What is the CompTIA Network+ certification?
The CompTIA Network+ certification is a beginning IT credential offered by the non-profit Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). It is the second of a series of three certifications in CompTIA’s “core skills” career path, including A+, Network+ and Security+. The Network+ certification validates the technical skills needed to securely establish, maintain and troubleshoot the wired and wireless computer networks modern businesses rely on. It is internationally recognized and serves as an important stepping stone for many IT and cybersecurity careers. To learn more about the CompTIA Network+ certification, watch our Network+ webcast with CompTIA.
Network+ exam objectives
To become CompTIA Network+ certified, candidates must pass the N10-008 exam, which was released on Sept. 15, 2021. The previous version of the exam (CompTIA Network+ N10-007) officially retired on June 30, 2022. The N10-008 covers five primary objectives, or domains, including:
Learn more about the Network+ domains.
Why should I get the Network+?
The Network+ certification is vendor-neutral, globally recognized, and a key designation for early-career IT professionals. It validates your network administration skills and will help you advance your career in whatever path you choose.
Network+ provides an understanding of the TCP/IP stack and the seven layers of the OSI communication model, which “is like learning the encyclopedia of the internet,” says CompTIA director of products Patrick Lane. “You learn how everything works. If you have networking fundamentals down, you can do anything.”
What changed in the current Network+ exam?
The Network+ certification exam was updated in 2021 to empower IT professionals to effectively manage the realities and challenges of today’s digital enterprise. At a high level, updates to the exam include an added emphasis on network architecture and emerging wireless standards and technologies. Network performance monitoring and high availability SaaS are separate objectives, and security has been streamlined to focus on network hardening and secure network deployments.
Of the new N10-008 exam, CompTIA’s Randall Cobb comments, it isn’t more difficult, just different. “It’s more appropriate for the world that we live in now. We’ve looked at emerging technologies and the old technologies that are being replaced — we don’t need to know them anymore,” so they have been removed.
Network+ exam FAQs
The newest version (N10-008) of the Network+ exam was first released in September 2021. The previous version (N10-007) was retired in June 2022 and is no longer available. Here’s what you should know about the current Network+ exam. You can also see the full Network+ certification objectives from CompTIA.
What is the Network+ N10-008 outline and structure?
The Network+ exam has a maximum of 90 questions, and test-takers have 90 minutes to complete the. The passing score is 720 on a scale of 900.
The exam includes two types of questions: performance-based questions, which involve performing a task or solving a problem, and multiple-choice questions. Read our Network+ exam details and process article for more information.
How hard is the Network+ N10-008 exam?
Like most certification exams, the degree of difficulty for Network+ test-takers will vary from person to person. This is a new exam in 2022 that tests today’s technologies. However, it is considered an entry-level professional certification, and the passing score is 720/900.
CompTIA recommends Network+ certification candidates have earned the CompTIA A+ certification and have at least 9-12 months of work experience in networking.
How do you take the Network+ N10-008 exam?
You can take the Network+ exam at a Pearson VUE testing center or OnVUE, the online proctoring service for Pearson VUE.
To register for either an in-person or online exam, you’ll need to go to the CompTIA website, create an account and purchase an exam voucher. You can schedule your exam, and all exam details will be shared with you via that account. If you’re taking the in-person test, you will need to bring two forms of identification.
More information can be found on the Pearson VUE CompTIA page.
How much does the Network+ N10-008 exam cost?
The CompTIA Network+ certification costs vary based on location. Prices are outlined below:
- USA: $348 USD
- Emerging market: $196 USD3
- Great Britain: 207 GBP
- Euro: 314 EURO
- Japan: 39,710 JPY
- Australia: $471 AUD
- South Africa: 2,680 ZAR
The most up-to-date pricing for CompTIA exams can be found on the CompTIA website.
How to pass the Network+ N10-008 exam?
To pass the Network+ exam, you must earn 720 points out of 900 points. The exam has 90 questions.
