CompTIA Network+ vs Security+: Differences, Salary, & Exam

Taylor Karl
CompTIA Network+ vs Security+: Differences, Salary, & Exam 7182 0

CompTIA Network+ vs CompTIA Security+

Do you need clarification about whether you should get CompTIA Network+ vs. Security+ certification and which track is right for you? Are you wondering what skills the two certification exams are testing? Are you looking for an overview of the differences between these two certifications— including salary potential, requirements, and which exam might better fit your career goals?

Both CompTIA certifications are two of the top vendor-neutral certifications offered in the IT industry. There are many similarities between the two, but there are also some stark differences. Comparing these two certifications is important because it will allow you to decide which certificate suits you best. Read on to learn more.

What is CompTIA Network+

CompTIA Network+ is a vendor-neutral certification that validates the knowledge and skills necessary for a professional to install, configure, operate, and troubleshoot basic network infrastructure. Network+, in a nutshell, teaches students the ins and outs of the many configurations that protect the security and confidentiality of data as it flows from point A to point Z.

CompTIA Network+ is an excellent starting point to more advanced study as a networking professional. It teaches students how to troubleshoot, set up networks, and manage wired and wireless connections. Also, certification is a great way for IT pros to show their familiarity with networking products and techniques to prospective employers and customers.

What is CompTIA Security+

CompTIA Security+ certification is also a vendor-neutral credential that validates the technical knowledge and skills required to design, implement, and maintain a secure network. The primary objective of the Security+ curriculum is to educate students on the best practices for establishing a secure infrastructure and allowing for the uninterrupted transfer of information from point A to point Z. Learning to identify a security breach and how to respond to it is also covered.

The Security+ certification is a good starting point for anybody interested in a career as a cybersecurity professional, as it covers the basics of performing core network cybersecurity tasks and qualifies its holders for intermediate-level jobs in cybersecurity. In addition, certification as a Security+ professional demonstrates a wide range of skills in the field of information and cybersecurity, including the ability to configure a network in such a way as to prevent unauthorized access, familiarity with penetration testing and vulnerability assessment, and familiarity with best practices in cybersecurity and risk management.


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Key Differences Between Network+ and Security+

Cost

Network +

Your purchase of an exam voucher is required for admission to the certification test. The fee for the voucher alone is $338. This exam requires you to pay for another voucher if you need to retake the certification exam.

It is heavily advised that you study thoroughly before taking the exam to reduce the likelihood of failing and needing to purchase a new voucher. There are packages of study materials designed to help you pass exams for credentials like CompTIA Network+. You'll need to account for this additional expense if you decide to pursue this option.

Note that with both exams, voucher discounts are available for students. Currently, students can purchase a voucher good for one CompTIA Network+ exam for $150.

Security+

Like the Network+ exam, you’ll need to purchase an exam voucher to take this certification test. The fee for the Security+ voucher is $392. This exam also requires you to pay for another voucher if you need to retake the certification exam.

Like Network+, there are additional learning resources and packages that exist for the Security+ certification. So, if you choose to purchase these resources, you’ll need to factor in this cost as well.

Currently, students can purchase a voucher good for one CompTIA Security+ exam for $209.

Requirements

Network +

Although this is an entry-level certification, applicants are strongly encouraged to have at least nine months of experience in a PC help desk or computer support role. Familiarity with Linux and Windows, even at a fundamental level, is also beneficial.

Security+

For this examination, you should have at least two years of experience in IT administration, preferably with a security focus, and the CompTIA Network+ certification (or comparable expertise). However, there are no prerequisites required to sit the exam.

Exam

Network+

As part of the CompTIA Network+ exam objectives, candidates will be tested on their knowledge of terminology, protocols, utilities, and tools used by network administrators; they'll also be expected to know how to identify common problems and resolve those issues using correct tools and procedures.

Exam candidates have a total of 90 minutes to complete the test. Remember that there is a limit of 90 questions on the CompTIA Network+ test but go into it with confidence and answer the questions at a rate that is appropriate for you.

Security+

The CompTIA Security+ exam covers the essential principles of information and cybersecurity, risk management, and threats. It also includes practical applications, hands-on exercises, and simulations to test your knowledge. The exam consists of questions on cryptography, access control, identity management, data integrity and privacy, and operational and organizational security.

Like the Network+ certification, you will have 90 minutes to finish the exam, and there will be, at most, 90 questions. However, interactive questions appear at the beginning of the exam, so use your time wisely while answering these questions.

Responsibilities

Network+

Those who have earned the CompTIA Network+ credential show they are equipped to establish, maintain, and troubleshoot networked computing devices, including scanners, fax machines, and more. They design, develop, and manage functional networks and configure, monitor, and provide technical support for critical network hardware.

Keep in mind that many job roles use the knowledge of Network+-certified individuals, and each job role may vary. With that being said, one of the most popular occupations for Network+ certification holders is network administration. A critical element of this job is making sure the network is always up and running without any hiccups in service. In addition, network administrators also monitor network activity to spot potential issues as they arise and monitor the performance of servers and other resources to ensure they are functioning properly.

Security+

Those who have earned the Security+ credential show they can be trusted with a wide variety of responsibilities including, but not limited to, the development of industry-standard documentation and the setup of security features on devices such as routers, switches, firewalls, IDS/IPS, and more. Their overarching objective is the preservation of security systems and the mitigation of potential threats.

Security+ professionals must be able to design, implement, and verify security for systems. This includes planning for new products and services and integrating security into the product development life cycle. Security+ professionals often work in jobs that involve IT administration and management. They may also serve as a cybersecurity professional or security consultant for companies that need to ensure their data is secure from outside threats.

Which Certification is More Difficult

Each certification examination is tough in its own way; for example, Network+ is an entry-level certification that might be difficult to obtain without prior expertise. Like Network+, Security+ is also an entry-level certification, but is more complex and focuses on teaching students how to secure a network and deal with breaches effectively.

For the Network+ test, all questions are multiple-choice. However, on the Security+ test, you’ll find a variety of question types, such as multiple-choice, drag-and-drop, and performance-based tasks. Your problem-solving skills in a realistic setting will be put to the test by the performance-based issues on the Security+ exam.

Salary Potential for Network+ and Security+

Keep in mind that a person's salary will vary based on their employer, experience, and job title and duties. Security+-certified professionals often earn more than their Network+-certified counterparts. Here are just a few job positions held by those with these certifications and their median salaries, according to Salary.com.

CompTIA Network+ Salary Infographic

 

CompTIA Security+ Salary Infographic

Network+

Network Administrator I: median salary of $66,882.

Network Support Specialist: median salary of $53,530.

Network Analyst: median salary of $65,527.

Security+

Security Administrator: median salary of $91,562.

Security Specialist: median salary of $61,090.

Security Systems Engineer: median salary of $88,932.

Conclusion

Network+ and Security+ are industry-recognized certifications validating your understanding of basic IT concepts and are valuable certifications. When comparing these two examinations, they have a lot in common—but there are some key differences between them.

Having gone over the differences between these two certifications, the decision of which to pursue will largely depend on your current level of knowledge and career goals. If you are still deciding which track to take, it is worth considering what your long-term goals are as an IT professional.

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