CompTIA Network+ Certification: An Overview and Career Paths It Opens

Information technology jobs continue to grow rapidly, and the Network+ certification is one of the essential certificates for IT professionals.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that information technology jobs will grow by 12 percent from 2018 to 2028, which is much faster than average. Some of the foundational certifications that hiring managers look for are the CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications. The MTI College A.A.S. AWS Cloud Administration program prepares you for all three of these certification exams.

Even with the booming job market, it pays to have these certifications on your resume. Whether you are seeking a career in networking or telecommunications, or as a network support specialist, network administrator and help desk technician, the Network+ certification is valuable. This certification shows you have expertise that translates to a wide variety of IT professions.

About the CompTIA Network+ Certification

The CompTIA Network+ Certification is a mid-level certification for network technicians. This certification tests the competency of a network technician in various tasks, like configuring and supporting TCP/IP clients in a network, cabling and routing, hardware setup, and network security. This certification is a vendor neutral certification that also tests for competency in configuration, installation, support, maintenance, and troubleshooting of basic computer networks.

CompTIA, otherwise known as the Computing Technology Industry Association is the certifying body. They have certified over two million IT professionals since the 1990s.

The Network+ certification is one of CompTIA’s foundational certificates. CompTIA certifications are updated about every three years, and the old versions are retired. The current Network+ exam, N10-007, was launched in March 2018 and will be effective for three years. This latest version added new topics such as security and network resiliency.

The certification covers five areas:

  • Networking concepts
  • Networking infrastructure
  • Network operations
  • Network security
  • Networking troubleshooting and tools

The Network+ examination is 90 questions, and applicants have 90 minutes to answer all questions. The Network+ exam contains situational, traditional, and identification types of questions.

Becoming Network+ certified is a necessary step in many career paths, and the certificate opens the door to more advanced certifications. Novell, Cisco and HP also recognize CompTIA’s Network+ certificate as a requirement in their career certification tracks.

What Skills Does the Network+ Certification Measure?

These are some of the core skills a Network+ certified IT professional should possess:

  • Design, set up, maintain, and troubleshoot a basic network configuration.
  • Understand, install, operate and configure wired and wireless networks.
  • Identify and understand commonly used networking protocols and ports.
  • Implement security measures and network security standards
  • Troubleshoot connectivity issues.
  • Configure and maintain network devices such as firewalls, routers and switches
  • Install, configure and differentiate between common network devices.
  • Use best practices in wiring and network configuration and design.
  • Understand cloud computing and virtualization best practices.

Prerequisites for the Network+ Certification

Though there is no formal prerequisite for taking the Network+ certification, applicants are encouraged to either have completed the CompTIA A+ certification or had nine to twelve months of IT field experience.

Comparison to Other Information Technology Certifications

All the CompTIA certifications are vendor neutral, and Network+ follows this convention. This means that what you learn studying for the Network+ exam can be applied to a wide array of IT products and solutions.

Similar certifications to the Network+ are:

  • Microsoft MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate)/Networking Fundamentals
  • Cisco CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate, Routing and Switching)
  • Cisco CCENT (Certified Cisco Entry Network Technician).

CCNA requires at least one to three years of field experience to take the exam.

Like the Network+ certification, CCNA is based on the responsibilities of a network-related job. However, CCNA is specific to Cisco products while Network+ is applicable across all vendor products and solutions.

MTA and CCENT are not based on the job role, and more akin to introductions to the vendor’s networking products and offerings.

Potential Career Paths

The Network+ certification demonstrates a foundational understanding of enterprise networking technologies. This makes it a great certification for those in the beginning of their career, or well into their IT career. Here are some careers where a Network+ certification can be beneficial:

  • Computer technician
  • Help desk technician
  • Network support specialist
  • Network administrator
  • Network analyst
  • Network field engineer
  • Systems engineer
  • Information security consultant
  • Systems administrator, analyst, or engineer
  • Web and network systems developer
  • Information systems consultant

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