CompTIA's Server+ is a vendor-neutral certification that deals with every aspect of the "care and feeding" of server computers. While nearly any computer can be used as a server in a small networking environment, many organizations require dedicated network servers built to high performance specifications. These powerful machines are called upon to handle hundreds (if not thousands) of user accounts, and all of the network activity and requests generated by these users. Additionally, there's a variety of specialized servers (e.g. database servers, file and print servers, web servers, etc.) that can be deployed to perform critical roles in organizations.
The Server+ cert is aimed at technicians (ideally with a CompTIA A+ cert) who have 18 to 24 months of professional experience working with server hardware and software. The Server+ cert was developed in consultation with several industry partners, and is recommended or required for server technicians who work for Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Lenovo and Xerox. First released in 2001, the Server+ exam was updated in 2005, and again in 2009.
There are a number of different training options available for CompTIA's Server+. For students on a budget, the most affordable option involves the use of printed self-study manuals. These self-paced books are a good option for candidates who have access to a test lab outfitted with computer server hardware and software, and who feel confident in their ability to teach themselves material from texts. Self-study manuals can also give candidates the most flexibility when scheduling training sessions for themselves.
Server+ self-study manuals are available from several vendors. Students should shop online in order to find the best pricing on these materials.
Candidates who prefer more dynamic training should look at self-paced video courseware. This form of training uses video lessons on optical disks, or may be offered through an online streaming video subscription service. Some of the vendors who create training manuals also create video courseware, and will often bundle the two products together. Self-paced video courseware can be more engaging than printed materials alone, while still offering the same flexibility when it comes to scheduling lessons.
Instructor-led training for Server+ is the most expensive option available, but offers the most beneficial learning experience to students who need interaction with a live instructor in order to learn new material. Instructor-led training can be purchased as virtual classroom courses delivered over the Internet, or traditional classroom courses held at a technical school.
Virtual classroom courses use special client software or a web browser plug-in to simultaneously connect several students to an online classroom, which is managed by a live instructor. Virtual classroom courses are a good option for students who live a great distance from a technical school, or who have any conditions that make it difficult for them to travel to a physical classroom. These classes take place in real-time, so candidates must be able to work them into their existing schedules.
Finally, there are traditional classroom courses. For some, this training option offers the best learning experience: a live instructor, other students to collaborate with, and (by most schools) access to all of the relevant hardware and software labs necessary to master Server+ course content.
Here are the most common subjects a Server+ student can expect to encounter, no matter which training option they select:
- Identifying and configuring server hardware components
- Installing and configuring a network operating system
- Server security fundamentals
- Server-based storage technologies
- Disaster recovery and contingency planning
- Server troubleshooting tools and techniques
Server+ certification exam
There are no prerequisites for taking the Server+ exam, although CompTIA recommends that candidates should have their A+ certification, and somewhere between 18 and 24 months experience working with server computer hardware and software. The Server+ exam can be booked and taken at any authorized CompTIA exam center. As of this writing, the current Server+ exam code is SK0-003. The exam is available in English, Chinese, German and Japanese.
The Server+ exam is made up of 100 multiple-choice questions. Candidates have 90 minutes to complete the exam. The passing score for the exam is 750 on a scale of 100-900, and candidates are informed immediately upon exam completion if they have passed or not.
Here's a list of the Server+ exam knowledge domains, with an estimate of how much exam content is dedicated to each:
- System Hardware (21%)
- Software (19%)
- Storage (14%)
- IT Environment (11%)
- Disaster Recovery (11%)
- Troubleshooting (24%)
Server+ in the workplace
The Server+ cert is valid for three years once it has been awarded by CompTIA. Candidates can renew the Server+ by earning a set total of CompTIA Continuing Education Units (CEUs) during the three-year certified period. CompTIA CEUs are attained by earning additional CompTIA certs, or can be gained by participating in certain approved industry activities. For more information about the CompTIA Continuing Education Program, visit the CompTIA Certification website.
If the Server+ is allowed to expire, the exam must be passed again in order to re-certify.
Some of the job roles associated with the Server+ certification include the following:
- Authorized Server Technician
- Server Sales Specialist
- Network Server Support Specialist
- Application Server Specialist
- Web Server Specialist
CompTIA Server+ Certification, CompTIA.org, 2014-12-19, http://certification.comptia.org/getCertified/certifications/server.aspx
CompTIA Continuing Education Program, CompTIA.org, 2014-12-19, http://certification.comptia.org/stayCertified.aspx