What is the CompTIA A+ Certification? Put simply, the credential validates your entry-level knowledge of information technology. Becoming CompTIA A+ certified is a great way to kickstart a career in the industry or advance your existing position.
The exam itself revolves around nine core areas. These include hardware, operating systems, software troubleshooting, networking hardware, network troubleshooting, security, mobile devices, virtualization, cloud computing, and operational procedures.
Of all the available CompTIA certifications, CompTIA A+ is considered among the most valuable. It communicates a basic academic understanding of the IT field and provides an excellent foundation for other certificates awarded by the CompTIA association.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the details.
What is CompTIA A+?
CompTIA A+ is one of the many IT certificates awarded by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). As an internationally recognized non-profit trade association, they remain the industry-standard IT certificate provider. It’s not uncommon for employers across industries to look for certified candidates when filling open positions.
CompTIA A+ is an Entry-Level Certificate
The CompTIA A+ certificate can be viewed as the foundation certificate to all of the other CompTIA certificates. It covers a broad range of topics and introduces many key concepts that appear in other certifications.
It can even be used as a competency test, both for yourself and potential employers, a way to gauge what your IT strengths and weaknesses are. Depending on the areas you perform well in, it could also be a great way to determine which IT support niche you should pursue.
CompTIA A+ is Constantly Updated
The CompTIA A+ is designed by industry experts and is regularly updated to reflect developments in the fast-evolving IT industry. The CompTIA A+ exam is different every year to better prepare applicants for the current workplace.
CompTIA A+ Covers a Broad Range of Topics
A CompTIA A+ exam covers a range of subjects, including basic networking and operating systems knowledge, baseline security topics, deploying network storage resources, data storage, virtual system administration, recovery methods, software development, and software installation.
Attaining a CompTIA A+ certificate proves that you possess the following skills:
- The ability to install cybersecurity measures to operating systems
- The ability to install and maintain basic operating systems (this includes the likes of Android and Windows Mobile, Apple OS X, iOS, Linux, and Windows)
- PC repair skills
- Network troubleshooting skills
If you’re hoping to land a job in IT, becoming CompTIA A+ certified is a great way to demonstrate that you are ready and qualified.
Who Should Take the CompTIA A+ Exam?
Anyone who wants to break into information technology, along with individuals hoping to advance in the field, should think about sitting for the CompTIA A+ exam. While job applications may ask for other credentials or existing experience, the CompTIA A+ certificate can still help you stand out from the competition.
While the CompTIA A+ certificate can serve individuals involved in all areas of IT, certain positions rely on the credential more than others. Check out the list below to learn more about what kinds of jobs can benefit most.
Help Desk Technician
The CompTIA A+ Certification makes a lot of sense for a help desk technician, seeing as their job relies on a rudimentary understanding of security systems and the ability to troubleshoot network errors.
Help desk technicians must remain available to resolve any tech issues their client or company may experience. Whether working onsite or remotely, a help desk technician will need to run tests, diagnose problems, restore networks, and make changes to stop the problem from occurring again.
A computer technician must also apply problem-solving skills to software and hardware and effectively communicate the issue to co-workers.
IT Support Specialist
All IT support specialists need to sit a CompTIA A+ exam to learn basic troubleshooting, security, and operational procedures.
IT support specialists maintain all software, computer hardware, and systems, solve problems as they occur, and regularly run tests to avoid problems from occurring. They must be present when errors take place and work to improve existing systems.
To do so, they have to run regular tests on network systems, identify weak spots, and work to resolve them.
The technical support specialist will probably also be asked to teach colleagues how to use specific hardware and software and what to do when problems occur.
Field Service Technician
Passing the CompTIA A+ Exam demonstrates that certificate holders are “proven problem solvers,” so it’s no surprise that field service technicians benefit from this credential. After all, their primary responsibilities revolve around installing hardware and performing repairs when required.
Field service technicians are also often on the move, installing new technologies, teaching colleagues how to use hardware, and responding to calls of faulty systems.
Passing the CompTIA A+ exam is a great way to prepare for future certifications you may need later in your career, including CompTIA Security+. Anyone working in a security role will likely need this credential to advance.
Cybersecurity managers are often tasked to perform regular penetration testing to identify weaknesses in network systems to prevent cyberattacks. They will also oversee the implementation of security systems and the improvement of security procedures within a company.
Computer Network Architect
Tasked with constructing and maintaining network infrastructures, associate network engineers must constantly analyze and identify areas where improvements can be made.
