The CompTIA Server+ exam is an IT industry certification for individuals interested in obtaining experience and knowledge of the fundamental principles of server administration.

How long does it last? The answer is simple: it lasts as long as you want it to. Unlike most other certifications, the CompTIA Server+ exam does not expire; instead, this lifetime certification remains relevant throughout your career.

In this blog post, we will discuss what the CompTIA Server+ is, how you can use it to renew other certifications, and what you can do to keep your technical skills sharp!

Server+: Definition

CompTIA Server+ is a certification that provides an understanding of a server’s physical and virtual design, configuration, operational procedures, and security issues. It is also an industry-recognized credential for professionals who want to work in data centers or similar IT environments.

The CompTIA Server+ certification exam measures the following knowledge and key skills:

  • How servers operate independently as well as within a network.
  • How to properly configure a server’s hardware and install or upgrade an operating system.
  • How to deploy, monitor, maintain, troubleshoot, and recover servers.
  • How to ensure security with techniques like firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and cryptography.

The exam consists of 90 questions (as of 2021) and takes about 90 minutes to complete. Question types you will encounter include multiple-choice and performance-based questions. Multiple-choice questions are typically questions with several possible answers, one (or some) of which are correct. Performance-based questions require you to configure a server or answer other questions that can’t be answered by simply clicking on buttons in the exam interface.

The key to success is being prepared with the proper knowledge through hands-on experience or formal training.

With this cert, you can work in different job roles such as server administrator, data center technician, system administrator, IT technician, and more.

Server+: Good for Life

Typically, CompTIA certifications (such as the A+ and the Network+) last for three years from the day you pass your exam. When those three years pass, you are required to renew your certification to keep it current.

This is not the case with CompTIA Server+, as this good-for-life certification will always remain relevant for your career. It doesn’t require any renewal, though that doesn’t necessarily mean that your skills won’t become outdated.

SK0-004 vs. SK0-005

The CompTIA Server+ SK0-004 exam was released in 2015. By 2021, it is considered partially obsolete because it covers some server technologies that are no longer in use. Similarly, it lacks information about container-based virtualization and other newer software technologies. Because of this, the word around the industry was that the CompTIA Server+ was falling behind other exams of its kind.

However, CompTIA works hard on updating and improving its certifications; in fact, a new version of the Server+ exam was released just this year. The SK0-005 covers more recent tech advancements such as virtualization and cloud computing concepts, making it more up-to-date than the former edition. It also deals with hybrid server environment concepts that can support both enterprises and small businesses.

The 004 had its learning content distributed like this:

  • Server Administration (24%)
  • Troubleshooting (20%)
  • Security (13%)
  • Server Architecture (12%)
  • Storage (12%)
  • Networking (10%)
  • Disaster Recovery (9%)

While the 005 offers a more consolidated knowledge base:

  • Server Administration (30%)
  • Troubleshooting (28%)
  • Security and Disaster Recovery (24%)
  • Server Hardware Installation and Management (18%)

The 004 will retire in December 2021, after which IT professionals will only be able to take the 005 exam. Until then, you can choose which option you want. To ensure that your skillset is in accordance with the current industry demands, it would be a better idea to go for the 005.

How to Keep Your Skills Sharp

Because of its good-for-life status, it is relatively easy to let your server knowledge and skill level drop over time. You acquire a lifetime certification, and you become complacent, allowing the latest discoveries and server innovations to pass you by. How can you keep up with the ever-changing industry?

To prevent this, it would be a good idea to follow the most recent technologies and adopt best practices in your field.

For example, if you’re already working as an IT professional dealing with server administration tasks, then regularly keeping up-to-date on new releases of operating systems or other software will ensure that your skills stay sharp.

It is recommended that you take courses or undergo training every two years to ensure that your technical knowledge remains current. Knowledge gaps could prevent career development in the future, even if you do have the required certification.

It’s also essential for organizations to hire qualified professionals with the right practical skills to do the job.

Renewing Other Certifications with Server+

Even though you don’t have to renew the Server+, you can use this certification to renew one of your other ones.

CompTIA has an intricate renewal process for its certifications that are not good for life. You can choose between two different renewal paths:

  • Renew with a Single Activity – The single activity includes passing a higher-level CompTIA cert, a non-CompTIA cert that is still within the IT industry, or the newest version of the certification you already have.
  • Renew with Multiple Activities – Multiple activities consist of earning CompTIA certs that are not higher-level or the newest versions, on-the-job training and other industry education, publishing relevant articles, blog posts, or white papers, and even gaining relevant IT work experience. All of these activities collect CEUs, or Continuing Education Units. Every certification requires a different number of CEUs for renewal (except the lifetime ones).

If you are an IT professional who has the A+ or Network+ certifications but not the Server+, then that can be used as a way to renew your previous certification. The Server+ fully renews the Network+ and the A+, making it a great choice if it’s been almost three years since you’ve passed these exams.

Conclusion

The CompTIA Server+ is a certification that’s good for life, so you don’t need to worry about its expiration date. You do, however, need to consider how you will keep your hands-on skills sharp in the ever-changing industry. Learning new technologies, taking courses or undergoing training every two years, and renewing other certifications are just some ways to remain a qualified IT professional for life.

You can also use the Server+ to renew other certifications that expire, like the A+ and Network+.

The most recent version of the Server+ is the SK0-005, which is valid starting from this year.

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