image of a computer with the words "Cisco" and "CompTIA" written across

CompTIA Networking Courses: Alternative to Cisco Qualifications for IT Careers


Navigating the sometimes complicated IT certification landscape can be daunting and exciting for people interested in advancing their careers in IT and tech.

Among the certification paths available for networking courses in particular, there are Cisco’s CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) and CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional) qualifications, and CompTIA’s range of accredited qualifications.

These CompTIA certifications are the perfect starting point for people who would enjoy designing, installing, configuring, maintaining, and troubleshooting computer networks AKA a career path in networking.

For this, we highly recommend CompTIA certifications: A+, Network+, and Security+.

These are vendor-neutral (not tied to any specific brand/product/or software) and teach a broad range of skills and knowledge in IT and networking.

They cover IT fundamentals to advanced strategies for building comprehensive IT competence.

As far as gaining IT qualifications that are current and designed to make you competitive and attratcive in the job market, CompTIA certifications are what we recommend.

In this blog we will cover

Cisco Certifications: An Overview

CCNA, short for – Cisco Certified Network Associate, and CCNP, short for – Cisco Certified Network Professional build upon each other and are important for building comprehensive knowledge and expertise.

CCNA is the foundational level. It caters to people with limited or no IT experience, interested in pursuing a career in networking.

 CCNP is the more advanced level. It is designed for experienced professionals looking to specialise in Cisco technologies. 

Cisco and CCNA Certification

This qualification can be considered the first step into the world of Cisco networks. Importantly, It shows employers that you understand important networking concepts like: 

  • Network troubleshooting.
  • Switching and routing technologies.
  • Network security fundamentals among others.

Advancing With CCNP Certification

image with person using a calculator and the words"qualified" written across.

CCNP teaches more specialist areas within Cisco networking in greater detail. 

Topics include:

  • Network security (e.g., firewall configuration).
  • Wireless networking.
  • Advanced switching technologies.

you are expected to have completed your CCNA qualification first before the CCNP as it it builds on what you learned in CCNA.

Exploring CompTIA Certifications As Alternatives

CompTIA A+

First up is the CompTIA A+ certification.

Think of it as the Swiss Army knife of IT certifications.

It covers everything from troubleshooting computers to understanding the basics of networking and security.

A+ is great if you are someone new to IT as you learn a little about many things. If you are interested in a career in networking, A+ provides you with the foundation to build more specialised skills later on.

CompTIA Network+

Next, is the CompTIA Network+.

This IT certification takes you deeper into the world of networking.
You will acquire skills and knowledge to install, configure, maintain, and troubleshoot wired and wireless networks in small and medium-sized businesses.

If A+ gives you a taste of networking, Network+ serves up the entire meal.

We recommend it for building confidence and knowledge in IT networking, ensuring you can adequately face various challenges you might come across in your work.

CompTIA Security+

Finally, there’s CompTIA Security+.

This certification covers various topics for understanding and implementing security best practices confidently and comprehensively.

Additionally, with the skills and knowledge gained, you will feel confident performing core security functions and pursuing entry-level cybersecurity careers.

Cisco and CompTIA Certifications: The Differences

When thinking about your IT career, choosing between Cisco and CompTIA certifications is like deciding between two paths that lead to different kinds of adventures.

Both are great, but each is tailored to a different journey.

Key differences include

Focus and Breadth

 Cisco certifications, like CCNA and CCNP, delve into networking, especially how it works in the world of Cisco technology. It is ideal for someone interested in working with Cisco products.

CompTIA certifications, on the other hand, cover a wider range of topics. A+, Network+, and Security+ give you a broad understanding of IT basics, networking, and security.

Career Paths

CompTIA certifications create opportunities for entry-level IT jobs, including help desk technician, network administrator, or security specialist.


CompTIA certifications offer more flexibility since they are not tied to any specific technology or vendor like Cisco is. This means the skills you learn can be applied in various IT roles, across different environments.

Choosing CompTIA: Benefits of A+, Network+ and Security+

graphic of CompTIA  qualification benefits

Related: CompTIA Stackable Certifications: The “Avengers Assemble” of IT Career Advancement

Acquire IT Skills That Give You a Competitive Advantage

If you’ve read up to this point, it’s safe to say you’re interested in upskilling, reskilling and learning more about IT and the tech industries.

Does any of the following apply to you:

1. Are you interested in a career in technology?

2. Looking to acquire the skills and knowledge to grow in your current path or make a successful change into another?

3. Want to get certified in qualifications trusted by UK employers and future-proof your job and career prospects?

Consider CompTIA-accredited courses and qualifications from ITonlinelearning.

Our courses cover the full spectrum of IT and Networking, including:

  • Cybersecurity
  • Cloud Computing
  • Networking
  • PenetrationTesting
  • IT Operations
  • Linux
  • Server Technology

Access Accredited IT & Networking Qualifications

What are CompTIA certifications?

CompTIA certifications are vendor-neutral IT certifications, and cover a broad range of IT skills and knowledge, from basic IT fundamentals to advanced strategies for network safety.

How do CompTIA certifications compare to Cisco certifications?

CompTIA certifications offer a broader understanding of IT basics, networking, and security. While Cisco certifications focus on networking within Cisco technologies

What are the benefits of choosing CompTIA certifications for an IT career?

CompTIA certifications are comprehensive enough to teach broad skills and build versatility in IT. These certifications can serve as a stepping stone towards jobs, increased earning potential and tech industry opportunities .

Who should consider taking CompTIA certifications?

Individuals new to IT or looking to establish a foundational understanding across various IT roles.

Can CompTIA certifications help me with career advancement?

Yes, they are globally recognised and help in securing entry-level IT positions and advancing to more specialised jobs.

Are there prerequisites for CompTIA certifications?

Mostly, there are no strict requirements, but some background knowledge or experience in IT can benefit you.

What types of jobs can CompTIA certifications lead to?

Jobs in IT support, network administration, security, and more, depending on your specific certification.

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