Computer science education: The ‘why’ and ‘how’
eSchool News October 30, 2013
Advocates say computer science education is fun–and essential
Calls for more integrated computer science education have increased in recent years as studies show that computer science degrees lead to high-paying jobs that help boost the economy.
Computer science, which includes programming and coding, is the highest-paid college degree and jobs in the field are growing at twice the national average, according to Code.org, but fewer than 2.4 percent of college students graduate with computer science degrees.
Some states are working to change that. In May, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill that counts Advanced Placement (AP) computer science as a math or science credit. The course previously counted as an elective, meaning that many students passed it over for other courses that would meet graduation requirements.
Forty of 50 states do not count computer science toward math or science requirements for high school graduation, and only 1 in 10 schools offer computer programming classes. That could change, though, if more states make efforts similar to those in Washington.
Recent data indicate that only 35 of the state’s 622 high schools offer AP computer science.
According to data collected by the New Jersey Institute of Technology, 150,000 new computing jobs will need to be filled each year for the next 10 years.
Software engineering jobs are expected to grow by 30 percent by 2020, computer and information systems jobs by 18 percent, database administration jobs by 31 percent, and computing programming jobs by 12 percent.
By that time, 2020, there will be 1.4 million computing jobs and 400,000 computer science students–a shortage of 1 million, and a lost economic potential of $500 million.
By 2018, there will be almost three times as many job openings that require computer science knowledge as there will be qualified applicants. Employers said they struggle finding enough applicants with technical knowledge required for computer-related positions.
Students’ lack of interest in this subject doesn’t begin when they get to college, however–it starts much earlier, and experts say that the sooner students develop an interest in and a love for computer science, the better.
Fewer than 1/4 of students are able to enroll in rigorous computer science courses. In fact, 2011 data show that fewer and fewer high schools are offering AP computer science tests: only 2,100 in 2011–a 25 percent decrease from five years ago. When students do take the AP test, those tests account for just .69 percent of all high school AP tests.
Other nations are boosting computer science education. Scotland revised its school curriculum and places a major focus on computer science. In South Korea, many middle and high schools teach introductory computer science, and the subject will be a major part of a proposed new curriculum. Israel initiated an intense review of school computing courses and now has one of the most rigorous high school computer science programs in the world. In the past seven years, India has tripled the number of bachelor-equivalent degrees conferred.
Experts say that helping students develop and sustain an interest in computer science through in- and after-school activities could help students take that interest with them to college and the workforce. Ensuring that students have the opportunity to explore computer science and move past traditional stereotypes opens the field up to many more.Read More
[Posted 12 November 2013 by Kathy Yale]
The A+ Certification is a valuable tool that can help IT professionals advance their careers. It provides people with more career options and often results in higher salary levels because it shows employers that the professional is serious and self-motivated. The test features several sections, and many people will not pass it the first time around. However, students can greatly increase their chance of passing the test and receiving their certification by investing in practice materials.
Simulate the Testing Environment
Some people don’t test well. They freeze up and forget material that normally comes to the easily. Anyone who’s nervous that they’re simply going to struggle under the stress can benefit from A+ Certification practice tests. Available online and in printed form, it allows students to simulate the testing environment ahead of time. They can even take it to the next level by having a friend time them on answering questions.
Randomized Questions to Ensure Preparedness
When learning the material, it’s grouped in logical clusters. Many people make the mistake of studying for the test in those clustered units. The information is easier to remember because they’re only focusing on one key area at a time, but the test may not be in this format. The test is meant to mimic what is seen in the actual working environment, and that means being able to work on one component of the material and transition smoothly into another. Certification practice tests aim to help students prepare for the exam, so they offer randomized questions at the highest level. This ensures that students have learned the material thoroughly and will be prepared for the upcoming test.
Discover how the Questions are Phrased
The phrasing of a question can make a big difference in how it’s answered. If students don’t understand the particular phrasing or use of words, they may answer incorrectly even when they know the material. Practice materials take questions directly from previous tests, so students can see how questions may be phrased in order to be better prepared for the test. This helps students avoid mistakes on the day of the big test.
Highlight Weak Areas
It’s normal for students to drift mentally when studying, so they may miss an important section without realizing it. With practice tests, students can review the information and highlight any areas of weakness. Once they know where they struggle and what they may have missed, they can go back and review those sections before paying money to take the actual exam.
