So many computer technology certifications exist that choosing one to start with can be confusing. At this time, one of the most popular types of CompTIA certification is known as “A+.” This certification focuses on a combination of computer hardware, software and networking fundamentals. It has been available to the general public for over fifteen years.
Although this CompTIA certification is primarily focused on PC hardware, which refers to IBM compatible machines, it also contains some fundamentals of Macintosh and OS/2 computers. It focuses mainly on the Microsoft Windows family of operating systems. There are test questions that feature Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP and the Windows Server series. Others focus on MS-DOS, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME and other variants that are based on the MS-DOS kernel. Questions are asked about the various modes in which the machine can operate, including 16-bit, 32-bit and 64-bit.
The A+ certification does not deal with many networking fundamentals. However, it does cover basic network topologies and when each one is appropriate, basic network troubleshooting and being able to identify the individual hardware components of a computer network. The reason that the A+ certification does not lend itself more heavily to networking subjects is most likely because of how intensely those topics are covered in the NET+ certification. This certification is also from CompTIA. Neither one needs to be taken before the other due to how much their contents vary.
The A+ certification is typically taken on a computer. The test is entirely multiple-choice. Most questions are text-based, however, some contain visual aids. The test is typically taken in order. However, questions can be skipped so that the student can come back to them. At the end of the test, they are typically given the option to return to questions that they have skipped.
The A+ certification is rather old and therefore contains a great deal of material regarding “legacy” hardware and software. For example, questions can be expected to address such subjects as token ring networks, dial-up Internet service, DB-25 and DB-9 connections, manually assigned interrupt request line values, manually assigned direct memory access lines, parallel ATA buses and ISA expansion cards lots. Many of these technologies are no longer in frequent use. However, they are important to know in the event that the student is later expected to work on older computers. Even if these machines are not encountered in “real world” work, it is very common for donated computers to be used for demonstrative purposes in classrooms and labs. This hardware is often chosen due to its comparatively low cost. In the event that these machines are damaged, no major cost will be incurred by the educational institution.
Like most certifications that are offered by CompTIA, one of the best ways to prepare for A+ is by purchasing a specialized study package. These packages usually include a large textbook containing visual aids and at least one CD-ROM. Some configurations include flash cards, which some students find more helpful. Others find question banks that are structured similarly to the certification exam to be more useful. Highly robust A+ preparation packages include both flash cards and CD-ROM based testing.
Other certifications from CompTIA that are recommended for a continuing information technology student include Net+, which deals with computer networking fundamentals, and Sec+, which deals with computer network security.
Knowledge Center Inc is CompTIA authorized training partner and one of the leading provider of CompTIA certification training programs in DC Metro area. KCI specializes in delivery of CompTIA top IT certifications programs like A+, Network+ and Security+.