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What is CompTIA A+

What is CompTIA A+?

The CompTIA A+ certification is an industry standard for those who wish to pursue a career in IT. The A+ consists of two exams, one focuses on cloud computing, hardware, and networking technology, while the other teaches you about software, operating systems, and cybersecurity basics. Let’s take a look at what the CompTIA A+ is.

The information technology industry is expected to reach a global value of $5 trillion in 2021. It is one of the fastest-growing industries globally, with the most significant development expected to happen in the emerging technology sector – big data/analytics, IoT software, AR/VR, and similar. Other sectors, such as software, tech services, hardware, and telecom services, are not far behind.

To start your IT career, you will need at least a couple of professional certifications under your belt so that a potential employer can evaluate your knowledge and readiness to learn and improve. MyComputerCareer can help with that!

CompTIA is one of the best-recognized certification programs in the IT industry. It consists of several certifications categorized by skillset, including the CompTIA A+. 

But what is CompTIA A+

CompTIA Certification Groups

There are four groups that the CompTIA certs are divided into. 

1. Core Certifications

The core certs aim at building the foundational skills that any IT expert needs to have. You can choose from four core certifications: 

  • IT Fundamentals+ – for pre-career foundational knowledge focused on how IT frameworks work 
  • CompTIA A+ – for device connectivity and user support skills
  • CompTIA Network+ – for system connections with endpoint devices that help you become a network support specialist
  • CompTIA Security+ – providing entry-level skills in cybersecurity 

2. Infrastructure Certifications

If you enjoy the Network+ program, you may want to expand your knowledge on IT infrastructure with these three certifications: 

  • CompTIA Server+ – for server support and administration
  • CompTIA Cloud+ – for deploying network storage resources, virtual system administration, and hybrid clouds
  • CompTIA Linux+ – for the administration and management of Linux operating systems

3. Cybersecurity Certifications

For the advancement in the cybersecurity branch, CompTIA offers the following:

  • CASP+ (CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner) – for designing and implementing security solutions
  • CompTIA CySA+ (CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst) – for becoming an IT security behavioral analyst
  • CompTIA PenTest+ (CompTIA Penetration Testing) – for those who wish to work in penetration and vulnerability testing

4. Additional Professional Certifications

The final group consists of certifications that don’t technically fit into any of the categories mentioned above. 

  • CompTIA Cloud Essentials – for furthering your knowledge of cloud computing and learning how to shift from in-house to cloud storage
  • CompTIA Project+ – for project management (bringing a project from planning to completion, finishing a project within a specific time frame and under budget, etc.)
  • CompTIA CTT+ – for those interested in technical training (becoming a computer technology instructor)

What is CompTIA A+?

Now that we’ve presented a brief overview of what CompTIA offers, let’s take a closer look at what the A+ certification is. 

This program is an industry-standard for those who wish to pursue a career in IT. It has been described as an “entry-level rite of passage for IT technicians.” A+ is meant for professionals searching for jobs as a technical support specialist, field service technician, desktop support administrator, and more. It covers PC repair, software installation, operating systems configuration on desktop and mobile devices, basic networking, security, and troubleshooting skills. 

If you are interested in going the cybersecurity or the networking route in your IT path, the A+ is an excellent starting point. The IT industry counts more than one million A+ certificate holders, and it is required for technicians who want to service HP, Intel, and Dell computer hardware. 

Is CompTIA A+ Worth It?

The A+ certification has gained recognition as one of the most essential certifications for aspiring IT professionals due to its comprehensive coverage of fundamental IT concepts.
To attain this certification, candidates must successfully pass two exams. One of these exams delves into cloud computing, hardware, and networking technologies, while the other focuses on software, operating systems, and cybersecurity basics.
While obtaining the CompTIA A+ certification does not guarantee immediate job placement, it does significantly bolster a candidate’s resume in the eyes of potential employers. Possessing CompTIA certifications reflects a candidate’s commitment and perseverance in the field of information technology.
With the CompTIA A+ certification, individuals can anticipate securing positions as technicians in field service, computer support, data or system support, and other related roles. Furthermore, for those aiming to specialize in network support or cybersecurity, the A+ certification provides a solid foundation for further advancement in the field.”<

The CompTIA A+ Exam

CompTIA released its restructured exam system in 2019. According to the new system, to get A+ certified, candidates must pass two exams: 

  • Core 1 (exam 220-1001) – mobile devices, hardware, cloud computing, virtualization, network troubleshooting, and technology. 
  • Core 2 (exam 220-1002) – software troubleshooting, installing and configuring operating systems, operational procedures, and security. 

Once a candidate successfully passes these two core exams, they can receive the A+ certificate. The certificate is a guarantee that the individual has the following knowledge and skills: 

  • Installing virtual machines
  • Troubleshooting and supporting end-user access to data and apps
  • Setting up and supporting basic small office and home networks
  • Setting up and troubleshooting peripheral devices 
  • Configuring, installing, and upgrading operating systems, including Linux, iOS, Apple OS X, Windows, Windows Mobile
  • Assembling and dismantling computer hardware
  • Implementing cybersecurity controls appropriate for a help desk technician or a technical support role

Where can I take the certification exam?