The exams aren’t free, and students will become discouraged if they continue paying to sit for an exam that they fail. With practice tests, they can prepare for the questions that will be on the exam and have a greater chance of passing on the first attempt.
The IT field is becoming highly competitive, and employers are looking for professionals who are serious about their work and ready to move forward in the field. Even when someone already knows the material, taking the certification is an excellent way to show managers and hiring agents that they’re willing to make an investment in themselves and their own careers. When individuals take the time to practice and review information, they’re more likely to pass the test the first time around and begin benefiting from the certification.
[Posted 11 November 2013 by Kathy Yale]
Computer technicians and information technology experts looking for an edge in the workplace should consider attaining A+ certification by CompTIA as a way to gain a leg up on the competition. Keep reading to find out more about the A+ certification and how it can boost the career of even the most knowledgeable, experienced computer tech.
Achieving A+ Certification
CompTIA is a non-profit trade organization that has become a mainstay of the computer and information technology industry by preparing and administering certification examinations in a variety of topics. CompTIA’s examinations are designed by industry experts in each field to test the knowledge required to perform specific computer careers. The A+ certification examination tests knowledge related to setting up, operating and maintaining computers and computer networks and also includes the basics of information technology and systems administration. The A+ certification is intended to equally address all brands and types of computers that the average computer tech might encounter on the job.
The A+ Certification Examination
The A+ examination is comprised of two separate tests, each of which consists of 90 questions and takes up to 90 minutes to complete. The test is given under the supervision of an exam proctor at authorized testing facilities located around the United States. While the A+ certification by CompTIA tests a range of basic computer set-up, repair and troubleshooting skills, the examination itself is far from easy. The newest versions of the examination, 220-801 and 220-802, are so new that reliable statistics on passing rates are not available, but previous versions of the examination claimed to have a passing rate of between three and 20 percent. This low passing rate may be daunting to some examination-takers, but the test can be taken as many times as needed to pass it. Proper preparation with a combination of textbooks, sample examinations and online support also serve to increase the chances of passing the examination the first time.
Improved Employment Prospects
Achieving A+ certification gives a computer technician a competitive edge over other uncertified individuals who may be vying for the same jobs. Many employers seek out employees who have demonstrated a basic knowledge of important skills such as the information covered by the A+ examination. Even self-employed computer technicians benefit from achieving CompTIA A+ certification. Clients look for individuals who are at the top of their field and will select a computer technician or repairperson with a widely-recognized certification like the A+ certification over someone without a certification.
Many computer students invest time and money into a training program without knowing if it will provide adequate preparation for the real-world problems they will face on the job. Even after completing training, a novice computer tech may still feel unprepared to tackle the demands of a full-time job as a computer repair technician or systems administrator. Taking and passing a certification examination like the A+ certification allows an individual to demonstrate knowledge not only to potential employers and clients but also to themself. For most people, knowing that they possess the knowledge and skills needed to perform their job well provides a major boost in confidence.
The A+ certification is not a guarantee of employment but can be a great way to set oneself apart from the crowd.
[Posted 5 November 2013 by Kathy Yale]
Whether you are preparing to start a new career in the information technology field or you are currently working in this field and are ready to begin pursuing more advanced career opportunities, you want to consider how the A+ certification may benefit you. This is a certification that generally is considered to be an entry-level certification, and because of this, it is a starting point for many career-minded professionals who want to advance in their careers or who want to earn a higher level of income in an IT position. With a closer look at how this certification can be used to advance your career, you may decide to begin studying for the certification exam and get on track with your career.
What Is This Exam?
The A+ certification is designed to allow IT professionals to demonstrate their competency in certain critical areas of PC service. The A+ certification exam features sections for operating PCs and making PC customizations. It also features questions on maintenance and installation. While the exam takes a thorough and comprehensive view at PC computer service and other relevant topics, it does not go in depth with more advanced topics like computer systems, network administration, network security or other topics. Because of this, the certification is often considered to be an entry-level exam, and it may be used as a stepping stone that provides the foundation for more advanced certifications and career opportunities. Generally, it is designed for individuals who have been working in a help desk position or a related position for at least six months.
