The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the computer and IT industry will grow approximately 11% from 2019 to 2029. This is much faster growth than many other industries and is projected to add an additional half a million new jobs on the market. The current data also suggests that computer network architects – those undeniably linked with computer network configurations – are the second-highest-paid occupation in IT.
Considering these numbers, it isn’t surprising that the CompTIA Network+ is very in demand.
This CompTIA certification is an important and valuable way to increase your resume’s value. It demonstrates that you have the skills necessary to manage, maintain, troubleshoot, install, operate and configure basic network infrastructure. Passing this exam can lead to career opportunities with many different employers, including education, government service, and telecommunications industries.
In this blog post, MyComputerCareer will answer all of your questions about what CompTIA Network+ is and how you can best prepare for it!
About CompTIA Network+
CompTIA is a non-profit organization that creates vendor-neutral certification programs. Their name stands for the Computing Technology Industry Association. CompTIA is a leading organization for IT certifications in many different tech fields, including cybersecurity, software and hardware operations, cloud computing, network management, and more.
The Network+ is an entry-to-mid-level certification exam covering network installation, configuration, management, and troubleshooting. The CompTIA Network+ certification shows that the person who earned it has essential skills in networking concepts, including network types (e.g., LAN (local area networks)/WAN (wide area networks)), topologies, functions of the OSI model, and TCP/IP addressing. It belongs in the CompTIA core certs group, meaning it is one of the foundational exams you can take to develop a solid knowledge base on computers and network principles.
Basic Exam Details
The Network+ has a maximum number of 90 questions. You will have to answer three main question types: multiple-choice questions, performance-based questions, and drag and drop questions.
You will have 90 minutes to answer as many questions as you can. The passing score is 720 on a score scale of 100 – 900, and a certificate of completion will be awarded if the minimum number of credits are attained.
This CompTIA cert is available in several languages – English, German, Japanese, Spanish, and Portuguese.
You don’t need to have any prior work or hands-on experience or have to pass any other CompTIA exams before you get to the Network+. However, CompTIA recommends at least 9 to 12 months of networking experience and CompTIA A+ credentials. You do not have to concern yourself with this too much, especially if you’re already familiar with the broader concepts of computer networking.
On the other hand, if you are a beginner in computer technology, it would be best to start with the A+.
There are several valuable technical skills you will gain by preparing for the Network+. They are based around:
- Network infrastructure – Implementing and maintaining network services; identifying and providing physical cabling solutions, storage, and device technologies for basic network infrastructures.
- Network operations – Monitoring, diagnosing, and troubleshooting day-to-day technical problems; implementing new policies, using best practices to maintain networks, and ensuring business continuity.
- Network security fundamentals – Protecting the integrity of networks from internal and external threats and network attacks; identifying and eliminating network vulnerabilities.
- Networking concepts – Defining network protocols, architectures, and media; having a solid understanding of networking technologies.
- Network troubleshooting – Solving networking problems through a step-by-step analysis of equipment, wiring, and configurations.
Another crucial aspect of the Network+ is that you won’t be focusing on any one particular vendor. Instead, this is a vendor-neutral exam that will help you work with any technology. You won’t be limited to CISCO, Microsoft, or any other software or hardware network components. This opens up many more doors for a thriving, successful career!
With this exam, you can apply and land a job in any of the following positions:
- Computer Technician
Computer technicians are responsible for all the hardware, software, and systems in a specific building. They are often called upon to repair or replace faulty equipment as well as install new technology. They troubleshoot problems with internet connections, printers, computers, networks, and more. They may also deal with customers and solve their computer issues.
- IS Consultant
Instead of working directly with technology, IS consultants are more focused on providing advice and helping organizations decide what type of network technology suits their business goals. Consultants like these are often involved in projects that require extensive research into companies’ network infrastructure, and they also have input on how much bandwidth is needed for different aspects of operations. They might also recommend the software licenses a company should acquire to maintain their systems.
- Network Analyst
A network analyst does a little bit of practical work and a bit of consulting. Their main task is to analyze and monitor networks, which often includes fault diagnosis. They might also be in charge of designing new network architectures for future expansion or identifying potential security risks within the enterprise. Network analysts take care of troubleshooting problems daily, and they may even work with vendors to fix any software issues that arise.
- System Engineer
A system engineer is in charge of a company’s computer servers, which might include anything from installing software and security updates to configuring different settings. They also monitor the performance of a network and maintain its integrity by following best practices for prevention against hacking or malware attacks. They typically work in large companies on network design, implementation, and managing.
- Help Desk Technician
As an entry-level job, a help desk technician has to troubleshoot issues for customers calling in. They work with vendors to solve software problems, and they might even be required to maintain the company’s hardware or help train new employees on how to use different technologies. Help desk technicians need to have excellent communication skills to interact with customers daily.
- Network Field Technician (Field Service Technician)
A network field technician, unsurprisingly, goes out into the field. They visit customer locations to install wireless networks and also might work in customer support. The job requires good knowledge of networking equipment from both an installation perspective and how it works in the greater business environment.
- Network Administrator
A network administrator is responsible for the company’s network infrastructure. They might have a broad responsibility, such as maintaining the entire IT system for an organization or being more specialized and maintaining one part of the system. Network administration requires knowledge of all aspects of networking from hardware to software – monitoring network traffic, installing new equipment, configuring settings on remote devices like routers and switches, and more.
A common question is whether you need a college degree to land a job in IT if you already have a CompTIA credential, such as the Network+.
While a degree – especially in a computer-related field – is certainly helpful, it is not required to become an IT professional nowadays. The reason is evident – the IT industry is incredibly fast-paced; new skills are constantly emerging, and some of them require only experience, not formal training.
