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Interview: Glen Clarke CompTIA Network+ Certification Study Guide

GoCertify: Is Network+ more concerned with definitions and descriptions, or practical set-ups and troubleshooting?

Glen Clarke: I find the last few versions of the Network+ exam are very focused on ensuring that the candidate can install, configure, and troubleshoot network technologies and not just know how to define the objective. The Network+ exam expects the candidate to understand both networking hardware and software troubleshooting tools to help troubleshoot network problems.

GoCertify: The cover of your study guide says that it is "classroom-proven" – what is meant by that?

Glen Clarke: Classroom-proven means that the Study Guide series provides more than just reference. The Study Guide is designed to bring classroom elements into self-study. The series has features that will aid training organizations, colleges, and instructors in delivering their Network+ course, but the same features ensure that if you are studying on your own, that you will be exposed to the kinds of material you would face in the classroom. The Network+ Study Guide has hands-on exercises, an exercises answer key, Exam Watch notes throughout each chapter highlighting critical points to remember for the exam, certification summaries at the end of each chapter reviewing each major topic presented in the chapter, review questions, and videos containing demonstrations of key topics. One of the most important classroom based features of the Study Guides is that exam objectives are called out clearly in every chapter, which helps guide certification candidates through the test preparation process. I really love the Study Guide series because of the way these features are organized in the book.

GoCertify: What is included on the CD-ROM that accompanies your book, and how can students get the most out of it?

Glen Clarke: The CD-ROM that comes with the printed book has a practice exam that simulates the format and difficulty of the real exam. There are videos on the CD-ROM demonstrating common network administration tasks such as configuring a wireless network, installing and configuring DNS and DHCP, configuring a Cisco router, and demos of using TCP/IP troubleshooting utilities, to name a few. The CD-ROM also contains PDF versions of a lab book containing the exercises from the book and an answer key PDF for those exercises. There are also lab files on the CD of packet captures I prepared so the reader can open the packet captures and follow the exercises. A second free practice exam is available for download.

For e-book readers, the CD-ROM contents are available for download using directions in the e-book. To get the best out of the book, software, and multimedia the reader should read through all material, doing all exercises and review questions, watching the demonstration videos on the CD, and then take the practice exams only after completing the entire book.

GoCertify: What is "CertCam video training?"

Glen Clarke: The CertCam training videos are the videos on the CD I recorded that demonstrate how to perform common network administration tasks. They are great for readers who may not have access to servers or equipment to perform the labs - the reader can watch the video! I actually had an instructor email about my Security+ Study Guide saying that he loved the videos because he didn't have some of the equipment so he incorporated the videos into his teaching as part of the lessons.

GoCertify: What additional advice can you offer on preparing for the Network+ exam?

Glen Clarke: I recommend getting as much hands-on as possible. Knowing how to perform the actual tasks related to the certification will not only help you with the exam, but will help you on the job! In order to best prepare for the Network+ exam I would recommend that the reader read the entire book and do all exercises. Also, do all review questions at the end of the chapters. A few nights before the exam I recommend no major studying but I would flip through the book and read all the "Exam Watch" icons and "Inside The Exam" elements as they stress key concepts to remember for the exam. Read the end of chapter summaries and do the practice exam one more time.

GoCertify: Once someone achieves CompTIA Network+ certification, is there a natural next step as far as credentialing?

Glen Clarke: I would highly recommend someone move on to the Security+ certification after taking Network+. The Security+ certification covers a wide range of topics such as physical security, types of attacks, firewalls and intrusion detection systems, security assessments, cryptography, and computer forensics. It is a great certification that will help candidates become security professionals!

Glen Clarke is an independent technical trainer and consultant who resides in Nova Scotia, Canada. He holds a number of premiere certifications in the fields of programming, networking, and security (MCSE/MCDBA/MCSD/MCT/MCTS/CHFI/CEH/SCNP/CCENT/CIW SA/CISSO/Security+/A+) and spends 90% of his time teaching certified courses on those topics. He has authored many certification titles including CompTIA Security+ Certification Study Guide, also published by McGraw-Hill.