Utility of Comptia Exams?

Discussion in 'IT and Computer-Related Degrees' started by ewillmon, Apr 5, 2008.

  1. ewillmon

    ewillmon New Member

    Do the A+, Network+ and I-Net+ exams still have some utility?

    I am not looking for the next hot IT job or anything. I am firmly established in my career but I do have some computer knowledge and I help out around the office sometimes with troubleshooting and other computer related tasks. I was just wondering if it would be worth it to pursue some basic computer certs to round out the resume.
  2. FLA Expatriate

    FLA Expatriate New Member

    I hold all 3 certifications. As of the end of last year, CompTIA no longer offers i-Net+. When I left the military almost 8 years ago, my A+ certification proved to be the deciding factor in landing my first, post-service IT position.

    For the current crop of Information Management Specialist applicants, the US Department of State requires two certifications: A+, and either Network+ or CCNA.

    4 of the 20 technical support positions advertised yesterday on Craigslist in my area -- I'm also in Texas -- either require A+ or indicate that possessing the certification "is a plus" or is recommended.

    Anecdotally speaking, yes, I think CompTIA certifications still have much utility. A+ now even includes various tracks.
  3. sentinel

    sentinel New Member

    I agree with the comments made by FLA Expatriate. The CompTIA A+ certification is still a valued credential by employers in certain IT environments. CompTIA A+ is a required credential not only in service bench shops and help desk environments, but increasingly being seen as a minimum baseline of computer hardware and operating system knowledge for those involved in digital forensics. Your resume will be enhanced without breaking the bank nor the endless upgrade cycle common of many vendor-specific certifications. CompTIA has an excellent self-study guide(ISBN 1-4239-5439-4 or 978-1-4239-5439-2 - CompTIA A+ Certification Essentials).
  4. ewillmon

    ewillmon New Member

    Thanks for the responses. I'm going to do some self-study and see if I can at least do the A+ exam.
  5. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    I took the A+ in 2000 and used the Exam Cram book, which still sits on my bookshelf. A+ is not an easy test (in my opinion) and the Network+ was easier and more realistic to what happens in the IT world. I like the CompTIA exams because they are vendor neutral and set a base line.

    When we look for field service engineers, A+ or Network+ is preferred. Is it worth the time - YES.

    By the way I hold a Microsoft certs and an A+, Network+, i-Net+, Server+, Security+, and Project+.
  6. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Yes and no, it depends the type of job you are looking for. Network +, Security + and all of the CompTIA certifications are considered too basic for advanced positions but enough for technical support. If your goal is to become helpdesk then it is a good idea. However, if you are looking for consulting or architecture careers then these are too basic for this. MCSE or CISSP are considered at higher level so you might want to look for these instead if you are looking for better jobs.
  7. sentinel

    sentinel New Member

    From the thread starter (ewillmon): "I am firmly established in my career but I do have some computer knowledge and I help out around the office sometimes with troubleshooting and other computer related tasks."
    ewillmon has clearly stated (s)he periodically helps out around the office with basic troubleshooting of computers and software. The person expresses no interest in a career change. Therefore, the CompTIA A+ and Network+ certifications would provide a sufficient grounding in the issues typically encountered when just helping out around the office with basic computer-related issues.
  8. ewillmon

    ewillmon New Member

    Sentinel is correct. I am not looking for a career change, although some days it might be nice. I work for a federal agency and in our local office I help with basic tasks: data backup, maintaining user accounts, etc. Our agency does have IT jobs come open from time to time, but I would need a lot more experience and knowledge for one of those. The A+/Network+ sounds like a good place to start. If I want to go further, our local community college does offer classes to help with more advanced certs like CCNA/MCSE.
  9. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    A+ and Network + are recognized credentials for helpdesk and tech support in the industry. It is a good idea to have them to learn about computer support. CCNA and MCSE might be the next reasonable step.

  10. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    CCNA and MCSE seem like a bit much if you don't work in the IT industry. Maybe MCP would be the limit unless you wanted to break into IT.
  11. ewillmon

    ewillmon New Member

    After checking out Microsoft.com, I think maybe the MCDST would be a good next step for me. I did see that Microsoft has a free online leaning course for the MCDST. Any thoughts on that cert?
  12. sentinel

    sentinel New Member

    The Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician (MCDST) might be of use if your office is running Microsoft Windows XP on the desktops. Depending on the actual release date of Microsoft Windows 7 you should be able to get between 3 and 5 years out of that certification before your organization even thinks about migrating from MSWinXP.
  13. FLA Expatriate

    FLA Expatriate New Member

    I earned MCDST almost 4 years ago during summer of '04. At that time, my then-employer was primarily a Win2K shop. Although not as popular as, say, A+ for entry level techs, I've seen a few job ads requiring the cert. MCP always looks good on a resume.