Pass rates vary depending on an individual’s experience, study habits and test-taking strategies. For example, Infosec partners with CompTIA to offer a Network+ Boot Camp with an Exam Pass Guarantee. This means if you don’t pass the exam on your first attempt, you’ll get a second attempt at no cost to you.
Additional study resources are highlighted in the "Free and self-study Network+ materials" and "Paid CompTIA Network+ training and exam prep" sections below.
How long does the Network+ certification last?
To keep your Network+ certification up to date, you must renew it every three years. Several activities and training programs that offer continuing education units can help you renew.
For more information, read about the CompTIA Network+ renewal process.
How do I earn CPEs and renew my Network+?
To renew your Network+ certification, you’ll have to earn continuing education units (CEUs), which are sometimes also referred to as CPEs (continuing professional education). Over three years, you’ll need to earn a total of 30 and then upload them to your certification account. You can earn CEUs via a single activity or collect credits individually over time. Options for Network+ include:
Renew Network+ with a single activity:
- Complete the CompTIA CertMaster CE
- Earn a higher-level CompTIA certification
- Earn an approved non-CompTIA IT industry certification
- Re-take and pass the latest CompTIA Network+ exam
Renew Network+ with multiple activities, including:
- Attend webinars and conferences
- Complete courses
- Create instructional materials
- Publish blogs, whitepapers or books
- Teach, mentor or gain work experience
For the full list of ways to renew your certification, see CompTIA’s website.
You will also need to pay a continuing education renewal fee. The fee comes out to $50 a year or $150 for the three-year cycle.
Free and self-study Network+ materials
Studying for the Network+ exam is the best way to prepare yourself to earn a passing grade. Luckily, there are tons of helpful Network+ resources. Before you start scouting out the best training resources, we recommend looking at the official Network+ exam outline since it will shed light on what topics you’ll need to study.
Network+ study guides and Network+ books
Several study guides and books are available to help you prepare for the Network+ exam. You can find them at your local library, bookstore or online stores. A few of the most popular are:
- Official CompTIA Network+ N10-008 Certification Study Guide
- CompTIA Network+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide by Scott Jernigan and Mike Meyers (McGraw Hill)
- CompTIA Network+ N10-008 Certification Study Guide by Todd Lammle (Sybex)
- CompTIA Network+ N10-008 Cert Guide by Anthony J. Sequeira (Pearson IT Certification)
Infosec also partnered with Mike Meyers and other experts to create free hands-on training videos.
Network+ practice exams and simulations
Practice exams are a great way to gauge your exam readiness. There are even free Network+ dumps that can be found, although it’s against CompTIA policy to disclose the actual exam questions being used. A few of the most popular Network+ practice question options are listed below:
- CompTIA free Network+ practice tests and paid Network+ practice tests
- CompTIA Network+ Practice Tests: Exam N10-008 by Craig Zacker (Sybex)
- Practice Tests for CompTIA Network+ N10-008 (ExSim-Max)
In addition to these options, many Network+ training courses include practice questions. For example, Infosec Skills Network+ training includes a customizable practice exam with more than 130 questions.
Free and self-study Network+ materials
There are a number of other free training materials to help you get started and prepare for your Network+:
- Forums like TechExams and Reddit allow you to connect directly with others preparing for the Network+.
- YouTube is another great place to connect with cybersecurity practitioners and learn about the Network+ exam. Although most Network+ courses cost money, there are numerous free Network+ videos available to watch.
- Webinars can be a great way to learn, like our Getting started in cybersecurity in 2022 webcast with Keatron Evans.
Podcasts like Cyber Work are a also great way to learn about cybersecurity career options.
Network+ jobs and careers
Network+ is the industry standard entry-level certification for people interested in IT careers. The exam is equivalent to 9-12 months of hands-on experience working in junior network administrator-type roles. It also demonstrates you have a firm foundation for career advancement.
What does a Network+ certification holder do?
