[Posted 2 July 2013 by Kathy Yale]
For many computer network professionals, taking an examination to become certified after receiving extensive training or gaining years of hands-on experience in information technology (IT) and computer networking may seem like an unnecessary extra step to the education and training process. However, certification as an expert in computer networking can help an individual get ahead in today’s challenging work environment. Earning a Network+ certification is one way that a computer network specialist can set herself or himself apart as an expert in this field.
What Is Network+ Certification?
Network+ is a certification program administered by CompTIA, a leading provider of computer certification examinations. The Network+ examination covers a range of computer networking and related topics, including installation and operation of both hard-wired and wireless networking systems, network administration, network configuration, security and troubleshooting. Unlike computer network certification programs offered by computer manufacturers, the CompTIA Network+ certification is not geared toward a specific computer brand. Many private IT companies and leading technology manufacturers recognize the Network+ certification, and the United States Department of Defense accepts Network+ certified individuals as qualified to work as IT network specialists. In addition to Network+, CompTIA offers certification in a number of other areas of computer technology.
Why Do I Need Network+ Certification?
Although certification is not required by all employers, many private businesses and government entities prefer to hire employees with proven knowledge in network and information technology. Given the choice between a prospective employee who has no specialized certification and one with a CompTIA Network+ certification, most employers would rather hire the individual who has passed an examination and received certification as a computer network expert. Becoming certified as a specialist also boosts personal confidence because an individual who has earned a Network+ certification knows that he or she possesses the critical knowledge needed to perform well on the job.
How Do I Become Network+ Certified?
The first step to earning a Network+ certification is to complete one or more computer network training courses. In some cases, coursework may not be necessary if an individual has long-term, hands-on experience with computer networking. Such on-the-job training can be sufficient if the training is in-depth and covers a range of networking issues. Many companies also offer training courses and preparation materials designed to help individuals prepare to take the Network+ examination. Extremely experienced individuals may find that they need minimal preparation for the examination. However, most people who are planning to take the Network+ examination benefit from purchasing guides and practice tests to become familiar with the types of questions presented on the test and the format in which the test is conducted. The Network+ examination and other computer specialist examinations are offered by CompTIA at testing locations around the country. The Network+ examination consists of 100 multiple choice questions and takes about an hour and half to complete. Cost of the examination varies—package deals combining preparation materials and the examination fee may be available at discounted rates when purchased together.
Certification as a computer network specialist can make the difference between landing a great job and being passed over for employment. Network+ certification can also help a person who is already employed in IT advance in his or her career. With so many potential benefits to earning professional certification as a network specialist, a Network+ certification is something that no IT network professional should be without.