So, you want to know what are the best IT certifications for beginners in 2023? You are in the right place. In this article, we will explore some of the best IT certifications that are suitable for your skill level, career aspirations, and interests.
Throughout this article, you will discover how to select the right certifications and understand the key differences between having knowledge vs having certifications from a context of career opportunities.
We'll also explore and understand two key stages of IT certifications: Stage 1, which is ideal for those with minimal IT knowledge, and Stage 2, designed for those who are ready to dive deeper into advanced networking concepts.
So, without further ado, let’s delve deep into answering the question: “What are the best IT certifications for beginners in 2023?”
How to Pick the Right IT Certification
Before beginning your IT certification journey, it is crucial for you to evaluate your current knowledge and skillset. This self-assessment is a vital step in determining the best starting point and setting realistic goals for your IT certification endeavors.
Assessing your current knowledge and skillset helps you understand your strengths and weaknesses, enabling you to strategize and plan your certification path effectively.
So, let us try to answer your most critical question: Where do you stand, and where should you begin?
We have tried to make this self-assessment easier for you. If you’re someone with no or limited IT knowledge, then we would recommend you to pursue the IT certifications that are categorized as Stage 1.
If you’re someone who possesses adequate knowledge in the IT domain, it may be more worthwhile to jumpstart your IT certification journey with Stage 2 certifications, which are designed for those who are ready to dive deeper into advanced networking.
Stage 1 and Stage 2 IT Certifications Explained
Let’s understand what Stage 1 and Stage 2 IT certifications are in more detail.
At StationX, we have meticulously crafted this comprehensive and easy-to-adopt roadmap, purposefully designed to serve as your guiding beacon on the path toward a rewarding career in Information Technology and Cyber Security.
In this roadmap, you see that Stage 1 is dedicated to certifications associated with IT Fundamentals, equipping you with a foundational understanding of essential IT concepts. The certifications mentioned in this stage will provide you with basic knowledge and skills related to fundamental concepts of IT that are necessary for you to start your IT career.
Stage 2 IT certifications are more focused on improving your networking skills. These certifications provide you with the knowledge and right skill set that you need to excel in networking areas of the IT domain.
Stage 1 and Stage 2 certifications are the stepping stones that help you kickstart and boost your career in the IT industry.
Stage 1: Essential IT
If we want to talk about Stage 1 Essential IT certifications, CompTIA IT Fundamentals and CompTIA A+ are two famous entry-level certifications designed for individuals with little to no IT experience.
CompTIA IT Fundamentals (ITF+)
CompTIA IT Fundamentals (ITF+) is an entry-level certification course offered by CompTIA that provides an introduction to basic IT knowledge and skills that help you determine whether you have what it takes to work in IT.
It is a pre-career IT certification that is designed to provide individuals with a basic foundational understanding of various IT concepts and technologies. This certification is effective for someone who has almost no knowledge in the IT or computing domain.
Who Can Benefit From CompTIA ITF+?
- Those considering a career in IT as a student or career changer.
- Those non-technical professionals whose jobs require a thorough understanding of IT.
- People in marketing, sales, and operations who want to improve their job performance, improve their technology skills, and rely less on IT support.
This certification primarily benefits individuals who are new to technology beyond checking email and web searching but want to build a basic understanding of IT principles and practices. Those with the ITF+ are capable of setting up their own workstation or cell phone, installing software and troubleshooting compatibility issues, connecting to a wifi network, installing device drivers, etc.
What Will You Learn With CompTIA ITF+?
- IT Concepts And Terminology
- Applications And Software
- Software Development
- Database Fundamentals
CompTIA IT Fundamentals (ITF+) Exam Details:
Following are the CompTIA IT Fundamentals (ITF+) exam details:
- Exam Code: Exam FC0-U61
- Number of Questions: Maximum of 75 questions per exam
- Test Format: Multiple Choice
- Duration: 60 Minutes
- Passing Score: 650 (on a scale of 900)
- CompTIA ITF+ FC0-U61 Exam Voucher Cost (1 exam voucher): $134 USD
CompTIA ITF+ Resources:
Here are some of the best resources related to CompTIA ITF+:
The CompTIA A+ certification is a widely recognized entry-level certification in the field of information technology. A+ will prepare you for a career as a technical support specialist, field service technician, help desk technician, service desk analyst, data support technician, or desktop support administrator.
Who Can Benefit From CompTIA A+?
It is designed to validate the foundational skills and knowledge required to begin a career in IT support and technical roles.
What Will You Learn With CompTIA A+?
The CompTIA A+ exam covers the following domains and topics:
- Mobile Devices
- Hardware and Network Troubleshooting
- Virtualization and Cloud Computing
- Operating System
- Software Troubleshooting
- Operational Procedures
CompTIA A+ Exam Details:
Following are the CompTIA A+ exam details:
- Exam Code: Exam 220-1001 (Core 1) and Exam 220-1002 (Core 2)
- Number of Questions: Maximum of 90 questions per exam
- Test Format: Multiple Choice, performance-based, and drag-and-drop
- Duration: 90 Minutes
- Passing Score:
- 220-1001: 675 (on a scale of 100-900)
- 220-1002: 700 (on a scale of 100-900)
- CompTIA A+ 220-1001 Exam Voucher Cost (1 exam voucher): $246 USD
- CompTIA A+ 220-1102 Exam Voucher Cost (1 exam voucher): $246 USD
CompTIA A+ Resources
Here are some of the best resources related to CompTIA A+:
Stage 2: Networking
So, as you have some basic understanding about Stage 1 certifications in the previous section, let’s deep dive and understand what Stage 2 certifications are about.
