By Jide Awe | Contributing Writer
A+ certification is a vendor-neutral certification that certifies the competency of service professionals in the computer industry. It is for anyone who wants an internationally recognized credential as a competent computer service professional.
A+ Certification program is one of the largest certification worldwide. A+ Certification is developed and sponsored by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), a global association of IT industry companies with the common goal of standardized qualifications for professionals working in the industry. Membership of CompTIA include most of the global software and hardware manufacturers such as Microsoft, IBM, Lotus, Dell, Compaq, etc.
Why is A+ the most popular and widely recognized certification for PC Repairs and maintenance?
What makes A+ Certification different from other credentials is the strong support it has received from the computer industry.
- A+ Certification is recognized and backed by all the leading manufacturers, vendors, service providers and professional bodies worldwide.
- A+ Certification is the only generic IT support qualification in the world!
- Achievement of A+ Certification shows that a person has the knowledge, skill and customer service skills necessary to successfully support PC equipment and users.
- Technical support, the focus of A+ certification, is the busiest area of IT.
Technical Requirements of A+
A+ demonstrates basic competence in supporting microcomputers. To be certified you must pass two modules: A+ Essentials AND one of following 3 exams: 220-602 (IT Technician) or 220-603 (Remote Support Technician) or 220-604 (Depot Technician).
Target Audience / Requirements for A+ Certification
A+ is possibly the most popular entry-level certification. It is usually seen as being for people with a bit of experience (6 months or less) in computer service. However, for the purpose of this discourse, let us attempt to classify the target audience for A+. The focus is not the certification itself but what it represents. Our interest is on the acquisition and use of skills and knowledge for practical benefit. Certification validates what you have, not what you don't have.
Computer users - intense, enthusiasts
Are you a user or PC enthusiast that needs to have a better appreciation of how computers work? Are you someone who needs to know how to install your own software, assemble your systems or troubleshoot your faulty PCs? Some are lucky when they adopt the "trial and error" method, but most get their fingers burnt. You need to be equipped with standard skills and knowledge. You need to ensure that your installation and troubleshooting is done securely, skillfully and cost-effectively.
Newcomers who want to develop a career in IT and tech support.
A+ certification was specially designed for the tech support field. Technical support is the best area for a beginner to gain a good working knowledge of the basics of the IT profession. Hands-on experience gained especially in the area of problem solving is invaluable for starting an IT Career. PCs can be seen in every sphere of life now. What this means is that it is easier for a newcomer in tech support to get experience and get a foot in the door, as opportunities are virtually limitless. This is quite unlike a newcomer with skills in more complex applications that are not commonplace.
Technicians / Professionals in tech support that need a recognized validation of their skills and experience.
If you've been working in tech support for sometime and you've don't have the respect and recognition, you feel you deserve, you need to examine A+ to know if it is what you need. It is an external validation and measurement of your technical support skills and experience. Not only are you saying you are capable in Tech Support, but CompTIA, the world's largest IT trade association is confirming your level of competence.
Also as a professional on the field you might find that your experience, that is the work you do, limits your knowledge and exposure. A relevant certification program removes this limitation, by covering all standard areas in the particular field. In this way the certification increases your knowledge, augments your level of proficiency and enhances your personal productivity. A+ gives you comprehensive knowledge and skills of all key areas you need to know in tech support.
IT Professionals outside tech support that need tech support skills and certification to advance their careers.
It is possible to be an experienced Programmer and yet be unable to diagnose a faulty hard disk drive. What if you find that as an IT professional say in programming or web design, you are heavily dependent on tech support to get your job done? It may make sense for you to have standard skills and knowledge in tech support so that you can achieve results in an effective manner.
Technical Expectations: A+ Certified Professional
An A+ Certified Professional is usually expected to carry out the following tasks:
Installation and setup, Upgrading, Repairs, Troubleshooting, Maintenance of desktops, laptops, printers, and all other peripherals. Plus, you need to fully understand the network configurations and operating systems your users might be utilizing. And also the setup, training of users in the use of systems, as well as Software related tasks. Installation of software packages, upgrade and update of software, troubleshoot application and system errors, advice users on software use, train users, writing of training/user manuals, overseeing PC usage and so on.
The focus of this piece has mainly been the technical aspect of A+ as a certification for tech support. Technical support, like every career area of IT has its personality requirements, as well as opportunities and challenges. Are you are interested in developing your career along this line? It makes sense for you to also have an insight into the associated challenges and prospects. With this you can take meaningful career decisions within the context of your career plan.