When it comes to getting you an entry level position in IT, the certification of choice is theA+ Certification by the Computing Technology Industry’s Association – CompTIA. Can you get a job with just that certification? Yes, the CompTIA A+ has a good track record of launching IT careers. You get started in basic computer and device troubleshooting and maintenance. Now, to get a job like that with just the certification in hand, you will need to also demonstrate strong skills in communication, professionalism, and aneagerness to learn.
The A+ certification was first launched in 1993 and is the leading IT certification track worldwide. It is one of the very rare IT certifications that requires no prerequisite.
The CompTIA A+ has been the leading entry-level IT certification for going on three decades now. In fact,it is the only one ever to reach one million certificates. This gives the A+ certification a lot of credibility and establishes it as a very well-known track in the industry. It also helps that many employers require their support technicians to be A+ certified in order to even be considered for employment.
The main reason that the CompTIA A+ is successful at helping you in obtaining an entry level position in IT is that it separates you,in a positive way, from many other entry-level applicants.
What are the A+ certification requirements?
To become A+ certified you have to pass two exams. One focuses more on hardware support the other one more on software. Each exam is 90 minutes long and each of them will present no more than 90 questions (typically more like 84 – 86 questions). The main type of questions at the exam are multiple choice, drag and drop, and Performance Based Questions – PBQ. The PBQ, rather than testing your knowledge, requires you to perform a task and grades you on that. The passing score is 700 out of 900 which works out to about 85%.
The content areas of the A+ exams include but are not limited to below list.
Operating Systems – Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, and more
Networking and TCP/IP
This list gives you a sense of the breadth of this certification and that it should not be underestimated. It will require a fair amount of work. Although entry-level,it’s no walk in the park which in great part is why it enjoys such a high degree of credibility in the industry.
How to prepare for the A+ exam
The first and most important step is to download the official CompTIA A+ Exam Objectives. That document will list all the items CompTIA reserves the right to ask questions about on the A+ exams. Study it carefully and research any areas you feel weak on. You will need some study reference(s) in addition to internet searches.
There are several online (and off-line) A+ study guides available on the internet, some free others not. Additionally, there are several resources for A+ practice testsonline that you can look up. For a premium you can buy the CertBlaster premium examsimulators.
One word of caution here: Avoid “brain dumps”! A “brain dump” is what we call it when a person that tookthe exam posts the test questions, often with the answers. While this might sound good, be very careful. In addition to being illegal and unethical, you have no idea if you’re getting the correct answers or questions. We are talking about someone that may not know no more than you do. There’s no verification. You could be memorizing wrong answers or just getting tricked entirely. Some sites will claim this what they are doing but out of ease just post content they believe may beuseful. You can’t trust people that engage in this kind of illegality to be ethical towards just you…
There is no substitute for learning the right way and gaining a proper and solid understanding of the issues. After all you want more than just a successful test, you want to succeed on the job as well.