Passing the A+ Exam
While the A+ certification exam is designed to be an entry level exam, it can be challenging. Many test takers find that their odds of passing the exam with the initial attempt are enhanced when they take time to learn more about test structure, review sample questions and review material that is covered in the exam. The A+ certification exam contains multiple choice questions, and a time limit is placed on test takers.
The topics covered in the exam provide a foundation for greater specialization in different niche areas. With the A+ certification, you may be able to earn an IT tech or help desk position, or earn additional income in an existing position that you hold. This certification is increasingly a requirement for service center techs, support techs and other related positions. Furthermore, many who earn the A+ certification may go on to take other specialized certification tests, such as the Network+, Security+ or other related certifications. With each certification, your proficiency in specialized areas will be demonstrated, and this means that employers can hire you with confidence for specific positions. Often, these specialized positions offer higher levels of compensation.
Whether you are ready to embark on a new career path in the information technology field or you are ready to jumpstart a career that you feel may have leveled in terms of salary, obtaining an A+ certification is a great option for you to consider. You can get started preparing for the exam by learning more about the test structure and by ordering A+ study materials, or signing up for a test prep course. By taking these steps, you could be well on your way toward pursuing a more advanced and lucrative career in the information technology field.Read More
[Posted 23 October 2013 by Kathy Yale]
The A+ certification is a good way for an individual looking to get started in the information technology (IT) field. The test is two separate examinations, 220-801 and 220-802 covering a broad range of topics dealing with computer hardware, peripheral devices and systems. An individual completing the certification will possess the basic knowledge needed in the IT field. With this knowledge, a person can use the training for an entry-level computer repair and troubleshooting position or leverage the certification to further their IT training in Networking+, Security+ and other areas.
Individuals using their A+ certification can expect to make a median average salary of $46,260 ($22 per hour). The examinations are administered by CompTIA, a non-profit trade association for the IT industry located just outside of Chicago in Downers Grove, Illinois.
CompTIA A+ 220-801
The first exam of the two, CompTIA A+ 220-801, is based on five objectives. These objectives are: PC Hardware, which accounts for 40 percent of the exam; Networking (27 percent of the exam); Laptops, Printers and Operational Procedures, each section which is 11 percent of the exam. The exam contains about 90 questions and individuals are given 90 minutes in which to complete the questions. Questions are both multiple choice and performance based, that is, given a set of conditions, you will be required to perform a specific task or solve a problem. The passing score for this exam is 675 out of a scale of 900.
CompTIA A+ 220-802
The second exam is the CompTIA A+ 220-802. In this exam, there are four learning objectives that you are expected to know in order to successfully complete the exam. The four sections of the second exam are: Operating Systems (33 percent); Security (22 percent); Mobile Devices (9 percent); and, Troubleshooting (36 percent). The 220-802 exam has a format that is similar to that of the 220-801 exam. There are approximately 90 exam questions and a test candidate has 90 minutes in which to complete the exam. In order to pass you will need to obtain a score of 700 out of 900.
How to Successfully Obtain Your A+ Certification
There are no prerequisites or coursework that has to be completed before you sit for the two exams. Taking and successfully passing the A+ certification exams requires you to register for the exam and schedule an appointment at a testing center. The cost for each exam is $183 and once you receive a voucher to take the tests, you have up to 12 months in which to do so.
Preparation is one of the best ways to quell your nerves and successfully pass both exams. The more familiar you are with the exam material the better you will feel when attempting your A+ certification.
Some other tips that may be helpful:
It is not necessary to take both exams at once. This will help you focus on each test individually and reduce any pressure you may feel in having to complete both exams immediately. Plan your study time; make sure you allow yourself ample time leading up to the exam to study and go over the five objective areas of 220-801 and four objective areas of 220-802.
Take the 24 hours off prior to your exam date. Find some activity that will relax you and take your mind off the exam. If you put in the time and effort to prepare, you will find that being relaxed will help you perform better on the exams.
[Posted 16 October 2013 by Kathy Yale]
Anyone who is starting out in the IT field can benefit from an A+ certification. In addition to being helpful for people going into IT work, it’s also an excellent way for anyone in this field to make their resume stand out. The certificates are readily available, and they serve to show that applicants have a basic understanding of computer systems and networking.
