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A+ Certification an Endangered Species?

By The Admiral ·
Not so long ago (5 years) employers took strides to hire top quality talent that had an A+ certification, and was willing to train people in their processes and procedures. It did not matter that they had no experience or any other quality. Now the faces of business has changed to the point where you have to have more than the A+ certification, but the business sense as well, and now more than ever, companies want a liberal arts degree with a minor in technology in order to be hired, and the A+ no longer matters.

Why? Well, the A+ tells the employer that you have 6 months experience in performing services on PC?s, networking, and other aspects of software. However, many in the industry state that it does not make you a master of any of them. Many technicians believe that the A+ certifications are needed because they show proficiency in being able to repair systems and technology.

The tide is turning however, in that companies want a degree in computer science or moreover, a liberal arts degree with some technology rather than certifications due to problems with certified employees not knowing how to fix problems. One issue last year here of a MSCE who was also A+ certified complaining about the system being sluggish and crashing often until running the CD with the Motherboard drivers, is one example why companies have suspicions of certifications. Have employers properly and adequately gone through the process to justify their concerns or have they allowed their concerns to run wild?

CompTIA says that the A+ Certification is an internationally recognized validation of technical knowledge required of an entry level computer service technician. While CompTIA has done an outstanding job in keeping the A+ certification recent, corporate requirements are now demanding more in that they want someone who can do more than entry level work for the pay. While the intent of CompTIA?s examination process is to certify a body of knowledge, the corporate requirements have gone beyond entry-level to a new standard of hit the ground running with business process. Has the A+ Certification by its own design become obsolete?

Let me tell you what is happening in our particular area. We have come to a decision that while A+ certification is great for a person who is changing careers to attempt, that it would not be worth the in some cases up to $2,500 to send someone who has 10 years experience to in order to become certified in. Since A+ Certification is the entry-level, which in today?s corporate society is sub $10 per hour work, it is believed that the seasoned professional would be taking a step back rather than taking a step forward. So because of that, we encourage our professionals to take Cisco or Red Hat Linux certifications instead that will help the company later. We figured that there is $2,500 that is well spent, and $2,500 that is not, and the investment into furthering the employee rather than the liability in setting them back. Granted, we have databases of processes to fix the common problems, so we felt that sending the employees to A+ Certification would be re-inventing the wheel.

So with our company process, and that of the other companies that are following suit, how long will it be before the A+ certification becomes part of the wonderful world of obsolescence where the old IBM Micro channel and OS/2 went, as well as DOS and Windows 3.1? It seems that while companies like the idea of the employee having it, it is overshadowed by the need of an employee to have a stable education and experienced background. Your thoughts?

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by Too Old For IT In reply to Certs are a dime a dozen

A bachelors degree, but only from Olde Brick-n-Mortar is pretty much required in this putrid job market.

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A+ Cetification

by laraine_liverman In reply to A+ Certification an Endan ...

I am responding to an e-mail that I was sent in regards to the A+ Certification not being enough in the business world.
I became A+ certified last year and wss offered only temp. assignments. I was very lucky to have gained employment with my current employer, but it is not IT related. I have my A+, but am not in the field that I trained for. I am being told that most companies are outsourcing this, so all beware before spending the money. I wish that I had spent my time and money on something more business related, ie, administration or management now.
Just really research the job opportunities in your area before spending the time and money on the A+.

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Only the Ignorant Need Apply

by HutchTech In reply to A+ Certification an Endan ...

Back in the day, when an A+ and pulse would get you a tech job, the cert had value. Even now, if you don't have experience it might be worth having. However, I've found that most often employers (REA management, HR folks, non-technical employers, etc.) that have little or no tech savvy misunderstand what an A+ brings to the table: The knowledge level of someone with 500 hours of support experience. If you have more than that, then all an A+ proves is that you can pass a test. Or that the employer is too ignorant to do his homework.

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I agree

by rebel19642002 In reply to Only the Ignorant Need Ap ...

Even though I am new to this field, and just rec. got my A+. I could not even get a job in a small computer shope. They wanted a cert. for the small ones and at least an assoc. degree for the bigger ones. I am back in school getting my degree in N.S.A, so I do agree that someone new to the field it helps, but for those who are more advanced then please dont send them backwards. I now work for a shop that looks at certs but also experince. And I might add that I have learned more from him then I did in school.

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No problems in Austin

by marvngardn In reply to A+ Certification an Endan ...

I just hired on with Unisys at their call center in Austin, TX. The only certification they required was CopmTIA's A+. Starting pay is $13.85/hr with full benefits taking effect immediately. With shift differential, some techs are making $19.80/hr. I say not to bad for just an A+ cert!

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by JasonS In reply to A+ Certification an Endan ...

A+ these days is a complete waste of money, the content is out of date and there are better courses out there. I did it only because my employer paid for it and it realy was the bigest waste of time.

Need CompTia certification, do N+. At least it holds a little relevance in present day infrastructure, and that is stretching things.

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A+ is still an awesome investment

by ramabrooks In reply to Waste

October 20, 2000 I became CompTIA A+ certified. By February of 2001 I got an internship working as a Desktop Tech for an enterprise IT agency with the State of Indiana. 3 months later I was hired at $27,027/year. I was lucky the cert did not cost me anything but time and effort since I earned it at the Atterbury Job Corps Center.

