CompTia A+ Certification: Is it Worth It?

CompTia A+ Certification: Is it Worth It?

Posted 07.30.2012 in Articles by Neil-Denny

Many IT professionals contend that CompTia A+ Certification is a necessity when it comes to starting a career in the industry. With over 800,000 certified, the A+ exam has become the standard for computer competency for companies worldwide. Of course, certification doesn't come free, and the cost of taking and studying for the exam has discouraged other IT hopefuls. Here is a look at CompTia A+ Certification and whether it is worth your time and money in starting a career in the IT industry.

What is A+ Certification? Comptia A+ is a vendor-neutral certification meant to be equivalent to 500 hours of field experience as a computer technician. The A+ Certification Exam measures competency as an entry-level IT professional in the areas of Hardware, Troubleshooting & Repair, Operating System & Software, Networking, Security, and Operational Procedure. 

A quick review of the A+ exam will help you be better prepared. The Computer Hardware section requires identification and explanation of computer components. In the area of Troubleshooting, test-takers will be provided with a scenario for repairing operating system or hardware. Your task will be to identify the problem and establish plan of action to address the situation. To measure your knowledge of Operating Systems, you will be asked to compare and contrast operating systems, and demonstrate familiarity with each unique interface. In the Network/Security section you will be expected to explain basic security concepts such as encryption, software firewall, data wiping, and summarize security features including wireless encryption and malicious software protection. The final section, Operational Procedure, assesses your preparedness for working professionally in an IT department. It measures your knowledge of safety and environmental procedures, as well as your level of professionalism in the workplace.

The A+ Certification is broken up into two parts, the Essentials Exam and Practical Applications Exam. At $178 for each exam, certification will cost you a total of $356. It is also recommended that you spend a little extra for study material, which can be found on Amazon for $40. For certificates acquired after December 21, 2010, you are also required to pay a renewal fee every three years if you want to continue holding official A+ Certification.

With all the certification fees, it begs the question: is it worth it? If only to get your IT career started, Comptia A+ Certification is absolutely worth it. At the very least, having Comptia A+ Certification on your resume shows you are taking this career path seriously. A+ Certification also comes as a requirement for many major companies if you're looking for work as a service technician, including Dell, Intel, Lenovo, and Ricoh. A+ Certification is also accepted as college credit at some colleges, so you can save yourself some money on tuition fees. Most importantly, the knowledge you receive studying for the exam will prove useful in the long run.

The downside is, A+ Certification won't be enough to further your career. With so many job-seekers with A+ certification, your resume may not exactly stand out with A+ certification alone. Although the certificate is meant to be equivalent to 500 hours of work experience, employers will still be expecting real hands-on application of your knowledge base.

In short, the A+ is a route you are highly recommended to take if you're looking to get a good start with a career in IT. The reality of the situation is that if you want to continue climbing the ladder, your certification needs to be coupled with a degree in the field and/or other certifications like CompTia Network+ or Security+ or vendor specific certification like Microsoft's MCSE. Considering the unstable job climate, any edge over the competition helps, and A+ Certification may just be the ticket.


 

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tendo85
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Re: CompTia A+ Certification: Is it Worth It?
Reply #1 on : Tue October 16, 2012, 07:44:34
I say CompTia is important. Sure lots of people have it but its for a reason. Not just about making your resume look good but also keys you in on the real world skills you need to make it in the industry. Excellent supplement to the degree. They make you pay a renewal fee but again i think the skills you get from preparing for the exams are worth more than the paper itself.

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