What do you need to get citified for COMPTIA A+ in Milwaukee during COVID-19
What is COMPTIA A+?
COMPTIA A+ stands for The Computing Technology Industry Association and it is a certification that is obtained by passing two exams that are often referred to as Core 1 (220-1001) and Core 2 (220-1002) that are essential if you want entry-level Information Technology jobs. The exam was created by Information Technology professionals who support these skills as essential for entry-level Information Technology jobs. CompTIA A+ is more than just computer repairs, it’s about problem solving and troubleshooting a variety of issues that someone might come across. These issues can be from networking problems, all the way to mobile devices, operating systems and security issues.
Why take the exam?
The COMPTIA A+ exam helps validate that you have the necessary skills needed for an entry-level IT job when you apply for one. You need to pass both exams if you wish to gain your certification. The exam prepares you for various career roles such as service desk analyst, help desk tech, technical support specialist, etc. With over 2 million IT certifications being issued worldwide, this is one of the most widely recognized ways of getting your foot through the door. There are other certifications that you can take, but what separates COMPTIA A+ from other certifications is that it covers a much broader spectrum of the Information Technology work field. Other certifications only cover one main topic while COMPTIA A+ covers relevant knowledge that is required in today’s technicians.
Here are a few CompTIA A+ jobs and their average salaries:
- Support specialist: $54,500
- Field service technician: $46,000
- Desktop support analyst: $60,000
- Help desk tier 2 support: $45,000
Here is a picture of a few jobs and salaries that a COMPTIA A+ certification can help you benefit from:
What is covered in each exam?
As mentioned before, you obtained the certification by passing two exams that are often referred to as Core 1 (220-1001) and Core 2 (220-1002). Core 1 focuses more on hardware, Core 2 is more about software, cybersecurity, and operational procedures. CompTIA A+ compared to other exams offered, includes a wider variety of relevant topics and doesn’t focus on only one area of knowledge, making CompTIA A+ more of a powerhouse certification. Each exam can vary in the total amount of questions but will have a maximum of 90 questions. The questions can be multiple-choice, drag and drop, and “Performance-Based Questions”. Performance-based questions are questions that are not multiple choice or drag and drop. This includes things like fill-in-the-blank, matching terms to definitions, order of events, and command prompt simulations. The exams are timed, and you will have 90 minutes to complete each exam.
How to prepare for the exam and the skills needed?
There are a lot of resources that you can use to help prepare for the CompTIA A+ exam. You can use YouTube to find hundreds of video tutorials and lessons that you can see for free to teach yourself, such as “TotalSeminarsChannel” who is a YouTube channel who has content on anything to do with IT. If you’re more of a textbook person, “TotalSeminarsChannel” also has books dedicated for teaching and preparing you for the exam. Otherwise, CompTIA has official study guides you can use to get an idea of the topics covered but you must pay for these. You use Quizlet that has a surplus of flashcards that you can learn from, or you can use Google to search for practice quizzes and tests will help prepare you.
Below is a list of skills that would be very useful to learn before taking the exams:
- Ability to troubleshoot and support end-user access to applications and data.
- Ability to set up and support small office networks and basic home networks.
- Ability to set up and troubleshoot peripheral devices (Keyboard, keyboard mouse, webcams, microphones, loudspeakers, graphics cards, expansion cards).
- Assemble and disassemble computer hardware.
- Appropriately implement cybersecurity.
- Install virtual machine software.
- Install, configure and upgrade operating systems which include Windows, Apple OS X, Linux, iOS, Android and Windows Mobile.
The amount of time available that you have is also very important. Putting aside time every week to study and preparing for the exam may seem a lot easier said than done. Making a schedule plan can be very beneficial for you by helping monitor the times you have available more efficiently. It could be difficult to make or squeeze an hour or two on the fly designated for studying, some people may have full-time jobs, others may have family to take care of. This is where creating a Gantt Chart can be very beneficial with the managing of your daily activities.
The Gannt Chart is a bar chart that helps you project a schedule that you can use to manage times needed to finish projects. In this case, you could say that the project is passing your CompTIA A+ exam. You can also include several sub objectives in this chart such as time used to study, registering for the exam, purchasing tools needed, etc. Using the Gannt Chart not only helps manage your weekly schedule, but it also helps you create the projection needed to complete each task you have. This gives you a better visual of your everyday schedule. If you complete the objectives you listed on the schedule within the time frame, you can get a better understanding of how much time you need to complete the whole project within the projection you predicted. The CompTIA A+ is an exam loaded with all the basic information needed for any IT jobs, using the Gannt chart will help you feel a lot less overwhelm when it is time to take that exam.
Register for the exam
Once you are confident that you are ready to take on the exam, it might finally be time to set up a date to take the exam. The first thing you will need to do is buy vouchers to set a time date for an exam. Since this is a 2-part exam, you will need to buy separate vouchers for each part. You can purchase these vouchers on the official CompTIA website, with each voucher costing roughly $232.00 before tax. If you don’t have the money to purchase the whole purchase right away, there is an option to purchase these with payments starting at $21 a month but you must be prequalified for this. After purchasing the vouchers, you are one step away from taking the exam. Now you need to figure out how and where you want to take this exam. Because of the dangers that COVID-19 presents, CompTIA gives you the option to take this exam either online or in person. Online gives you more flexibility for scheduling, being able to set up the exam at any time of your convenience.
You must meet all the requirements if you choose to take the test online. You must have an enclosed, quiet, private location to take this exam in. The device you plan to use must meet the system requirements as well as contain a webcam. Your internet connection must also be strong and consistent. Being able to run a minimum speed of 1 Mbps down/up.
Don’t worry if you don’t meet the requirements, you can still take this exam in person. You can make a Pearson VUE testing account and this account will help you find testing centers that are located near you, as well as being able to schedule the exam. When it’s time to take your test, it is recommended to arrive there 15 minutes before your scheduled time as there is a required sign-in procedure that must be completed when you get there.