Beyond A+

Concerning the A+ Certification:

1) Is the test easy?

-I do want to pass it,( as opposed to look lie a foll when I do not,) but there is a level where it may be too easy that concerns me as well.

2) What are the Benefits of A+?

3) What can I do with an A+ Certificate?

4) What other Certifications do you recommend after achieving the A+ Certificate?
13 answers Last reply
More about beyond
  1. 1.) It was in 2003, but they changed the test shortly after that, updating to more pertinent and current technologies.

    2.) Not much, but it does show a fundamental understanding of desktop computing and basic Windows operating system administration and maintenance.

    3.) You can go get more certs that are more specific; i.e. Linux+, Security+, Network+ on the CompTIA side. You can be a basic hardware tech at most of your retail electronics dealers; Fry's, Best Buy: Dork Squad, FireDog, Staples (DO NOT WORK FOR THEM), etc.

    4.) What are you interested in?
    If you are interested in Web technologies I would look at working towards a degree in programming.
    If you are interested in network design, architecture, planning and administration, I'd look at Net+ and then work towards Cisco certification; CCNA, CCMP, CCIE.
    If you are interested in basic security practices, ideas and management, I'd take Security+ and then work on learning the in's and out's of specific security techologies (SSL, MD5 (old now), etc.)
    If you are interested in Linux or are already an experienced user, Linux+ is the paper to show that.
    If you are interested in Windows administration then there is a huge line of certs available. I'd start with the Help Desk courses and then move towards an MCSA/E depending on how indepth you want to go.
    If you are interested in specific technologies, like Virtualization, Citirx, etc., then you could get manufacturer specific certs for your specific choice.

    The world of IT is endless, and most folks trying to get into the industry don't have a concrete path to walk down; I know I didn't. I ended up getting a degree in programming and then focusing on Windows administration and TCP/IP networking. Now I'm a 'Network Systems Engineer' which at my company translates to 'fixes any techonlogy with a screen' to our end users and 'fixes whatever needs to be fixed' to my IT management. But we run on a skeleton crew, so we all wear multiple hats.
  2. What about Server+?
  3. Server+, AFAIK, focuses more on server based technologies and you would also benefit from having another cert under your belt. Not sure how strong it's going to look on a resume with just an A+ and very limited work experience. I've found work experience can greatly outweigh certifications by demonstrating working in real world scenarios.
  4. How can you get work experience then? If no one has experience, how can they get in?
  5. dogman_1234 said:
    How can you get work experience then? If no one has experience, how can they get in?

    I'm not saying it's impossible to get in, I'm saying that in the long run having work experience is going to be more beneficial. With the A+ you are on the right path and should open some doors, but after you get in, wherever you are, I'd continue focusing on certs if you do not have any type of college degree.

    I've been looking for this site for about the last half hour and finally found it: BrainDumps

    Here is the CompTIA sections specifically.
  6. What does IT work look like?

    Is the work hard, or simple.

    What would be the main complaint/trouble on units that customers experience.

    Even if I have an A+, I do not know everything...or possibly remember. Will the job train me and show me what do do?
  7. What does IT look like?
    It depends on where in the IT spectrum you are located. If you are trying to go for an entry level position then the job is going to be taking care of basic tasks and problems that end users encounter. This will include phone support, remote access and administration to the users desktop environment, and talking through or demonstrating a solution for the end user. Other tasks can include manual tasks like changing backup tapes, monitoring performance issues for errors/alerts, doing manual IT labor like data/telephone cable drops (ethernet/PBX), setting up of hardware, software installs and updates, building computers/servers, etc. Generally speaking a lot of corporate offices (major banks or businesses with thousands of employees) contract out a lot of the manual labor and simple high-volume stuff (like relocating a department/branch location/office to another); this is what I did a lot of before I was placed at a specific bank by a reputable contract company.

