A+ Certification questions

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dean DeMass, Aug 15, 2001.

  1. Dean DeMass

    Dean DeMass Screenwriter

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    I have a couple of quick questions for you A+ certified HTF members. I am going to start studying for the exam and I wanted to know if there is a preferred book/books to buy? Do you recommend going to a type of A+ seminar/training class? I don't think I would have to, but if it is recommended, I probably will. Also, approximately how much does the test cost and how often is it given? I live in Northwest Indiana/Chicago area. Thanks in advance for your help.
    -Dean-
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  2. Robert Holmes

    Robert Holmes Auditioning

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    I've had my A+ since it first came out in the early 90's. There was no study material back then. Nowadays, just knowing PC's and printer maintenance is enough to pass it. If you have a strong knowledge in PC fundementals, DOS, Windows and hardware (BIOS, POST errors, etc.) you can pass the test.
    For online resources, look at brainbuzz.com.
    Also, get ahold of the HP LaserJet basic training tutorial. Back in my day, it was a VHS video. Now I think it's on CDROM. You will need to know the 5 steps of the laser printing process. Also, there may be a few Macintosh and dot-matrix printer questions. Although, I don't know how much the test has changed.
    -Robert
     
  3. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    CompTIA recently made changes to A+ and in doing so made it harder. I think Win 3.1 has a much lower profile now (possibly none at all, can't remember) but Windows 2000 plays a good part and I think there's some Linux in there too (probably not much though). Joe DeMartino is stufying for A+ at the moment so perhaps he can give more details.
    I looked into doing this last year, but the only training solution I could find was a full blown self-study course that cost nearly £700 that took you from "What is a PC?" to passing the (two) exams. But since I don't need anything near that level of training and since my job doesn't call for it, I decide to leave it. I would like to do it for myself since PC building/destroying has become a second hobby but I don't want to pay big money to do it.
    Then I looked at going MCP and then possibly onto MCSE or MSCD, but Microsoft change the exams so often it makes me wonder if it's worthwhile. I don't want to put a LOT of money into MCSE only to have it deemed out of date and invalid in two years time. I think if were to put that kind of money into self training it would have to be along the Unix route.
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  4. Steven K

    Steven K Supporting Actor

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    Honestly, A+ certification isn't really worth much of anything these days... seems like everyone has it. I got mine a few years ago, but even back then, it didn't mean much. MCSE is a little more "prestigeous" but not really. Novell CNA isn't that great, but CNE is pretty decent.
    If you have even a limited knowledge of computers, you should be able to pass the A+ no prob.
    Rob, why would you waste 700 pounds to take A+ classes? Just take the tests for $50 each (if you have a spare hundred bucks laying around).
     
  5. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    Yeah I know, I did ponder doing it but then I downloaded a test exam which revealed my knowledge in certain areas was very lacking (mainly networking and low-level hardware stuff that I've never had to deal with). What I want is something like Dean is asking for - a big book that covers everything in the exams but doesn't require cover-to-cover reading.
    btw the exams are around £100 each over here.
     
  6. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    I'm in High School, and they offer a course to get A+ certification. I heard its not that tough as long as you already have some basic computer knowledge. Cool thing about it is that if you take it and pass the test, you don't have to take a final.
     
  7. Dean DeMass

    Dean DeMass Screenwriter

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    Well, I have a very good understanding of computers and I have a year of experience under my belt as a Network Admin. I saw a couple decent books at Barnes and Nobles the other day that looked like they would be sufficient. What is driving me crazy about certifications is I hear 50% of the people say they are very helpful in a job search and the other 50% say they don't mean that much since everyone has them. I am just fed up with my current company and am looking at finding a new job. Several of the jobs I have looked at want A+ certification so I think I am just going to spend the money and get it.
    Thanks for the comments and please feel free to add more to this thread.
    -Dean-
     
  8. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    Dean, the way I see it, it does no harm whatsoever to have these certifications. And not 'everyone' has them by any means. It depends what sector of the industry you're in. I work for a massive IT company in it's outsourcing/FM section, maintaining the same system I worked on for ten years before being outsourced. There is no one in my office that has A+ or MC*whatever*, but we've all been on manufacturer-specific training courses required for the job. I left college thirteen years ago with enough qualifications to get me into a decent job, but I'm now at the stage where my CV (resume) would look very out of date compared to a lot of people. If I can bolster it with a few letters and without paying out a ton of money, why not?
    A+ isn't that technical. It's meant more as an entry-level certification. But to go much higher in that field would probably mean going to platform or manufacturer specific training.
     
  9. Steven K

    Steven K Supporting Actor

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    Please dont think that I meant to say that the A+ is detremental in any way. Hell, it's better than having no certification at all! I guess my point is that some people take, and pass, their A+, and so they think they are ready to head out into the IT market and pick up a Software engineering position, or another job that they aren't at all qualified for. I say that the A+ is a nice compliment to an already impressive resume (for whoever), but by itself, it isn't much.
    Dean, good luck with the A+ if you decide to take it. Rob, I'll keep my eyes open on a good A+ book. If you guys have any A+ specific questions, I'll be glad to (attempt to) answer them. [​IMG]
     
  10. John DeLuca

    John DeLuca Stunt Coordinator

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    Dean, coming from personal experience, certifications can matter in certain situations. I have my MCSE and CNE and both helped me get more money when I was consulting. When the agencies are showing you off to a company, they love to say if you are certified and will usually offer you a higher hourly rate if you have the certifications. Right now, I'm in a permanent position because my wife is consulting and we need benefits. The place I'm at now could care less if I were certified or not. Certain places love certs, but others could care less. It couldn't hurt you if you had a cert though.
     
