CCNA vs Security+: Which Certification Is Right For You?

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in the IT field, you’ve probably heard of both CCNA and Security+ certifications. These two certifications are highly sought after in the industry, but they differ in their scope and focus. In this article, IT Exams will take a closer look at CCNA vs Security+ to help you […]

March 25, 2023

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in the IT field, you’ve probably heard of both CCNA and Security+ certifications. These two certifications are highly sought after in the industry, but they differ in their scope and focus. In this article, IT Exams will take a closer look at CCNA vs Security+ to help you determine which certification is right for you.

Whether you choose CCNA or Security+, we offer a complete practice platform to help you prepare and pass your coming exam on the first try. Check out our CCNA practice tests and CompTIA Sec+ practice tests now!

What Is CCNA?

The CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) certification is widely used in the field of computer networking. It is a foundational certification that verifies the skills and knowledge needed to install, manage, operate, and troubleshoot medium-sized routed and switched networks.

The CCNA exam covers a wide range of networking subjects, including:

  • Network fundamentals
  • LAN switching technologies
  • IPv4 and IPv6 addressing
  • Routing technologies
  • WAN technologies
  • Infrastructure services
  • Infrastructure security
  • Network programmability and automation

Candidates must pass the CCNA test, which comprises one or more examinations depending on the exact CCNA track chosen, in order to get CCNA certification. The CCNA exam is computer-based and includes multiple-choice questions as well as simulations.

What Is Security+?

Security+ is a well-known information security certification. It is a basic certification that verifies the skills and knowledge needed to secure and safeguard computer systems and networks.

The Security+ certification addresses a variety of security issues, including:

  • Threats, attacks, and vulnerabilities
  • Technologies and tools used to secure networks and systems
  • Identity and access management
  • Cryptography and PKI (Public Key Infrastructure)
  • Risk management and mitigation
  • Security policies and procedures
  • Security best practices for mobile and cloud environments

Candidates must pass the Security+ test, which is a computer-based exam with multiple-choice questions and performance-based questions, to receive Security+ certification.

CCNA vs Security+: Key Differences


Eligibility Requirements

While both of them are junior certificates, the required experience and qualifications differ.


The CCNA certificate has no formal eligibility criteria; that is, you do not need to hold any other sort of certification to take the test. Cisco does, however, require at least one year of experience delivering and maintaining Cisco technologies.

Don’t get disheartened if you lack this specific experience. Online courses are a very effective means of learning the underlying knowledge required for the test.


There are no official prerequisites for taking the Security+ test. However, CompTIA recommends that you have at least two years of experience in IT administration with a security focus as a non-essential need.

CompTIA recommends a basic networking certification as a soft requirement. Of course, they suggest their own Network+, but the CCNA is also a viable choice to meet this need. Again, it is not essential but strongly advised.

Exam Details

Security+ and CCNA both provide a high level of study flexibility, allowing you to learn at your own speed. The substance of each test, however, varies greatly to reflect the varied aims of each certification. More information is provided below.


You must pass the 200-301 CCNA test to obtain your CCNA certification. This is a 120-minute exam with around 100 multiple-choice questions and simulation tests. It is graded out of 1,000, with a pass value of 825.

You can take the exam in person or through Pearson VUE’s online proctored exam. If you’re taking it online, ensure sure your system is set up to fulfill Cisco’s online testing standards.

The test covers the six domains listed below:

  • Network fundamentals (20%).¬†How various network components work, types of network topology architectures, wireless principles, virtualization fundamentals, and switching concepts.
  • Network access(20%). Configuring VLANs across switches, understanding and comparing various Cisco Wireless Architectures and AP modes.
  • IP connectivity (25%). Interpreting and applying routing table components.
  • IP services (20%). Demonstrating your knowledge of a range of critical network services that enable you to deploy, manage and control an IP network consisting of Cisco architecture.
  • Security fundamentals (15%). Understanding key security concepts and risk mitigation processes.
  • Automation and programmability (10%). Understanding the role of automation in streamlining network management, including the use of vendor-specific management tools such as Cisco DNA Center.

