A Look at the Network+ Certification
Network professionals are often the keepers of an organization's information backbone. Many problems, high stress levels, and tense moments can accompany the life a network administrator or support personnel. Yet, many moments of satisfaction can come with being able to get servers back up and running when the network "goes down," or get that deleted file or folder from a well-planned backup that will save the day of your customers. Network professionals can expect duties that range from designing a network to implementing and supporting network hardware, protocols, and troubleshooting network connectivity and usability problems. Many certifications exist to test the knowledge and skills of network professionals. One can attain certification with Microsoft, Cisco, Lotus, and Novell, to name a few. These certifications are, for the most part, examinations of ability with these groups' specific products. What the networking market soon found it needed was a general exam that tested the aspiring network professional's general baseline networking abilities and knowledge. An exam was needed that was not necessarily tied to a certain product line. Enter the CompTIA Network+ Exam!
The Network+ certification is one of CompTIA's best-known exams, as it rates second only to the A+ exam for number of people certified. CompTIA states that, to date, more than 70,000 hold this certification. Just as the A+ certification measures baseline abilities of PC support personnel, the Network+ measures baseline skills and knowledge of network professionals. (To learn more on CompTIA or the A+ certification, visit www.comptia.com or visit our certification article, entitled "A Look at the A+ Certification," that appeared here at www.developer.com last month.) Passing this exam validates your abilities as being equivalent to a network professional who has nine months of on-the-job experience. With that being said, it is advisable to have 6-12 months of actual on-the-job networking or PC support experience while working toward this certification. The more hands-on experience you have with the hardware, topologies, and protocols found on common corporate networks, the better your chances are of passing this exam. As with all CompTIA exams, the Network+ exam is vendor neutral. The exam came together with networking experts from educational, government, and corporate environments that established a baseline set of skills for entry-level network professionals.