Network+: overview of domains [2021 update]
Are you interested in a career that allows you to work with businesses to improve their computer systems and networks? If so, then the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) ‘s Network+ vendor-neutral certification might be a good choice. This credential validates the skills required to implement wired and wireless network solutions; troubleshoot network connectivity issues; identify and mitigate vulnerabilities and harden networks against threats. It can, then, open doors to plenty of employment opportunities in IT networking operational environments (wired or wireless), cloud computing and server support roles.
The Network+ certification covers the skills that network professionals need as engineers or technicians in network support or administration. According to CompTIA, no other credential covers the hands-on skills and precise knowledge needed in today’s networking environments.
About the new Network+ exam
CompTIA’s updated exam N10-008, which was released on September 15, 2021, verifies the successful candidate has the knowledge required 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
N10-008 is geared towards validating the knowledge of professionals who have at least 9-12 months of experience as junior network administrators or network support technicians.
The NEW Network+ N10-008 major areas of emphasis include:
- IP addressing and connecting network options
- Wireless standards and technologies that allow businesses to have the needed flexibility during deployments while still prioritizing security
- Network availability
- Network performance monitoring
- Hardening networks against malicious attacks and secure network deployments to protect against unintended data breaches
- Troubleshooting common network connectivity and performance issues
- Software-defined networking, ensuring the understanding of network integrations and the newest technologies used in deployments
What’s new: N10-008 vs. N10-007
Now it’s time to identify the domains that will help you prepare to take the certification exam and gain mastery of the competencies and tasks associated with the target job roles. Below is a comparison between the exam objectives of the current and previous versions of the exam:
CompTIA Network+ 007 vs. 008 exam domains
|007 Domains||008 Domains|
|Networking Concepts (23%)||Networking Fundamentals (24%)|
|Infrastructure (18%)||Network Implementations (19%)|
|Network Operations (17%)||Network Operations (16%)|
|Network Security (20%)||Network Security (19%)|
|Network Troubleshooting and Tools (22%)||Network Troubleshooting (22%)|
N10-008 exam objectives: What’s in this version?
It is important to be fully aware of the topics and tasks covered in the exam to identify areas that require more attention and allocate study time more strategically. Following are the exam objectives of Network+’s current version, N10-008.
Networking Fundamentals (24%)
- Compare and contrast the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model layers and encapsulation concepts
- Explain the characteristics of network topologies and network types
- Summarize the types of cables and connectors and explain which is the appropriate type for a solution
- Configure a subnet and use appropriate IP addressing schemes
- Explain common ports and protocols, their application, and encrypted alternatives
- Explain the use and purpose of network services
- Explain basic corporate and datacenter network architecture
- Summarize cloud concepts and connectivity options
Networking Implementations (19%)
- Compare and contrast various devices, their features, and their appropriate placement on the network
- Compare and contrast routing technologies and bandwidth management concepts
- Configure and deploy common Ethernet switching features
- Install and configure the appropriate wireless standards and technologies
Network Operations (16%)
- Use the appropriate statistics and sensors to ensure network availability
- Explain the purpose of organizational documents and policies
- Explain high availability and disaster recovery concepts and summarize which is the best solution
Network Security (19%)
- Explain common security concepts.
- Compare and contrast common types of attacks
- Apply network hardening techniques
- Compare and contrast remote access methods and security implications
- Explain the importance of physical security
Network Troubleshooting (22%)
- Explain the network troubleshooting methodology
- Troubleshoot common cable connectivity issues and select the appropriate tools
- Use the appropriate network software tools and commands
- Troubleshoot common wireless connectivity issues
- Troubleshoot general networking issues
Studying for the exam
As seen, the domains are still dwelling on the same macro areas covered by the previous exam; however, what you can expect to see in the Network+ N10-008 is deeper coverage of technologies that have lately gained more importance in the lives of businesses, including virtualization, cloud-based services, internet of things (IoT) or new technologies such as 5G cellular.
New content like software-defined networking (SDN) and IPv6 address structures are covered in detail together with tools like intrusion detection systems (IDS) and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) for security. The updated exam also contains additional network media (cabling or wireless) and defensive security and risk management concepts to reflect changes in job roles.
At a minimum, to pass the certification examination, a professional will know the following:
- Wired and wireless networks
- IPv4 and IPv6 networks
- Hardware components (e.g., switches and routers)
- Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model and the seven layers of networking
- Network services issues
- Varieties of protocols, tools, applications and devices to ensure network security
- Network availability
- Common remote access technology
- Types of security controls to protect hardware, software, networks and data
- Datacenter network architecture to support an enterprise business
- Cloud concepts and connectivity options
- General types of network attacks
- Network data cabling
For theory, a good start is CompTIA Network+ N10-008 Certification Study Guides to help you learn and master the material in this exam. Complement a study guide with popular training options (e.g., CompTIA CertMaster Practice) or opt to take a course from a reputable online training school that can help build a foundation of networking skills and prepare you to earn the credential. An online discussion community can also be a valuable channel to find help and advice for this exam.
What to expect from earning the CompTIA Network+ certification
The CompTIA Network+ certification prepares IT and InfoSec professionals to effectively support and optimize today’s network environments. By validating practical, hands-on skills, this credential can help professionals prove their worth to potential employers who value specialized training and a solid foundation in networking and hot topics such as cloud computing, virtualization, software development, cybersecurity and more.
Network+-certified practitioners can provide added value with their competencies in detecting security breaches, analyzing systems for possible cyberattacks, proactively addressing issues and making appropriate recommendations for handling and protecting data assets.
With employment trends indicating that employees with network certifications are in high demand, why not take the first step on a learning path by preparing to acquire this certification. The job growth and potential earnings (see average Network+ salary) you can expect in the field may be worth exploring.
“Unlike other vendor-specific networking certifications, CompTIA Network+ prepares candidates to support networks on any platform.” Being certified can make you more competitive in the employment market. If you’re considering a career change or are getting yourself ready for a step forward in your job, this certification might be the right choice.
- Network+, CompTIA
- NEW Network+ N10-008, CompTIA
- N10-008 vs N10-007 Exam Objectives Comparison, CompTIA
- CompTIA Network+ N10-007 vs. N10-008: What’s the Difference?, CompTIA
- CompTIA Network+ N10-008 Certification Study Guide, CompTIA
- The NEW CompTIA Network+: Your Questions Answered, CompTIA
- How Much Does the CompTIA Network+ Certification Cost?, CompTIA
- CompTIA Network+ Certification Exam Objectives EXAM NUMBER: N10-008, CompTIA