Security +

To obtain your CompTIA Security+ certification, you must complete a 90-minute test.SY0-601 is the current exam version. According to CompTIA, the exam will consist of “no more than 90 questions.” It is graded out of 900, with 750 being the passing score.

The Security+ exam, like the CCNA, may be taken in person at a test center or online using the Pearson proctoring platform. For vital information on online and in-person tests, see CompTIA’s testing alternatives page.

The exam material is divided into five topic domains:

  • Vulnerabilities (24%): Penetration testing, vulnerability scanning, and compromise detection are all examples of attacks, threats, and vulnerabilities.
  • Architecture and design (21%): How to deploy network components while incorporating organizational security measures.
  • Implementation (25%): How to put secure network design principles into action.
  • Operations (16%): Understanding the principles involved in recognizing and resolving risks, vulnerabilities, and assaults in operations and incident response.
  • Compliance (14%): Best practices in topics such as risk management and business impact estimation.

The test will largely consist of multiple-choice questions, with some practical problem-solving tasks called Performance Based Questions (PBQs) by CompTIA.

The multi-choice Security+ questions will frequently provide you with a situation and ask you to choose the appropriate course of action. Similarly, you may be asked questions to assess your comprehension of relevant ideas (for example, different sorts of penetration testing methodologies).

PBQs entail performing simple behaviors in a virtual setting. You could be required to drag and drop security hardware components into their proper placements on a network map, for example.

Job Opportunities

To give a useful like-for-like comparison, we ran a current job search on Indeed in the United States where each certification was required. We also looked for positions that required both credentials. Here’s what we found:


There are now slightly under 11,000 available possibilities.

The vast majority of them are for network engineer, technician, and IT support positions. The majority are for entry-level employment. This is to be expected, as the CCNA requirement is likely to be overtaken by the need for more sophisticated credentials as you move up the chain.

An entry-level IT support associate job posting is pretty common. Handling technical inquiries from other employees via a ticketing system is part of the job. The annual compensation ranges from $32,000 to $37,000.

Some of the employers who have posted jobs look to be highly involved in Cisco architecture. CCNA is, predictably, stated as an essential need for these. A Junior Cisco Network Engineer employment with a pay range of $55,000 to $80,000 is an example of this.

Many other job advertisements, on the other hand, state that they desire a fundamental networking degree and include CCNA as one of many alternatives (typically alongside the vendor-neutral CompTIA A+).

This demonstrates that the CCNA qualification is appreciated by firms that use Cisco architecture. Employers frequently want to know that you grasp the fundamental concepts of network engineering when applying for entry-level positions. Regardless of the specific components you’ll be dealing with, CCNA is an excellent approach to demonstrate this.


There are presently over 8,000 available positions.

As with CCNA, there are other positions such as junior network engineer, technician, and IT support. There is also a large share of junior jobs with more security-focused responsibilities, such as assistant security analysts and information security administrators.

A junior security administration analyst for a bank is a typical illustration of a junior position. The role entails ensuring that the bank’s information security program satisfies regulatory criteria and granting personnel-compliant system access permissions. The annual compensation is $46,000.

Cost and Recertification

Each exam has its own starting cost and ongoing obligations. Let’s see how these stack up.


Each attempt at the CCNA certification test costs $300.

The certification lasts three years. Following that, you can recertify through a single activity or many ‘Continuing Education’ phases.

You can choose a single activity:

  • Retake the CCNA test
  • Obtain a higher level Cisco exam.

The multi-step recertification procedure requires you to obtain credits through Cisco’s Continuing Education Portal. For this, you will be given a list of approved activities via the Cisco Continuing Education platform, such as Cisco live technical sessions, boot camps, seminars, and specific industry events. Recertification for the CCNA involves the accumulation of 30 CE points.


The Security+ exam costs $392 for each try.

