How Valuable Is the A+ Certification?

The A+ certification value varies with career choice

Man working in data center
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The A+ certification is one of the most popular certifications in the computer industry and is considered by many to be a valuable starting point in an IT career. That doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that it’s right for everyone. 

CompTIA sponsors the A+ certification, which validates entry-level skills in PC technology. It has a distinct slant toward the expertise needed to troubleshoot computer problems, repair PCs or work as a computer service technician.

There are varying opinions on the value of the A+ certification. Some feel that it’s too easy to get and doesn’t require any real experience, making it of questionable value. Others believe it’s a good way to get that first job in IT.

A+ Certification Value Depends on Career Plans

The A+ certification requires knowledge of not only how a computer's internals work, but how to load operating systems, how to troubleshoot hardware issues, and a lot more. Whether it is right for you depends entirely upon your choice of IT career. The A+ certification can help when you are looking for a career in tech support or servicing computers. However, if you envision a career as a database developer or a PHP programmer, the A+ certification won't benefit you much. It might help you get an interview if you have it on your resume, but that's about it.

Experience vs. Certification

Overall, IT professionals care more about experience and skills than certifications, but that doesn’t mean that certifications aren’t taken into account at all.

They can play a role in hiring, particularly when there are job candidates with similar backgrounds and experience vying for a job. The certification assures a manager that the certified job seeker has a minimum level of knowledge. However, certification needs to be accompanied on a resume by experience to earn you an interview.

 

About the A+ Certification Test

The A+ certification process contains two tests:

  • The hardware technology exam covers PC hardware and peripherals, network connectivity issues, networking and mobile device hardware.
  • The operating systems exam covers the installation and configuration of Windows, iOS, Android, MacOS and Linux. Also included are cloud computing fundamentals, operational procedures and security.

CompTIA recommends that participants have 6 to 12 months hands-on experience before taking the test. Each exam includes multiple choice questions, drag and drop questions, and performance-based questions. The exam contains a maximum of 90 questions and a time limit of 90 minutes.

You don't need to take a course to prepare for the A+ certification exam, although you can. There are plenty of self-study options on the internet and available through books you can use instead.

The CompTIA website offers its CertMaster online learning tool for sale on its website. It is designed to prepare test-takers for the exam. The CertMaster adjusts its path based on what the person using it already knows. Although this tool is not free, there is a free trial available.