You have the option to take the certification exam either online or in person at a test center. If you prefer online testing, you can schedule the exam at your convenience and take it from the comfort of your home. You will require a quiet and private space, as well as a device with a webcam and a stable internet connection. On the other hand, if you opt for in-person testing, there are numerous test centers located worldwide where you can take the exam. Remember to carry two forms of identification when going to the test center and refrain from bringing any personal belongings with you.

How much does the CompTIA A+ certification cost?

The cost of obtaining the CompTIA A+ certification includes paying $246 for each exam voucher, totaling $492 for both exams. This price is for one attempt at each exam, requiring a new voucher for each subsequent attempt. Additional expenses may be incurred for training or exam preparation, depending on the chosen method of preparation. Moreover, the Google IT Support Professional Certificate, which covers the same topics as the A+ certification, is priced at $39 per month, allowing for self-paced learning.

How does the CompTIA A+ certification compare to the CompTIA IT Fundamentals (ITF+) certification?

The CompTIA A+ certification and the CompTIA IT Fundamentals (ITF+) certification are two distinct entry-level certifications offered by CompTIA. While both certifications cater to individuals interested in pursuing a career in IT, they serve slightly different purposes.

The CompTIA A+ certification focuses on testing candidates on the specific knowledge and skills required to secure an entry-level IT position. It is intended for individuals who are ready to commit to a career in IT and are keen on acquiring job-ready skills.

On the other hand, the CompTIA IT Fundamentals (ITF+) certification is designed for students and professionals who are exploring the field of IT and want to determine if it aligns with their career aspirations. It is also suitable for non-IT professionals seeking a comprehensive introduction to the world of information technology.

How long will it take to get CompTIA A+ certified?

The duration required to achieve CompTIA A+ certification can vary based on your existing familiarity with the exam objectives. For individuals with prior IT experience, a concise review of the materials may be sufficient in a matter of days. Conversely, newcomers to the field may need several weeks to months for thorough preparation, which largely hinges on the commitment and time allocated to learning the necessary content.

How can individuals prepare for the CompTIA A+ exam?

To prepare effectively for the CompTIA A+ exam, individuals must successfully pass two crucial exams: Core 1 (exam 220-1001) and Core 2 (exam 220-1002). These exams cover a wide range of essential topics, including mobile devices, hardware, cloud computing, virtualization, network troubleshooting, software troubleshooting, operating systems, operational procedures, security, and more. Achieving success in both Core 1 and Core 2 exams is key to obtaining the esteemed A+ certificate. This certification validates a candidate’s proficiency in various areas such as virtual machine installation, end-user troubleshooting, network setup, peripheral device support, operating system configuration, hardware assembly, and cybersecurity implementation suitable for roles like help desk technicians or technical support specialists.

Who is the CompTIA A+ for?

If you’re a beginner in the IT industry and unsure which certifications to go for first, the A+ provides good foundational knowledge to help you jumpstart your IT career. It is ideal for those who have 9 to 12 months of experience working in the field or a lab or equivalent training. 

Once you pass this certification exam, you will be ready for any of the following job roles: 

  • Data support technician
  • Help desk technician
  • End-user computing technician
  • Service desk analyst
  • Field service technician
  • System support specialist
  • Associate network engineer
  • Computer support specialist
  • Desktop support administrator and similar

What are some entry-level job opportunities available for individuals with the CompTIA A+ certification and their average salaries?

Individuals who hold the CompTIA A+ certification have access to various entry-level job opportunities within the field of IT. Some common positions that often require the CompTIA A+ certification include help desk analyst, IT technician, help desk specialist, technical support specialist, desktop support administrator, system support specialist, and associate network engineer. According to recent data from Glassdoor, the average US base salaries for these roles range from $46,083 to $71,713. It is important to note that these salary figures may vary based on location, with IT jobs in major cities typically offering higher pay to accommodate the cost of living. Additionally, factors such as educational background and prior work experience can also play a role in determining salary levels for these entry-level positions.

How long is the CompTIA A+ certification good for?

The CompTIA A+ certification is valid for a duration of three years starting from the date that you successfully pass the exam. To maintain the certification beyond the initial three-year period, individuals have the option to extend its validity for another three years by fulfilling certain requirements. These requirements include attending a CompTIA training course, obtaining an additional qualified certification, or completing 20 continuing education units.

Conclusion

CompTIA is a non-profit organization that offers a wide range of certifications for various IT professionals. Their certs are divided into four groups, and the A+ exams belong in the Core Certifications category. It’s no wonder since the A+ has been named one of the most crucial certifications to have if you want to become an IT expert. 

If you wish to obtain this cert, you will have to pass two exams. One of them focuses on cloud computing, hardware, and networking technology, while the other teaches you about software, operating systems, and cybersecurity basics. 

After passing these exams, getting an IT job is not guaranteed, but employers like to see CompTIA certs on resumes. They are a testament to the candidate’s dedication and willingness to work hard in information technology. 

With the A+, you can expect to land employment as a technician in field service, computer support, data or system support, and similar roles. If you wish to go further and specialize in network support or cybersecurity, the A+ provides an ideal base. 

MyComputerCareer offers a helping hand in obtaining this certification. If you have any questions about CompTIA in general or the A+, don’t hesitate to reach out. We will ensure that your career in IT starts as smoothly as possible!

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