The world is moving towards a global economy through the power of computers and the Internet. The A+ certification is one of the few that is recognized and backed by manufacturers, vendors, professional organizations, and service providers around the globe. It’s accepted in numerous countries and is the only generic IT support certificate available around the world.
Employers who need team members that are computer proficient normally start by having applicants take a range of computer tests. These tests can become costly to implement as businesses have to invest in the software and pay current employees to administer them. They consume labor, and those hours are wasted if applicants are unable to pass the tests. With A+ Certification, employers know that applicants are qualified and have basic computer skills. There is no need for them to spend money or other resources administering tests. They can focus on applicants who already have this important feather in their cap. It gives applicants with the certification an important edge in the marketplace.
A Jump Start in the Field
A+ certification is especially designed for tech support. It’s an entry-level certification that many people can earn even if they don’t have extensive experience. With this certification, it’s easier to obtain the entry-level jobs, and it can even help applicants bypass some internship and lower-level positions. The modules that must be passed are the Essentials and either IT technician, remote support technician or depot technician. Most people also have six months of experience or more before they start taking these classes.
Self-Starters are Welcome
Companies like seeing some evidence that an individual is willing to apply themselves and go the extra mile. When people invest in this certificate, they send employers the message that they’re serious about their careers and advancing in the field. It shows that people are making an investment in themselves, and this appeals to companies. The certificate is proof that an individual truly is a self-starter.
People who’ve been in the IT field for a while already possess this knowledge, but they may feel that they aren’t receiving the credit or recognition they deserve. With this certification in hand, they have external validation that they do possess the desired skills. The certificate can be used to help convince a manager that someone is ready for the next level or deserves a raise. When someone is striving to advance their career, an A+ certification is an excellent start.
Anyone who’s pursuing a career in IT can benefit from A+ certification. This certification is accepted on a global level, and it can be used to jump start a career. It’s an important asset for anyone who is a beginner in the field and wants to advance their career. It will also benefit people who have worked in the field for a while and want external validation of their skills.
[Posted 8 October 2013 by Kathy Yale]
Passing CompTIA’s A+ certification can be an important key to finding a great job as a computer service technician or information technology (IT) specialist. Read on to find out more about how A+ certification lays the groundwork for a career in computer technology and how the right examination materials can help you prepare for taking this important examination.
Why Is The A+ Certification So Widely Recognized?
The A+ certification examination was among the first computer certifications offered by CompTIA. The examination has been updated several times since being launched in 1993. The most recent update occurred on August 31, 2013, and includes the latest information on such advanced topics as wireless networking, mobile devices, computer security and the newest software on the market. When the test was first administered, the passing rate was less than 10 percent. Performing the amount of study required to achieve A+ certification set an individual apart as a high performer in the field of computer technology. Today the passing rate for each test has increased to around 20 percent, but doing the work necessary to pass is still a true accomplishment for any computer expert.
How Is The A+ Examination Structured?
The newest version of the A+ examination consists of two parts, 220-801 and 220-802. Each portion of the test consists of 90 questions and the test-taker has 90 minutes to complete each module. Section 220-801 covers the most basic aspects of computer installation, PC configuration and networking. Section 220-802 includes, among other topics, troubleshooting, problem solving, advanced configuration and mobile devices. The test is made up of both multiple-choice questions and performance-based problems administered using realistic computer simulations that replicate the actual conditions under which computer technician’s work. The test is given at supervised testing centers around the world.
Do All Employers Require A+ Certification?
Very few employers specifically require A+ certification of all computer technicians. Computer manufacturers Dell, Intel and Lenovo do require A+ certification for all computer service technicians, and several government agencies also recognize and favor applicants who have achieved A+ certification. As with many occupations, even though a certification is not required, many employers who hire computer technicians look for specially trained applicants who have demonstrated an ability to perform the work for which they are being hired.
How Do I Prepare For The A+ Examination?
The CompTIA A+ certification examination is designed to test the basic computer knowledge acquired through several hundred hours of on-the-job training. For individuals with little or no hands-on experience, a formal course of study is highly recommended. Total Seminars is your online source for study materials for the A+ examination, as well as several other CompTIA certification examinations. Total Seminars provides an all-in-one guide to the A+ examination, as well as practice test packages that include samples of questions that are similar to those found on the actual examination. Training materials are available in book and video form. Test vouchers can also be purchased through Total Seminars individually or as part of a package of study materials.
