The second-most popular vendor-neutral certification offered by CompTIA is Network+, which requires passing one exam. In the past, CompTIA has updated the exam — and shuffled some objectives around — about once every three years. We're actually a little bit ahead of schedule, considering that N10-006 launched in February of 2015 and the newest iteration, known as N10-007, will be out by the end of this year.
Some of the changes are cosmetic such as a topic being moved from one sub-objective to another, while others will make you stand up and take notice. Among the latter is a reduction in the overall total number of objectives and the removal of testing on quite a bit of foundational content. In this article, we will walk through the new exam and pay particular attention to what has changed.
While A+ certification has always been recommended but never required, N10-006 additionally suggested Network+ candidates should have nine months of experience in network support or administration. N10-007 now suggests nine-to-12 months of work experience, but that experience should be in IT networking.
There can be a considerable difference between nine months experience in networking and nine months experience in network administration. To complement this change, complex objectives requiring hands-on knowledge have been depreciated in favor of more conceptual and/or knowledge-based ones. Configuration, for example, of firewalls, DNS, and other components has largely been replaced by more focus on the concepts themselves.
The N10-006 exam consisted of 90 questions and there were 90 minutes in which to complete them with a minimum passing score of 720 (on a scale from 100 to 900). It was (and will be, for as long as it still available) divided into five domains and weighted as follows:
1) Network Architecture — 22 percent
2) Network Operations — 20 percent
3) Network Security — 18 percent
4) Troubleshooting — 24 percent
5) Industry Standards, Practices, and Network Theory — 16 percent
The N10-007 exam will have the same number of questions, time, and minimum passing score. It will be divided into five domains and weighted as follows:
1) Networking Concepts — 23 percent
2) Infrastructure — 18 percent
3) Network Operations — 17 percent
4) Network Security — 20 percent
5) Network Troubleshooting and Tools — 22 percent
While the number of domains stays the same, the overall number of objectives has gone from 44 with N10-006 to only 29 with N10-007. As noted above, some of the nips and tucks are purely cosmetic, while others are more interesting and will change the overall Network+ experience.
The following table lists the domains/objectives and offers a few notes on each:
It is worth noting that Network+ isn't the only certification exam that CompTIA is updating this year. They've also updated the Security+ exam, with the newer version available now. Next month, we will take a similar approach and look at the modifications to SY0-401 that have led to the new SY0-501.