CompTIA Network+ is an industry-leading certification for technologists ranging from Help Desk Technicians to Information Security Consultants. In this guide, we will break down everything you want to know about the Network+ certification, including how to prepare for the Network+ certification exam, how to maintain your credential and how to use it to find the jobs you want and negotiate the salary you deserve.
Table of Contents
- What Is The CompTIA Network+?
- How Is The CompTIA Network+ Exam Developed?
- CompTIA Network+ Exam Details
- How Does The CompTIA Network+ Certification Compare To Other Industry Certifications?
- How To Study For CompTIA Network+
- What Jobs Can You Get With CompTIA Network+?
- How Do I Maintain My CompTIA Network+ Certification?
What Is The CompTIA Network+?
The Network+ certification was developed by CompTIA, a leading provider of globally recognized information technology certifications.
The Network+ is designed for entry-level IT professionals by focusing on the skills needed for troubleshooting, configuring, and managing networks.
How Is The CompTIA Network+ Exam Developed?
The Network+ exam is ANSI Accredited and complies with the ISO 17024 Standard. This means it must undergo regular reviews of and updates to the exam’s objectives.
When developing exams, CompTIA leans on insight gained from SME workshops and the results of an industry-wide survey. These efforts are designed to gauge the latest knowledge and skills required of entry-level IT professionals across a variety of industries.
CompTIA Network+ Exam Details:
The details provided surrounding the Network+ exam are based on the current exam code, N10-007, launched in March 2018. This exam consists of:
- A maximum of 90 questions in the form of multiple choice or performance-based
- A maximum time allotment of 90 minutes
- A passing score of 720 on a 100-900 scale
What Are The CompTIA Network+ Exam Objectives?
CompTIA labels their exam objectives by domains. N10-007 certification exam follows the below domains (included is each domain’s percentage of questions in the exam):
- Networking Concepts 23%
- Infrastructure 18%
- Network Operations 17%
- Network Security 20%
- Network Troubleshooting and Tools 22%
How Much Is The CompTIA Network+ Exam?
The exam voucher alone costs $338. Many exam candidates, however, receive it bundled into their training fees if they choose to receive formal Network+ exam preparation.
How To Take The CompTIA Network+ Exam?
How Long Does CompTIA Network+ Last?
Once you pass your CompTIA Network+ exam, you will hold an active Network+ certification for three years from the date of your test. However, you can participate in continuing education activities during the three year window to renew your Network+ certification instead of sitting for the test again.
How Does The CompTIA Network+ Certification Compare To Other Industry Certifications?
We get this question a lot. Students often compare Network+ to either the CompTIA A+ or Cisco’s CCNA. Here is a quick breakdown of these certifications.
CompTIA Network+ vs CompTIA A+
If you already have a strong understanding of computers, we suggest skipping A+ and directly pursuing your CompTIA Network+ certification. If you are new to computers and need to develop your understanding of computer hardware and software, then the CompTIA A+ may be the best place to start.
CompTIA Network+ vs CCNA
CompTIA Network+ will provide a broader range of networking knowledge and skills that can be applied to multi-vendor environments. CCNA will provide skills as they relate specifically to Cisco products. We suggest earning your CompTIA Network+ first and then pursuing the more concentrated CCNA if that is required for the jobs you wish to pursue. Both certifications:
- Are job role based
- Include performance based questions
- Recommend some networking experience
How To Study For CompTIA Network+
Preparing for any exam is a very personal process; every student learns differently and prepares for exams differently. This applies to students preparing for their CompTIA Network+ exam too. In this section, we will focus on the options you have for preparing for any certification exam and the topic areas you may need to understand specifically for the Network+ exam.
Which Certification Does CompTIA Recommend A Candidate For The Network+ Exam Already Have?
CompTIA does not formally require any certification, degree or work experience prior to a candidate registering for their Network+ certification exam. They do, however, recommend that candidates have at least 9-12 months of networking experience and their CompTIA A+ Certification.
This recommendation is especially important if you are not taking a formal training class in preparation for the Network+ exam. We have had many students with only basic computer skills enroll in our CompTIA Network+ course and pass their exam successfully on their first attempt, but it is not guaranteed.
Instructor-Led vs Self-Paced Network+ Training
We have an entire post on the pros and cons of Instructor-Led Training (ILT) and Self-Paced Training, which you can read to determine generally what is the best training method for you. In terms of preparing for the CompTIA Network+ exam specifically here are a few things to consider:
- Access to someone who has taken the Network+ exam before is very helpful in providing guidance and insight as to what you can expect.
- It is crucial that whatever training method you choose includes Network+ practice performance-based questions. These questions carry a higher weight on the exam and if you don’t pass most of them, you can’t score high enough to pass the certification exam overall.
What Do You Need To Know To Pass Your CompTIA Network+ Exam?
Downloading the full CompTIA Network+ exam objectives guide will provide you with a detailed list of knowledge areas, tools, software, acronyms and more to help direct your preparation for the Network+ exam. The guide, however, is not an exhaustive list to study from as CompTIA is regularly reviewing and updating the Network+ exam content to remain current.
