CompTIA Server+ Gets a Much-Needed Update
My first real job in networking was when I went to work for Novell on Jan. 1, 1987. That company started its life as "Novell Data Systems," for which they not only sold the network server software — and still do to this day — they also sold the hardware, too: huge hulking beasts with horsepower somewhat less impressive than most of today's smartphones.
So servers have long been in my sights, on my workbench, and inside my wheelhouse. That's why I read this CompTIA press release on May 19 with more than ordinary interest: "New CompTIA Server+ Certification Exam Available Worldwide."
Unlike Dinosaurs, Servers Still Rule the (Internet) World
According to CompTIA "nearly 60,000 IT professionals around the world are Server+ certified." Since this credential is not in CompTIA's "Holy Trinity" of A+, Network+, and Security+, that makes for a pretty respectable total.
That said, those three credentials sport many more cert-holders than Server+: an order of magnitude or more, in fact. What CompTIA has done with the latest version of this venerable cert — first introduced in 2001 and last updated in 2015 — is to put its content and coverage in the same contexts where most servers get used nowadays — namely in the cloud, or in a data center.
According to the press release, the latest version of the exam, SK0-005, includes some "significant changes" with "greater emphasis on" the following (bullets are quoted verbatim):
? Automation, scripting and virtualization to optimize server management.
? Managing on-premise and hybrid server environments to accommodate both enterprise and small business needs.
? Server administration and troubleshooting both on-premise and remotely.
? Cloud computing concepts as they apply to server administration and maintenance.
? Performance-based questions that require the test taker to demonstrate the knowledge and technical ability to securely deploy, administer and troubleshoot servers.
Given that the vast majority of servers in the cloud and in data centers run Linux, there's a fair amount of related concepts and content in this version of the exam. According to CBT Nuggets (2018), in fact, 90 percent of the public cloud workload runs on Linux.
Even Microsoft Azure, which one might expect to hold a distinct Windows preference, now predominantly runs Linux as server instances. As my old friend and colleague Steven J. Vaughn-Nicholls put it on ZDNet (2019), "Linux is largely what runs enterprise computing both on in-house servers and on the cloud."
What About the Old SK0-004 Exam?
As is typical for CompTIA, there's a lengthy phase-out period for the old exam, even when a new one is introduced. SK0-004 will remain available through the end of this year (Dec. 31, 2021). Because of the level of changes in content, those who've already started preparing for that exam may want to keep at it.
But CompTIA will honor exam vouchers purchased for Server+ SK0-004 to be applied to exam SK0-005, so it's really up to the test-taker to decide which version to tackle. Those pretty far down the prep road will find it less work to tackle the old exam, while those nearer the start of that path would be well-advised to switch over to SK0-005.
CompTIA SK0-005 Assets Are Available
In tandem with the new exam, CompTIA has a full suite or training and exam prep options ready for the new exam. These include its CertMaster Learn eLearning offering, which offers a customizable learning plan and scenario- and performance-based practice questions to lead learners to the materials and activities they need to understand and internalize to pass the exam.
CompTIA's CertMaster Labs offer remote access to virtual learning and practice environments with feedback, hints and tops, and periodic scored assessments. Its CertMaster Practice offers adaptive knowledge assessments, and practice exams that lead into learning and preparation materials and activities.
And finally, the Official CompTIA Server+ Study Guide (a joint project with Wiley/Sybex, for whom I've written several such tomes) is also available. No shortage of good prep materials from the official source, in my experience, also means after-market/third-party offerings won't be too far behind.
A quick jump to Amazon shows that the McGraw-Hill All-in-One for Server+ SK0-005 will be available on Aug. 6.
If you're an active or aspiring server professional, then you may want to check the new CompTIA Server+ certification out. It looks pretty robust and interesting to me. Visit the Server+ home page for more information, including cost and exam sign-up.