Certifications / CompTIA

Is CompTIA A+ still a relevant certification?

by Michael Hess
Is CompTIA A+ still a relevant certification? picture: A
Published on January 28, 2016

It's interesting to see the back and forth in forums about the relevance of the CompTIA A+ cert. Some people seem to think you'll be troubleshooting printers the rest of your career if you merely attain an A+. Other people say the A+ cert was just the thing they needed to get a foot in the door.

Even our trainers had varied opinions about whether newcomers to IT should start with this certification. (Notably, though, all the trainers said it was absolutely still relevant.)

It comes down to this: You'll get out of the test what you want, and you should find the certifications relevant to your career goals.

 This is an entry-level certification.

The CompTIA A+ certification tests you on basic hardware installation, configuring, and troubleshooting. The most recent version, the 900 series, also addresses basic security and cloud operations. Emphasis on basic.

If you already have an IT resume built, then, no, it might not be relevant to you. You should probably look into exams that coincide with your level of experience, such as CompTIA Network+, Security+, CCNA/CCNP, and beyond.

For an inexperienced IT professional who knows their way around a computer and just needs to prove it, A+ picks up where your resume bullets fall short. The goal is to get hired, and many companies use certification as the baseline metric.

If you've never dug around in a computer and want to break into IT, then the certification is definitely relevant. No matter what, you'll be working with hardware.

The 900-series also goes into virtualization, storage, security, and the basics of networking. You'll need to master these topics no matter what career path you choose (or have already chosen).

Anthony Sequeira makes an ironclad case for A+ right here, and actually argues that A+ isn't as basic as it appears to be.

It doesn't just look good on your resume.

But it does look good on your resume.

Certifications benchmark your knowledge and skills against an industry standard. Even if the actual job description says "A+ or relevant experience," then it's often easier to get the real thing. Save yourself having to justify basic skill sets. Employers can easily weed out candidates with a minimum standard — the certification.

As long as certifications benchmark career progression, influence hiring decisions, and boost your market value, then there's your relevance right there. There's nothing more relevant than getting hired or earning more money.


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