CompTIA's Network+ is a great career cornerstone.Secure data networks are crucial to how an enterprise functions and how they offer their services to customers. There is great need for trained and certified networking professionals in business and government.

The value of certifications is increasing as more organizations prefer candidates with recognized, third-party credentials that validate their knowledge and skills. For networking professionals, the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) Network+ certification is one such credential that will prove an asset to your career.

Whether you are just starting out in networking or looking for ways to enhance your career, Network+ is a sure way to build your professional portfolio. Credentialed professionals have the requisite skills for management, configuration, design, and troubleshooting of wired and wireless networks.

Let us take an in-depth look at some information about CompTIA’s Network+ exam, the benefits to clearing it, and related job opportunities.

History

CompTIA, the voice of the world’s information technology industry, offered Network+ certification for the first time in 1999. Since then Network+ has become the globally recognized certification that validates the “essential knowledge and skills needed to design, configure, manage and troubleshoot wired and wireless networks.

CompTIA introduced the Network+ certification exam so that IT professionals, especially the entry-level ones, would be given exposure to different kinds of software, hardware, and networks. The aim has always been to help aspiring network and system administrators develop the requisite competencies and a thorough understanding of basic network infrastructure and its management. An understanding of networking protocols and technologies, network design principles, and so on are also provided.

In addition to the above aims, the course also covers certain topics related to security controls and knowledge.

Over the years Network+ has been consistently developed and maintained by leading IT experts. It meets the stringent ISO 17024 standard and is also approved by U.S. Department of Defense to fulfill Directive 8570.01-M requirements. It is also compliant with the U.S. Government regulations under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA).

Network+ in India

Network+ is popular among Indian IT pros for a number of reasons. One major reason is that the certification is recognized globally. Because of its vendor-neutral aspects, Network+ has wide spread applicability at home and abroad. It is a great asset for Indian IT pros looking for an opportunity to work overseas. Presently thousands of Indian Network+ credentialed individuals are being recruited for positions in the U.S. and here at home.

Network+ is also recommended as the first professional-level, vendor-neutral networking certification. It provides a solid base for working with everything attached to a network including printers, tablets, and mobile devices. The network tech is the important person who makes it possible for all of these devices to communicate with one another in a seamless fashion.

With India recently becoming the nation with the second largest number of users of the Internet there are more devices than ever connecting and ample opportunities for employment as a network technician.

It is also a reasonably simple path to entry. Although CompTIA does recommend that individuals have an A+ certification and nine months of experience working with networks, there are no official prerequisites and individuals can easily register and sit for the exam.

CompTIA also offers a plethora of authorized preparation materials and training partners so that an entry-level IT professional can, with a bit of discipline and study, clear the exam with ease.

Network+ is also a great stepping stone for many other popular certifications. For example, Microsoft integrates it in their Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) certification program. Similarly, Cisco, HP, and Novell recognize and include Network+ in their certification tracks.

Preparation and examination

The exam code for Network+ is N10-006, and the current version was launched in February 2015.

Apart from an in-depth study of wired and wireless network devices, the course also covers emerging technologies, such as unified communications, virtualization, and mobile and cloud technologies.

As per CompTIA’s website, Network+ covers the “configuration, management, and troubleshooting of common wired and wireless network devices. Also included are emerging technologies such as unified communications, mobile, cloud, and virtualization technologies.”

As I mentioned above, there are a great many authorized training partners from which to choose including Koening Solutions and Simplilearn. If you prefer, you can also study on your own utilizing authorized preparation materials including books, eBooks, videos, and eLearning and practice exams.

Whichever method you choose, take care to use only those materials that have the CompTIA Approved Quality Content (CAQC) stamp. These materials have been prepared by leading experts in the Industry and meet CompTIA’s strict quality standards.

One of the best resources to enhance your learning is CompTIA’s CertMaster — an intelligent online learning tool that enables candidates to verify what they already know while focusing on filling in the spaces on their knowledge. Sadly, CertMaster is not included in the price of Network+, but you can have a free-trial before you buy. CertMaster is an extremely powerful test-preparation tool and is highly praised for its effectiveness.

CompTIA's Network+ is a great career cornerstone.The actual exam can be taken at a Pearson VUE testing center closest to you. The exam consists of 90 questions to be solved within 90 minutes. Many of the questions are multiple-choice (MCQs), but there are also a number of performance-based questions (PBQs). The PBQs require you to solve scenarios in a simulated environment. Take care to manage your time on the PBQs because most of them come at the front of the exam and you will not be able to view a clock until you start the MCQs.

A score of 720 out of 900 is required to clear the exam. While the cost of the exam is normally $285 U.S., there is a discount price of $161 U.S. for India.

Renewal

Network+ is good for three years from the day of your exam. After which it will need to be renewed. Fortunately, CompTIA provides a continuing education program that enables credentialed individuals to extend their certifications in three-year intervals by participating in and completing activities and training relating to Network+. For a complete description of renewal options, check out the CompTIA Continuing Education program.

CompTIA Network+ certification is the gold-standard for the industry. Once you are certified you will have the opportunity to build a solid career as a networking professional. The most popular job profiles that are available for credentialed individuals include network and systems administrators, networking consultants, and IT technicians.