5 Essential Certifications for a Computer Career

1. CompTIA A+ CompTIA A+

CompTIA A+ certification

CCC graduate Nick Schwab holds an A+ certification

If you want to know how to fix a car, first you’ve got to know where the engine is.

Starting with the basics for an Information Technology career is the basis of the CompTIA A+ certification.

Many career changers in North Carolina and around the country prepare for the A+ as their first IT certification exam.  As a starting point for a career in the computer industry, the A+ certification is valuable.   It can prove you’ve learned the skills needed to troubleshoot computer issues.  Positions in which employees may hold this certification include Technical Support Specialist.  A Technical Support Specialist may be the person you speak to when you’re trying to install a new computer or printer, or when something breaks.

A Field Service Technician may be in charge of installing your new system, such as for a cable or security company.

In July, 2016, CompTIA retired the 220-801 & 802 exam as they moved to 220-901 & 902.   Like the older version, the new A+ test covers PC hardware and networking.  It also adds newer operating systems, mobile, and cloud computing.  Those interested in a growing North Carolina career should consider the A+ certification.


2. CompTIA Network+CompTIA Network+ Certification

The importance of certifications is growing within North Carolina careers in networking.  Having a Network+ certification can increase your marketability.

Why the Network+?

Like figuring out how things work together?  The Net+ certification is where careers move into things like cabling, network design, and hardware setup.

One example of a recent Carolina Career College graduate is Myron, who is a Tier 2 Network Technician.  When Field Technicians for a cable company need support installing systems, they call Myron.

Do you need the Network+ certification?  While not every networking position in North Carolina requires it, many do.  It’s also common for certified employees to be paid more than their peers.  If you are seeking a government job, consider that DOD8570 requires certifications like Network+ to work for specific agencies.

There are some that are interested in a networking career who look to pursue a CCNA first, bypassing the Network+.  Just be aware that Cisco’s CCNA is a higher-level certification.  Network+ can provide a foundation in networking that could make your CCNA path more manageable.


3. CompTIA Security+CompTIA Security+

A third essential IT certification is CompTIA’s Security+.  How big is cybersecurity?

80% of U.S. companies say they’ve been hacked and cybersecurity jobs are on the rise.  Just about every field needs cybersecurity professionals in North Carolina, including banking and retail.

Have you heard of “The Internet of Things”?  This refers to devices connected to the internet in our daily lives that send and receive data.  Think smartphones, GPS, security systems, washing machines, headphones, and even coffee makers.  The more devices connected, the more chances there are for issues.

That’s where security comes in.

When you pass the Security+ exam, you’ll have learned the principles of network security and how to secure a network.  These are valuable skills that fast-growing North Carolina careers.


4. CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP)

comptia casp

A higher level security certification, CompTIA’s CASP validates high-level skills in cybersecurity.  Learning subjects such as risk management and incident response puts CASP holders in position for North Carolina careers with growth potential.  40% of the CASP exam covers enterprise security.  If you are interested in a career with a large company, this certification may be for you.


5. Cisco Certified Networking Associate (CCNA)

Cisco CCNA Certification

JJ holds a CCNA Certification

CCC graduate JJ Herr holds a CCNA certification

The CCNA is considered by many as a gold standard networking certification.

For starters, Cisco is a highly respected brand name in networking.  Secondly, if you are one of two candidates with similar experience trying to land a position, the CCNA can certainly set you apart.  You’ll learn to work with routed and switched networks.

According to Cisco, having Cisco network administration skills can add nine percent to a salary in the United States.  Your routing and switching certification can lead to other career tracks, including cloud, data center, wireless, and security.

Carolina Career College provides training for Information Technology certifications that include the A+, Network+, Security+, CASP, and CCNA and career placement assistance.  Schedule your tour today!

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