Fall 2003 I enrolled in the AAS CIS Networking/MCSA option degree program at Ivy Tech State College. They had two 3 credit classes required for that prepares you for the A+. My cert saved me $460 in tuition and $200 in textbooks. It also gave me 6 credits towards the 60 required for an associates degree.

I am currently a contractor through Robert Half International and I am making $15/hour and currently I am assigned to a help desk for Clarian Health. Their help desk is ran more like a desktop team that uses remote tools.

I have also noticed people who write tech books or even articles for Tech Republic who still tack on A+ at the end of their names even though they may have MCSE or CCNA.

When I had worked for the State of Indiana it was the techs who are older then me age wise that had issues with certs. They grew up in a time when a high school diploma could get you a high paying job easy. When I graduated high school in 1995 the diploma had lost a lot of value.

This is where certs, college degree and experience come into play. Most colleges offer credit for CompTIA's certs especially the A+. If you pursue an IT degree you may find it cheaper and quicker to take the certs and pay the fee to receive credit for the cert. I took the Network+ test back in April 2004 for the sole purpose of knocking out another class required for my degree.

Bottom line, I tend not to take seriously the people who bash certs or say that CompTIA's certs have lost value because they have not seen or bothered researching the other benefits of CompTIA's certs.

Rama K. Brooks, A+, Network+, AAS

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Real Value?

by beads In reply to A+ is still an awesome in ...

Heres my first beef with A+/MCSE. Over the course of many years as a hiring manager. I have seen for myself how useless they can be or have become. Lots of people are very good at taking tests and you don't have to be a genius to figure out the A+ certs.

Second, why do colleges try to pad themselves with teaching certifications in the first place. These certs were never designed to be training for the college level. They were started as post college training. After you had experience not as a replacement for college. Defeats the purpose. I have seen A+ AND MCSE comming out of high school. If thats the company you keep, I'll keep looking for the degreed professional that put some real time into themselves.

Second beef. How long do you plan to use the A+ credential? I past the test about 12 years ago when it was brand new. Its a bit old now but it doesn't mean that I don't look at a machine and say: Here's the problem. Usually takes me about 10-30 seconds to diagnose a hardware failure. Does this mean I shouldn't still use the A+? It should have a shelf life. Just what I need is someone 20 years from now telling me that they passed thier A+ exam 30 years ago. Whooopee!

As long as I am on the same track and the alphabet soup. In the 80's I passed one of the first CNE (3.1). Then CNE 4, Master CNE. The 90s brought on competion from M$ thus erroding the whole value of the process trying to squeeze out 1000s of MCSEs that weren't worth the paper it was written on but I trudged through them obtaining MCSE 3.x, 4.x and 2000. Why? Because eventhough I have and had degrees in Computer Science, Psychology and an MBA. HR types wanted the certifications to be sure of what they were getting.

Before the predicted, by yours truly, the dot-com bust I started tiring of the hampster wheel of M$ and focused, for a change, on Cisco. Here comes the CCNA, CCNP and CCSP. What did that get me? Well, when are you going to go get your CCIE? Then we'd hire you for this low level manager position. Can you say waste of time, energy and effort for a management position?

Heres where things are really going to change. Americans will have to start (*gasp!*) competing for jobs based on academics instead of gimmicks. In the end no matter where you are it will cost about the same to hire you here or in India or Malaysia or South Africa. Certs will help but if your competing with someone in South Africa for the same work with a respectible degree and you only have a cert who do you think I as a hiring manager am going to hire?

Certifications were never meant to be a replacement for the degree program and a degree program better have more to it than just a list of technical courses backed up with a slew of mathematics. IT people need to start realizing that the present and future requires a great deal of skills: Writing, speaking, computational, business as well as the ability to solve technical problems on the fly.

The ability to simply add a hard drive or network card should be taken for granted. We need to rasie the bar if we are going to compete.

- beads

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by ramabrooks In reply to Real Value?

When I first went to Ivy Tech I already had some professional experience under my belt and have been working as an IT contractor through out my college years. At the community college level there are professors with real world experience. My academic advisor has a lot of Novell and Microsoft certs of his own.

Why I maintain the A+ is a good value is that for the techs in the field who want to go for a college degree they can get college credits for it. Most of the classes I took was general ed since I could either test out of the CIS classes or use my certs to obtain credit for them. And yes I did learn a lot from the gen ed which allows me to understand the work enviroment better.

As for how long I plan on holding on to that cert? I take pride in the hard work and determination I put into learning what I need to know to pass CompTIA's A+ exam. If others wish to look down at it then that is their choice.

I approach studying for certs the same way I approach a web class or correspondance course. A lot of hard work to study and make time to study and an independent 3rd party validating if I had learned what they want me to learn when I pay my money to take the test.

Most of the folks who take the cert classes at Ivy Tech feel that they do not take the actual cert test but that is fine with me. We may have the same degree but I have the certs they choose not to obtain.

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Spend your time learning something relevant

by speeder-net In reply to A+ Certification an Endan ...

I would only recommend the A+ certification to people coming out of high school and have spent no time inside the case of a PC.

Basically, if you can install a DVD burner and know that you press F8 or the like to interrupt the boot process and enter the BIOS then you can skip this class and focus on something more relevant.

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