    One of these days, I'll upgrade that cert too. Heh, I took the old 70-064 (Implementing and Supporting MS Windows 95) and others for the now-retired MCSE NT track while still in the service way back when. I'm getting old.
  14. StevenKing

    StevenKing Member

    Validity for teachers

    I am entertaining the idea of attaining A+ and Network + since I have always enjoyed everything related to technology. As an aside, I teach a full array of business classes and technology application classes. I guess my pursuit would be more of a way to insure job security (or even to transition to a "tech coach" in the school district...).

    Has anyone on these boards sensed the utility of http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/msbc/default.mspx
  15. sentinel

    sentinel New Member

    These certifications seem mostly targeted to persons using the various Microsoft Office suite applications and are obviously aimed at Microsoft Office 2007.

    [ soapbox ]
    Public schools should not be training their students on specific products, but rather on the concepts. In the real world the version of some application will probably change at least once and they will have to relearn the latest "innovations" provided by, in this discussion, by Microsoft.
    [ /soapbox ]

    However, since your school district has bought into the notion that only specific applications will be taught, I see no harm in obtaining the Microsoft Business Certification credential. In your situation, the certification might allow you more flexibility in the courses you teach.

    The CompTIA A+ and Network+ certifications are vendor neutral and the concepts taught / examined will serve you well. These exams, from what I hear, are not particularly difficult if you have some / a little experience beforehand.
  16. Gail

    Gail New Member

    Personally, I think people holding A+ certifications should be required to take an update exam each year to ensure they're keeping up with the technology.

    An A+ earned 5 years ago is of little to no value where I work. Any organization that simply says "A+ required" and doesn't investigate when it was earned is doing themselves a disservice

    Edited to add: I think it's a valuable credential if it's very recently obtained.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 12, 2008
  17. sentinel

    sentinel New Member

    I have to disagree with your position and will explain the reasons.

    As someone who has worked in IT for almost 2 decades and as a hobby since the days of the 8-bit microprocessor let me make a couple observations.

    The CompTIA A+ certification came about during the 1990s, well after many of those working with computers had started working with computers.

    If someone working in an IT position that requires A+ certification cannot adapt to changing technology, that person probably thought IT was a sure ticket to financial wealth. Recertification for A+ is pointless; the basic concepts remain the same regardless of hardware vendor and components and A+ certified technicians do not do board-level diagnostics nor firmware debugging. For others, the A+ certification only serves as proof the person has a common minimum baseline of knowledge about hardware and operating systems.

    One has only to look at the people staffing the GeekSquad - mostly idiots with little practical knowledge and experience, but a bucket full of certifications. Ask them to use MS/PC-DOS debug to fix the boot record and expect blank stares.

    Certifications without experience are meaningless. I mean, how many CCIEs do you see who did not already have extensive hands-on experience before writing the exam and being subjected to a live laboratory diagnostic examination? Sufficiently close to zero I wager.
  18. sentinel

    sentinel New Member

    In reference to the CompTIA A+ certification, the purpose of the certification is to validate a core set of competencies w.r.t. computer hardware and operating systems, but not to make anyone worth 1000.00 per day unlike those who earned the CCIE.
  19. FLA Expatriate

    FLA Expatriate New Member

    US Department of State also requires that A+ be earned within the last five years as a condition for employment.

    Recertification is a great idea -- for charlatans. I personally find continuing education coupled with related certifications (DCSE, HP, IBM, Toshiba) as providing more utility in this respect.


    An 11-time award winning (during the past two years) IT Systems Support Engineer for a world-class chip maker.
  20. Gail

    Gail New Member

    Your credentials are impressive.

    I'm jaded. I admit it. I've hired many help desk techs with A+ that I believe used brain dumps or some such to receive certification. It has completely turned me off to this certification. There was no understanding of concepts, there were "puzzled looks." They either read and memorized the A+ book, took the exam and promptly forgot all they learned, or used a brain dump.

    Again, I'm jaded. If you remember the core competencies from 10 years ago and have your A+ then you should have no problem passing our in-house skills verification exam with ease. If you do, welcome to the company. It's been my experience that people with A+ certs from some years ago have forgotten the essential concepts and don't pass.

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