational knowledge for a career.

Don’t just stop there though, CompTia offers a great resource to make that decision! Take a moment and head to the CompTia Career website and play around! You can see career paths as well as the relevant pay scale for that industry.

I’ve picked my Cert, I’m ready, what do I do now?

Find some study materials and start studying!

Getting certified can be challenging without a direction to head. Exam Labs is a great resource for studying and getting a feel for many certifications, not just CompTia! At Exam-labs you can find practice tests for Networking+ and Security+ that help you get a feel for those tests.

Good luck on your journey towards becoming an IT professional. Be sure to check back with us regularly or see some of our other course options at Exam-labs.com as well!