Will a A+ Certification Really Help you Get a Better Job?

Certification: CompTIA CompTIA A+ - CompTIA A+

The A+ (A plus) certification is an IT certification sponsored by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). It certifies the knowledge of installing, maintaining, customizing and operating PC´s for computer professionals. The certificate covers situational, traditional and identification questions, and can be taken by anyone, regardless if they have a degree or not, although it´s intended for people who have had at least six months of hands-on experience as computer technicians.

In order to receive the CompTIA A+ certification, you must pass two exams:

CompTIA A+ 220-801 covers the fundamentals of computer technology, installation and configuration of PCs, laptops and related hardware as basic networking. It has a passing score of 675 on a 900 scale.

CompTIA A+ 220-802 covers the skills required to install and configure PC operating systems, as well as configuring common features (e.g. Network connectivity and email) for mobile operating systems like Android and Apple iOS. It has a passing score of 700 on a scale of 900.

The complete test has a maximum of 90 questions and a90 minutes time limit. CompTIA A+ certifications issued in 2011 or later are valid for three years. You can keep your certification current through the Continuing Education Program or take he test every three years.

The test has a $188 USD fee in the U. S. Fees can vary in other countries, but for most of them the $188 USD fee remains. CompTIA´s website has a list of the cost of the test in different countries, specifying the price and currency.

Credibility and advantages of getting A+ certification

925,000, almost a million, have gotten the A+ certification for the past 20 years. In order to understand why so many people choose to get this certification, we must see its credibility and the opportunities it gives finding a job.

The American Standards Institute, an institution recognized as one of the highest standards for the certification of personnel, accredits the A+ certification. It’s also in line with ISO/IEC 17024, an international standard for the development and maintenance of certifications, so it has recognition worldwide.

Since the test it´s modified every two years since 2011, it´s constantly updated to keep up with the advancements of technology and the A+ certification is the most recognized vendor neutral certification, which means it covers technology from different companies.

The number of job openings for IT professionals in the United States alone it´s over 500,000. And the expected job growth of computer support specialist it´s about 13%. By 2016 it´s expected that 155,000 computer support specialist and system administrators will be needed in the United States.Add to this number the 146,000 computer system analysts and 140,000 network system and data communication analysts that will be needed for that date.

The A+ certification from CompTIA can help someone interested in the IT field to land one of this jobs. For many companies, the certification is recommended or even a prerequisite. For example, The 8570.01 Directive of the U. S. Department of Defense uses A+ certification as a baseline for its personal involved in Information Assurance Technical Level 1.New York´s ASI Systems Integration demands as prerequisite A+ certification and CompTIA Network+ certification for its applicants. That is because it reduces the needed time for the preparation of technicians, from six months to 90 days or less. Dell requires the A+ certification when it comes to hiring service technicians and they give incentives to get the certification to its support personnel. It´s also a requisite for Lenovo, that asks CompTIA A+ certification for its authorized service technicians.According to the CompTIA´s website, out of 24 companies listed, 20 require or recommend A+ certification for its technician applicants and IBM has made it mandatory for their service technicians to get the A+ certification.

The cons of the A+ certification

Only 31% of the people that have the certification claim that it helped them improve their opportunities for advancement in the IT field, that´s less than half

According to many forums related to the computer professional and the IT field, the A+ certification is not worth the time and money you have to spend in order to pass the test. Some claim that in this field the importance lies not in your ability to pass a multiple option test, but rather in your skills and experience working with computers. According to www.certification.about.com, many people think that “techies”, that is people within the computer world, are interested in knowledge and experience and not in a certificate.

In many forums related to the field, many people claim that the material only covers the basics for maintaining hardware, but nothing more advanced, and that if your career options include working with computers to a higher level, then the materials and the test won´t be of much help.

Another problem that the critics of A+ certification mention it´s that; while certification helps, and it´s even required by some companies, it´s not a substitute for experience, so if you apply for a job and you only have the certificate, you still won´t get the job, so many claim that it´s better spent the time and many acquiring job experience rather than taking a test.

Who should take the test?

www.certification.about.com says that if your goal is to help desktop PC users to solve their problems, then A+ certification should be considered, because it´s precisely what the test it´s preparing you for. The kind of situation that the test prepares you for are related to everyday common problems that people have with their computers and equipment, installing a new device, repairing hardware, troubleshooting, and installing, are the kind of problems that anyone who isn´t computer savvy deals in their daily problems, and the A+ certification prepares you for that kind of situations.


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