Most hiring managers (96%, according to CompTIA) use IT certifications as a sorting criterion when looking for potential new employees.
This means that you could get hired without a degree and start working right away if you have your CompTIA Network+ or related cert.
The Network+ is not the easiest exam to pass, but it is also not impossibly difficult. CompTIA doesn’t release their average passing rates for any exam, but there are plenty of credential holders who have acquired this cert easily enough.
You have a high chance of getting Network+ certified if you study hard and stick to the exam objectives.
However, if you are a complete beginner in the tech world, perhaps it is better to start with a lower-level certification, such as the CompTIA A+. That way, you will learn some basic skills and won’t feel lost when you encounter challenging exam topics in the Network+ such as TCP/IP, Ethernet basics, IP addressing, and similar.
The good news is that even if you fail the Network+ on your first try, you are welcome to attempt again.
The CompTIA certification retake policy states that you do not have to wait between the first and second attempts of passing an exam. However, between the second and the third (and any subsequent effort of passing the same exam) attempt, you have to wait at least fourteen days before trying again.
Keep in mind that each time you take the exam, you pay the full exam price.
When preparing for the Network+, you have three study methods before you:
- Instructor-led training
- Online learning
Which one you will go for depends on what you are comfortable with and what your living situation can accommodate.
If you choose to self-study, you will find plenty of exam content online. The benefits of this method are that you can study at your own pace and when you want without having to rearrange your life for a class schedule.
When doing so, try completing one chapter per week using either summaries or flashcards to reinforce what you have learned. Even if you don’t have a class schedule, it is best to draft a rough plan to stick to. Moreover, you can connect with others who are preparing for the exam on their own to exchange thoughts, study guides, and similar.
The disadvantage to this method is that frequently people don’t keep up with their studies and end up cramming just days before the exam. This is a surefire way to not pass, as you will be doing poorly on questions that are difficult for your skill level if they come up in the test, and you won’t have enough time to retry them.
If you’ve had success with self-studying in the past, then it could be a good option for you.
Instructor-Led Training Programs
Instructor-led training is when an instructor leads a group of people through the CompTIA Network+ course material.
This is different from self-studying because you are surrounded by other students who are also trying to pass the exam, and they know what it’s like, in addition to having access to the teacher for help when you need them. You will have plenty of support at the tips of your fingers, just like in any classroom training.
Instructor-led training is excellent for people looking for a social environment to study and learn.
It’s also good if you’re worried about time constrictions or test anxiety because the instructor will go through all of the exam preparation material with you, providing plenty of examples to help guide your learning process. If this sounds like it would be helpful for you, then investing in such a training course is a good idea.
Of course, the obvious downside to this study method is that it is more expensive than the other options, and training facilities cannot be found just anywhere.
Like a good balance between self-study and instructor-led training, online learning is an excellent option for those willing to put in the time and effort.
Online courses offer many of the same benefits as instructor-led training, with some notable exceptions: they’re often more affordable, can be accessed from any location (though you should check your internet connection before starting), and allow students to move at their own pace, as though they’re self-studying.
Resource materials for online training can be found in many online places, so it may be worthwhile to do some research first. The digital material typically consists of videos or web lectures that can be watched at any time. If you wish to interact with other students, you can use one of the many online forums or chat rooms available.
Lifetime certification in the information technology industry is incredibly rare. With the tech market’s rate advancing, it is impossible to acquire a credential that will still be good years later.
For a number of reasons, CompTIA retires most of its exams after three-years. The same is true for the Network+. Once you pass this exam, you will have three years from the date you passed before renewing it.
Here are your options when it comes to certification renewal:
- CertMaster training – The CertMaster training course is an excellent way to get up-to-date with your CompTIA credentials. The course lasts for six hours and in the end, you don’t need to pass another exam.
- Recertification exams – You can renew your Network+ cert by passing other exams, such as higher-level certifications from CompTIA (Server+, Linux+, Security+, Cloud+, etc.), additional certification from another certification vendor (Cisco CCNA, RedHat RHCE, Microsoft MTA/Networking, and similar), or the latest version of the CompTIA Network+.
- Renewal activities – Certain industry-related activities will bring you points, called continuing education units (CEUs), towards renewal. For the Network+, you need to collect 30 CEUs. These hands-on activities include authoring a blog post, white paper, or article, teaching a course or mentoring in a workshop, completing a higher education program, attending a conference, live webinar, etc. If you work in an IT field, your job might even contribute to the renewal process.
If you want to climb the career ladder and invest in your networking knowledge, then passing advanced certification exams or those from other vendors might be a good idea. Renewal activities are also a valid option, though you usually need to complete various activities to acquire the required number of CEUs.
The current version of the Network+ has an exam code of N10-007. It will retire either in late 2021 or early 2022, after which the N10-008 will take over. Whichever one you pass, you will still have three years before it expires, meaning that you still have enough time to prepare for the 007 if you’re ready to take the Network+ soon.
The CompTIA Network+ certification can provide a range of benefits for your career and personal life. Whether you are looking to advance in the workplace, start a new job or grow as an IT professional, this credential is worth pursuing.
It is a great entry-level cert that helps get your foot in the computer networking door and an excellent foundation for building your knowledge base.
With Network+, you can work as a network technician, administrator, network support specialist, network engineer, and similar job positions. It isn’t too difficult to pass, but you will need to invest some time going over the exam objectives and available study material. You can choose whether you want to study on your own, go with instructor-led training, or try online learning.
The Network+ has to be renewed every three years, and you can choose which renewal method you want.
We hope this post helped answer some questions that might have been lingering around in your mind – if it didn’t, please let us know so we can help you make the most out of your CompTIA certifications!