Cisco vs CompTIA: Choosing the Best Certification for Your Career

By acquiring a range of certifications, you not only bolster your professional trajectory but also gain recognition within the technology industry.

Among the many IT certifications available, one ongoing topic of discussion revolves around the merits of CCNA vs CompTIA as advanced certifications.

In this article, we’ll discuss Cisco vs CompTIA, so you can choose the certification that meets your needs. So, let’s get started!

Cisco Certifications: An Overview

Cisco certification is one of the significant and applicable certifications for IT professionals to boost their careers. The multinational certification is famous for its advanced networking system. Let’s have a look at Cisco's different certifications:

CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate)

The CCNA certification is an entry-level IT certification by a Cisco hardware company. The goal of this certification is to assess the fundamental networking accepts of individuals that are a must for an IT network administration career. 

1. Exam Details and Cost

  • There’s only one exam to pass CCNA exam.

  • Topics are ICND1 Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1 and Part 2.

  • It includes 100-120 questions. 

  • The time duration is 120 minutes. 

  • The cost for Cisco CCNA certification is $300, plus tax.

2. Skills and Knowledge Tested

Now, let’s discuss some of the knowledge and skills that you need to have to pass the CCNA exam:

  • Networking Basics

    You need to understand the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) and TCP/IP models. Familiarize yourself with IP addressing, subnetting, and routing. Learn about Ethernet and basic LAN (Local Area Network) concepts. 

  • Access to Networks

    You should know to handle and verify VLANs (Virtual Local Area Networks) and other switches. Understand and implement basic switch security features. Configure and verify inter-Vlan routing. 

  • IP Connectivity 

    You’ll have to learn to configure and verify IPv4 and IPv6 addressing that is static. Understand static and dynamic routing protocols, such as OSPF (Open Shortest Path First) and EIGRP (Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol).

  • IP Service

    You’ll learn how to configure and verify DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) and DNS (Domain Name System) when you reach such an area. You’ll need to understand ACLs (Access Control Lists) and their implementation.

  • Security 

    Within the domain, you’ll need to understand common network security threats and mitigation techniques and know how to configure and verify basic device features. 

  • Automation and Programmability

    You’ll need to familiarize yourself with the basic programming concepts and Python scripting. Understand the benefits of network automation and the use of APIs for network device management.  

3. Benefits of CCNA Certification

  • CCNA certification is the best if you want growth in your career, no matter if you’re experienced or just a beginner. 

  • You can have a chance to get a better salary and perks.

  • It can improve your position among other employees and make you prominent so you can stand out for your skills. 

  • All countries accept CCNA certification, which means you find suitable jobs all over the world.

CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional)

CCNP is an intermediate-level certification by Cisco Systems to assess an individual’s capability as a network professional. This certification aims to provide individuals with skills to design, implement, and troubleshoot enterprise networks. 

1. Exam Details and Cost

  • The exam is divided into two parts: Network fundamentals and other skills (LAN switching, IP routing, WAN protocols, & Configuration norms). 

  • There are 3 main topics in the exam:  Implementing Cisco IP Routing,  Implementing Cisco IP Switched Networks, and Troubleshooting and Maintaining Cisco IP Networks. 

  • It includes more than 100+ questions.

  • 120 minutes time duration. 

  • A passing score is 825 out of 1000.

  • CCNP exam cost $900 in total.

2. Skills and Knowledge Tested

  • Routing & Switching. 

  • Network Security. 

  • Designing & Implementation of Cisco Enterprise Network.

  • Infrastructure Service.

  • Wireless Networking.

  • Troubleshooting. 

3. Benefits of CCNP Certification

  • The certification helps IT professionals get good jobs and positions.

  • IT professionals can get promotions on the basis of their requirements. 

  • One’s professional profile can be boosted with CCNP certification. 

  • CCNP certification increases problem-solving confidence with knowledge and expertise. 

CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert)

Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert is an expert-level certification for senior networking professionals who want to get a job in enterprise infrastructure technologies.

The aim of this certification is to access individuals in designing, creating, implementing, maintaining, and troubleshooting enterprise infrastructure.

1. Exam Details and Cost

  • The exam duration is around 120 minutes.

  • The lab exam duration is 8 hours. 

