Career / Career Progression

Everything You Need to Know About CompTIA A+

by Raju Woodward
Everything You Need to Know About CompTIA A+ picture: A
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Published on February 6, 2017

Everyone has to start somewhere. And when it comes to IT, CompTIA's A+ certification is the ideal starting point, especially if you're brand spankin' new to IT. Think about it: if you want to pursue an IT career, you need to understand the basics of computers and networking first. So, let's take a look a look at the A+ certification at its core.

The Nitty Gritty of A+

As you probably figured out by now, CompTIA A+ is an entry-level certification. Because all CompTIA exams are vendor neutral, the material that A+ covers can be applied universally. What that means is whether you ultimately end up working with Microsoft or Cisco technologies, you should first have the foundational knowledge needed to learn vendor-specific products.

In fact, many vendors strongly recommend that learners earn their A+ certification before embarking on their more advanced certification paths. Those vendors include powerhouses like Cisco and Microsoft. A+ really is a safe bet if you are wondering where to start your certification journey.

And while you'll see CompTIA A+ certification most often associated with entry-level technician and support positions, don't let that stop you from using A+ as a springboard into a bonafide IT career such as a networking engineer or sysadmin. Remember, a strong foundation is essential, whether it's your career, a LEGO set, or a house of cards.

A+ Exam Breakdown

Before we go any further, CompTIA gave the A+ exam a sweet makeover not that long ago (December 15, 2015, for all you stickler-to-detail types). Technology evolves at a dizzying pace. Seriously, think how many times you've geeked out about having the latest and hottest tech. Only to dismayed when a few months later, an updated, shinier version hits the market? It's all about keeping up.

With that in mind, IT pros are pushed to stay on top of industry trends and keep their skills current. To assist them, vendors regularly revise and update their certifications to account for changing trends and new tech. In the case of A+, it was updated to emphasize topics that are more relevant in today's workplace, such as security and Linux.

Here are several helpful A+ exam basics:

  • There are no prerequisites for the A+ certification.

  • You must pass two exams, CompTIA A+ 220-901 and CompTIA A+ 220-902 to earn A+ certification.

  • The A+ exam consists of no more than 90 multiple-choice questions that you have to complete in 90 minutes.

Take a deep dive into the A+ certification if you're already thinking this certification is for you, or if you're just curious about what the exam really entails.

Don't Let A+ Naysayers Get You Down

While we can't say enough about the benefits of A+ certification, we'd be remiss if we didn't at least warn you: There's quite a bit of debate about the value of the cert. In fact, we won't sugarcoat things, it's arguably a timeless debate in IT circles.

Most commonly, the context of the debate centers on whether IT rookies should start off getting A+ or CompTIA' Network+ certification. Even our rock star trainers have strong opinions on the question.

And with perfect timing, trainer Anthony Sequeira is ready to make his case for A+! There's still time to sign up for his free webinar.

So what should you do? Do your research, find the answer that's right for you, and make an informed decision.

Bottom line: If you're starting from square one when it comes to tech and IT, you should strongly consider studying for and earning your A+ certification. It's really a no-brainer. However, if you already have some background in IT, certifying in A+ might not be the best fit. Either way, you can never have enough knowledge and it's always good to be prepared.


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