CompTIA Network+ N10-008 vs. N10-009: What’s the Difference?

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CompTIA Network+ N10-008 vs N10-009

Looking to jumpstart your IT career in Networking? Well, you might have surely stumbled upon the Network+ certification by CompTIA. This industry-recognized certification validates your foundational knowledge of network design, implementation, and troubleshooting and acts as the excellent boost you might need to land your first job in networking.

However, with the recent release of the N10-009 version in June 2024, you might be wondering: what’s the difference between the N10-008 and N10-009 Network+ exams? Is the new version harder? Should you focus on the older one if you’re testing soon?

In this guide, we will work towards detangling the web of confusion that you may be facing, equipping you with the knowledge to choose the right Network+ exam for your journey. We’ll take a look into the key differences between CompTIA  N10-008 and N10-009, helping you choose the right version for your needs. We’ll explore what this exam is all about, how it’s scored, and what to expect from each version. 

Let’s begin!

What Is The CompTIA Network+ Certification Exam?

The CompTIA Network+ Certification exam is a vendor-neutral assessment designed to validate your fundamental skills in network design, configuration, and troubleshooting. Obtaining this certification will essentially demonstrate that you have the proficiency to effectively install, manage, and maintain basic network infrastructure. In addition, this certification is considered to be one of the most popular IT certifications by CompTIA. Hence, it is globally recognized. 

The Network+ exam assesses your competency in core networking concepts, including:

  • Network design and implementation
  • Network configuration and troubleshooting
  • Security threats and mitigation strategies
  • Network operations and maintenance

Read more: A Complete Guide to CompTIA IT Certification Roadmap

How Is The Network+ Exam Graded?

Unlike a traditional exam where a simple percentage determines your success, the Network+ utilizes a scaled scoring system. This means your raw score (number of correct answers) is converted into a scaled score ranging from 100 to 900. The magic number for passing the Network+ is a scaled score of 720 or higher. 

However, the specific passing score can fluctuate slightly with each exam iteration.

Is The CompTIA Network+ Exam Multiple-Choice?

Yes! The Network+ exam throws a combination of question types at you to assess your true network prowess. Here’s what to expect:

  • Multiple Choice: These straightforward questions present you with several answer options, and you’ll need to identify the single most accurate answer.
  • Performance-Based Items: Get ready to roll up your sleeves! These questions simulate real-world scenarios where you’ll need to apply your knowledge to configure network settings, troubleshoot problems, or analyze network traffic.

This blend of question styles ensures the exam comprehensively evaluates your understanding of core networking concepts and your ability to put that knowledge into action.

Other Exam Structure Details

The exam structure is still similar for both versions. Here is a look at some of the major details in relation to the CompTIA Network+ exam structure:

Exam Format Multiple Choice, Performance Based 
No. Of Questions  90 Questions 
Exam Duration  90 Minutes 
Testing Provider  Pearson VUE (Online, In Person)

CompTIA Network+ N10-008 vs. N10-009: A Head-to-Head Showdown

There are subtle differences between the two versions. Speaking of the Network+ N10-009 exam version, there have been some additions while other more outdated concepts have been bid farewell.

Changes In Exam Objectives

Both exams assess your core knowledge of network concepts, but the specific areas of focus can differ slightly. The N10-008 placed a strong emphasis on networking fundamentals, while the N10-009 takes a more holistic approach, renaming this domain as “Networking Concepts” and slightly adjusting the weighting.

Exam Version Exam Objectives
N10-008 (Retiring) Focused heavily on networking fundamentals like network technologies, media, and topologies.
N10-009 (Current) Shifts focus on networking concepts like network design, implementation, and security. Also includes emerging technologies like software-defined networking (SDN) and virtualization.

Here’s a table to visualize the relevant differences in the exam objectives of both Network+ versions:

CompTIA Network+ N10-008 Domains N10-008 Weighting (%) CompTIA Network+ N10-009 Domains N10-009 Weighting (%)
Networking Fundamentals 24% Networking Concepts 23%
Network Implementations 19% Network Implementation 20%
Network Operations  16% Network Operations 19%
Network Security 19% Network Security  14%
Network Troubleshooting 22% Network Troubleshooting 24%

While the overall content distribution remains similar, the revised “Networking Concepts” domain in the N10-009 exam might delve deeper into specific areas like Software-Defined Networking (SDN) or emerging security threats.

Network N10-008 Exam Domains
Network N10-009 Exam Domains

Decoding the Differences: What Stands Out in Network+ N10-009?

As you can see, the overall weighting of each domain remains quite similar between the two versions. However, there are some key changes in the N10-009 exam that reflect the newer cloud space:

1. SD-WAN Takes Center Stage

Gone are the days of focusing solely on traditional Wide Area Networks (WANs). N10-009 recognizes the growing importance of Software-defined networks (SDN) and software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN) and hence, will be testing your understanding of this technology.