Spending the time and effort to study and pass the A+ examination can pay off in many ways. Demonstrating the skills and knowledge necessary to work as a computer service technician or IT expert is attractive to many employers and may open the door to career advancement and higher income. Contact Total Seminars today for a full listing of A+ examination study products to get started on the road to a successful, lucrative career in computer technology.
[Posted 8 October 2013 by Kathy Yale]
An individual just starting out in the field of computing and computer technology is faced with a number of choices for professional certification. The CompTIA A+ certification is an excellent place to start and can help a talented computer professional break into any of the following occupations.
Computer Service Technician
The A+ certification is not geared toward any specific computer brand or manufacturer. Individuals who plan to service all types of computers will find the information acquired while pursuing A+ certification to be beneficial. Although not required throughout the industry, several major computer manufacturers, including Lenovo, Dell and Intel, require successful completion of the CompTIA A+ certification as a condition of working as a service technician on their products.
Field Service Technician
A field service technician is a type of computer service specialist who generally works in the homes of clients. Field service technicians perform installation and repair of Internet service lines, personal computers and other computer hardware and software. Field service technicians rely heavily upon the information included in the A+ certification and are employed by many different corporate entities, including cable, telephone and internet providers.
Information Technology Specialist
An information technology (IT) specialist is responsible for such tasks as the management of data stored on computers, installation of software and operation and repair of computer networks. Hospital systems and companies of all sizes hire IT specialists to manage databases and maintain complex systems of computers. A+ certification covers the basics needed by an IT specialist or system administrator.
Technical Support Specialist
Internet service providers, telephone service providers, cell phone and smartphone companies, cable providers and computer manufacturers all utilize technical support personnel to communicate with clients and troubleshoot problems. Troubleshooting and repairing computer problems is a topic heavily covered in the A+ certification. Working as a technical support specialist is one employment option that may offer a flexible work schedule. Large corporate entities need tech support experts on call 24 hours a day, while smaller companies may operate tech support lines only during normal business hours.
Governmental Agencies and Contractors
The U.S. Department of Defense recognizes A+ certification, as do many government contractors. Most government agencies utilize a range of technical support experts and computer service technicians to assist in the operation and maintenance of the computers used by each agency. While an A+ certification might not be required to get a job with a government agency, the knowledge attained with an A+ certification may help an individual perform better and advance more quickly than uncertified individuals.
Many A+ certified computer and IT specialists find success as entrepreneurs. Self-employment is an excellent choice for a parent with small children, a person whose spouse works an irregular schedule or for any individual who needs flexible work hours. Striking out on one’s own is also a great way to earn a second income.
Average salaries for computer professionals vary widely depending on experience, work setting and geographic location, but salaries are generally higher for individuals who have become certified in one or more areas of specialization. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists a median annual salary for 2010 of $46,260 for “Computer Support Specialists,” a very broad grouping into which many of the above careers are classified. The A+ certification is an ideal way to get a foot in the door in one of these exciting, high-paying careers.
[Posted 1 October 2013 by Kathy Yale]
CompTIA is a world leader in computer examination and certification programs. CompTIA was founded in 1982 as a computer dealer trade association and was later rebranded as the Computer Technology Industry Association, a non-profit trade organization devoted to all aspects of computing and information technology. Since the CompTIA A+ certification was first offered in 1993, it has become an industry standard in measuring basic computer competency.
What Is A+ Certification?
The CompTIA A+ certification examination tests the basic skills most likely to be needed when working in computer installation and repair. Material covered on the certification test includes computer operating systems, hardware, software, peripherals, setting up and troubleshooting computer systems and operation of mobile devices. The examination materials and the test itself are frequently updated to stay abreast of new technology. The latest revision was finalized in mid-2013, which means that people who take the examination today are tested on the newest, most relevant material available.
Why Is A+ Certification So Popular?
Nearly 1 million computer professionals have taken and successfully completed the CompTIA A+ examination. The A+ certification is the most broad-based examination offered by CompTIA and tests a wide range of basic computing skills. However, just because the A+ examination tests the most basic areas of computer knowledge does not mean that the test is easy. A person needs a minimum of several hundred hours of hands-on experience with computers and computing systems, as well as a specialized course of study, before even attempting the A+ examination.
