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What Makes A+ Certfication Such a Popular Credential?

0 April 18, 2013 in Uncategorized by

[Posted 18 Apr 2013 by Kathy Yale]

The Role of Certifications in the IT Industry

While education is of primary importance to IT professionals, certifications also play an important role for both employees and employers. Employers prefer to see prospective employees with certifications because this validates that they have the skills necessary to do the job, and they know how to use these skills. For employees, it allows them to test themselves on industry standards and to compare themselves with other professionals in the business. Many jobs on the market today require specific certifications to even be considered. Government and military jobs specifically put a high premium on these certifications, with one of the most notably being the A+ Certification.

The CompTIA A+ Certification

This CompTIA certification is geared to the maintenance of desktop computers, laptops, mobile devices, and printers. This means that the A+ certification is valuable for anyone who is interested in the user-support aspect of computer technology. Many large corporations require that their technicians have A+ certification for precisely this reason. While the CompTIA A+ certification focuses on general technology, the emphasis is more on PC computers running Windows systems than Apple operating systems or Linux operating systems.

The CompTIA A+ certification is an entry-level certification for IT professionals with about a year of experience in the field. However, that does not mean it’s not a valuable certification for those with more experience. Because many government jobs require it as a prerequisite, it can be absolutely necessary for someone, even with years of experience, to get this certification simply to qualify. Because the certification is geared toward entry-level technicians, it should be easy for a more experienced technician to pass.

While CompTIA certifications used to be lifetime certifications, this has changed in recent years. CompTIA certifications now expire within three years, which means that professionals that wish to keep these certifications need to re-certify every few years. This re-certification costs only a fraction of the original exam and can still be highly beneficial.

The Difference between CompTIA and Other Certifications

CompTIA, Microsoft, and Cisco form the three main certificate vendors in the IT industry. CompTIA is different from the other certificate agencies because it is vendor neutral. Microsoft certifications only test the IT professional in Microsoft products, and Cisco only tests the IT professional in Cisco products. While Microsoft and Cisco products do make up the majority of the infrastructure for many companies, prospective employers want to see that employees have a diverse skill set and an understanding of the basics.

Because CompTIA is such a general certification it has become the certification of choice for military and government contracts. However, for networking in private industries, Cisco certifications are still considered more important. Because Cisco certification is more in depth than CompTIA certification, many IT professionals get their CompTIA certification first and then later move on to the Cisco certification path.

After the CompTIA A+ Certification

After taking the CompTIA A+ certification, many IT professionals progress to either Network+ or Server+ certifications. These certifications are more advanced than the A+ certification and can demand higher salaries. Those who have successfully completed A+ certification may also advance to Microsoft’s MCSA certification or Cisco’s CCNA certification paths. Because CompTIA only offers entry-level certifications, professionals that are more experienced may find it necessary to continue with other vendors.

Which certifications an IT professional chooses depends on the trajectory they want their career to take. Those who are interested in server administration can move from A+ to Server+ or from A+ to MCSA. For those who are interested in desktop support and troubleshooting, an A+ will usually be enough. IT professionals who want to focus on networking can move from A+ to Network+, and finally to their CCNA, though Network+ alone is often enough to secure a solid entry-level position.


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Showcase Your Computer Skills with an IC3 Certification

0 April 11, 2013 in Uncategorized by

The IC3 certification, short for Internet and Computing Core certification, is a certification designed to test general knowledge of computer and Internet skills that might be useful in a typical office setting. It was developed by Utah-based Certiport, Inc. in 2000 to help potential employers screen hiring candidates for computer literacy. Since then it has continued to be an industry respected certification.

Who the IC3 Certification Benefits

The IC3 certification is designed for mainstream office employees, not just IT personnel. It is aimed at measuring fairly basic computer skills such as using email, word processing, and spreadsheet software. It also covers general knowledge items relating to computer hardware, operating systems, and networks. A basic training course should be able to prepare people for the course and students will likely already be familiar with much of the material.

As technology pervasiveness has increased over the past couple of decades, computer literacy has increased. With that, however, has also come an increase in the need for businessmen and women to be technologically competent. No office worker is now free from the need to use email, social networking, and other forms of instant communication in day-to-day activities. A lack of these skills can render any office employee virtually useless and is a detriment to anyone’s career. Mastering these basic computing skills, however, will boost productivity and perceived value by employers.

Boost Résumé Appeal and the Job Search

Obtaining this certification carries a great benefit for the job hunter. While many applicants may simply mention that they have computer skills on their résumé, the IC3 certification shows employers that you have the necessary computer skills for a job as objectively measured by an industry standard program. The IC3 was the first computing certification to be formally recognized by the now-defunct National Skill Standards Board and continues to be an important measurement of computer competency. This certification might just be the thing your résumé needs to stand out from the competition. We know that overworked hiring managers tend to quickly sort through résumés based on initial impression, and this could be the thing that puts your résumé into the pile to be considered for hire.

Prove to Employers You’re up to the Task

Getting a certification like this also shows potential employers that you are willing to take the time to learn new skills and master any concepts necessary for the position for which you’re applying. While other candidates may be just as skilled or even more so with computers, your IC3 certification shows that you have taken the time to master one skill, and builds employer’s faith that you can learn any other necessary skills. Technology will continue to change and improve in the future, and showing you can keep up is important for your long-term prospects with a company.

Whether you are already computer savvy and want the credentials to prove it, or need to develop computer skills to get a new job, the IC3 certification is perfect for you. Both groups will find a preparation course in the certification instructive, as it will prepare the student for the specifics of this certification. The IC3 certification is a great way to showcase your computer skills and get the job you’ve been looking for.

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LPT1

0 April 2, 2013 in CompTIA A+ by

It seems that every time I think it’s safe to ditch content from my CompTIA A+ classes, CompTIA resurrects a zinger. One of my students recently (on the 801 exam) got a question on parallel ports, or more specifically, on LPT1. Here’s the scoop on these long-dead ports.

Early PCs offered only one built-in port, a round DIN connector for a keyboard. All other expansion devices (mouse, printer, joystick, speakers, etc.) plugged into ports of various types installed via expansion cards. The two most common ports were serial ports and parallel ports.

We used serial ports for mice and modems, primarily, and parallel ports for just about everything else. Both types of ports required assignment of specific system resources that were standardized throughout the IBM PC universe and thus got names associated with them.

It was assumed that each PC would have up to two serial and two parallel ports that would get assigned resources as COM1 and COM2, and LPT1 and LPT2, respectively. Most technicians and users called the serial ports and parallel ports by their resource names, so “serial port 1” was “COM1,” for example.

Both serial ports and parallel ports have gone away from modern PCs, but a few old devices that need them refuse to die. My office still has an HP LaserJet 4, for example, that was made before printer companies realized the money was in toner and ink. It just keeps working. And it connects to a parallel port.

If you find yourself with a legacy device that needs a parallel port, you can find a few expansion cards at my favorite store, Newegg.com. Chances are you’ll assign LPT1 resources for the port. (Just in case you get asked about such things on a CompTIA exam in your near future.)

Technical details:
• Parallel port = 25 pin female D-sub
• LPT1 = I/O address 378 and IRQ 7
• 8-bit

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CompTIA to Add DOS Questions in A+ Update

0 April 1, 2013 in CompTIA A+ by

CompTIA announced today that they would be adding questions covering Microsoft’s famed Disk Operating System, released in 1981. “After much internal deliberation, we at CompTIA decided that the way forward is backwards. There are literally twos or threes of situations where an extensive knowledge of DOS would be vital for a modern PC technician.”

The spokesperson then continued, “For example, what if an A+ technician fell into a wormhole in the time/space continuum and had to find work fixing computers in the mid-80s? We at CompTIA strive to prepare our students for the unpredictable temporal topology that they’ll have to deal with every day as a certified technician.”

CompTIA also pointed out that DOS, a command-line operating system, is still used today in many businesses that have been cut off from communication with the outside world for the past 30 years. “It may surprise you, but a significant portion of our client base is in what we like to call ‘chronologically isolated communities,’ such as North Korea and Alaskan fishing villages surrounded by impassable glaciers. Also: survivalists who have been living in underground bunkers since the Cold War.”

This move, in addition to affecting current A+ students, may point the way towards a shift in CompTIA’s future plans for A+. At the press conference, CompTIA stated that they were also working closely with the Amish community to see how their technology needs could be addressed. Again, the CompTIA spokesperson, “We feel that an important part of studying technology is learning that technology is viewed by many as an immoral conceit condemned by God. While it’s impossible to know whether or not using technology is a sin, we at CompTIA are increasingly of the opinion that the chance is not worth taking. Future A+ updates will reflect this changing philosophy.”

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What Does a Network+ Practice Test Cover?

0 March 29, 2013 in Uncategorized by

[Posted 29 Mar 2013 by Kathy Yale]

When you are someone who is invested in getting a job in the Information Technology field, you will find that certifications allow you to get your foot in the door.  When you are considering what certifications will do you the most good, the CompTIA Network + certification, also commonly known as the Network+, is a great place to get started. What do you need to know about the Network+ and the Network+ Practice Test?

What Does the Test Cover?

Unlike the A+ certification that is administered by the same company, the Network+ presupposes a fair amount of prior knowledge about computers. Before you even start studying for the test, you are expected to have a fairly thorough grasp about basic computer hardware, basic computer safety and basic software needs. A Network+ Practice Test takes that basic knowledge and tests on you on networking in specific. You will be asked to explain what networks are and how they work. You will be tested on things like installation and configuration, and on top of that, you will also be tested on network management and security.

Who Requires the Network+?

There are many companies that find the Network+ desirable for their employees. Not only do they need to make sure that the prospective employee has a fair amount of experience in the field, the certification also shows them that you are capable of learning and being trained. Some companies that preferentially look for a Network+ certification include Dell, Sharp and Xerox.

Where Can I Go With Network+?

If you are looking at improving your job prospects in the technology field, the Network+ is definitely one important thing for you to investigate. It will help you get a foot in the door, and will show you know what you are talking about. Some positions which commonly hold Network+ certifications include: network administrators, help desk technicians, IT officers, cable installers and network maintenance technicians.

Network+ Itself

When you are thinking about taking the Network+ certification test, there are a few factors that you should be aware of. First, there are always 100 questions. The questions are divided up between simple multiple choice questions and performance-based questions. The performance-based questions require that the person being tested perform a specific task in a simulated environment. This is the practical end of the test, which tells the certification board that the person in question knowledgeable about networking. Every person is given 90 minutes for entire test, and a passing grade is to receive at least 720 out of 900 possible points.

Pre-Requisites

If you are thinking about getting Network+ certification, CompTIA does have a few recommendations for making sure that you pass. First, the A+ exam, also offered by CompTIA, gives you a solid background for a great deal of the information. Second, the company also recommends nine months in the networking field before you proceed. While these are only recommendations before you take the test, following them will insure you have a leg up come test time. If need be, there are also prep classes and practice tests.

If you are someone who is invested in making sure that you have the right certifications that will allow you to move forward, in the technical field, see what Network+ can offer you.

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Zombie RAM: SIMM Sticks Linger

0 March 28, 2013 in CompTIA A+, RAM by

One of my students ran into a question on the CompTIA A+ Certification 801 exam the other day that had me scrambling for a Web search. The question asked about the type of memory used on a SIMM. What? SIMM? I haven’t talked about SIMMs in class or in print for a decade.

Historical scoop: We used single inline memory modules (SIMMs) back in the days when the fastest processor was an Intel 486 running at a whopping 66 MHz. Seriously. Today (read: since Intel came out with the Pentium CPU) every computer uses some kind of dual inline memory module (DIMM). A SIMM has identical electrical contacts on both sides of the stick; a DIMM has contacts that are unique on each side.

When my student mentioned the SIMM question, my response was historical: fast page mode (FPM) or extended data out (EDO). Those were the two memory technologies used on SIMMs. He just shook his head.

The SIMM question gave as possible answers only modern RAM types, like DDR or RDRAM.

An extensive Google session later revealed an obscure (to me) printer-only memory module on a SIMM . . . and it uses SDRAM. Here’s a link, in case you’re curious:

http://www.provantage.com/intermec-technologies-1-971134-001~7ITCA168.htm

Don’t miss this question when you take the CompTIA A+ exams!

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An A+ Practice Test Will Always be the Best Preparation for Certification Exams

0 March 22, 2013 in Uncategorized by

[Posted 22 Mar 2013 by Kathy Yale]

The labor market is tighter and more competitive than ever, and jobs in the information technology field are in high demand. It is common to hear hiring managers talk about receiving hundreds of job applications for a single position. Because of this fierce competition in the job market, it is imperative that you have the right skill-set to gain the attention of the hiring manager. An A+ certification is among the most highly coveted certifications in the IT field. This certification tells hiring managers that you have the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in the position offered. However, in order to earn this certification, you must pass the A+ certification exam. While there are multiple study guides and materials available, an A+ Practice Test from Total Seminars is often the ideal method for preparing for the exam.

A Complete Educational Resource

Total Seminars has all of the informational resources you need to study for your exam. Through this company, you can find an incredible all-in-one exam guide that has been carefully written by one of the leading A+ authorities. This book serves as your complete educational resource. While it is updated each year based on the last version of the test that was administered, it is fully detailed with color photos, easy-to-understand illustrations, review questions and even test-taking advice. In addition to this book, Total Seminars also offers the A+ Practice Test that can be purchased individually -as well as training videos. The fact is that Total Seminars offers an ideal educational solution for every learning style.

The Benefits of Practice Questions

Practice questions can be found in the practice exams as well as in the all-in-one exam guide. These offer you several distinctive benefits. First, they provide you with the opportunity to learn more about and to become comfortable with the style of questions that you will see when you sit down for the actual test. In addition, you will also be able to test your knowledge and discover any weaknesses that you have. This is a great way to gain confidence for the actual test and to fortify your weaknesses. In addition, it also tells you which subject matter may be covered more heavily. For example, the last exam that was administered focused heavily on PC hardware and only lightly on laptops and printers.

Choosing Your Materials

With so many different educational options available to you through Total Seminars, you may be wondering which options are right for your needs. While some people will decide to invest in the complete set of materials, others may be confined by their budget. Because the practice tests are so beneficial, they should be included with any purchase. When deciding between the books or videos, consider whether you prefer to study with a book in hand and at your own pace or if you learn better in a classroom-style environment. The videos provide you with the experience of being in a seminar.

Making the decision to pursue your A+ certification may be one of the best steps that you can take to promote job security or even to advance to the next level in your career. Those with this certification may have an advantage during the hiring process, and they may even earn a higher income than their uncertified peers. After you have made this wise decision, take time to visit Total Seminars’s website to order your study materials and practice exams.


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Why More and More People are Receiving an IC3 Certification

0 March 15, 2013 in Uncategorized by

[Posted 15 Mar 2013 by Kathy Yale]

The Internet and Computing Core Certification, ic3 Certification credentials verify that you have demonstrated a basic level of computer and Internet proficiency. You can obtain these credentials by passing the appropriate examinations at an authorized testing center.

Benefits of IC3 credentials

Employers on a global basis are beginning to recognize these ic3 Certification credentials. After receiving these credentials, you should display them proudly on your resume. They should help you get employment wherever computers are in use.

Industrialized nations are becoming based more and more on computer technology. Computers are taking over jobs formerly done by hand. Your best bet for getting a job is to have verified skills in the use of computers and the Internet. The IC3 credentials provide a gateway to future employment. These credentials also provide the foundation for more advanced computer certifications.

Overview of IC3 testing

You receive the IC3 credentials by passing the following three exams:
Computing fundamentals
Key applications
Living online

You are allowed 45 minutes to complete each exam. The IC3 testing is conducted globally at Certiport Testing Centers.

Computing fundamentals exam

This exam covers computer hardware, software, and the operating system. The minimum passing score is 710 out of a possible 1000. Here are some of the skill areas included in this exam: It tests your ability to use computers, process information, select and maintain computer equipment, and solve common problems relating to computer hardware. It determines if you understand how computer hardware and software work together, the various functions of computer software and the basic concepts of database applications. It tests your knowledge of how operating systems, how to use the Windows or Macintosh desktop, and how to install and remove software.

Key applications exam

This exam covers generic program functions as well as basic Word and Excel functions. The minimum passing score is 750 out of a possible 1000. This exam includes the following features: It verifies that you can start and exit a Windows application, use the online help, identify common screen elements, manage files, perform editing and formatting functions, and perform printing functions. It tests your ability to use common functions of word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation software.

Living online exam

This exam deals with the Internet and networks, e-mail, web browsers, and the impact of the Internet on society. The minimum passing score is 660 out of a possible 1000. The tests include the following areas: You must show your ability to identify network fundamentals, including the benefits and risks of network computing. You must identify how electronic mail (e-mail) works, how to use an e-mail application, and how to follow the rules of e-mail use (netiquette).

Studying for IC3 testing

You may want to do some studying before you take any of the IC3 tests. Two of the most popular tools are an IC3 textbook or take an online course.

Growing popularity of IC3 credentials

In today’s competitive world filled with computers and networks, IC3 credentials are becoming very popular. These credentials give people the self-confidence and skills they need to advance in the information technology (IT) industry. These credentials are becoming known and sought after by employers all over the world.


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The Benefits of a Network+ Certification

0 March 8, 2013 in Uncategorized by

[Posted 8 Mar 2013 by Kathy Yale]

The Value Of Certifications In The IT Industry

The IT industry is build on certifications and experience, which means if an individual doesn’t have one then they need the other. The tech industry is a large and varied industry with many specialties. Unlike other industries, it also doesn’t have a strong emphasis on traditional degrees. Instead, the tech industry focuses on many specialized certifications in different fields, one of the most notable being Network+. These certifications show two things: that you have the basic knowledge necessary to fulfill your job, and that you keep on top of current technology and protocols.

Certifications range from entry-level and student certifications to advanced certifications that command a high salary. In general, those with certifications will command a higher salary than those without. Many positions within the IT industry need certifications such as the Network+ to even be considered for hire, especially in lucrative government contracts.

The Different Types of Certification

There are three main types of certification that an IT professional would consider: Microsoft, Cisco, and Comptia. Each of these certification companies have a variety of certification paths that one can go down to advance and specialize their knowledge.

Microsoft certifications focus on supporting Microsoft products for the use of systems administration and help desk support, where Cisco certifications focus on supporting Cisco products for network and routing capabilities. These are two very different industries which means that an IT professional should choose the industry that they prefer before deciding which certifications they want.

Comptia is different from the other certificate vendors because they are not based on any specific product line. Rather, Comptia certifications test entry-level capabilities in general technology, and thus show an individual’s ability to work in any environment.

When To Get Network+ Certification

Network+ certification is an entry-level certification that is usually taken at the beginning of one’s career or even while still in school. The Network+ certification will show employers that an individual is aware of the basic concepts of networking and routing. This differentiates an individual from other job applicants and proves that they have the basic knowledge required to be a network administrator.

Network+ certification is required for many positions, and is often preferred over Cisco Certified Network Associate certifications for positions that want all-around knowledge and not Cisco-specific knowledge. Network+ certification is a single exam that can be arranged through a local testing center.

How To Study For Network+ Certification

There are many different ways to study for Network+ certification, depending on an individual’s preference for learning. There are physical classes by local IT centers, video lessons, audiotapes, textbooks, and interactive practice tests. The Network+ certification is best taken by people that have at least a small amount of experience in the industry.

What To Do After The Network+ Certification

Since the Network+ certification is an entry-level certification there are a couple of options an individual can take after Network+. There are other Comptia certifications for a variety of technologies that can help grow an individual outwards. Obtaining a Microsoft certification or Cisco certification after Network+ can similarly make an individual look more well-rounded and professional.

The Cisco certification path for networking is more involved than the Network+ certification, so it is often easier to take Network+ before the Cisco exams. The Microsoft certification paths, however, can show that an employee is able to handle both the networking and the system administration side of technology as well as opening up different positions to a job seeker.

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Why You Need an A+ Certification Now More than Ever

0 March 5, 2013 in Uncategorized by

[Posted 5 Mar 2013 by Kathy Yale]

If you are someone who is interested in working in a technology related field, or even if you are considering how you can better your chances of getting a job in general, you will quickly need to learn more about A+ certification.  A+ certification is something that is generating attention, but what does it cover and why should you have it? Should you have it at all? Before you decide on whether you want this certification or not, take a moment to review a few key facts.

What Does A+ Certification Cover?

At the most basic level, A+ certification declares that you are a competent computer technician. A+ certification is a vendor-indepdendent certification that allows you to state that you are familiar with computer software and hardware and that you have had some training when it comes troubleshooting. The test covers everything from hardware to computer safety to networking to personal devices like laptops and PDAs. Having an A+ certification states that you have a broad and generalized amount of information about computers and networks.

Core Understanding

If you are not someone who is computer savvy, that is, you do not have a strong desire to work with computers or ascend through computer repair and design departments, then you will find that the A+ certification is an excellent workhorse certification to earn. While it does prepare you for work as an IT assistant or an IT helpdesk person, it is not designed to advance you into an upper-division IT personnel the way that more elaborate certifications will. However, becoming certified will show that you have more information than a layperson.

Increased Pay

An A+ certification will earn you approximately 11 percent more within your first year of certification than you would receive without a certification. A+ certification is excellent to have in conjunction with other certifications, like Network+. Both on its own and as a supplemental certification, the A+ certification is an excellent choice for you.

Increased Familiarity With Computers

There is far too great an impulse to see our computers and our networks as complex machinery that few people understand. We set them up clumsily and with no idea why they go together, and when they break, it takes hours, days or even weeks to fix. If you are someone who uses computers on a regular basis, it is often worth your while to find out how to repair them. Instead of handing your computer over to repair personnel who will charge you for parts in addition to an hourly wage, you will know how to do the vast majority of simple computer fixes on your own. This is invaluable for an independent worker.

Foot in the Door

With so many IT professionals looking for jobs, it is important to distinguish yourself from everyone else. By making sure that you have A+ certification, you will be able to make sure that the individuals who are looking at your resume will give it a thorough inspection. A+ certification shows that you are someone who is interested in a wide range of training and that you can follow through with a project.

Take a moment to think about what A+ certification could do for you, your career and your ability to get ahead!



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