As one of the most analytical roles in IT, network engineers are responsible for tracking all network events, unearthing potential improvements, and communicating new implementation methods to their respective teams.
How Much Can I Make with CompTIA A+ Certification?
As available IT jobs continue to rise, so do their associated wages. Because the CompTIA A+ certificate is so often used to break into the industry, it can be credited with helping individuals achieve their desired salaries.
Listed below are a number of positions often associated with the CompTIA A+ certification and their respective wages. All information has been sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
What’s On the CompTIA A+ Exam?
The CompTIA A+ Certification Exam covers nine different objectives, which appear throughout its two exams. It’s one of the most varied certificate examinations offered by the organization.
The CompTIA A+ 220-901
Test takers must identify hardware, including network cables, multipurpose cables, video cables, peripheral cables, and adapters. You will also be asked to identify different connector types. Performance-based questions also cover which RAM to install for specific situations.
Virtualization and Cloud Computing
This portion of the exam includes performance-based challenges to do with configuring virtualization. Test takers must also answer multiple-choice questions regarding cloud computing concepts.
Hardware and Network Troubleshooting
The exam will present faulty operating systems, and participants will have to troubleshoot and identify hardware and network issues accordingly.
Knowledge will be tested on installing, maintaining, and correcting any issues with mobile devices such as laptops.
The examinee will need to compare and contrast UDP and TCP ports, network hardware devices, and wireless network controls. Networking tools and network configuration concepts will also appear in the exam.
The CompTIA A+ 220-902
Examinees will have to identify differences among operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, and Linux versions and tools.
This section will cover security measures and the importance of expanded security. Test takers will also have to compare security networks and determine which would operate best during different events.
Examinees will have to determine the best means of troubleshooting Microsoft Windows OS, mobile OS, and security issues. Malware removal will also be introduced.
Examinees will have to determine the best procedures to use during different scenarios. Potential solutions include documentation, change management best practices, remote access technologies, disaster protection and recovery methods, and communication techniques.
What Other CompTIA Certifications Are There?
CompTIA offers several certificates worth pursuing after attaining the CompTIA A+ certification. If you’re hoping to land some of the more competitive jobs in information technology, you should get as CompTIA qualified as possible. Not only will this help boost your knowledge and skills in the area, but it will validate this effort to potential employers.
Become a CompTIA advanced security practitioner by attaining the CompTIA sec+ certificate. Earning this certificate verifies that you can implement and organize security networks for companies and clients.
The credential also proves you can conduct risk assessments, identify vulnerabilities, manipulate security network tools and technologies, perform software troubleshooting, and have a strong understanding of cryptography and PKI.
It is an essential certification to pursue career paths involving network security, IT auditing, and systems administration.
The CompTIA Security+ exam takes 90 minutes to complete and consists of 90 questions.
Certificate holders can implement and maintain computer networks in any capacity. The exam covers networking technology fundamentals, including key concepts, cloud computing connectivity, topologies, and architectures.
The CompTIA Network+ Exam contains 90 questions and must be completed within 90 minutes.
This mid-level certificate requires some level of computer server support experience. The exam entails how to build, support, troubleshoot, and maintain all kinds of servers, from remote hybrid servers to in-person server support.
Those who sit the exam will prove their knowledge of OS configuration, virtualization, and computer access control. Test takers will also be quizzed on security and connectivity issues and backup techniques for disaster recovery.
The Server+ Exam includes up to 100 questions and must be completed within 90 minutes.
The CompTIA A+ certification demonstrates a thorough and basic understanding of information technology. Certificate holders have proved they can test for, identify, comprehend, and fix issues regarding hardware, software, networking, security, cloud computing, mobile devices, and configuring operating systems.
The CompTIA A+ serves as a launchpad to all careers in the information technology sector. The exam can also help individuals gauge their core strengths and weaknesses, helping direct them into the career path they’re most suited for.
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What does CompTIA A+ mean?
CompTIA A+ is a certificate awarded by the nonprofit trade association, CompTIA. It is universally recognized and often a requirement for most IT jobs. It is an award given to verify that those who attain it have a basic understanding of IT, from security to networking.
Is the CompTIA A+ certificate worth it?
The CompTIA A+ certificate is certainly worth it for anyone who wants to kick off a career in IT. It helps qualify your own basic understanding of the sector and define your strengths. At times, it may even be a requirement for work.