General discussion


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?

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

37 total posts (Page 4 of 4)   Prev   02 | 03 | 04
Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Comments

Collapse -


by beads In reply to what happen to good old e ...

The industry took a hard bite at certifications with both the Novell CNE and Microsoft MCSE exams becoming the breeding ground for every misfit with $100.00 in thier pocket. Brain dumps, over nite 'computer schools', etc all took thier toll on the industry as a whole.

Combine that with a huge number of lay-offs, some 300,000 IT jobs leaving the US every year and its easy to see why its easier to demand a four year degree first and certifications second.

Sorry, I hired a good number of non-college grads in my time. Many of them without (gasp!) certifications. Would I do it again? No, probably not when I can get the four year person who should but not always, be able to write and communicate at a business level. At least thats what they were supposed to do getting a college degree.

IT isn't just about the technology anymore. Its about applying the technology in the (generally) business world. Thats why you are going to need a degree and less in the way of certs.

- beads

Collapse -


by avid In reply to what happen to good old e ...

a voice of wisdom, finally! i could not agree more. i have certs and some college. niether is an acceptable replacement for experience.

Collapse -

A+ should be "self study" for the professional!

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

Any professional that has been around for any period of time should be able to sit down with an A+ book and within 30 days PASS the A+ exam - you may be a bit surprised!. This cert tells me you sat down long enough to walk through the basic architecture of a PC at least once. Many professionals can not tell you (and don't care) about "how a hard drive works" or the layers of abstraction to get from the Application to the platter. These same professional also need an education when discusing SCSI, iSCSI, NAS and SAN storage. A+ is grade school to most of us.

Collapse -

Expensive One-Liner

by Too Old For IT In reply to A+ Certification an Endan ...

After 17+ years in IT, I find I have to get my A+ certification to get past the resume sorters in HR.

It will be an expensive one-lilne addition to the resume.

Collapse -

Certification is important

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

Most companies are using a primary vendor for PC?s (Dell, IBM, etc?) and any certification on their equipment will help to lower departmental costs. For example IBM will allow someone who is A+ certified to take a short class and then become IBM certified on a specific line (for example laptops) of equipment. The technician can then have access to a knowledge base or get quicker access to 2nd level support. Doesn?t it really suck to sit on the phone for 3 hours doing diagnostics when you knew the hard drive was trashed before you called support? If you are vendor certified you could cut that time dramatically. Improved efficiency equates to lower support costs not to mention reduced stress for the team.

Training is what the individual puts into the class. You can send a seasoned professional to an A+ class and if his attitude is right he can learn something new for his occupation. Much of the information they cover could be considered a refresher; however, many come away with a few new insights or at least a new approach they can try when dealing with hardware/software issues.

As a manager I was skeptical about forcing my technicians to get certified; however, it has been a positive experience for everyone involved. Several of my techs fought fiercely against the idea; after some ?off the record? dialogue I realized they were anxious about failure more then ?stepping back?. It was only after creating a detailed training path for each technician that they understood the importance of laying the groundwork with the A+. After each technician completed their track I would make a copy of their certificate, frame it and hang it in a prominent place. You wouldn?t believe how many positive remarks we started hearing from end users. Our image improved within the organization because everyone knew we were well trained and certified.

Certification is an important part of any technical support field. Twenty years ago ASE certified mechanics were rare. Today you would be hard pressed to find a garage without at least one in the shop. Most shops wouldn?t hire you unless you had ASE certifications. In IT we deal with equipment that is equally complex as an automobile; we must start raising the standard to improve our people, create baseline competency as well as improve our department?s image.

My 2 cents.

Collapse -

I will be taking the A+ certification soon

by pcgirl79 In reply to A+ Certification an Endan ...

I have been a help desk tech for almost 6 years and received an associate's degree in computer information systems in May 2000. I recently applied for an IT management position (internally) and did not get it. The reason? No certifications. I know that I could have done the job well, but I needed to show it on paper. (By the way, the job was given to someone who was A+ and Network+ certified).

I've decided that I'm going to start with the easier certifications first and work my way up to MCSA or MCSE. In my opinion, A+ is still good to have because many employers want that piece of paper.

Collapse -

It is just another validation of skills...

by slapp1 In reply to A+ Certification an Endan ...

I think that many companies now, do want entry level candidates to have quite a bit more experience than most have. Even with degrees in CS, they want someone else to spend the time training you and reap the benefits once you have a couple of years under your belt. The problem is when everyone wants experience, but no one wants to take the time to train. This is nothing's just frustrating. I think as an entry level cert it would be an easy one to get and isn't too expsensive for someone new to the field to pay for. I would not have pursued the A+ if it were not for my boss asking me to. I have been building to troubleshooting PCs for ten years, but the boss wants to be able to say they have "certified" techs providing the support. I guess they want to be able to "quantify" your skill set...ya know, the whole purpose of a cert. The office spent nowhere near $2500 for my cert. The office bought a copy of the transcender test prep for around $150 and I spent about an hour a day for a month taking the test prep for both tests. It wasn't much of an investment in time or money, so it was kind of a no brainer. The boss is happy, I didn't pay for any of it, so I'm happy.

Back to IT Employment Forum
37 total posts (Page 4 of 4)   Prev   02 | 03 | 04

Related Discussions

Related Forums