The CompTIA A+ certification is an industry standard for those wishing to pursue a career in information technology. The A+ certification consists of two exams: one on cloud computing, hardware, and networking technology, and the other on software, operating systems, and cybersecurity fundamentals. Let’s take a look at what the CompTIA A+ certification entails.
In 2021, the global value of the information technology industry is expected to reach $5 trillion. It is one of the world’s fastest-growing industries, with the most significant growth anticipated in the emerging technology sector – big data/analytics, IoT software, AR/VR, and similar. Other industries, such as software, technology services, hardware, and telecommunications, are not far behind.
To begin your IT career, you will need to have at least a couple of professional certifications under your belt so that a potential employer can assess your knowledge and willingness to learn and improve.
CompTIA is a well-known certification program in the IT industry. It is made up of several certifications that are organized by skill set, including the CompTIA A+.
What exactly is CompTIA A+?
CompTIA Certification Organizations
CompTIA certifications are divided into four groups.
The core certifications are designed to develop the fundamental skills required of any IT professional. You can select one of four core certifications:
- IT Fundamentals+ – for pre-career foundational knowledge centred on how IT frameworks function.
- CompTIA A+ certification – for device connectivity and user support.
- CompTIA Network+ – for system connections with endpoint devices, which will assist you in becoming a network support specialist.
- CompTIA Security+ – provides entry-level cybersecurity skills.
Certifications for Infrastructure
If you like the Network+ program, you might want to add these three IT infrastructure certifications to your resume:
- CompTIA Server+ – for server administration and support.
- CompTIA Cloud+ – for network storage resource deployment, virtual system administration, and hybrid clouds.
- CompTIA Linux+ – for administering and managing Linux operating systems.
Certifications in Cybersecurity
CompTIA provides the following resources for advancement in the cybersecurity field:
- CASP+ (CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner) – for security solution design and implementation.
- CompTIA CySA+ (CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst) – for working as a behavioral analyst in IT security.
- CompTIA PenTest+ (CompTIA Penetration Testing) – for those interested in a career in penetration and vulnerability testing.
Additional Professional Credentials
The final group includes certifications that do not technically fall into any of the previously mentioned categories.
- CompTIA Cloud Essentials – for deepening your understanding of cloud computing and learning how to transition from on-premises to cloud storage.
- CompTIA Project+ is a project management certification (bringing a project from planning to completion, finishing a project within a specific time frame and under budget, etc.)
- CompTIA CTT+ – for those who want to get into technical training (becoming a computer technology instructor)
What exactly is CompTIA A+?
Now that we’ve given you a quick overview of what CompTIA has to offer, let’s take a closer look at the A+ certification.
This program is industry-standard for those interested in pursuing a career in IT. It’s been called a “rite of passage for entry-level IT technicians.” A+ is intended for professionals looking for work as a technical support specialist, field service technician, desktop support administrator, and other similar positions. It covers PC repair, software installation, desktop and mobile operating system configuration, basic networking, security, and troubleshooting skills.
If you want to specialize in cybersecurity or networking in your IT career, the A+ is a great place to start. There are over one million A+ certificate holders in the IT industry, and it is required for technicians who want to service HP, Intel, and Dell computer hardware.
The CompTIA A+ Certification Exam
In 2019, CompTIA released its restructured exam system. To obtain A+ certification under the new system, candidates must pass two exams:
Mobile devices, hardware, cloud computing, virtualization, network troubleshooting, and technology are covered in Core 1 (exam 220-1001).
Core 2 (exam 220-1002) – software troubleshooting, operating system installation and configuration, operational procedures, and security.
After passing these two core exams, a candidate is eligible for the A+ certification. The certificate certifies that the individual possesses the following knowledge and skills:
Setting up virtual machines
- Troubleshooting and support for end-user data and app access
- Creating and maintaining basic small office and home networks
- Configuration and troubleshooting of peripheral devices
- Configuration, installation, and upgrade of operating systems such as Linux, iOS, Apple OS X, Windows, and Windows Mobile
- Computer hardware assembly and disassembly
- Putting in place cybersecurity controls suitable for a help desk technician or a technical support role
Who should take the CompTIA A+?
If you’re new to the IT industry and aren’t sure which certifications to pursue first, the A+ provides a solid foundation to help you get started. It is best suited for those with 9 to 12 months of experience working in the field or in a lab, or those with equivalent training.
If you pass this certification exam, you will be qualified for any of the following positions:
- Technician in data support
- Technician at the help desk
- End-user computing specialist
- Analyst for the service desk
- Technician in the field
- Associate network engineer specializing in system support
- Specialist in computer support
- Administrators of desktop support and similar positions
CompTIA is a non-profit organization that provides a variety of certifications for IT professionals. Their certifications are divided into four categories, with the A+ exams falling under the Core Certifications category. It’s no surprise, given that the A+ has been named one of the most important certifications to have if you want to be an IT expert.
You must pass two exams in order to obtain this certification. The first focuses on cloud computing, hardware, and networking technology, while the second teaches you the fundamentals of software, operating systems, and cybersecurity.
Although passing these exams does not guarantee a job in IT, employers prefer to see CompTIA certifications on resumes. They demonstrate the candidate’s dedication and willingness to work hard in the field of information technology.
With an A+, you can expect to work as a technician in fields such as field service, computer support, data or system support, and similar roles. If you want to go further and specialize in network support or cybersecurity, the A+ is an excellent starting point.