2. Broader Troubleshooting Approach

The N10-008 featured a dedicated area in the domain of “Network Troubleshooting” which targeted relevant networking tools. N10-009 streamlines this concept, integrating troubleshooting skills throughout the exam. This reflects a shift towards a more comprehensive understanding of the troubleshooting process, rather than just memorizing specific tools.

3. Cloud Networking

While the N10-008 touched upon basic cloud concepts, the N10-009 delved deeper. You can expect to encounter questions about cloud deployment models (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS), cloud security considerations, and managing network traffic within cloud environments.

4. Security Threats and Mitigation Strategies

Cybersecurity threats are a growing concern for organizations of all sizes. The N10-009 acknowledges this reality by placing more emphasis on identifying common network vulnerabilities (like malware and phishing attacks) and understanding mitigation strategies like firewalls and intrusion detection systems

5. Network Implementation

You might not have noticed the removal of ‘s’ from Network Implementations in the N10-009 exam version since it is quite a subtle change. However, this change indicates network deployment may not be tested as before. In addition, some older technologies such as WPA and MIMO aren’t expected to be tested anymore and there is also far less importance on Ethernet on this version.

Content Removed from N10-009

While both N10-008 and N10-009 equip you with the core skills needed for network administration, the N10-009 streamlines its focus, removing some content from its predecessor. Let’s explore some key areas where the N10-009 has undergone a content shift:

i) Emphasis on Specific Hardware

The N10-008 placed a greater emphasis on understanding the intricacies of specific hardware components like hubs and older router technologies. The N10-009 reflects the industry’s move toward software-defined networking (SDN) and cloud-based solutions, placing less emphasis on these specific hardware details.

ii) Detailed Cabling Standards

The N10-008 placed more focus on various cabling standards like Coaxial and Category 5 cables. While understanding cabling fundamentals remains important, the N10-009 focuses more on the practical application of these concepts rather than comprehensive details of specific cable types.

iii) Legacy Protocols

The N10-008 might have covered some legacy protocols that are less commonly used today. The N10-009 prioritizes modern network protocols that are crucial for success in today’s dynamic IT environment.

iv) Requirement for A+

Previously, the exam requirements for the Network+ N10-008 included CompTIA A+. However, this condition is not present for the N10-009.

Delve into the details of: Cost Of CompTIA A+

Choosing the Right Network+ Exam

Now that we’ve taken a look into the key differences between the N10-008 and N10-009 exams, a critical question arises: which one should you conquer? Here are some things to consider:

When Does The Network+ N10-008 Retire?

The N10-008 is scheduled for retirement in December 2024. If you’re planning to take the exam before that date, you’ll need to focus your studies on N10-008 objectives. However, keep in mind that the N10-009 reflects the current industry and IT networking space, so transitioning to the newer version might be advantageous in the long run.

Why Choose Network+ N10-009?

The N10-009 is the newly introduced version of the current Network+ exam. It emphasizes the latest technologies and trends, making it the ideal choice for anyone seeking a future-proof certification. Here’s why N10-009 might be the better fit:

  • Future-Oriented:

By focusing on cloud, security, and automation, the N10-009 equips you with the skills most in demand by today’s employers.

  • Knowledge Advantage: 

Understanding these emerging technologies positions you for a competitive edge in the constantly evolving networking field.

Is N10-009 Harder? Not Exactly!

Both exams assess your core networking knowledge. The difficulty level is generally considered similar. However, the N10-009 might require a slight adjustment in your study approach because of its focus on newer technologies.

This is because while the N10-009 doesn’t introduce a dramatic increase in difficulty, it does require you to be familiar with the latest networking trends. This means a grasp of cloud technologies, security threats, and automation tools might give you an edge.

Conquering the Network+ Exam: Top Preparation Tips for Success

Whichever version you end up deciding to choose, it is essential to have effective preparation in order to pass your exam! Here are some preparation tips for the CompTIA Network+ certification exam to improve your chances of success:

1. Decide Which Version To Pursue

Firstly, decide which version you want to prepare for and pursue. Prioritize study materials aligned with the current exam objectives. CompTIA offers a wealth of resources, including official exam guides and practice tests specifically designed for the N10-009

Here are the relevant resources for both versions:

CompTIA Network+ N10-008 Exam Objectives Guide
Online Training
CompTIA Network+ N10-009  Exam Objectives Guide

2. Seek Out the Best Training

While self-study is admirable, consider enrolling in a comprehensive Network+ training course. A good course will provide in-depth explanations, hands-on labs, and practice exams to solidify your understanding. We have linked all the relevant official resources above.

3. Focus On Getting Sufficient Practice

Practice is what will ultimately help push you over the passing mark line. Using sample questions to practice is quite an effective way to boost preparation since it will get you accustomed to the general exam format and syllabus. We, at Dumpsgate, offer exam dumps (essentially a collection of relevant and updated questions and answers) for the Network+ exam. You can get dumps for both the CompTIA Network+ N10-008 and N10-009 exams.

