Tech Republic had an article in December, 2012 about the top 5 in-demand certifications of 2013. CompTIA A+ was not one of them. But it would be wrong to assume that this vendor-neutral certification is not important for you.
What is it all about?
CompTIA’s website states that the A+ certification is the starting line for a career in IT. Major hardware and software companies like Dell, IBM, Lenovo, HP, CompuCom and Intel have made it a pre-requisite for their service technicians.
To get CompTIA A+ certified, one needs to clear two exams. They are discussed below:
CompTIA A+ 220-801 covers the basics of computer technology, laptops and related hardware, basic networking and installation and configuration of PCs.
CompTIA A+ 220-802 tests if one has the skills required to install and configure PC operating systems including configuring common features (e.g. network connectivity and email) for mobile operating systems like Apple iOS and Android.
One thing to note here is that all certifications from CompTIA issued post 2011 are valid only for a period of 3 years. The certification can be kept relevant through CompTIA’s Continuing Education Program. For certified professionals enrolled in the Continuing Education Program, the higher-level certifications that will grant full credit for a CE certification renewal include, but not limited to, Cisco, EMC, HP, IBM, Microsoft, ISC(2), Novell, Oracle and Red Hat. This list also serves as a pointer to the fact that these vendors place a premium value to CompTIA’s certification.
Some of the benefits of having a CompTIA A+ certification are listed below:
Having a CompTIA A+ certification proves that you have the basic necessary skills as an IT Service technician. Government agencies like U.S. Dept. of Defense and private companies like Dell, IBM, Lenovo, CompuCom and Intel prefer having IT technicians with a CompTIA A+ certification. Even your current employer will give more value to you than your colleague who does not have this certification.
Better Career Options
Recruiting agencies prefer candidates with more certifications. And if it is for the role of IT technician, you can be more than sure CompTIA A+ will feature on top of the preferred list of certifications for the job-seeker. The CompTIA website lists Canon, Cognizant, Computacenter, Fujitsu, Ricoh, Toshiba, Unisys and Intel recommend or require CompTIA A+ certifications for their IT staff or partners.
Credits towards other certifications
Popular certification programs such as those offered by Microsoft, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Novell, Certiport and CISCO recognize CompTIA A+ certification for credit or continuing education towards their advanced certification tracks.
The A+ Certification will assist you in earning a raise, moving to a better project in the same organization or providing your CV with brownie points that will help you acquire a more satisfying and interesting job. With the high demand for tech sector workers, this seems to be the perfect time to get the CompTIA A+.