[Posted 1 August 2013 by Kathy Yale]
Certification is an essential career stepping stone for many professions. In the ever-changing world of computer technology, professional certification is an important way to demonstrate both knowledge and skills to potential employers. CompTIA is an industry leader in computer technology certification and offers a range of examinations and certification pathways designed to test knowledge in different aspects of computers and information technology (IT). The CompTIA A+ certification examination is one of these certification pathways.
What Is A+ Certification?
The CompTIA A+ certification examination is designed to test fundamental knowledge of a wide range of computer skills. Installation, set up and operation of computer systems, PCs, peripherals and mobile devices, as well as use of common computer software programs are the predominant topics covered by the A+ examination. The examination also covers networking, security, troubleshooting, repairs and customer service basics. Since it was first offered in the early 1990s, the A+ examination has been revised several times, most recently in 2012, to keep pace with changing technologies and system upgrades.
What Is Required To Achieve A+ Certification?
The A+ examination consists of two sections and tests proficiency in the skills most commonly used by IT professionals. The examination is designed to test knowledge and skills that should be possessed by an individual with approximately one year of on-the-job training. For a person with little hands-on computer experience or training, completion of a training course in computers and computer technology is usually necessary to pass the test. Several companies offer training materials and practice tests to help a prospective test-taker prepare for the A+ examination.
These training materials can be in the form of a textbook, training manual or online course and are purchased for independent study at the direction of the prospective test-taker. An individual must successfully complete both portions of the examination to achieve A+ certification. Each section consists of 90 questions and must be completed in 90 minutes. The examination does not focus on the products of any specific company or manufacturer but is instead designed to test general, broad-based knowledge. The A+ examination must be scheduled in advance and administered at an approved testing location under the supervision of a proctor. Approved CompTIA testing sites are located throughout the country and in many overseas locations.
What Are The Benefits Of Earning A+ Certification?
Although some employers do not require professional certification, many do place importance on being professionally certified in IT. Several computer manufacturers, including Dell, Intel and Lenovo, require all IT service professionals who work for their companies to be A+ certified as a condition of employment. Many other employers, including the United States Department of Defense, do not specifically require an A+ certification but do recognize its importance and can use certification as a basis for employee selection or promotion. In almost every case, an employer is likely to choose a candidate for employment with proven, demonstrated knowledge in a particular skill set over a potential employee with no certification or credentials.
A professional certification is more than just another line to put on a resume; it is a way to prove knowledge and skills to prospective employers. Earning a professional credential can be critical to finding a great IT job or getting a promotion. Achieving A+ certification, or any of the many IT certifications offered by CompTIA, can help give a computer professional a much-needed edge in this highly competitive field.