CompTIA A+ certification is often talked about in a high regard within the IT community. Why? A+ certification shows that the recipient has mastered the fundamentals of information technology. At the same time, many people wonder exactly where A+ certification sits in the overall progression between a professional career and someone just breaking into the industry. In short, is CompTIA A+ a good option for beginners?
Is CompTIA A+ Good for Beginners?
The CompTIA A+ certification is a good match for people who are new to IT but preparing for A+ certification does assume some pre-existing background in the subject. It’s usually best for professionals at the very beginning of their IT career to look at the CompTIA IT Fundamentals certification before pursuing the A+ certification.
The CompTIA IT Fundamentals Certification (ITF+)
The CompTIA IT Fundamentals certification is considered a pre-career certification. This is an ideal option for professionals interested in changing careers or who are just starting out in IT. It’s often seen as a way to identify the niche you will want to pursue in greater depth or ITF+ certification can help you see if you have enough interest in IT to continue within the field.
ITF+ takes you to a point that’s comparable to most people’s idea of a “power user.” You are someone with ITF+ certification and understand most of the concepts that will be covered in greater depth on the A+ certification. For example, someone with ITF+ certification will know how to set up peripherals or secure a basic wireless network, but larger-scale security concerns or troubleshooting for more advanced issues like file system compatibility won’t fall under the banner of ITF+.
In general, someone with ITF+ certification will have a basic grasp of computer security, databases, software development, software, and IT terminology. This is the point where you know the basics of these foundational concepts before working with them in a more in-depth way.
What Does CompTIA A+ Certification Cover?
CompTIA A+ certification covers similar content to ITF+. The main difference is the depth of that coverage. For example, ITF+ handles the basics of using operating systems, but A+ certification covers how to install most of the major desktop operating systems. On top of that, A+ also tests you on best practices with mobile operating systems like Android or iOS.
Networking topics coved by A+ include the basics seen in ITF+, such as setting up routers or network hubs. However, A+ goes further into the underlying network stack and touches on TCP/IP and SOHO. Likewise, it also covers how the Internet of Things (IoT) ties into operating systems and networking.
The A+ certification even goes into some of the most complex areas of computing. One of the these is cloud computing and virtualization. Virtualization creates a secondary client computer inside a primary host server. The primary host can run as many client instances as its resources allow for. This process is one of the foundations of modern web servers. Some of these techniques are also used in cloud computing.
Cloud computing creates a virtualized system where component pieces aren’t tied down to a single device. This type of virtualization allows for unlimited growth. Cloud computing techniques, like virtualization, have become one of the most important elements of the modern Internet. Both techniques are also extremely complex and illustrate the difference between ITF+ and A+. ITF+ only works with the basics of using these two technologies. While A+ verifies that you can set up virtualization and use the more complex aspects of cloud computing.
A+ also tests you on the more complex security issues associated with all of the technologies touched upon in ITF+. The ITF+ certification does look at best practice methods for most systems, but A+ takes that attention to the next level in a more in-depth manner. A+ goes into far more detail regarding why security measures are implemented in specific ways.
Why Should You Get a Certification from CompTIA?
It’s clear that both certifications cover a large amount of material. And preparing for certification involves a lot of time and effort. This leads to the question of why you should get a CompTIA certification. Again, much of the reason comes back to the amount of material covered on each certification exam.
Reputation for Complexity
The complexity of CompTIA’s exams is well known within the IT industry. So, when someone sees CompTIA certification on your exam, they’ll know in a second that you have what it takes to succeed at an IT job. It also helps employers sort through candidates that to find the ones that best meet the requirements of a given project.
For example, someone with A+ certification will know how to set up and configure a server’s operating system. They will also be able to handle the basic security measures. If the server needed further hardening, then someone with Security+ certification could handle that aspect of the project.
There’s an element of self-confidence that comes from passing CompTIA certification. It’s common for people to second-guess their skills. Professionals often wonder if they really know what they should. Or someone might wonder if their coworkers see value in their work. However, you are more confident when you’ve completed a challenging certification process. You’ve proven your aptitude and come away from the exam with the confidence you’ve rightfully earned.
This communicative aspect applies to coworkers as well. When you’ve taken a certification exam you remember exactly how difficult the test was and what subjects were covered within it. So, you know coworkers with that same certification have mastered all the material covered within it as well.
The CompTIA certification isn’t just about proving your skills to potential employers or coworkers. The certification process also helps to prove something to you as well. When you pass a CompTIA certification you know that you’ve succeeded in one of the most challenging tests the IT world has to offer. That kind of confidence is something that you often spend years on the job searching for. Bringing that with you on your first day at a new workplace is an invaluable tool.
Proof of Commitment
CompTIA certification also proves that you have what it takes to tackle a difficult project and complete it successfully. The difficulty in earning CompTIA certification is well known within the industry. Likewise, it’s understood that anyone that has earned it is willing to work hard to achieve a goal. That’s something every company is looking for in an employee.
How to Prepare for the A+ Certification Exam
There’s a lot to gain from A+ certification, but it’s equally clear that you need to really know the material to pass the certification exam. This naturally leads to one important question. What’s the best way to prepare for the A+ certification exam?
It’s natural to assume that the study period before the exam would be a comparatively long process, but the ideal solution to A+ preparation uses an efficient method to prepare you as quickly and efficiently as possible. And that method is an exam prep course.
The Benefits of an Exam Prep Course
There are many reasons why exam prep courses are a good way to study for A+ certification. One of the biggest benefits is the size of the curriculum. The A+ certification covers a wide variety of subjects. This makes it incredibly difficult to prepare for it on your own, but an exam prep course covers the main topics related to the subject matter. The experienced faculty are familiar with the A+ exam and CompTIA in general. This allows them to know exactly what subjects to cover and in just the right depth.
Industry Experienced Faculty
The faculty’s background also helps ensure you fully understand the material. IT is a profession where multiple processes are running concurrently. It’s not enough to simply know how a system works, but it takes real-world experience to know how to work with the system. Properly prioritizing matters, understanding which systems need extra care, and many other issues come with experience. However, experienced faculty can pass that knowledge on to you. And that’s exactly what a prep course can provide. This ensures you don’t just understand the subject on an academic level. You are prepared to enter an IT career with full confidence that your academic skills can translate to real-world scenarios.
A Confidence Boost
That confidence also carries on to the exam itself. After taking a prep course you know that you are ready for the exam. This is partially due to confidence in your new skill set. It’s also because you will have already taken a practice exam before the real test day. Practice exams are an important part of the process of working through a prep course.
Practice exams cover the same material as the real A+ exam. The main difference is that there’s no negative impact if you fail the practice test. It’s simply a learning experience that can better prepare you for test day and you will know which subjects to spend extra time on before the exam. By the time you take the real A+ exam, you will have already passed the practice test. All of this ensures that you have completed a prep course and can take the A+ certification with full confidence that you will succeed.
Want to Learn More?
Under this Information Technology training program, you will learn Network Administration and how to build, troubleshoot and maintain computer systems. You will also learn to build networks to specifications using Cisco routers and switches. The Information Technology Support Professional program at Peloton College will prepare you to sit for the following certifications: including CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, CCNA, CWNA and ITIL foundation certifications.
The mission of Peloton College is to be the premier provider of hands-on training and education by providing you with the necessary skills to secure occupational careers. Contact us today to learn more.