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Question for you A+ certified people

post #1 of 6
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I'm mildly bored in school and, after I wrap up the trimester, I want to take on something new, like some kind of certification. I looked at the CompTIA site, so the first thing I'd like to take would be A+, obviously. I took the practice test and got a 20/30, 3 questions short of passing (the questions on antiquated technologies kind of killed me ). I'm thinking if I take a couple online A+ reviews, read-up on the subjects I don't know, I could probably take that pretty easily.

How hard, however, would it be to then go on and pass Network+/Security+/Linux+/Server+? I know my general way around all of these but don't know the finer details needed to pass the test, so would it be a matter of just doing some online review, or should I invest in the official books?

Eventually, it might be nice to perhaps take one of the Cisco certs over summer, but obviously that's a lot more than just a book.

Any comments would be appreciated,
crazyap7
post #2 of 6
Network+ is the next logical step after A+. I found it equally as easy. I wrote both A+ tests in about 30 minutes.
    
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post #3 of 6
CompTIA certs are not as respected as MS certs. Also, I believe the CompTIA certs expire in 3 years or so (that change was made ~3 years ago). Microsoft Certifications are what you'll need. If you're just beginning, A+ and N+ are a good start.
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post #4 of 6
As stated, CompTIA certs are pretty basic, but form a good foundation if you are really entry level.

After hanging out on this site for a few months most people would have the competency to pass the A+.

Network+ and Security+ are similar in fashion to how the A+ equates to computer hardware. It's more based around foundational knowledge.
Edited by beers - 11/7/11 at 5:00pm
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post #5 of 6
As has been stated, MS certs would get you farther career wise, but there's another side to that. First, is that even if you cram like no other the tests can still be difficult if you haven't had hands on experience - partly due to the content, and partly due to the wording. MS questions are structured in a way that you *could* pass if you crammed hard and are extremely well versed in test-taking (as in the field of study for test taking itself) but if you have hands on experience, you tend to be able to "see past" their wording.

Solution: VMs. Still, business-environment work or college lab work is preferred for the MS certs.


That being said, CompTIA does have it's place. A+ will get you nowhere, especially by itself. A+ used to be the hallmark that HR departments looked for, but that is quickly fading. And in smaller organization with a tech department that's worth it's salt A+ is often laughed at, tremendously. A+, when complemented with Net+ and/or Sec+, however can get you an interview. Beyond that, it's up to you to land the job.

I got my A+/Net+/Sec+ right before they went 3-year terms. It was probably a waste of money but it did give a good foundation to areas I was lacking in (and some of those I didn't realize I was lacking) during study time. At most, they can give you a $1000/yr boost in salary.


My suggestion: get A+ and then Net+. Then begin reviewing Sec+ to see if you're at all interested in the Security field. If you are, take it - see how you do. When you go to apply for a job however, and I can't stress this enough, do not stress you have CompTIA certs. Simply state that you have them - most managers doing interviews know they are very basic, and anyone who touts them as noteworthy isn't worth it. Someone who simply says 'Yes, I have them - I want the hands-on experience to take on higher-level certs" on the other hand, is completely worth it.
    
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post #6 of 6
I wouldn't invest too much into certs right now. You're better off saving your money and getting an internship in the career field instead. From what I understand, companies will usually pay you to get them once you work for them.

Most universities will give you college credit for some, but it's usually cheaper to just take the course instead. I got a few in high school and they haven't done much more than give me college credit.

When it comes to A+, you won't really get anything out of it. GeekSquad wants their workers to have it, but they rarely ever higher outside the BestBuy salesman. I never took it, but when they changed it a while back in I think 2006, I heard it was really simple compared to the previous version.
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