I'm currently a high school student about to go in for my last year, and once that's over, I'm off to college. I don't know what exactly I'm going to major in; there is a low chance it will even be something related to computers. I want A+ Certification mainly because I'm planning on getting a job in college, and I think I'm fairly knowledgeable with computers, and want to put that to use in my job search. However I have no experience - that is to say, I don't have anything to put on a resume. I doubt writing "I built a few computers over the years" will be as good as a certification of some sort on a resume. Do you think an A+ Certification is worth the time? I'm not expecting a high paying full time position, I just want a part time entry level job with computers so I can earn a few bucks. And again, I don't plan on going all the way forward with this.
Bonus question: I know there are people out there with good positions in the IT industry who have no certifications, or a college degree, or in some cases, neither. I'd like to know, if you are one of these people, how did you get your foot in the door?
A+ Certification Teaches you everything you need to know about PC's to get your foot in the Door. it covers many Operating Systems 2000/XP/Vista troubleshooting and a numerous amounts of fixing tech issues to security tips and networking knowledge. The test has gotten somewhat harder but for someone knew I think you can pass by reading the comptia books from there site or watching those training DVD's. What I would do is get a certification from Microsoft also covering the OS too would help.
First, the A+ is crap because it's handed out like candy. That being said, this is why the A+ is good:
Many computer repair shops that do work for other consumers will require their techs to be certified to do repair. This helps with liability. Passing a multiple choice test doesn't prove you really know how to work on computers; It is just a comfort level and saying you understand the process.
If you work for a consultant, a computer repair shop, etc, anyone that you don't work on their own systems, a certification is generally required. By employing people with certifications the company will also gain recognition through providers.
Ok, so you can go out an get A+ certified that you know a little something about computers. Then you can go out and get HP Certified... meaning you're now certified to work on HP Computer Hardware. It's basically the same, right? Yeah, kinda.
Certifications have gone from being just that to more of a business revenue stream.
I have my Network+ certification. That's it. I've not attempted any other certifications. I've taken training on MCSE from NT to 2003. I've dabbled in the CCNA, Security+, and a few others.
I'm an engineer at a fortune 500 company today. I have 10 years work experience.
How did I get started? I was lucky. I was out and about applying for jobs. I had been working in the college labs when I was 18 which required no certifications - you're there to learn. After about a year of working there I got a call to interview for a position on the helpdesk/break/fix.
I had no certs, nothing but a little work experience. My interviewer was the CIS department head and was technical. He asked me questions, I gave him answers. This went on for 45 minutes. The key to getting hired as I later found out: I was asked if I had a home network running - yeah, I had a few computers, a makeshift server, a router and switch in place. Right there I already knew enough to get the job done. I was hired. I was told that had I not had a home network, I wouldn't have been hired.
2 and 1/2 years at that job, I moved up quickly. I learned more about managed networking, client side work, and domain management. I moved on to an analyst position, also not requiring certs. With the new found position and only being 23, I decided to take the Net+ exam. Studied, passed the test.. big whoop. 5 years on that job, I moved on to my current position. Again, no certs required.
The catch is this: If you know what you're doing, someone is going to hire you. Certs are really out there so a consultant company can say they have certified people working for them and they're qualified (not capable) to do the job.
While in my job searching I came across a consultant company that wanted to hire me. The demand was to get as many certs as possible. CCNA and Win2k8 server within 1 year. I wouldn't know crap about either of them in that time; little hands on experience. Didn't matter, if I was certified I was good.
Here is the last catch: The A+ and Net+ are good for starters. After that most certs are designed that you need real work experience before you can really start passing them. Not saying you can't pass them, but since I've been interviewing people for positions, it is easy to pick out people with certs who don't know real world experiences from the people without certs but who understand the real world.
I have no certs, I'm employed. I know plenty of people with certs and that are unemployed.
You don't want to go that far with it, get your A+ and Net+ if you can. That'll get you about $10-$11 an hour at a mom and pop shop or employed at a Best Buy style computer place. Get your MCP (1 cert on a Microsoft product) and you can start making more money working for someone like Dell-Perot.
Opportunity is out there if you get the certs. I dislike taking the tests because of the time consumption and that fact that on a lot of the exams only 30% of the material is used in the real world in 95% of the companies. For example, who really uses a Windows Server for routing?
Most of your knowledge will be hands on and learned doing the job. You won't cover in the A+ how to reset a Phoenix a BIOS using only the keyboard. You'll be taught to use a static hand strap which makes me laugh today. The old school way was to always keep your hand touching something metallic in the case until you remove the part. Either way works, but again it's liability. A+ means you know you should always have that strap on your wrist.
Smoke and mirrors
xxx certificate would instill comfort for a client hiring you in my opinion
but theres no substitute for hands on knowledge, I can operate a car perfectly well, but without a government issued license, technically, I 'cant drive'
I'm in the process of setting up a sideline pc based business and assumed that some qualification would benefit me, not from what I would learn from it but something shiny for the customer to gain reassurance from,
' He has xxx certificate, he must know what hes doing with my £800 computer'
so although I will look out for what qualifications I can get cheaply or free, the real knowledge I will be gaining will be in peoples businesses and homes opening up their computer
I know they see you put on a static wristband and think ' aah, professional'
I wouldn't be surprised to see that certification has the same effect.