  • The written exam costs $400, while the fee for the lab exam is $1600.

2. Skills and Knowledge Tested

  • Implementation and configuration of EIGRP-based solutions.

  • Multi-area OSPF Network creation and routing configuration. 

  • Implementing eBGP solutions and configuring routing. 

  • Implementing and configuring IPv4 or IPv6 redistribution solutions.

  • Creating Layer 3 Path Control Solution.

  • Planning and implementing Security Extension of Layer 2 solutions. 

  • Design and configuration of Layer 3 services. 

  • Implementation of advanced VoIP, video, and wireless support solutions. 

2. Skills and Knowledge Tested

  • CCIE certification increases the chances of career growth and job retention.

  • CCIE professionals are among the highest-paid in the IT field.

  • It increases the technical as well as non-technical knowledge of individuals. 

Comparison of Cisco Certifications

Now, you might be confused about which certification to choose. Let’s see how they differ and which certification suits you best. 





Difficulty Level

Beginner-level certification 

Intermediate-level certification 

Expert-level certification 



Cisco CCNA required 

CCNA & CCNP aren’t necessary 

Examination Module

1 exam

3 exam

2 exam

Examination Fees

$300 per exam

$400 for the core exam
& $300 for the concentration exam

$400 for the written exam & $1600 for the lab exam

CompTIA Certifications

CompTIA is a non-profit trade association that offers a range of certifications for IT professionals. CompTIA certifications are significant in the IT industry. Let’s have a look at some of its certifications.

A+ Certification

The CompTIA A+ certification is a widely accepted and respected entry-level qualification in the information technology (IT) industry. Offered by CompTIA, a renowned IT association.

This certification is considered a standard requirement for starting a career in IT. It provides individuals with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in IT roles.

1. Exam Details and Cost

  • The CompTIA A+ has two exams in the Core Series: 220-1101  and 220-1102.

  • Maximum of 90 questions per exam.

  • 90 minutes per exam.

  • A+ Certification each exam costs $246, totaling $492.

2. Skills and Knowledge Tested 

  • Computer hardware.

  • Networking concepts, protocols, and devices.

  • Mobile device hardware and operating system.

  • Operating systems of  Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. 

    Security concepts.

  • Software troubleshooting.

  • Troubleshooting remote system.

3. Benefits of A+ Certification

  • CompTIA A+ Certification is a key to your successful IT career. 

  • You’ll find jobs where you can work from anywhere. 

  • It is an opportunity to get jobs in the highest-paid career.

Network+ Certification

This CompTIA certification is also an entry-level certification. The Network+ certification goal is to assess the skills to design, configure, manage, and troubleshoot wired and wireless networks.

1. Exam Details and Cost

  • Network+ certification exam includes multiple-choice and performance-based.

  • It’s a computer-based exam with 90 questions.

  • 90 minutes' time. 

  • The cost of the CompTIA Network+ exam is $338 per exam.

2. Skills and Knowledge Tested 

  • Designing and implementing networks.

  • Supporting the creation of virtualized networks.

  • Configuring, managing, and maintaining network devices.

  • Troubleshooting network issues.

  • Implementing network security measures.

3. Benefits of Network+ Certification

  • It validates your knowledge and skills in networking, demonstrating your competence to potential employers or clients.

  • This certification can enhance significantly your career.

  • The certification process involves passing a comprehensive exam that tests your understanding of networking concepts, protocols, and best practices.

Security+ Certification

The Security+ certification is an entry-level cybersecurity credential provided by the non-profit organization, CompTIA.

By obtaining this certification, you demonstrate to prospective employers that you possess fundamental skills essential for a cybersecurity position.

1. Exam Details and Cost

  • Security+ certification exam has 90 questions.

  • The time span is 90 minutes. 

  • The passing score is 750 (on a scale of 100-900).

  • The cost of the CompTIA Security+ certification exam is $349.

2. Skills and Knowledge Tested 

  • Threats, attacks, and vulnerabilities.

  • Technologies and tools.

  • Architecture, and design.

  • Identifying and access management.

  • Risk management.

  • Cryptography and Public Key Infrastructure.

  • Security assessment and testing.

  • Compliance and operational security.

