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Student Reviews
Student Reviews

Entry Level IT Certifications

In today’s fast-paced and highly connected tech industry, seeking out the most relevant and useful career insight into the industry can seem like an intimidating task, especially when innovation in the tech field can change the name of the game overnight.

Entry Level IT Certifications

In today’s fast-paced and highly connected tech industry, seeking out the most relevant and useful career insight into the industry can seem like an intimidating task, especially when innovation in the tech field can change the name of the game overnight.

Most newcomers coming into the tech field have little to no experience but are desperately seeking the right IT and computer training. The catch 22 is that most hiring managers will only consider candidates who have the proper IT experience. So, what’s the best way to get your foot in the door? Certifications. It’s really just that simple! If you are new to IT and want to break into the field but can’t find a good way to do it, certifications are the best place to start.

Here are the five best entry-level IT certifications for newcomers:

1. CompTIA A+

The Computing Technology Industry Association (or CompTIA) is a non-profit association that is dedicated to furthering the education and validating experience with its full line of vendor-neutral certification exams. The best IT certification to start with if you are a newcomer is CompTIA’s A+ certification. This will be your initial building block.

CompTIA A+ 220-1001 covers mobile devices, networking technology, hardware, virtualization and cloud computing and network troubleshooting.

CompTIA A+ 220-1002 covers installing and configuring operating systems, expanded security, software troubleshooting and operational procedures.

The best way to get started is to grab an old desktop PC, open the case and start taking things apart and learning each piece. Begin to figure out what each piece does and where it goes on the motherboard. You’ll be ahead of the curve once you set up your CompTIA A+ course.

Most common job titles:

  • IT Technician
  • Desktop support technician
  • Help desk technician
  • 1ST Line Support

Average salary: £24,000 (source: itjobswatch.co.uk, UK Only).

Take an online CompTIA A+ course.

2. CompTIA Network+

The Network plus certification is the clear choice for the second best certification for newcomers in the IT industry. While the A+ certification does touch on a few of the physical networking aspects of IT, it doesn’t cover it in depth enough to gain the understanding you would need to obtain an entry -level networking job.

CompTIA Network+ helps develop a career in IT infrastructure covering troubleshooting, configuring, and managing networks.

Network+ ensures an IT professional has the knowledge and skills to:

  • Design and implement functional networks
  • Configure, manage, and maintain essential network devices
  • Use devices such as switches and routers to segment network traffic and create resilient networks
  • Identify benefits and drawbacks of existing network configurations
  • Implement network security, standards, and protocols
  • Troubleshoot network problems
  • Support the creation of virtualized networks

CompTIA Network+ N10-007 has been updated and reorganized to address the current networking technologies with expanded coverage of several domains by adding:

  • Critical security concepts to helping networking professionals work with security practitioners.
  • Key cloud computing best practices and typical service models.
  • Coverage of newer hardware and virtualization techniques.
  • Concepts to give individuals the combination of skills to keep the network resilient.

If you want the best return on your training investment, and a much better looking CV, you should think of A+ and Network+ as a package deal. Most newcomers will take the combination A+/Network + training in order to save on the individual cost. With both of those certs on paper, your CV will be more desirable in a pool of candidates.

Most common job titles:

  • Network Administrator
  • Network Engineer
  • Network Support Engineer

Average salary: £37,500 (source: itjobswatch.co.uk, UK Only).

Take an online CompTIA Network+ course.

3CompTIA Security+

Security plus training is an absolute must for any newcomer to the IT field. There are countless security threats in today’s world, so much so that companies pine after a candidate with any security background or certifications. You don’t necessarily have to have a CISSP, CASP or CEH training at first but are something you’ll want to look into as you progress in the field. CompTIA Security+ not only ensures that candidates will apply knowledge of security concepts, tools, and procedures to react to security incidents; it ensures that security personnel is anticipating security risks and guarding against them.

CompTIA Security+ certification designates knowledgeable professionals in the field of security, one of the fastest-growing fields in IT. 

CompTIA Security+ is the first security certification IT professionals should earn. It establishes the core knowledge required of any cybersecurity role and provides a springboard to intermediate-level cybersecurity jobs. Security+ incorporates best practices in hands-on trouble-shooting to ensure security professionals have practical security problem-solving skills. Cybersecurity professionals with Security+ know how to address security incidents – not just identify them.

This may be the most important certification you, as the IT newcomer could obtain. There are several mistakes that newcomers could make if they don’t entirely understand the basics of IT security.

Most common job titles:

  • IT Security Officer
  • IT Security Administrator
  • IT Security Engineer

Average salary: £48,500 (source: itjobswatch.co.uk, UK Only).

Take an online CompTIA Security+ course.

4. Cisco CCENT

If you have the Network plus certification under your belt already, or already hold entry-level knowledge of networking, great! Cisco Systems offers the Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician or CCENT which dives deeper into networking, specifically focused on Cisco’s proprietary hardware and software.

To obtain the CCENT certification you have to pass the Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1 or ICND1 exam. This exam covers everything from installation, operation, and troubleshooting of network devices as well as a few security concepts and the basics of routing and switching.

The CCENT certification will be much more in depth than Network+, but it’s also much more involved. Getting your CCENT and having it on your CV will give you an advantage over the competition, especially if they only have the Network+ certification.

Most common job titles:

  • Junior network engineer
  • Network Engineer
  • IT Support Engineer

Average salary: £31,500 (source: itjobswatch.co.uk, UK Only).

Take an online Cisco CCENT course.

5. Cisco CCNA

Although the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) exam has no official prerequisites, the Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician (CCENT) certification is a great starting point to prepare for the slightly more advanced CCNA certification.

Cisco CCNA assures employers you are able to install, operate and configure enterprise-level switches and routers. CCNA certified individuals can also detect and solve common network problems and have the option of specializing in security, voice or wireless networking.

CCNAs typically have some common key skills, including communication skills, troubleshooting skills, organizational skills, customer service skills, analytical skills, familiarity with Microsoft Office Suite and Cisco, and the ability to use industry-specific tools.

Most common job titles:

  • Junior cisco network engineer.
  • Cisco Network engineer.
  • Cisco network support engineer.

Average salary: £37,500 (source: itjobswatch.co.uk, UK Only).

Take an online Cisco CCNA course.

Certifications are a great way to validate what you’ve learnt, as a newcomer and since IT is and always will be a constantly changing field; IT certifications are the place to start. This should give you a better idea of what to look for in entry-level certifications. Now all you have to do is choose a path and get started!

Category: Technology

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