If you have been surfing LinkedIn or another professional networking site lately, you may have seen the CompTIA logo in a place you did not expect to see it. While it has become a common practice (and an all-around good idea) for people to report news of earning a CompTIA certification on social media, there is now a different type of digital badge out there that carries an endorsement from CompTIA: Coursera is offering two new courses for beginners that carry the CompTIA stamp of approval.
Coursera is one of the major Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platforms that has exploded in popularity as online remote learning options have gone mainstream. Coursera deals more directly with accredited institutions, organizations, and educational bodies than others operating in the space like Udemy, which focus on independently created courses.
While each MOOC provider has its advantages, proponents, and success stories from learners, because of Coursera’s focus on partnerships with industry leaders, it makes sense for CompTIA to lend its expertise and create a couple brand-approved digital endorsements for a particular kind of learner.
So what kind of learner might these new courses, named CompTIA a+_cyber and CompTIA a+_network, appeal to? In exploring that question, we will see what separates a Coursera Specialization Certificate from CompTIA’s industry-recognized certifications, and help you determine if pursuing the Coursera courses might be suited to your professional goals and learning style.
CompTIA and Coursera: a Pre-Professional Deep Dive
Both Coursera courses are structured to provide a one-stop deep-dive that can get a networking or cybersecurity novice up to speed on what they must know to be ready to pursue the CompTIA Network+ or CompTIA Security+ certifications. Both are broken down into three sections, and each section consists of a few modules. The modules vary in the amount of time required to complete and in technological depth.
For example, the first module of the Computer Security Support Fundamentals section of the CompTIAa+_cyber specialization, runs through of all of the roles on a cybersecurity team, what they do, and what is expected of them — vital information for a beginner preparing to enter the field.
The second module delves into the basics of managing applications and permissions in Windows at an enterprise level and the third explores the basics of network security like firewalls and switches. In other sections, learners pick up concepts as technical as the use of the Linux command line and basic scripting.
With interactive learning resources, video resources and feedback, and practical, hands-on projects that ask learners to demonstrate a facility with the skills in each section, each course takes around 20 hours to complete. Like the best of the digital badges out there, CompTIA’s Coursera offerings are set up for those who want to build their skills up, quickly and seriously. And they provide the bang for the buck that many who consider Coursera courses are looking for.
A Way to Save While Building New Skills
Cost and convenience are two major reasons that people have begun looking at digital badges for building skills. Especially with many feeling cash-strapped due to inflation and other forms of economic uncertainty, it makes sense that, for instance, a desktop technician considering a move into cybersecurity would want a quick and economical way to get serious about it.
While professionally-targeted, online degree programs have emerged specifically geared toward learning that can be fit into a professional schedule, those programs don't work for everyone. Such programs could easily represent a time investment — or a financial one — too big to take on depending on someone’s circumstances.
With a $49 per month price tag (starting with a seven-day free trial), CompTIA’s Coursera courses can, then, provide a big payoff for someone looking to take the next technological leap in their career. The digital badge provides both a nice reward and a strong starting point.
A Step Toward Certification and Career Success
Maybe you are a helpdesk pro answering Level 1 tickets. Maybe you are an old-school IT person who walked away from the profession and wants to come back to it. Maybe you are a true tech beginner and have always dreamed of a cybersecurity career, but have never explored what it takes.
And maybe you have even looked at the CompTIA Network+ or CompTIA Security+ objectives and walked away discouraged because it looked over your head. In such cases, the Coursera courses can get you where you need to be.
Taking Coursera courses that carry the endorsement of CompTIA gives the added assurance that what you learn will provide real preparation for working in the field. The end result will actually help you bridge the gap between what you know already and what you need to learn in order to step into a more technical, more lucrative career.
So does a Coursera Specialization Certificate carry the same weight as a CompTIA certification? No. CompTIA certifications test on a much more in-depth, more advanced range of objectives. They certify that the holder can walk into any work environment and do the job for which a given cert validates skills.
A CompTIA Network+ certification means you can be a network administrator, and so on. Employers have known this for decades, and CompTIA stakes its reputation on keeping cert exams up-to-date, testing on the skills IT and cybersecurity employers are looking for. Countless testimonies show that holding a CompTIA certification can serve as a deciding factor for a resume getting a second look, or for someone getting hired.
Plenty of people, on the other hand, require hands-on training to build the skills to earn those certs. There are many ways to open up the worlds of networking and cybersecurity, and Coursera’s CompTIA courses are one option to consider if you are looking for a quick and effective start, whether you are already familiar with the platform or not.
Earning the badges can enable you to take the first step toward not just one new career path, but a number of them. When you complete the courses, you’ll be on your way to building more skills and taking your next certification steps with confidence.
Availing yourself of the unparalleled advantages of holding a CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, and any of the more advanced certifications that come after, starts with understanding the basics in each area. Coursera is a study option that can help you master those those basics fast.