Posted by: Kathy Yale
Information technology, the field encompassing computers, networks, software, applications, and the internet, is growing exponentially. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an entry-level help-desk position is expected to grow 18% between 2010 and 2010, which is as fast, if not faster, than average. In other words, a career in technology will not disappear anytime soon. The average starting pay for a basic I.T. job is over $46,000 a year. In fact, an entry-level tech job, on average, pays more than the average salary for Licensed Practical Nurses, truck drivers, licensed teachers, and plumbers. And the pay only increases from there in information technology; many workers earn an average of between $60,000 and over $100,000 per year depending on the specialization, degree level, and experience. Many prospective information technology job seekers are beginning to see the value in obtaining an A+ Certification to boost their credentials in this ever-expanding field.
Unlike other careers, an entry-level I.T. position does not require years of training in order to obtain a lucrative job. There are no clinical rotations to complete or extensive background checks to process in information technology. Tech positions can be found in nearly every business in every location. While many individuals do choose to get a degree in technology, the best way to obtain a career in I.T. is to start with an A+ Certification. Certifications are inexpensive and quick, which makes them ideal for those who want to get started in a technology job quickly.
Obtaining a Certification
The CompTIA A+ certification is considered by many to be the gold standard for breaking into a tech job. The A+ certification is recognized by the U.S. Dept. of Defense and is vendor neutral. Some employers like Dell, Intel, and Lenovo require the CompTIA A+ certification. Other employers do not require it of their techs but will give preferential hiring or increased starting pay to applicants who have the certification. The cost of the certification is relatively low at under a few hundred dollars for both the Practical and the Essentials exams. Many libraries carry a wide selection of CompTIA A+ study guides that individuals can use for free to prepare to take the exams.
What CompTIA A+ Certification Entails
The CompTIA A+ certification covers the field of information technology broadly. The Essentials exam covers hardware, computer troubleshooting and maintenance, operating systems and software, networking, and security. The Practical exam covers troubleshooting, installation, and maintenance steps relating to hardware, operating systems, and networks.
More lucrative technical positions do require advanced certifications or a degree, but these are not needed to get started on a well-paying tech career. Many individuals start in a type of help-desk position and advance as they gain experience, more certifications, or a degree. Other certifications include those offered by CompTIA like the Network+ and the Security+ certifications. Cisco certifications are especially popular among those already in the IT field, as pay for those certifications is easily over $60,000 a year. Unfortunately, these advanced certifications can be much more costly to obtain and are not a good start for those just wanting to break into technology quickly.
A career in technology is perfect for most people, as there are many avenues someone can take within technology. An individual who prefers customer service can focus on a computer support role. Those who like to be hands-on can set up networks or provide help-desk support. Entrepreneurial-minded individuals can create their own computer consulting and repair company. There are many avenues for success within the field of information technology and getting started is as easy as deciding to begin.