Fast Guide

Network+ certification: The Lowdown on the CompTIA Network+ Certification, Part 4

As a person who has grown up addicted to a keyboard and mouse, I tread a fine line between computer enthusiast and IT specialist. I enjoy the occasional call to a local business in "dire" need of assistance or the house call from the "friend's-brother's-nephew" who (according to my friend's brother at least) has "messed up or fried the CPU." These are all fine and well; they allow me to practice my hobby in an enjoyable and profitable way. When computing ceases to be a hobby and begins to be a mundane chore, I cut back on work a bit and try to enjoy myself again. It is my belief that to be successful in "information technology," or whichever buzzword you choose to employ, you must be able to take pleasure in the troubleshooting process, keep a level head, and never allow yourself to be caught up in the world of industry jargon and empty rhetoric. Nevertheless, earning a certification or engaging in coursework in the IT field can be a rewarding experience if you keep a level head and seek to learn.

A Secret about CompTIA Network+
In my own pursuit of Network+ certification, I first began with a simple interest in the certification. I was looking for a summer job but was unable to really provide a reasonable list of qualifications, other than "many years of experience working with computers." For some reason, employers seemed to take my "qualifications" at face value. So, I felt that it would be necessary for me to attain some kind of universally recognizable certification

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in the IT field so that I could at least begin a career as a PC technician. The CompTIA A+ and Network+ certifications seemed to be most relevant; after all, they cover the basic fields of on-site troubleshooting: PC hardware/software and networking. And, as I was seeking a quick job at the time, it didn't hurt to know that A+ and Network+ are totally vendor-neutral and universally recognized. However, when I discovered that the classes for these certifications were in the $1000+ range, I felt a bit disheartened by the prospect of having to attend night classes and waste valuable time I could be earning money.

Now, I will let you in on a secret of sorts. For this exam, as for virtually any other IT-related certification exam, it is not a requirement to enroll in a costly course or to purchase time with an expensive trainer to pass the examination. While a course can certainly ease your path to certification, the knowledge required to pass and even excel in the CompTIA Network+ exam can be attained through experience as an IT professional. The examination tests you on what is truly important -- the experience that is derived from hands-on field training.
What can Network+ do for you?

Let's be realistic – having the Network+ certification will not significantly alter the course of your life, demonstrate your total proficiency in networking concepts, or automatically earn you a top job. So what will it do for you?

  • Signal to potential employers that you have the initiative to differentiate yourself
  • Provide a bridge to other certifications and opportunities to demonstrate initiative
  • Acquiring, in the process, knowledge and expertise in the networking field
  • Counts as a credit (in some cases) towards other, more involved certifications
  • Being certified can be a great confidence booster and lead to salary raise

Any reservations?
I truly believe that anyone who has the slightest desire to earn his or her Network+ certification can do so with minimal effort and commitment. Network+ is a certification that covers a finite amount of information and does not require complex logical analysis, though analytical thinking is required on some questions. What it does require, however, is for the candidate to be well-versed in networking standards and concepts; this means that you must approach this certification with an open mind. Your best friends are the resources on the World Wide Web – take practice tests anywhere you can find them and always review your incorrect answers; read multiple study guides on parts of the Network+ curriculum you feel shaky on. Remember that no material is "off-limits" in your pursuit of the certification.

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ProProfs Free Online Network+ Certification School provides free study aids for the Network+ exam such as study guides, practice exams and practice questions. ProProfs online learning center for Comptia Network+ exam is located at: http://www.ProProfs.com/certification/comptia/network-plus/index.shtml

This was first published in September 2006

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