CompTIA Network+

How to become Network+ certified – certification requirements [2022 update]

February 22, 2022 by Graeme Messina

Becoming Network+ certified is a great way to showcase your knowledge of concepts, technologies and best practices for network security management. Getting certified requires study time and effort but will more than pay for itself afterward. Employers regard this certification as an important addition to the resume of a professional who is asked to maintain an organization’s networking systems, infrastructure, information and technology assets.

In this article, we will look at some of the reasons you might consider the globally-recognized CompTIA Network+ certification and the best way to become certified. You’ll read about what is needed to pass the exam and walk away with a credential that might increase your job options and salary.

Why certify with Network+?

Many of today’s employers use IT certification to differentiate between candidates and screening criteria; credentials can confirm subject matter knowledge and expertise as well as the will of candidates to keep updated in the field of choice and how passionate they are working in this industry.

The Network+ certification is one of CompTIA’s core options and focuses on validating the technical skills needed to securely configure, maintain and troubleshoot the essential networks that businesses rely on today. Together with CompTIA A +, it is a favorite choice for starting their IT journey.

CompTIA Network+ is not just a good choice for job candidates; it is also a valuable option for career development for those who are already employed and would like to further their knowledge of networking theory and technologies but need to get started with the basics.

What are the requirements necessary to take the Network+?

The great thing about the Network+ exam is that it does not require any preexisting knowledge or certifications. However, it is beneficial if the candidate has at least 9 to 12 months of networking experience before taking the exam, better if in a junior network administrator or network support technician.

CompTIA’s A+ certification is a better starting point if you have no experience with information technology at all, then CompTIA’s A+ certification is a better starting point. You can take both certifications in parallel if you like, but, although recommended, the A+ is not a prerequisite for the Network+.

How long does it take to prepare for the Network+ exam?

The average Network+ candidate who successfully passes the exam studies between three and six months. This could be shorter if you are studying full-time. If you invest part-time, then it could take longer to get to the point where you’re exam-ready; this will vary from person to person according to their preferred learning pace and how much knowledge and experience they already have.

Another aspect to consider is how you plan on preparing for the Network+ exam. Most people download the Exam Objectives or purchase a Study Guide and then use an Online Practice Quiz to get themselves ready for the big day. Other people prefer to explore formal training options in traditional or virtual classes. CompTIA offers its training, but it is easy to find other education institutions that offer valuable options to match any schedules, pockets, learning styles and needs.

The important thing to remember is that you need to choose the method that works better for you and will give you the best results in the shortest amount of time. Take your time and understand everything, rather than rushing your exam preparation and ending up with an outcome or exam score you’re not happy with.

What are the steps to becoming Network+ certified?

Getting ready to take the Network+ exam requires equal measures of studying, practicing and understanding the material that you are covering. Many of the basic network concepts you will gain from becoming certified will remain with you throughout your career, so it is important to understand the study material well and in-depth.

Although candidates will develop their customized study plan, in general, the following four steps can help them successfully pass the exam the first time around.

Step 1: Decide if Network+ is right for you

Figure out what you think the Network+ certification will help you with. According to CompTIA, no other credentials cover the hands-on skills and precise knowledge needed in today’s networking environments. Still, there are a growing number of certifications available to professionals, so research is key. Take a close look at the objectives covered and then browse through major job sites looking for the type of positions that normally have Network+ within the qualifications. This will help you understand if you have the requisite knowledge and skills to get started with studying for it if the credential is valuable for your intended career and the salary it commands.

Step 2: Start studying

Once you are satisfied that Network+ is the right choice for you, you will need to decide how to study for the exam. There are a few options to choose from.

The first one is self-study. People usually download the exam objectives, purchase a textbook, and then summarize each chapter of their textbook as it corresponds with the exam objectives. This method can take a little longer than instructor-led courses because self-discipline and resourcefulness are needed, especially if you find yourself falling behind your exam schedule.

Some people take a combination of instructor-led training and self-study. It allows them to retain the knowledge they learned in classes while reinforcing the concepts with additional learning and practice. Others may focus mostly on classes, not being happy with their self-study habits.

Whatever you decide to do, remember that you will need to understand all concepts to pass the exam. Brain-dump-style studying techniques, though helpful when you need to remember a lot of different pieces of information, are not the best way to approach the Network+. Instead, focus on digesting each concept and read about them until you understand everything well enough to explain it properly to somebody else.

The domains on which you will be tested are below:

  • Networking Fundamentals  24%
  • Network Implementations   19%
  • Network Operations            16%
  • Network Security                19%
  • Network Troubleshooting    22%

Step 3: Study, Practice, Repeat

There is no better way to improve your skills than to practice, and this is as true for IT as it is for many other fields. As you progress through your syllabus, be sure to take the time and fully explore the practical aspects of the Network+ exam. The test includes multiple-choice and performance-based questions (PBQs) designed to test a candidate’s ability to solve real-world problems through simulations and virtual environments. 

 

Practice isn’t limited to practical tasks: think about practice exams! There are many online resources that you can use to simulate the testing conditions that you will experience on exam day. CompTIA offers free practice questions, but there are plenty of other online options, including bootcamp style training, that focuses on the hands-on aspect of the exam and offers practice tests to let you know how you have progressed overall and which areas you still need to focus on.

Step 4: Register and take the exam!

First things first, you need to decide whether you would like to take the test at a traditional testing center or if you prefer testing in the comfort of your home or other private location. Both options are available through Pearson VUE, which operates the exams.

If you prefer the structure of a testing center, you will need to locate one in your area and schedule by selecting one of the available times and days. The online option is flexible in terms of days and time but requires a very reliable Internet connection, a webcam and a system that meets proper requirements.

I passed the test, now what?

Getting your Network+ is a great way to show your future employers that you understand general networking concepts and have been able to successfully meet all of CompTIA’s requirements. Once you are certified, you will be able to explain the purpose of a whole host of different network-related concepts, as well as how you could implement them yourself. You will also be able to make recommendations regarding infrastructure like cabling, network types, storage devices and more. These are critical areas for onsite work and show your future employer and colleagues that you know your stuff.

In particular, you will be able to do the following: 

  • Establish network connectivity by deploying wired and wireless devices
  • Understand and maintain network documentation
  • Understand the purpose of network services
  • Understand basic datacenter, cloud and virtual networking concepts
  • Monitor network activity, identifying performance and availability issues
  • Implement network hardening techniques
  • Manage, configure and troubleshoot network infrastructure

Of course, you will need to keep your certification up to date. The Network+ certification requires you to complete CertMaster CE, a self-paced CE course or collect 30 CEUs (over three years) for renewal. Your options include attending a webinar, completing a training course, gaining work experience, publishing blog posts and more.

Becoming Network+ certified

As part of CompTIA core certifications, Network+ is an excellent staple for professionals planning their career growth in virtually any IT field. So, whether you are still choosing your path or are ready to move up the ladder, take the first step on a learning path by preparing to acquire this certification.

Being Network+ certified pays off in terms of marketability and salary. So, despite the effort and time required for preparation, it is all worthwhile!

 

Sources

Posted: February 22, 2022
Author
Graeme Messina
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Graeme is an IT professional with a special interest in computer forensics and computer security. When not building networks and researching the latest developments in network security, he can be found writing technical articles and blog posts at InfoSec Resources and elsewhere.

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