Who Needs A+ Certification?
Anyone who is interested in a career in information technology (IT,) computer installation and repair and technical support should start by obtaining A+ certification. A+ certification can be a springboard for other computing specializations or be used as a stand-alone certification by a person interested in a career in one of the above areas.
Is An A+ Certification Required To Work As Computer Technician?
A few employers directly recognize the A+ certification and automatically favor employees who hold it and allow them to advance more quickly on the job. Some employers also require a certain level of demonstrated professional knowledge and certification, although this is not a requirement of all employers. While an A+ certification is not a requirement to work in computing, professional certification can be a plus when seeking employment or advancement in a career. Not everyone takes the time to earn professional certification, and an individual who does devote the necessary effort to become certified in one or more areas of specialization will stand out to employers in a large pool of potential employees.
How Do I Earn A+ Certification?
An individual becomes A+ certified upon the successful completion of a two part examination. Each portion of the examination includes up to 90 questions and participants have 90 minutes to finish each section. The examination can be attempted as many times as needed to pass, but a fee must be paid each time the test is taken. A passing score for the first half of the examination is 675 points out of a possible 900 and 700 points out of 900 for the second half. The test must be taken in an approved testing location under the supervision of an examination proctor.
With the United States employment outlook expected to remain unpredictable for the immediate future, it is important for individuals working in any field to improve their employment marketability by becoming certified. A+ certification is a great starting point for any computer professional who wishes to advance in his or her career.Read More
[Posted 26 September 2013 by Kathy Yale]
As the title suggests the Network+ certificate deals with establishing and administering various types of computer networks. The certification test is maintained by CompTIA. This is a non-profit organization, established in 1982, that represents multiple computer-related businesses. The name is a partial acronym for Computing Technology Industry Association. Because of the different companies involved, the Network+ test, like others they provide, is not focused on the hardware or software of any particular business.
The Network+, along with the A+ and Security+ certificates, is viewed as one of the most respectable certificates for advancing a person’s career in information technology. These three certificates have received accrediting by ANSI. CompTIA also provides other certifications for separate specialties of the industry. The Network+ certificate, like all the others, has some unavoidable overlap in subject matter with these other tests. For example, the A+ certificate requires basic knowledge of networking as it relates to desktops, laptops, and mobile devices. However, the Network+ test also deals with security that pertains to network administration.
How Network+ is Different
All CompTIA tests, including the Network+ test, have the same basic structure as there is a combination of written and hands-on questions. However, the Network+ test is designed to gauge an individual’s knowledge of networking skills like assembling, overseeing, and correcting problems in either a local area or wide area network. These topics are more extensive than the network-related questions in the A+ test. In fact, while there is no required prerequisite for the Network+ test, the A+ certificate is recommended. The A+ certificate just touches on the very basics of networking. This would include linking a desktop computer to the internet or tying the desktop together with peripheral equipment.
The actual physical layout and operation of networks is the prime focus of the Network+ certificate. There are two basic categories: the local area network often referred to as a LAN, which is limited to a home, business, or facility, and the wide area network, or WAN, which covers more space and can span nations or continents. Someone pursuing this document would need to understand how to set-up any of the primary configurations for LANs. These would include the ring, bus, star, and tree pattern, among others.
In addition, the candidate would need to know the various means of linking the components together, such as ethernet, fiber optics, or wireless transmissions. They also need to be able to determine which of these arrangements is best for a particular situation. This goes beyond the basics covered by the A+ test. The test also covers knowledge of establishing WANs and connecting them, along with LANs, to the existing internet. Network administrator, network technician, and network troubleshooter are some of the job titles of careers this document prepares test-takers for.
Other topics covered by the Network+ test include network security, servers, storage, and network operating systems. These areas overlap with other certificates. The Security+ test deals specifically with protecting a network from hackers and other threats. There is a Server+ and Storage+ certificate that handles the details of each of these components. There is also a Linux+ certificate that covers this open-source operating system commonly used on servers. Since information technology involves all these fields, it’s useful for someone wanting to move up to obtain multiple certificates related to the specialty they’re interested in. One of the most essential of these certificates is the Network+.