The certification lasts three years. After that, you must either retake the test or gain educational credits, which CompTIA refers to as continuous education units (CEUs).

CEUs can be earned by completing additional security-related courses, gaining certifications, and attending conferences and other industry events. To recertify using this path, you must acquire 50 CEUs.

You may also renew your Security+ certification by obtaining a more advanced CompTIA certificate, such as Pentest+ or CySA+.

There is no additional recertification charge if you renew Security+ by getting a more advanced certificate. If you renew with non-CompTIA credentials, you must pay a $150 cost.

Read more >> CCT vs CCNA: Which Certification Offers Better Career Opportunities?

CCNA vs Security+ Benefits


When considering CCNA vs Security+ certifications, it’s important to understand the potential benefits that each certification can offer.

CCNA Benefits

CCNA certification covers a wide range of networking subjects, such as routing and switching, wireless networking, and network security. As a result, it is an important certification for IT professionals who operate in a range of networking areas.

CCNA certification is well-regarded in the business and is seen as a significant credential by many employers. In a competitive work environment, having a CCNA certification may help IT professionals stand out.

Earning a CCNA certification can lead to new career options and higher-paying positions. Many CCNA-certified IT workers go on to become network administrators, network engineers, or network architects.

Security+ Benefits

Numerous benefits come with the Security+ certification. First of all, it offers a skill set that is in demand since information security is becoming more and more crucial, making it lucrative in the job market. Holders of this certification can pursue a variety of security-related careers since they have a solid foundation in security concepts. Particularly useful for IT workers looking for jobs in government or defense-related industries is the fact that the United States Department of Defense recognizes and requires Security+ certification for many federal security tasks.

Second, the Security+ certification aids in professional growth by enabling IT professionals to improve their information security expertise. This, therefore, produces a higher level of job satisfaction and creates opportunities for a more fulfilling career. Holding a Security+ certification ensures professionals keep current with the latest industry standards and practices as technology and security threats advance, equipping them for success in the always-shifting information security world.

CCNA vs Security+ Drawbacks

Before choosing between CCNA and Security+ credentials, you should weigh each one’s advantages and disadvantages.

CCNA Drawbacks

If you wonder”how hard is CCNA test?” then here it is. The complexity and fast-advancing technology of the CCNA certification is its key downsides. Because of how difficult the test is reputed to be, many pupils fail it on their first try. It may take more time and effort to get over this, which is disheartening. The networking industry is also continually changing, and the CCNA certification may find it difficult to stay up with the most recent developments. Candidates must constantly learn new skills and keep up with the latest developments if they want to be competitive in the job market. In addition, the price of the CCNA test and associated training materials might be prohibitive, especially for people who are just starting their careers.

Security+ Drawbacks

The Security+ certification has similar restrictions and drawbacks. In the beginning, it can be expensive since applicants must pass one or more tests, which adds up rapidly in costs. The financial strain may also be increased by the fact that certain applicants may need to spend money on training materials or seminars in order to fully prepare for the exams. The second is that getting Security+ certified takes a lot of time and work. Candidates must commit to significant study and training, which sometimes lasts for months or even years. Last but not least, the certification’s exclusive emphasis on information security and risk management may limit its application to all IT workers or companies because it does not cover the entire spectrum of abilities and expertise needed in the sector.

Overall, whether you go for CCNA or Security+ certification, both provide useful skill sets and can lead to new chances in the fascinating and always-evolving world of technology.

Which Certification Should You Choose?


Factors to Consider

Especially since both offer possible work prospects in the cybersecurity industry, choosing between the CCNA Security and Security+ credentials may be challenging. It’s essential to evaluate your professional goals, level of knowledge, and spending in order to lessen this burden.

