What Is A+ Certification?
By Jide Awe
Article Date: 2003-07-25
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,
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
- 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+ CORE AND A+ OPERATING SYSTEM
TECHNOLOGY. Both exams are extremely practical in nature. The Core
Hardware examination measures basic knowledge of installing,
configuring, upgrading, troubleshooting, and repairing microcomputer
systems based on standards defined by CompTIA’s test specification.
The Operating System Technologies exam measures basic knowledge of
Command Line Prompt, Operating Systems for installing, configuring,
upgrading, troubleshooting and repairing microcomputer systems.
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
• 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
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
First appeared at Jidaw Systems
About the Author:
Jide Awe is the founder of Jidaw Systems, an IT Training and
Certification provider that focuses on building IT Careers and
an IT Career portal. He has extensive experience with technical IT
training and IT Career counseling and he speaks and writes on IT
Careers and IT certification. You can drop him a line at
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