3. Benefits of Security+ Certification

  • Vendor-neutral essential certification.

  • Globally recognized.

  • Better career opportunities.

  • High pay scale potential.

  • Possibility of working for the Government.

  • Opportunities for continuous learning and growth.

  • Employment prospects worldwide.

  • Minimal requirements

  • Huge future potential.

Comparison of CompTIA Certifications

Now, you might be confused about which certification to choose. Let’s see how they differ and which certification suits you best. 


A+ Certif.

Network+ Certif.

Security+ Certif.

Exam Codes

CompTIA A+ 220-1001, 220-1002

CompTIA Network+ N10-008

CompTIA Security+ SY0-601

Job Roles

Help Desk Technician

Network Engineer

Security Administrator

Associate Network Engineer

Telecommunications Technician

Network Administrator 

Technical Support Specialist

System Administrator

Cybersecurity Specialist




Recommended: Network+

Exam Cost




Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Certification

When choosing an IT certification, you have to consider several factors. Let's discuss some important factors:

  1. 1

    Career Goals

    Consider how your career goals align with the certification you choose. Explore in-demand certifications in the IT field like Cisco, CompTIA, AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and so on.

  2. 2

    Time and Money

    Evaluate the time and money required to prepare for and complete the certification. Some certifications may require weeks or months of study and preparation. 

  3. 3

    Difficulty Level

    Some certifications are entry-level that require little knowledge of IT and some are expert-level that requires a technical background. So, choose wisely according to your skills and expertise. 

  4. 4

    Job Market and Salary

    Both Cisco and CompTIA certifications can contribute to better job opportunities and potentially higher salaries, the specific impact can vary based on individual factors and market conditions. 

How to Prepare for the Exams

To pass the certification exam with flying colors, you need to have different training and courses from reputable resources. 

1. Cisco Certifications

Let’s explore some of the best resources for Cisco certifications:


It is one of the best platforms to prepare for any IT certification. It offers different courses and paths from experts for different Cisco certifications. Here, you can find the best training to ace your exam.


Udemy is a top IT certification platform. Here you can find a lot of Cisco courses and tutorials. So, choose the best course that suits you and enroll yourself to maximize your chances to pass the Cisco exam.

2. CompTIA Certifications 

Let’s explore some of the best resources for CompTIA certifications


Coursera offers several courses to prepare for your IT career. From courses for CompTIA A+, and CompTIA Network+ to CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner, this platform offers courses for all.

NetCom Learning  

NetCom Learning offers the best online training and courses for CompTIA certification. Enroll yourself in the desired course and maximize your probability of passing the exam with flying colors. 

Exam Tips and Strategies

The followings are the tips and best strategies to prepare for Cisco and CompTIA certification exams: 

  • Understand the Exam Objectives

    Familiarize yourself with the exam objectives provided by Cisco or CompTIA. These objectives outline the specific knowledge areas that will be tested in the exam.

  • Create a Study Plan

    Develop a structured study plan that allows you to cover all the necessary topics within a defined timeframe. Break down the objectives into smaller sections and allocate time for each section accordingly.

  • Use Official Resources

    Make use of official study materials provided by Cisco and CompTIA. These resources include books, official documentation, online courses, practice exams, and study guides. They are specifically designed to align with the exam content.

  • Practice Exams

    Take advantage of practice exams for CompTIA and Cisco to evaluate your knowledge and identify areas that require further study. Practice exams simulate the actual exam environment and help you get comfortable with the format and time constraints.

  • Take Notes and Review

    While studying, take comprehensive notes to consolidate your understanding of key concepts. Review your notes regularly to reinforce your knowledge and ensure the retention of important information.

  • Plan Your Exam Day

    Plan your exam day in advance to avoid any last-minute rush. Set multiple alarms to wake up on time and prepare your exam materials, such as pens, pencils, erasers, calculators, and identification documents, the night before.


Now, come to the conclusion which certification is best for you. Well, the value of each certification depends on your career goals.

If you want to work with Cisco networking technologies, then Cisco certification is best for you. On the other hand, if you want to learn a vast range of IT topics, then CompTIA certification is your best bet. So, choose wisely.

About the author


Youssef is a Senior Cloud Consultant & Founder of

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