[Posted 17 December 2013 by Kathy Yale]
The A+ certification is an important credential for those who want to start or advance their IT career. It is an internationally recognized benchmark utilized by the computer industry to ensure IT professionals achieve a basic competency in concepts and skills employees would need to be successful. Technicians are expected to demonstrate knowledge of a range of topics including installation, upgrading and troubleshooting. An understanding of network configurations and operating systems is also necessary.
The A+ certification was developed and is supported by the Computing Technology Industry Association. Major computer companies such as Microsoft, Dell, Apple and IBM embrace it because it provides standardization of qualifications across the entire industry in the United States and internationally. This means employers in an increasingly globalized economy will have a better idea of the capabilities of each job applicant they interview and will be able to find the best fit for their positions. The certification ensures that individuals will be skilled in the latest technology including tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices.
The Growing Need for Mobile Device Certification
This attention on mobile devices is partially a result of Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) policies. Because it is increasingly common for employees to bring their own smart phones and tablets to the office, businesses are beginning to have employees use them as their primary work devices. As a matter of policy, many companies are beginning to use mobile technology as a primary means to operate their business. Industry professionals across the board are utilizing iPhones, iPads and tablet devices and, as a result, it is becoming increasingly necessary for IT professionals to become trained on the inner workings of these devices.
Apple offers a consultant network made up of private contractors to provide companies with onsite IT support for its products. These Apple contractors must be A+ certified as a basic qualification. As mobile devices continue to improve and proliferate, IT technicians will have to stay abreast of the latest developments.
Mobile Modifications to the A+ Certification Exam
The A+ Certification exam consists of two modules: the first module is Essentials, basic IT information that all technicians are expected to master. The second module gives the individual the ability to choose from three concentrations. These include IT Technician, Remote Support Technician and Depot Technician.
In 2012 CompTIA released a revised version of the exam called A+ 800 that reflects recent trends in technology as well as feedback from employers. One change is the addition of performance based questions that require test takers to perform tasks and demonstrate skills rather than simply answer multiple choice questions. Another big change in the test is the increased emphasis on iOS mobile devices including the iPad Touch and iPhone. IT technicians are also expected to show proficiency dealing with the security issues common to smart phones and tablets.
As mobile technology continues to be a fixture in the IT industry, CompTIA will continue to grow their exams to meet the needs of the industry. The A+ certification exam will evolve and adapt to the changing circumstances in the corporate world as it adopts the latest innovations in IT.