CompTIA (stands for the Computer Technology Industry Association) is an international IT certification sponsor that is known for its very successful vendor neutral certification tracks. The most famous ones are A+ for PC Support, Network+ for Network Engineers and Security+ for cybersecurity professionals.
The special value of vendor neutral certification is that it addresses job/career skills rather than just a product. Professionals with this type of certification will have a broader skills base being able to address a variety of issues and situations. Vendor specific certifications (think Microsoft MCSE/MCSA or Cisco) give a narrower but deeper skillset. Vendor neutral certification are therefore typically (but not always) better for entry level professionals. They can be a door opener in the IT field or, again for entry level professionals, a springboard to promotions and a more senior status. The A+ and Network+ certifications do address this segment of the market.
The Network+ is a very popular credential with over 420,000 professionals Network+ certified to date. It is one of the certifications listed under the US Department of Defense (DoD) directive 8570 and so becomes, at times, a requirement for IT professionals working either at the DoD or for contractors to the DoD. Larger companies such as Hewlett Packard, Ricoh, Dell, and several others also recognize the Network+ credential.
Network+ Exam N10-006
Since August 31, 2015 and for another three years or so the only exam available to whoever wants to get Network+ certified is Exam number N10-006. This release is quite a step up from the old N10-005. There is a lot more ground covered especially in terms of network security and forensics. Not only does the N10-006 introduce brand new areas of knowledge but many of the items that the old objectives were specifying for the “awareness” level are now promoted to mastery.Several practice test vendors offer Network+ practice testsuites for the N10-006 exam. The first to market when CompTIA released the new N10-006 exam was CertBlaster.
The prerequisite has not changed. It still is to have CompTIA’s A+ certification “or equivalent knowledge” (you don’t have to actualhave passed the A+ certification).It is also recommended that you have at least 9 – 12months of work experience in networking.
The Exam Objectives
The structure of the Network+ exam objectivesremains similar tothe old exam but the weighing changes a bit. Having said that you can see below that the variations from one main domain to the other are mot huge.
Domain % of Examination
1.0 Network architecture 22%
2.0 Network operations 20%
3.0 Network security 18%
4.0 Troubleshooting 24%
5.0 Industry standards, practices, and network theory 16%
Important toknow for the Network+ exam
Anything on the long list of exam objectives can become a question on exam day. Having said that some items come up more frequently in the various question banks than others. Below are a few of this type of content that has a larger chance of being part of your exam than not.
Ports and port numbers (and knowing how to match them),
The OSI model (inside out)
Binary to decimal (manual) conversions
IPv4 & IPv6 and subnetting (without calculator)
How to prepare for the exam
How do I prepare for the Network+ test?
Well that depends on what your level of experience and knowledge is before you start practicing for this exam. If you are a highly experienced network engineer then a few weeks working on a Network+ practice test suite will probably be enough. If you are a total beginner that has never done this kind of work before then you will need a real class whether at a school or online. Many schools will provide a Network+ practice test software in the classroom to help students get ready.
Example of interactive question from the CertBlaster Network+ practice test: