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Ramblings about the world of technology and certification.

The Growing Importance of IC3 Cerification

0 May 16, 2013 in ic3 Certification by

[Posted 16 May 2013 by Kathy Yale]

Computing fundamentals, key applications and living online are the three elements of IC3 certification. The importance of these components is progressively growing in the jobs industry. As technology becomes more of a key component in the workplace, employers are searching for candidates who have thorough training and experience in the core areas.

The Big Shift

The workforce of the 1970s saw a shift in the workplace as computers were introduced in higher levels of administration. As time passed, computers replaced filing systems for records. Administrative workers were required to do away with the Rolo-Dex and card filing systems and learn how to enter information into a computer.

As technology developed and employers saw the benefits in speed and accuracy in using computers, the usage of computers was spread outside of the lines of record keeping. Companies began to use them as processors for applications, real-life simulators and as monetary exchange systems. Employers were able to locate files and view transactions that had occurred months prior to inquiry. Technology has made the speed of business increase at astronomical increments.

Today’s Work Environment

Things have continued to progress since the 1970s. And, every position of employment requires some type of interaction with computers. Hands-on laborers have to at least "punch the clock" using a keyboard, mouse and monitor. This is why IC3 certification is growing in importance.

Benefits to Employers

Arguably, job candidates are classified by levels of computer skill and knowledge. Employers understand that holders of the IC3 certificate don’t have to be trained on basic computer usage. They also understand that holders of the certificate are adept at searching and getting around the Internet without much assistance. These factors add much value to potential job candidates.

Employers transitioning to a more technological platform are crippled when having to remove their "best" employees from the floor and retrain them on computer basics. Also, the learning curve can take up to months to cure and justify the training.

Switching Careers?

On the other hand, IC3 certification is valuable to recruiters because they don’t have to sift through a candidate’s resume in order to determine whether or not he or she has the basic computer skills necessary for the job. Those who are making a career change can make themselves more attractive with this as on a resume.

How Accessible is IC3 Certification?

Total Seminars is offering courses that you can utilize to prepare yourself for today’s job market. We offer a number of courses that include IC3, A++ and more. If you are switching careers, reentering the job market or jumping in for the first time, we have a line up of courses that will help you advance as a professional.

We also provide news and other updates pertinent to testing. We provide you with the right materials and offer expertise on how to use them most effectively. We keep pace with industry changes, and, we make adjustments when test content changes. Contact us today and use as a competent aid in helping you achieve certification success.

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How to Use the A+ Practice Test to Gain a Foothold in the IT Industry

0 May 10, 2013 in A+ Practice Test by

[Posted 09 May 2013 by Kathy Yale]

The A+ practice test can be highly beneficial to someone who is serious about building a long-term professional career in the IT industry. As anyone working in a technical field knows, industry certifications are a fact of life. Because many of the issues that you’ll face in IT require highly detailed knowledge of specific platforms or software packages, employers need to use certification exams to determine your level of technical competence.

Why Take the Test?

Some individuals who already have a good deal of knowledge in the field of IT may question the benefit of taking the A+ practice test. Indeed, taking the test will require a bit more of a time investment than simply going straight for your certification. However, you should look at the practice test as a tool rather than a time investment.

As A+ is considered by many employers to be an entry-level certification for anyone wishing to join the IT industry, there likely will be a fairly large pool of applicants for any position requiring the skills you’ll learn. Practicing before testing for your certification is one way to set yourself apart from potential competitors.

In an article prepared for the Learning Strategies Database at Muskingum University, it is explained that practice tests are perhaps the best way of preparing for any type of examination. The main benefit is said to stem from the fact that such tests impose an in-depth review of the material that will be covered on an actual exam. Additionally, the practice exam will generally follow the same format as the official one, thus allowing a student to get acquainted with the way information and questions will be presented to them.

Making the Most of the Test

If you do elect to take the A+ practice test, you’ll want to make sure that you maximize the opportunity that doing so gives you. There are two ways to do this deepening on your situation. If you’re not sure which elements of the test will be most difficult for you, you can work through the whole thing, and then go back for a more detailed review of any topics that you had problems with.

On the other hand, if you’re already aware of the fact that you are weaker when it comes to certain topics covered on the test, you can choose to focus all of your efforts on these areas until you’re able to attain a high degree of confidence when it comes to all the material.

By using the test in this way, you can greatly improve upon any areas of weakness you might have. This will make you a stronger candidate for employment even when it comes to entry-level positions. You’ll have a stronger grasp of crucial material then other applicants who did not take the same extra time for preparation.

A final benefit of taking the A+ practice test is the fact that it puts you in a better position for furthering your career down the line. Because A+ certification focuses on many of the fundamentals in the IT industry, the strong foundation of skills that you’ll be building by taking extra time to learn will likely mean that you’ll be better prepared to delve into the more complex areas of IT as you move up within the industry.

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Grab Some Color!

Adding color to printing enables you to do a lot more with a document than simply printing in black. You can add emphasis to specific text, for example, or add small graphics. When it comes to printing a chart, on the other hand, color pretty much makes the chart come alive.

For years, the only cost-effective color-printer choice for the SOHO environment has been ink jet printers. Those of you who have taken our classes know my opinion about the ink jet rip-off market, with replacement cartridges costing upwards of $1000 per gallon. (Seriously. Do the math.) But the primary alternative, color laser printers, have been so expensive that most families and small businesses simply couldn’t afford the initial cost, even if the lifetime cost was substantially less than for an ink jet printer.

Dell just broke that paradigm with the announcement of the Dell C1790nw at a whopping $134.99. Blink. Close your mouth. It’s on sale today, so if you’re in the market for a printer, go here:

Or, if that long link is broken in your browser, try here:

My immediate thought was that, like ink jet printer manufacturers, Dell would fleece consumers with the cost of toner cartridges, but that appears not to be the case. Dell offers two levels of cartridges for the C1790: the 700-page and the 1400-page. (There’s also a 2000-page version, but only for black.) Prices:

  • Black (700) – $50
  • Magenta (700) – $56
  • Cyan (700) – $56
  • Yellow (700) – $56


  • Black (2000) – $70
  • Magenta (1400) – $70
  • Cyan (1400) – $70
  • Yellow (1400) – $70
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History of A+ Certification and the Roll of Certification in today’s Job Market

0 May 2, 2013 in Uncategorized by

Holding an up-to-date A+ Certification is vital to modern-day IT technicians. The computer era was once driven by seat-of-the-pants self-taught IT groundbreakers. However, technology began to advance at an almost incomprehensible pace. The early age of computer programming and repair vanished beneath a demand for organized methods of training. Company employed technicians struggled to keep pace, and something had to give.

The roots of the change began in 1982 when five major vendors created the Association of Better Computer Dealers (ABCD). The group came together under a single goal: Find the means for enhanced IT services for vendors and consumers.

In 1993, a revolutionary change healed the riff. It came about through the hands of suggestions and actions of CompTIA, a renamed and expanded version of the ABCD.

Prior to the significant A+ Certification programs introduced by CompTIA, IT educational documentations were company related and company regulated. Most major manufacturers including IBM and Dell required prospective employees to participate in precision training programs specific to their brand name. Corporations that had shaped an IT department around the skills of self-taught individuals remained outside the loop. They were vulnerable to the introduction of new technologies that may have reached beyond the scope of their self-taught IT employees.

Strategies introduced through the 1993 CompTIA certification programs leveled the technical playing field. The vendor-neutral CompTIA training programs ensured every company of graduates that were competent in a broad range of computer operating systems, skills and technologies.

Changes Along the Way and for Today

Unless specifically studying old forms of production, repair or creation, no training program can linger in the past. Since 1993, the CompTIA exam has undergone various major changes. For example:

  • 2003 introduced a division of the process that separated hardware exams from software exams
  • 2007 heralded in the prestige of accreditation from the American National Standards Institute
  • 2009 presented new challenges due to a demand for technicians with the skills for adapting to real world IT complications

To remain relevant with current needs in the IT industry, CompTIA continues to update the specs of the program. Employers expect prospective IT administrators and computer repair techs to maintain an ongoing education. Keeping up to date is easier now than it was in the pre-1993 days, but it still requires dedication to education.

2012 A+ Certification exam updates include the following changes and more:

  • Disposal of Windows 2000
  • In-depth SOHO security
  • Handling mobile devices and wireless network connections
  • Full support for the Windows 7 OS.

(Note that August 31, 2013 is earmarked for retirement of exams 220-701 and 220-702.)

Graduate job opportunities are not limited to computer manufacturers and corporate environments. For example: According to USAJOBS Working For American, basic requirements for a recent Federal Bureau of Investigation job posting for a Forensic Examiner included A+ Certification for personal computer hardware services and others.

Certified technicians can expect to receive a 5 to 15 percent income increase over employees who lack the documentation. Currently, documented educational evidence remains a preferred method of entry into the IT field. Now is a good time for you to open your windows to opportunity.

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A+ Certification is Essential for Prospective IT Professionals

0 April 30, 2013 in Uncategorized by

The A+ Certification was created by a non-profit, vendor-neutral organization called CompTIA. This certification tests one’s competency as a computer technician, primarily focusing on the Windows operating system, however, questions regarding the Apple and Android operating systems have been added in recent years. The A+ test is a natural gateway toward other CompTIA certifications, although it is not required. Earning this certification is typically necessary to be considered for an entry-level IT position. The A+ Certification tests a broad range of topics and is divided into two parts.

The first part of the A+ Certification tests knowledge of networking, assembling, and configuring PCs, laptops, and related hardware, and the fundamentals of computer technology.

The second part of the test determines if the applicant is capable of installing and configuring operating systems and configuring standard features such as email, printers, scanners, etc. The exam also covers configuring standard settings such as email and networking on mobile operating systems such as the Android or Apple iOS.

Jobs that require the A+ Certification

According to CompTIA, an A+ Certification is a standard requirement for those seeking employment in positions such as technical support specialist, field service technician, and IT support technician, administrator, or specialist. It shows employers that the applicant has a solid understanding of assembling computers, configuring software, operating systems, and hardware. Government IT jobs usually have stricter requirements regarding certificates and education than the public sector, which only adds to the value that an A+ certification can provide.

How Much Value Does the A+ Certification Provide?

A recent survey conducted by Certification Magazine states that the average salary of someone that holds an A+ Certification is about $65K. This figure includes many people who have worked their way up from an entry-level position and have years of experience; someone just starting off should expect to make somewhere around half of that. The A+ Certification is also a starting point to numerous other certifications offered by CompTIA that can lead to an increase in earning power.

The A+ Certification by itself may not be enough to secure employment. Employers will often want to see experience and other educational credentials on an applicant’s resume. However, the certification can mean the difference between whether an applicant is even called in for an interview. Many employers will screen résumés looking for people with particular certificates. As previously mentioned, government jobs place a high emphasis on their employees being certified.

Other Information

The A+ Certification exam is a 90-minute test and requires a score of 75% to pass. It tests basic computer understanding, regarding hardware and software, which means that it will show employers that you have a good understanding of basic computer skills. The A+ Certifications used to be good for life once an applicant passed and received the certification. As of January 2010, CompTIA made a change and added a 3-year expiration policy on A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications. Certificate holders are required to retest every 3 years. Technology is rapidly changing and it is necessary to ensure that one’s knowledge remains current, which is the purpose of requiring retesting. If one holds more than one certificate, they are only required to retest for the highest level certificate held.

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Save Money Studying with a Network+ Practice Test

0 April 25, 2013 in CompTIA Network+ by

[Posted 25 Apr 2013 by Kathy Yale]

You need IT certification – maybe you’re starting a new job, or you just switched positions within a business, or company policy just changed, or you want to give yourself an edge over your competitors and add something extra to your résumé. Whatever the reason is, CompTIA offers a variety of certification exams for your career needs. As one of the leading certification providers in the world, CompTIA provides high quality, vendor-neutral – or non-proprietary – certifications that set the standards in essential industry skills. Passing a CompTIA qualification exam requires a thorough understanding of the material you need to know to do your job well, and one of the best ways to prepare for an examination is with a Network+ practice test.

Certifications Available

CompTIA provides sixteen certifications on a variety of topics and two basic computer skills certifications, along with associated courses, textbooks, and practice exams that teach the material. These range from the Strata IT Fundamentals, which covers elementary PC functions and technology, to the CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner, which teaches and tests risk management, analysis, and enterprise security. The Professional series of tests deals with the technical skills needed for various information technology, or IT, jobs; it includes networking, troubleshooting, installation, maintenance, sales, communication, security, printer technology, and disaster recovery. The Specialty series is intended for people in niche markets and includes certifications for cloud computing, environmentally friendly IT, and healthcare systems. All of the material on the Network+ practice test is useful for various careers in the IT industry whether or not your employer requires certification.

The Network+ Test

The Network+ test “covers managing, maintaining, troubleshooting, operating, and configuring basic network infrastructure”. It is intended for network technicians, installers, and administrators; help desk technicians; and cable installers. Some companies require Network+ qualifications (these include Dell, HP, and Xerox), while others merely recommend it (Apple). The test has a maximum of one hundred multiple choice and performance-based (in which a simulated task must be solved) questions that must be completed within ninety minutes. The test is graded on a scale of 100 to 900 points, with a score of 720 required to pass. You can learn the material and prepare for the exam in a variety of ways: CompTIA offers books and study guides; in-person training, if you feel more comfortable learning in a classroom setting; and an online “E-learning Center”.


The costs of CompTIA’s study materials, classes, and exams can really add up. The required exam voucher for the Network+ certification costs $261 and study packs can range in price from $32 to $315. Your career’s important, but it can still be a pain to pay for all of that. Luckily, an alternative option exists: the Network+ practice test from Total Seminars.

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Why is Network+ a Pre-Requisite for Many Technical Positions?

0 April 19, 2013 in Uncategorized by

CompTIA’s Network+ certification covers the basics of routing and switching without emphasis on any particular product lines. A Network+ certification shows that an IT professional has the knowledge that is necessary for a position as a network administrator or network engineer. It’s important for many positions, because it shows prospective employers that the IT professional has working knowledge and not just an education. Because many schools don’t emphasize practical knowledge and instead focus on higher level concepts, this can be very important.

The Importance of Network+ Certification

Network+ certification in particular is requested by many employers as a general test of skills. Specifically, government and military contracts tend to request Network+ certification above other types of certification. This is because Network+ certification is vendor neutral, which means that it applies to all types of systems. Cisco certification only applies to Cisco technology, and Microsoft certification is similar. A technician with Network+ certification will therefore have a more diverse set of knowledge and be able to work with varying systems. Because the government and military have very rigid standards, those without the required certifications may not be considered for hire.

Even private enterprises often require either a Network+ or Cisco certification. While some companies may ask for Cisco certification specifically, many companies are willing to take other similar certifications such as Network+. Network+ also prepares a potential IT professional to gain other certifications such as the Cisco Certified Network Associate certification, which is often considered more rigorous than Network+.

Preparing For Network+ Certification

There are many ways to prepare for the CompTIA Network+ certification, including live classes, textbooks, videos, and online lessons. Which method is best for the test taker depends on the way the test taker learns best, but many people who are going for certifications find that it’s easier to learn when using multiple methods at once, such as a textbook and a video course. Practice tests are also available for the Network+ certification and many find them very valuable, especially those who have been out of school for a while and are no longer accustomed to taking tests.

The Network+ certification does test entry-level knowledge, which means that it’s easier for people to take when they have had a year or more of experience with networking. Any hands on experience with a live network should help an IT professional with their Network+ certification.

What Comes After CompTIA Network+ Certification

After achieving their Network+ certification an IT professional has a lot of options to continue their certification paths. Network+ certification can be followed by Cisco networking certifications for those who want to focus primarily on network engineering and administration. Those who want to branch out to other areas of the IT industry can consider getting certificates like Server+ for server administration, or Security+ to specialize in computer securities. Security+ in particular is very useful for those who want to claim military or other government contracts because it’s a prerequisite for many of them.

CompTIA certification needs to be renewed every 3 years, so those who are CompTIA certified will have to keep this in mind if they want to remain certified. Certification renewal doesn’t necessarily cost the full amount of the tests, and it needs to be done if the certifications are to remain valid. Many employers will pay for their IT professionals to receive and keep their certifications, and there are also many discounted test vouchers available through websites and vendors.

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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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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, 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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