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CompTIA Network+ 2009: Still Worthwhile?

By  Apr 6, 2009

Topics: Certification, CompTIA

You might think that after my scathing review of the 2009 Network+ Exam (N10-004) I would hold a dismal view of the title’s worth in today’s IT marketplace. Read on, friends…

Why the Network+ Certification Still Holds Water

While I believe the 2009 Edition of the Network+ exam could use a major overhaul pedagogically (this will constitute the subject of a future blog post), I nonetheless feel that, like it or lump it, the Network+ continues to hold value in the IT job market as a benchmark standard for entry-level IT networking professionals.

Why do I believe the Network+ maintains industry cred in 2009? Not so much because I believe that an individual who earns the Network+ necessarily has truly validated his or her skills as a networking technician, but because I maintain that the human resources managers/IT headhunters who arrange job interviews for these candidates place value in the CompTIA Network+ credential.

The need for a person/IT department to earn an information technology certification tends to fall into one of two classifications:

1. You are an IT manager who needs to fulfill some compliance requirement. Perhaps you need to perform warranty repairs on such-and-so OEM equipment; therefore, your techs must certify as such-and-so certified professionals.

Or, likewise, your shop plans to do IT security work for the Federal Government. In order to even submit a job bid with the Feds, you are looking at stuff like Department of Defense Directive 8570 compliancy, et al, which mandates IT security certifications.

2. You are a new entrant to the IT field, or perhaps a re-entrant who has been laid off from your previous position, and realize that the only way to get a leg up on your next job is to differentiate yourself with some industry certifications.

In my humble or not-so-humble opinion, so long as HR managers/hiring managers/IT headhunters recognize the CompTIA Network+ as a valid certification, it will be just for this length of time that the the Network+ remains viable in the IT job market.

But What About the CCENT?

Please feel free to tell me differently in the comments portion of this blog post, but I have not seen much buy-in thus far with Cisco’s head-to-head competition for the Network+, the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT).

It appears that Cisco is deploying too many acronyms—too many titles—in an attempt to thicken their profit margin and widen their revenue streams. This flood of certification titles produces industry confusion rather than harmony, to my mind.

A natural outgrowth of too many certification acronyms is befuddled IT headhunters and HR managers, and hiring managers looking at candidates’ resumes thinking “Huh? What does CCENT mean, anyhow? This other person has a Network+. I think I will contact her for an interview.”

Next Steps

As previously stated, in future blog posts I would like very much to explain how I feel the Network+ test could be reworked to provide a more realistic evaluation of the test-taker’s skill set with regard to network troubleshooting and Ethernet theory.

Furthermore, I think that, if you have not done so already, you may want to take a look at two screencasts I recorded that explain the positioning of the CCENT title in a bit greater depth:

Peace out!

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