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Thinking of getting an A+ Certification-good idea?

By Mirza Khan ·
Hey

I'm currently a grad student. I'm very meh about the masters program I'm in now though (Public Administration)-I got into it mostly because I thought I could get a good job (which I think I can, but I'm not sure if I'd like it all). Anyway, about ten years ago, I took an A+ certification class (the basic, entry level certification for computer techs) at my high school's tech center. It was one of the most fun classes I took-I learned a lot about computers, and in the years afterwards I actually built three PC's from parts (one for home, one for my grandparents, one for my dad's business). However, I eventually decided I wanted to be a history professor and let my interest in computers atrophy, then I realized I didn't want to go to academia and wound up trying to get a masters International Studies and then Public Administration (neither of which I was really passionate about). But, last week, as I was walking home, I thought about that A+ Certification class, and it hit me-maybe I should have gotten that certification after all. I did some research online, and I found that the study materials plus the exam fees will probably be 400-450 dollars, which I think I can pay for.

But I'm still not sure if its a good idea. If I'm able to get the certification (which I think I can-computers really interest me and I can get the material down if I apply myself), I'll still have a piece of paper and no experience, and I'm not sure how much that will help me in finding a job. (Honestly, though, I'd be willing to start off at minimum wage if that's what it takes to get my foot in the door.)

So-should I go for this? Will the A+ be enough to get me an entry level job and get started off? Or should I stay with my Public Admin, even though I don't think I'd like it as much as IT?

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I wouldn't bother

by gechurch In reply to Thinking of getting an A+ ...

I thought about doing tha A+ quite a few years ago. I figured 90% of it I already knew, but thought a) it might learn a thing or two I didn't know previously and b) it can't hurt to have a certificate to confirm my knowledge in the area. I bought a book and remember getting about half way through it and still feeling like "this is all really basic stuff that anyone into computers knows... when do they get to the moderately difficult stuff?". They never did. I don't think I learnt a single new thing in reading that book and I felt like the certification was a joke so didn't waste any money doing the exam. I've worked in desktop support roles and as a general computer tech and I've never heard an employer talk about A+ so I suspect employers aren't much interested in it either. That's only personal experiecen of course - I could be wrong.

While it never hurts to have a certificate, I'd ask yourself - "Is there something more effective I can do with this $450 and my study time?". The answer is yes, but before you decide what to do you must first decide which career path you want to take. If you don't enjoy public admin then pull out now - if you don't like it you'll never be great at it, and you'll spend your life doing something you don't enjoy. It sounds like you like IT, but you need to decide if you love it enough to do it full-time, or if it's more of an enjoyable hobby. If you do decide it's what you want to do then you need to decide which area you want to get into. If you want to get into desktop PC work then go to a local PC shop and volunteer your time. They'll always have work for you to do and it'll give you some really useful hands-on experience. If you want to get into server work then that's a bit harder since you will need some more reading under your belt before you offer to help out any business or charity with their servers.

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