Getting Started: The Top Introductory Networking Courses To Build Your IT Foundation


As technology underpins nearly every business, demand has exploded for qualified networking professionals managing these mission-critical systems. Yet for those new to tech, jumping into networking can feel intimidating. Luckily, a wealth of beginner networking courses exists to equip absolute novices with core concepts before specializing further.

Let’s explore top introductory-level networking classes new IT entrants should consider.

A+ (220-1001/220-1002) – CompTIA

Think of A+ as the on-ramp introducing learners to fundamental IT literacy from infrastructure to security to troubleshooting and more. While broader vs networking-specific, A+ ensures you grasp key terminology and components to then focus on connections. Making sure you have a good foundation will only benefit you as you begin your career troubleshooting!

Network+ (N10-008) – CompTIA

After acing IT basics via A+, the Network+ supplies the essential networking foundation covering architectures, operations, security. Expect topics like OSI model, IP addressing, routing, wireless/cloud tech, VPNs, threat mitigation tools, network design elements. Hands-on labs add practical reinforcement.

While the Network+ isn’t specific to any particular vendor, it shows that you have a good grasp on networking as a network technician.

Cisco CCNA

The industry gold standard prep for real-world networking, CCNA drills into architectures, components and processes including IP connections, LAN/WAN delimitation, subnetting, IPv6 addressing, VLAN segmentation, router/switch setup. Again, simulations accelerate retention for work readiness.

The CCNA certification will provide you with the credentials you need to get an interview, but don’t solely depend on it. You’ll need to test yourself in real world scenarios to get through your interview process. Let us help you get ready for it!

Networking Essentials – LinkedIn Learning

For digestible breadths over depth, LinkedIn Learning’s Networking Essentials packs fundamentals of LANs/WANs, TCP/IP, internet communications and troubleshooting into a single, affordable course. Self-paced and visually rich, it’s a swift network overview before specializing.

Wireshark Essentials – Udemy

Mastering network packet analysis tool Wireshark is non-negotiable for monitoring traffic, identifying issues and securing systems. Udemy’s highly rated Wireshark Essentials course quickly elevates skills using this multi-platform OSS tapping live networks.

Network Administration – Coursera

Transitioning from user to network administrator mindset, Coursera’s Network Administration course via University of Colorado examines IP fundamentals, server tech, routing protocols with simulations to gain sysadmin skills managing enterprise networks at scale.

Linux Network Administration – edX

Beyond Windows environments, Linux knowledge is a must as networks increasingly leverage open source platforms. edX’s Linux Network Administration course through University at Buffalo dives into real-time enterprise network management via Linux command line tools.

The Bottom Line

While the networking domain can seem daunting initially, investing time from foundational courses pays dividends over your IT career. Consider the classes above as springboards before advancing to intermediate then specialist network training.

Starting broad rather than niche also allows you to pivot into different network focus areas like security, cloud platforms, scripting etc.

Quality networking fundamentals breed versatility and good troubleshooting skills, which are key in this field.

So don’t let networking’s complexity deter you from a dynamic, lucrative IT specialization. Choose the right intro courses and get help from a coach to painlessly onboard you onto an industry full of potential.

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