It is a great starting point though, and we often recommend students review the exam objectives sheet and note all of the areas they are not very comfortable with as a way to start their studies. Below is a sample of areas you should understand prior to sitting for the Network+ exam.
CompTIA Network+ Hardware and Software List
Below are some common hardware and software components that candidates should have familiarity with prior to sitting for their Network+ exam. Again, this is not an exhaustive list and these elements may or may not appear on a candidate’s exam.
- Punchdown blocks (110)
- Layer 2/3 switch
- PoE switch
- VPN concentrator
- Wireless access point
- Basic laptops that support virtualization
- Tablet/cell phone
- Media converters
- VoIP system (including a phone)
- Power supplies
- Managed switch
- Wireless access point
- Patch cables
- RJ-45 connectors, modular jacks
- RJ-11 connectors
- Unshielded twisted pair cable spool
- Coaxial cable spool
- Fiber connectors
- Bluetooth/wireless adapters
- Telco/network crimper
- Cable tester
- Cable stripper
- Coaxial crimper
- Wire cutter
- Packet sniffer
- Protocol analyzer
- Terminal emulation software
- Linux/Windows OSs
- Software firewall
- Software IDS/IPS
- Network mapper
- Hypervisor software
- Virtual network environment
- WiFi analyzer
- Spectrum analyzer
- Network monitoring tools
What Jobs Can You Get With CompTIA Network+?
As with most certification, The CompTIA Network+ credential can be a stepping stone into the career or raise you may be seeking. The following roles are often associated with the Network+ certification:
- Junior Network Administrator
- Computer Technician
- Network Field Technician
- Help Desk Technician
- Junior System Engineer
- System Engineer
- IS Consultant
- Network Support Specialist
- Network Field Engineer
- Network Analyst
What Organizations Hire Network+ Certified Professionals?
Due to its vendor-neutral stance, the Network+ certification is recognized by a number of private organizations and government agencies that need IT professionals with core skills and the capacity to learn their unique systems. Specifically, the following organizations trust Network+ as identifying critical skills needed for employment in this field:
- BlueCross BlueShield
It is also an IAT Level I 8570.01-M approved baseline certification and it returned over 5,000 job postings on LinkedIn at the time this article was published.
What Is The Salary For A Network+ Certification?
Payscale reports the average salary for Network+ certified professionals to be $66,311 annually. This is based off of a wide-range of experience levels and job roles such as:
- Systems Administrator – $63,000
- IT Manager – $76,000
- Network Engineer – $71,000
- Network Administrator – $59,000
- IT Specialist – $54,000
How Do I Maintain My CompTIA Network+ Certification?
The CompTIA Network+ certification needs to be renewed every three years. During this time, certificate holders need to earn and submit a total of 30 continuing education units (CEUs). Below are several activities that can be completed to renew your CompTIA Network+ Certification:
|Continuing Education Activity||Estimated CEUs Earned|
|Earn the CySA+ Certification||30 (Fully Renews Network+)|
|Earn the PenTest+ Certification||30 (Fully Renews Network+)|
|Earn the CASP+ Certification||30 (Fully Renews Network+)|
|Earn a Non-CompTIA Certification (CEH, CISSP, CCNA Security, a full list can be found here)||30 (Fully Renews Network+)|
|Pass a newer version of the CompTIA Network+ exam (if your current certification is the N10-007, you can take the new exam when that is released)||30 (Fully Renews Network+)|
|Attend a live webinar where at least 50% of the content relates back to the Network+ exam objectives||1 CEU for each hour you attend (Can apply a max of 6 CEUs toward Network+)|
|Attend a conference where at least 50% of the conference session relates back to the Network+ exam objectives||1 CEU for each hour you attend (Can apply a max of 6 CEUs toward Network+)|
|Complete a college or ACE course where at least 50% of the course content relates back to the Network+ exam objectives||10 CEUs for each 3-4 credit course (Can apply a max of 30 CEUs toward Network+)|
|Teach or mentor where at least 50% of the content relates back to the Network+ exam objectives. You can only submit teaching content once.||1 CEU for each hour you teach or mentor (Can apply a max of 15 CEUs toward Network+)|
|Create instructional materials where at least 50% of the content relates back to the Network+ exam objectives.||2 CEUs for each hour of materials creation (Can apply a max of 15 CEUs toward Network+)|
|Participate as a subject matter expert in a corresponding CompTIA Exam Development Workshop||1 CEU for each workshop hour (Can apply a max of 30 CEUs toward Network+)|
|Publish an article or whitepaper where at least 50% of the content relates back to the Network+ exam objectives.||4 CEUs for an article or whitepaper of a minimum of 4 pages in length (Can apply a max of 12 CEUs toward Network+)|
|Publish a blog post where at least 50% of the content relates back to the Network+ exam objectives.||1 CEU for each blog post with a minimum of 500 words (Can apply a max of 12 CEUs toward Network+)|
|Publish a book where at least 50% of the content relates back to the Network+ exam objectives.||40 CEUs per book (Can apply a max of 20 CEUs toward Network+)|
|Work experience where at least 50% of the work you are performing relates back to the Network+ exam objectives.||3 CEUs per year of work (Can apply a max of 9 CEUs toward Network+)|
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