This stage primarily focuses on the concepts of networking. CompTIA Network+ and Cisco Certified Network Associate are two of the most reputed certifications that focus on networking fundamental concepts and practices.
CompTIA Network+ is designed to validate your networking knowledge and skills. Network+ can be helpful for IT professionals to gain additional knowledge and eventually pursue careers in network administration, support, and related roles. It also provides a strong foundation for those who eventually want to move into cyber security.
This certification equips you with the fundamental networking expertise required to manage, troubleshoot, and secure wired and wireless networks. Here's a closer look at CompTIA Network+.
Who Can Benefit From CompTIA Network+?
Network+ is ideal for individuals who are primarily seeking to gain knowledge and skill set to advance their career ambitions into specialized roles like cyber security, as Network+ provides a very wide but shallow understanding of networking concepts. This certification proves you have a conceptual understanding of a broad range of networking technologies and their roles, but not necessarily hands-on expertise.
What Will You Learn With CompTIA Network+?
CompTIA Network+ covers a wide range of networking topics, including:
- Networking Fundamentals
- Network Implementations
- Network Operations
- Network Security
- Network Troubleshooting
CompTIA Network+ Exam Details:
Following are the CompTIA Network+ exam details:
- Exam Code: N10-008
- Number of Questions: Maximum of 90 questions per exam
- Test Format: Multiple Choice, Performance-Based
- Duration: 90 Minutes
- Passing Score: 720 on a scale of 100-900
- CompTIA Network+ N10-008 Exam Voucher Cost (1 exam voucher): $358 USD
CompTIA Network+ Resources
Here are some of the best resources related to CompTIA Network+:
Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
CCNA is a highly regarded certification demonstrating your expertise in networking fundamentals, making it an excellent choice for individuals pursuing careers in network engineering, administration, and related roles. Here's a detailed overview of the CCNA certification.
Who Can Benefit From CCNA?
CCNA is tailored for network professionals who want to advance their careers in networking, including network administrators, engineers, and technicians, along with network enthusiasts and IT career changers aspiring to work in networking.
Note that Cisco is a leader in the networking industry and it holds more than 44 percent market share for the enterprise networking hardware and equipment, so there is a high likelihood you will be using Cisco manufactured networking equipment as a network administrator. And CCNA helps you gain the required practical knowledge on the networking domain area.
In addition, even employers who do not use Cisco systems seek candidates with CCNA certification, because of the hands-on technical nature of the certification. See how it compares to Network+ here.
What Will You Learn With CCNA?
CCNA covers a wide range of networking topics, including:
- Network Fundamentals
- Network Access
- IP Connectivity
- IP Services
- Security Fundamentals
- Automation and Programmability
CCNA Exam Details:
Following are the CCNA exam details:
- Exam Title: Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
- Exam Code: CCNA 200-301
- Number of Questions: Typically around 100-120 questions per exam
- Test Format: Multiple Choice and Simulation
- Duration: 120 Minutes
- Passing Score: Cisco exams use a scaled scoring system, and the passing score may vary
- CCNA Exam Cost: $300 USD
Here are some of the best resources related to CCNA:
Certifications vs Knowledge
Some certifications are designed to provide you knowledge while others help you land in your dream job. For example, CompTIA ITF+ proves to yourself you have become an advanced user and CompTIA Network+ shows you have a wide knowledge of enterprise networking concepts, but they are not often sought after by employers.
Whereas, CompTIA A+ and CCNA certifications, on the other hand, are often requested for their respective positions and are useful to meet hiring requirements for critical job roles.
It is important to understand that while certifications are valuable, they aren't always necessary. Weigh the benefits of certification against your career goals and the specific demands of your chosen field.
Certifications also act as milestones in your IT career. They demonstrate your dedication, validate your knowledge, and provide a sense of accomplishment. Additionally, certifications can bolster your resume and increase your chances of landing your desired IT job.
A certification never hurts your resume, and it proves to yourself that you have the knowledge needed to move forward. As a milestone, it can add motivation to your studies - getting a “win” under your belt. All these things need to be considered.
Selecting the right IT certifications for beginners in 2023 depends on your current knowledge, career goals, and interests. Starting with Stage 1 certifications like CompTIA IT Fundamentals and CompTIA A+ is ideal for those with minimal IT experience. If you want to specialize in networking, consider Stage 2 certifications like CompTIA Network+ and Cisco CCNA.
Certifications are not the only path to IT career success. Practical knowledge, skills, and a passion for the field are equally vital. However, to add value to your skillset, certifications definitely play a major role. Choose certifications that align with your goals and continuously invest in your IT education.
Our Accelerator Program will connect you with mentors to help you create a custom certification roadmap to match your career goals and guide you to achieve your career aspirations.