    Is IT work hard or simple?
    IT work is generally brain intensive, so depending on the difficulty of the task is partially dependent on the critical thinking and troubleshooting skills of the person attempting the task. For instance, on one of the contract jobs I did years ago we were hired in (about 40 techs) to facilitate a software upgrade over roughly 400 PCs. Being one of my first contract jobs I listened intently early off, but found that I knew more than most of the techs around me. I was answering questions for people who had more certifications than myself, but had little actual applied knowledge of the topics. I found my communication skills and ability to instruct people on what to do and where to go were just as beneficial as knowing what I was doing on the technical side. This is one of those caveats of contracting I had mentioned earlier, with work experience being very important and sometimes more important that the certifications one holds. Bottom line; it's all about how you can apply the knowledge you have to the task.

    What would the main complaint and/or trouble on units that customers experience?
    One of the first things to remember about IT is that your customers work for the same company you do. Your coworkers; accounting, production, executive staff, IT, programming, operations, etc. departments of your company are the people you are going to be taking care of. Communication is generally the biggest issue to come up as some people can communicate great, and in turn can communicate their problems great, while others will be extremely vague and uncaring, wanting only for their problem to be fixed, you to leave them alone and them to be back working again. As for the technical problems they are generally dealing with a piece of failed hardware, software problems or out of date versions, equipment replacements and basic troubleshooting of devices.

    Will the job train me and show me what to do?

    No and yes.

    No: There is a level of expertise that you should (I want to put must) have in order to facilitate your own success within IT and that expertise is on basic desktop computing. The A+ will affirm an understanding over the raw basics, but knowing how to use and understand what all the features are and how they function on a desktop PC is a must. You are not going to run into a lot of advanced technologies (RAID, specialty PCI devices, hardware etc.) on an average end users PC, but you may encounter those type of things on other peoples PCs within the programming, IT, web and technology focused departments. You will have to know and understand these technologies as you move into the server realm.

    Yes: When it comes to specific training on enterprise level software and hardware(Symantec, McAfee, VMWare, Cisco, Citrix, IBM, HP, Avaya, Linux OS's, etc.) there is generally some introduction and overview into their functionality as well as possible courses that the company will provide on maintenance and administration, but it's never a sure thing. Sometimes the larger system appliances (SANs, Blade Servers, Blade Switches, IP Phone Routing Backbones and Appliances, etc.) are handled under service contract and the most you need to do is pick up a phone can call a support person to handle the troubleshooting. On the job training is something that is not like going to a classroom and reading a book; it's much more looking over a superior's shoulder and taking notes, asking questions of programmers and those that understand a company's data flow, Googling until you find a solution, and immersing yourself in the technologies that your company employs to better understand a computer/appliance's function and purpose.
  8. Let me speak hypothetically:

    Say I do pass the A+. I get an entry job with the local tech shop. A customer comes in with a problem, let me say...system is not registering s specific software configuration. They may speculate a virus as well. The boss hands off the unit to me, and expects me to figure out what the issue is. Problem: I do not know what the do.

    Is this my fault, or the circumstances just not ideal for me?
  9. This is your first test of self sufficiency. Even now you could probably figure out what the issue is.

    That gray matter between your ears is the most useful tool you'll ever encounter. This is one of those things that if you don't know how to fix an issue, look it up or ask a question. Tom's Hardware's forum is a perfect example of people fixing their own problems, and I'm willing to bet there are peeps on here that do exactly what you are speculating at doing for a living.

    Experts Exchange is another site, but more for enterprise level professionals - Our company has an account to look up problems on there.

    Remember, there is no one person that is going to have the answer to everything, so the more you can find out on your own, the stronger you'll be!
  10. So, even if I am hired, but I do not know what to do for this specific issue...the boss or anyone there would not see me as incompetent?
  11. Dogman, I can't answer that, the only thing I can tell you is be prepared. Also, if the boss didn't think you could do something, why would he hire you?
  12. CompTIA A+ certification validates foundation-level knowledge and skills necessary for a career in PC support.

    It is the starting point for a career. The international, vendor-neutral certification proves competence in areas such as installation, preventative maintenance, networking, security and troubleshooting.

    You can take the CompTIA A+ exams, such as 220-701, 220-702, BR0-003, JK0-701 exam and so on. They are all popular for you to take in recently.
  13. I think many people after taking the A+ usually go for the Network + if that is the field they are going for. If you are going to build computer than A+ is worth a lot, and I know were I live a lot of employers will not hire you unless you have a associates degree a A+ and some former experience. After networking I would look into Cisco and Microsoft certifications.
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