The Network+ certification demonstrates your skills in networking fundamentals, including implementations, operations, security and troubleshooting. According to CompTIA, here are some of the more popular job titles Network+ certified individuals hold:
- Junior network administrator
- Network engineer
- NOC technician
- Cable technician
- Datacenter support technician
- System administrator
- Telecommunications technician
If you aspire to a more senior-level, specialized IT position, the Network+ certification is an essential stepping stone in your pathway forward. It can be helpful to work backward from your goal and plot out your key certification milestones along the way.
Is Network+ worth it?
Deciding whether or not the Network+ certification is right for you is an individual decision, and often, it depends upon your career goals. Network+ is a very popular certification for network support, and it appears in thousands of tech support job listings. The job outlook for Network+ holders is bright and growing.
The Network+ serves as a differentiator for entry-level IT pros from others who haven’t achieved certification. It also helps demonstrate experience if you’re looking for your first networking job. Network+ is an important indicator for hiring managers that you have a firm grasp of the technologies you will be supporting, and it will set you on a path to more senior positions.
What is the Network+ average salary?
Network+ holders work in a variety of job titles, industries and locations. All of these can have a significant impact on your expected salary. Our CompTIA Network+ salary article found an average salary of $72,430 as of February 2022. Below is the breakdown by job title:
- Help desk technician: $41,877
- Network support specialist: $49,824
- Information technology specialist: $56,078
- Network analyst: $58,305
- IT consultant: $59,884
- Systems administrator: $64,141
- Information security analyst: $71,226
- Network engineer: $73,188
- Cybersecurity analyst: $76,441
- Information technology manager: $79,117
- IT director: $98,854
- Cybersecurity engineer: $99,033
For more information, see our Network+ salary article.
How many people have a Network+ certification?
The CompTIA Network+ exam was updated in 2021, so relatively few people have taken the new version at this early date. However, the Network+ certification designation is highly popular — as is the entire CompTIA "core skills" career path series, which includes A+, Network+ and Security+ — and it continues to appear in a large number of network support job openings.
Back in 2019, CompTIA announced that they have awarded more than 2.5 million total certifications, and our best guess is that three million is not far off.
Where can I find Network+ jobs?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the tech sector will add 667,600 new jobs from 2020-2030. But in the U.S., all cities are not created equal. ZDNet compiled the Top 10 Best Cities for Tech list in 2022. If you don’t currently live in one of these cities, don’t worry. Remote work is extremely popular across the IT sector, and countless positions are available.
Network+ is a requested certification in job listings, and general job boards like Indeed, Monster, Glassdoor, LinkedIn and CareerBuilder all allow you to search by keywords like “CompTIA Network+” or entry-level job titles for open roles. There are also cybersecurity-specific job boards, such as ClearedJobs, infosec-jobs.com and others. Another great way to find Network+ job openings is by joining local and national cybersecurity groups — such as ISSA, or Women in Cybersecurity — joining local meetups or engaging in other cybersecurity forums and websites.
Paid CompTIA Network+ training and exam prep
When it comes to preparing for the Network+ exam, you can choose to train yourself with books and free resources, or you can find a paid course. Most Network+ courses fall into two categories: live online Network+ boot camps or on-demand Network+ courses where you go at your own pace.
Network+ comparisons and alternatives
Network+ is a popular entry-level cybersecurity certification, but it's not the only one. Depending on your career goals, you may wish to explore alternative options. Check out these articles to learn more:
- Five best entry-level information security certifications: What's next after Network+? Find out.
- 7 top security certifications you should have: What about more advanced certs like CISSP, CISA and CISM?
- A security pro’s guide to CompTIA certifications: Whether you know nothing about computers or are pro with 10 years of experience, CompTIA provides a career path you can jump into and follow.
- Vendor-specific vs. vendor-neutral certifications: Confused about vendor-neutral vs. vendor-specific IT and cybersecurity certifications? We break them down in detail.