What is a Network Engineer?
A network engineer is a technology professional who is highly skilled in maintaining the connectivity of networks in terms of data, voice, calls, videos and wireless technologies. In an IT organization Network Engineers are accountable for formulating, implementing and executing the entirety of computer networks. Besides network infrastructure, security and performance are other two important aspects of being a successful network Engineer.
Often times for technology companies there is an overlap between network administrator and network engineer job roles. The engineering side of things tends to deal more with planning, design and technical specifications, whereas the administration side of things deals mostly with day-to-day maintenance, management and troubleshooting efforts.
Other similar names for this job role could be Network Analyst or a Network Support Specialist.
If you are looking to get CompTIA Network+ certified, this study guide is for you.
What is the salary for Network Engineer?
The network engineer salary ranges from $46,500 to more than $115,000 annually, depending upon skills and experience. As per job site Indeed.com, the average salary for a networking professional is $82,082 per year in the United States.
Resources for preparation of CompTIA Network+ Certification
CompTIA is known for its IT certifications in 120 countries. With a CompTIA Network+ certification, you will be recognized for your networking credentials all over the world.
Before you make the jump, make sure you know the basic networking concepts. There are a lot of study resources out there. We’ve compiled most of the free ones below:
- Free practice questions from CompTIA. Link here.
- Paid practice tests that will help you pass the certification.Link here.
- Free flashcards to help you memorize the key concepts. Link here.
- YouTube free courses:
- Professor Messer YouTube courses. Link here.
- Jeremy Cioara’s Keeping IT Simple (KITS) YouTube videos
- Free Cisco Packet Tracer to be used as a network simulator. You can visualize the theoretical concepts using this tool. If you have trouble understanding STP, DHCP, collision domains, broadcast domains, switching vs. routing, and other similar subjects – you must get this tool and visualize your network.
- You can get Mike Meyers book off of Amazon. Would recommend a used one if available.
CompTIA Network+ Certification exam topics
The new exam N10-008 got launched in September 2021. N10-007 retires in June 2022. This blog talks about the new exam format. However, not a lot has changed in terms of topics. CompTIA has rearranged and streamlined the topics which makes more sense in N008.
The exam objectives with weightage is mentioned below:
CompTIA Network+ Certification exam details
Regardless of the exam version, the format for the certification has not changed. CompTIA recommends that you are A+ certified and have a minimum of 9-12 months of networking experience working as a junior network administrator or network support technician. However, these are just recommendations and not mandatory to take the certification.
|Number of questions||Maximum of 90|
|Types of questions||Multiple-choice and performance-based (PBQs)|
|Passing Score||720 (on a scale of 100-900)|
Preparation tips for CompTIA Network+ Certification
- With the assumption that the objective is not just to clear the certification and rather understand the concepts, the exam preparation takes 2-3 months (2-3hours of study everyday). This is if you are new to networking. If you have prior experience in network technologies, this could be under a month with dedicated time spent on the exam topics.
- Make your own hand written notes as you study a video course or a book. Repetition is the key to memorizing the key concepts. Before you appear for the actual exam, go through your notes one last time. Remember to update these notes as you take each practice exam. Topics to memorize include:
- T568A/T568B Ethernet Wiring. If possible, practice making your own patch cables. You get get everything off of Amazon – rj-45 connectors, boots, cable and a crimper/stripper. This will help you memorize TIA/EIA 568 A and B.
- RADIUS, TACACS+, Kerberos, and variants of EAP
- 802.11 WiFi standards based on speed, band, MIMO
- Know the differences between different types of security risks such as DoS, ARP cache Poisoning, Smurfing
- Port Numbers and Acronyms. Link to free flashcards for these.
- OSI model
- VOIP fundamentals such as SIP
- TIA 568B wiring order
- Do some hands-on in labs for:
- Various network configurations and topologies like Ring and Star
- DHCP and DNS setup
- VPN setup and encryption
- Command line tools and usage including ipconfig, ping, nslookup, and nbtstat
- Understand the key concepts of VLSM(Variable Length Subnet Mask) as this might be a confusing topic for few people.
- Make sure you understand CIDR for a performance based question. You will certainly get one question from this.
- Keep taking practice exams until you are consistently getting at least 85%+, then take the real exam.
Link to Practice Exams
- Practice taking the simulation questions as much as you can. Here is the link from official CompTIA that you can use for your exam prep.
Link to Practice Simulation Performance based questions from CompTIA.
Exam tips for CompTIA Network+ Certification
This certification will test your networking skills. Below are some tips that will help you pass your exam with confidence:
- Exam will have various scenario based questions. So, make sure you are comfortable reading long questions. The trick is to focus on keywords and answering based on those. In multiple-choice questions, sometimes the right answer can be guessed from knowing the wrong answers. You can eliminate the wrong options and then make an educated guess. Good thing is there is no negative marking in CompTIA Network+ exam.
- Expect to see at least 3 PBQ’s. For PBQ’s, the real exam doesn’t have a reset button. So, make sure you select the answer carefully before submitting. Additionally, for virtual PBQ’s, you cannot come back to them again once answered. So, complete the virtual PBQ to the best of your ability, then click the Next button to continue with the rest of your exam.
- Your technical skills will be challenged in this exam. Remember that there can be multiple ways to solve a question or challenge posed in a PBQ. Scoring addresses different possible approaches. Also, partial credit may be given to virtual PBQ.
In the technology field Network professionals are in great demand. With the push towards moving to cloud and a special focus on security, networking jobs are expected to rise by 9% in recent times. A career in Network Administration is a great way to not only make more money but also have a satisfying job. So, getting your CompTIA Network+ engineer certification can be a good start to your networking career. Once you have this certification, consider taking other top networking certifications like CCNA, CCIE, CCNP, JNCIE-ENT, and WCNA.
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Disclaimer: ReviewNPrep does not own any CompTIA resources mentioned in the blog.