  • Career Goals: Do you want to specialize in network security or do you want to learn all aspects of cybersecurity? Network professionals who wish to specialize in network security should take the CCNA Security exam. For IT professionals looking to fully understand cybersecurity, Security+, on the other hand, offers a broad perspective on security.
  • Experience Level: Are you an experienced IT expert or a newcomer to the field? Security+ is a fantastic choice for students who are just getting started in cybersecurity because it covers a wide variety of topics and needs no prior knowledge. Due to its emphasis on network security, CCNA Security is best suited for individuals having a good foundation in networking and security.
  • Budget: Exam costs, study materials, and training courses should all be included when calculating the cost of acquiring certification. CCNA Security tests are less expensive than Security+ exams, however, they need numerous examinations, which raises the entire cost.

With the aforementioned considerations in mind, here are a few suggestions to assist you in selecting the appropriate certification:

  • Security+ provides a complete grasp of security for people just starting out in cybersecurity.
  • Network professionals who want to specialize in network security should pursue the CCNA Security certification.
  • CCNA Security is a more economical choice for people on a restricted budget.
  • Both certificates can help seasoned IT workers with substantial security knowledge.

CCNA or Security+: Study Tips and Resources

When preparing for either the CCNA or Security+ certification exams, it’s important to have a solid study plan in place. Here are some study tips and resources to help you prepare:

Study Tips

  • Begin with the test goals: The CCNA and Security+ examinations both have well-stated exam objectives that explain the subjects you must be familiar with. These objectives should serve as a starting point for your study strategy.
  • Set aside regular study time: When it comes to test preparation, consistency is essential. Set aside and stick to a regular study period each week.
  • Use a range of study resources, such as: Do not rely solely on one study resource. To reinforce your knowledge, use a combination of textbooks, online courses, practice examinations, and hands-on experience.
  • Take practice examinations: Practice exams are an excellent technique to determine your preparation for the real thing. Use these to determine where you should concentrate your research efforts.
  • Setting up a home lab or volunteering for IT projects at work can provide you with excellent hands-on experience with networking and security technology.

Study Resources

  • Cisco Learning Network: The Cisco Learning Network is a free online networking community. It provides a wide range of study options, such as study groups, webinars, and practice examinations.
  • CompTIA: CompTIA is the company that provides the Security+ certification. Their website has a wealth of study materials, including as study guides, sample examinations, and e-learning courses.
  • Udemy: Udemy is an online learning site that offers a variety of networking and security courses. They provide training intended exclusively for the CCNA and Security+ examinations.
  • Boson: Boson is a firm that provides IT certification practice examinations and training resources, such as CCNA and Security+.
  • Packet Tracer is a network simulation application for practicing setting network devices and resolving problems. It is free to download from Cisco’s website.
  • You can feel confident and prepared while taking the CCNA or Security+ certification tests if you use a mix of these study ideas and resources.



What is the difference between CCNA vs Security+?

CCNA focuses on networking technologies, while Security+ focuses on information security topics.

What kind of jobs can I get with CCNA or Security+ certification?

CCNA can lead to jobs such as network engineer or network administrator, while Security+ can lead to careers in information security, such as security analyst or security engineer.

How difficult are CCNA and Security+ exams?

The Security+ themes and tasks are more challenging for most test takers, despite the fact that both the CCNA and the Security+ are challenging entry-level exams. With enough practical experience, the Cisco CCNA test ought to be the easier of the two.

Are there any prerequisites for CCNA or Security+ certification?

There are no requirements for the test, although according to Cisco, CCNA applicants often possess the following knowledge before sitting for it: Using and deploying Cisco goods and solutions for at least a year.

How long is CCNA or Security+ certification valid?

After the date of issue, your certification is still valid for three years. You must meet a number of recertification requirements in order to recertify before your certificate expires. You don’t need to take any action to maintain your CCNA certification. It is well known that Cisco often updates its certification program.

Final words

In conclusion, the decision between the CCNA vs Security+ certificates relies on your career objectives and interests. Each offers distinctive and useful skill sets for aspiring IT professionals. Whether you choose the CCNA or the Security+ certification, both carry a lot of weight in the IT sector and can lead to rewarding employment prospects. Decide whatever option best suits you, then go earn that certification or even those certificates. Good luck, buddies!