How to Prepare for the New Network+ Exam
Technology is always changing. To stay relevant in your career path, you need to have updated skills. That's why CompTIA regularly updates its exams to reflect changes in technology.
In early March 2017, CompTIA released its new CompTIA's Network+ exam, which now includes newer technologies you'll need to know to enter the workforce. Here are some highlights for N10-007 and how you can prepare for the new exam.
You'll need to learn security
The last few years have put information security at the front of everyone's mind — particularly the minds of people hiring IT professionals. Security specializations are exploding in the IT field. The demand for information security analysts is expected to explode, increasing 28 percent in the next 10 years.
Network+ won't put you right into a specialized security position, but you'll need to start somewhere. While you don't need to know details of these attacks, you need to understand enough to configure the right security settings and identify an attack, should you experience one in the workplace.
Network+ has always touched on basic physical and security measures. Many of the updates to N10-006 revolve around authentication and authorization, WPA and WPA2 wireless encryption, definitions of common attacks, and mitigation techniques during an ongoing attack.
Network+ is a great starting point for anyone attempting to start a career in cybersecurity.
Get your head in the cloud
The days of monolithic applications hosted internally aren't quite in the past, but businesses are certain shifting more toward to containers and cloud computing. When CompTIA released the last Network+ they glossed over a lot of cloud computing terms and practices. The new Network+ exam incorporates new questions around infrastructure in cloud computing.
Many of the Network+ exam questions are scenario-based, so when studying for the new exam you should learn how to manage cloud applications, including where to place devices, how these devices function, and the security configurations surrounding different architecture.
IaaS isn't the only infrastructure that you need to know. SaaS applications are popular with businesses that deploy software to the public cloud. You also should know how to manage server hardware in the cloud and configure SaaS software platforms for security and performance.
Everyone should now know virtualization
This one goes hand-in-hand with cloud computing: Virtualization. You should expect more than a few questions about virtualization on the new Network+ exam.
Configuring virtual machines (VMs) means you need to know how to manage multiple operating systems and environments on one physical machine. Whether you're on a local network or using a cloud-hosted account, you should understand how to work with these servers and services.
With virtualization scenarios, you need to know how to configure the server, dedicate resources to each VM, determine the best network configurations, and secure VMs.
We always recommend that test takers get hands-on with the technology they're learning. Luckily, VMware makes it really easy to try out their software. Alternately, you can use the CBT Nuggets Virtual Labs in the VMware vSphere 6.5 course. It's an intermediate course, but learning a little more about virtualization will serve you well for Network+.
They'll be looking to you in a pinch
What happens should the network crash or suffer from an unforeseen disaster such as fire or floods? When you're certified, you'll be expected to understand how to implement the right business continuity plan to support network resiliency against disaster. Disaster comes in all forms — insider threats, outside hackers, natural disasters or just hardware failure.
The new Network+ certification covers backup procedures, restoring these backups, best practices in disaster recovery, and emergency data security. These concepts are important to reduce damage to business productivity and revenue, should an unforeseen incident happen that stops production.
Building your own home lab might be going a little above and beyond for Network+, but it'll help you start preparing for CCNA. When you have a home lab, you can break stuff (purposely or accidentally) and then figure out how to fix it. Every CBT Nuggets trainer will tell you that trial and Kill is the best way to learn.
Network+ is an entry-level certification. CompTIA doesn't expect you to be an expert in everything. Rather, it's designed to give you wide versus deep learning experience. After Network+, we encourage you to find the thing you love doing the most and then specialize in that direction.