4. Seek Guidance From Online Communities and Forums

Connect with a network (pun intended!) of fellow Network+ aspirants. Online communities and forums offer valuable support, allowing you to exchange knowledge, ask questions, and gain insights from experienced professionals. This is especially helpful because it will help you connect with people who

5. Sharpen Your Troubleshooting Skills

The Network+ exam loves to test your problem-solving abilities. Practice your troubleshooting skills by working through real-world network scenarios or utilizing online labs. Try to also keep building these skills in order to remain up-to-date with new introductions and changes in the IT networking space.

Is CompTIA Network+ Good for Beginners?

Absolutely! The CompTIA Network+ certification is specifically designed for individuals with little to no prior IT networking experience. It provides a foundational understanding of core networking concepts, technologies, and best practices. This knowledge base equips you to:

  • Grasp the fundamentals of network design and implementation.
  • Troubleshoot common network issues.
  • Configure basic network devices like routers and switches.
  • Communicate effectively with network administrators and other IT professionals.

In fact, the Network+ certification by CompTIA can be your sturdy first step on your IT networking journey. It prepares you for entry-level network technician roles.

 Here’s a glimpse into the exciting career paths that await you:

  • Network Administrator: Often regarded to as the backbone of the IT networking space, network administrators are responsible for ensuring smooth network operation, troubleshooting problems, and implementing security measures. 
  • Network Security Analyst: Cyber threats are on the rise, and it is no surprise that cybersecurity professionals are in high demand. The Network+ certification provides a strong foundation for further specialization in network security, paving the way for a career safeguarding critical data and infrastructure. It is important to note that this certification also covers the basics of network security. 
  • Help Desk Technician: Providing technical support to users is a fantastic way to gain valuable experience in the IT world. The Network+ certification demonstrates your understanding of network fundamentals, making you a strong candidate for help desk roles.
  • Cloud Network Engineer: The cloud is rapidly transforming how businesses operate. With its emphasis on cloud networking concepts, the N10-009 equips you with the necessary skills to land further positions like Cloud Network Engineer. 

Learn More: CompTIA Certification Salary Prospects 

CompTIA Network+ N10-008 or N10-009: Which One Should You Choose?

The CompTIA Network+ exam version you choose will likely depend on when you’re aiming to take the exam. Since the Network+ N10-008 exam is set to retire at year-end, you could consider choosing this particular version if you’re planning to take the exam in the next few months. This is because CompTIA provides a lot more resources for studying and training for the N10-008 version. 

However, if you have plans to take the exam around year-end, or next year, it might be more advantageous to select the newer N10-009 exam version. This is because, by that time, more updated resources will be available. Plus, the CompTIA Network+ N10-009 focuses places more focus aligning with changes in IT networking and hence, will be more relevant moving forward.


You’ve made it to the end! CompTIA routinely updates its certifications to reflect the latest industry trends, and these two codes represent different versions of the Network+ exam. Remember, the current version of the Network+ exam is the N10-009). This version aims to align more with the changing IT space, emphasizing cloud technologies, security threats, and automation. 

We have dissected almost everything you will need to know as you make your decision in choosing between pursuing the CompTIA Network+ N10-008 vs N10-009. We hope you make a wise one! 

More On CompTIA:

CompTIA SY0-701 Exam Passing Tips  

Is CompTIA Cloud+ Certification Worth It?

Is CompTIA Pentest+ Worth It? 

Other Networking Certifications:

AWS Advanced Network Certification 

Palo Alto Network Certifications

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The main difference between the N10-008 and N10-009 exams lies in their focus areas. The N10-008 (retired in November 2024) emphasized traditional networking concepts like cabling and hardware. In contrast, the N10-009 (current version) reflects the industry shift towards cloud technologies, security threats, and automation tools.

The difficulty level of both exams is generally considered similar. However, the N10-009 might require you to adjust your study approach due to its emphasis on newer technologies.

If you plan to take the exam before November 2024, you’ll need to focus on the N10-008 objectives (currently retired). However, the N10-009 reflects the current industry landscape, 

The Network+ exam utilizes a scaled scoring system. You need a scaled score of 720 or higher to pass, regardless of the exam version (N10-008 or N10-009).

No, the Network+ exam combines multiple-choice questions with performance-based items. These performance-based questions simulate real-world scenarios where you’ll need to apply your knowledge to troubleshoot problems or configure network settings.

Absolutely! The Network+ certification is designed for individuals with little to no prior IT networking experience. It provides a strong foundation for understanding core networking concepts and prepares you for entry-level network technician roles.

Yes! Currently, the CompTIA Network+ N10-008 is still valid and will remain so until it retires in December 2024. This will then be replaced by the newer version, N10-009.



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