  11. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    "So Mr. Gillespie, what qualifications and experience do you have?"
    "Well, I've got my A+"
    "Excellent! Anything else?"
    "Mmm... well I can type pretty fast!"
    "OK, anything else?"
    "Oh yes, I'm an administrator for an large internet-based system serving around 20,000 clients"
    "Holy shit! You've got the job!"
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Steven K

    Steven K Supporting Actor

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    John,
    Having both the MCSE and the CNE is impressive. I've heard that the CNE testing is very difficult. I've heard that Lotus certified administrators contract out at up to a grand an hour!
    I can honestly say this: getting an interview for a job in the IT field is based on credentials and education. However landing the job is based almost exclusively on the actual interview. You could be a genius behind a computer, but if you cant interview well, forget about it...
     
  13. John DeLuca

    John DeLuca Stunt Coordinator

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    Steven, I've never hear of Lotus Notes people making that much but they do make more than most. My wife does Notes administration and places like to hear that she knows it.
    As far as a good book to study, someone mentioned brainbuzz.com and I think that is probably the best site to find information. They have forums for each certification and the people that take the tests tell the books they used and which ones aren't very good. I've always preferred self-study over classroom training but that's my personal opinion. I've always had bad experiences with instructor training where it's just some guy reading out of a book word for word. I can do that on my own at my own pace and learn much better. If you have a few extra pc's at home, it's even better. You can set up your own little network and play around with it. Plus, instructor-led courses are much more expensive and if you don't have a job that will pay for them, it will have to come out of your own pocket. I'm not down-talking instructor-led training, but I just prefer self-study and have received much better results with it. Both of my certs were achieved by studying on my own. Now, it's tougher because I have a daughter but my wife understands that I need some study time. She even study's now because she see's the results I get.
    Also, I think this was mentioned before, but don't expect to be making 80 grand a year if you are just starting out. A friend of mine get his MCSE around the same time I got mine. He was a landscaper for 8 years and decided to change carreers. That's great, but he was turning down job offers because he thought he should be making alot more since he was certified. You might have to start out much lower but that will get you some great experience. I learned 100 times the amount I would have learned in any book by on the job training. Good luck and sorry for the long response.
     
  14. Andy_S

    Andy_S Second Unit

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    Back when I got my A+ there was one book out on the subject. Luckily I had been using computers since '86 so I had plenty of DOS/hardware experience (man, remember trying to juggle IRQ's/DMA Channels manually so your soundcard would play nice with your modem?). The book came in really handy in certain areas. I really didn't know much about how laser printers worked exactly and I got about 4 questions on the subject. But since the test changed, I guess that it's probably null and void now. A year and a half ago I earned my MCSE. I took 3 classes (paid for by my company). I actually learned some usefull info in those classes. Unfortunately being an MCSE doesn't hold as much weight as it used to. The company I work for hired an MCSE that didn't know how to add a printer in NT 4.0! Damn those boot camps!
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  15. Dean DeMass

    Dean DeMass Screenwriter

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  16. Steven K

    Steven K Supporting Actor

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    John,
    I don't know anyone in particular who makes that much, I've just heard that number thrown around the office (maybe its more of an urban legend than anything else). I am beginning to hate Lotus Notes more and more with each passing day... lots of Access Violations and crashes due to Notes. At least they make the user reboot the system after a crash (most apps dont do that, and then bad things happen).
    As far as certification, nothing beats experience. No amount of certification in this, certification in that, etc... is going to substitute for experience.
     
  17. tyler O

    tyler O Stunt Coordinator

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    I got mine recently (18 months or so back), but this was before they changed the test. I really liked the New Riders books and the A+ for Dummies (it really cut through a lot of the stuff that was extraneous and was never tested). I only studied for 3 weeks with 3 books and countless tests on the computer and got upper 80s for both tests. I am a well versed college drop out, but I have been using computers since I was 8. I took my first machine apart at 9 and put it back together, so I had good working knowledge of IRQs and DMAs and Dos and 3.1. Again, most of that is gone now, but it got me a job and now I can say I have the 18 months worth of Technician experience. That's really why I got it was to get the job. I've been thinking about the MC* but they change more than anything I've seen and with my current (and past) feelings re: Micro$oft I have no real desire to play their game.
    Bottom line: If you know your stuff, a couple of books and as many practice tests as you can get your hands on will be the best thing you can do.
    Best of luck and I hope it all turns out well.
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  18. JasonD

    JasonD Agent

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    Actually I'm in a year long certification training class which prepares us for A+ all the way to MCSE. It's three nights a week and what I like the most is that fact that I have hands on training/instruction. I like to think that an employer will be able to see that I've had lab experience and opportunities to ask questions from instructors. In 3 weeks I'm starting a hardware job consisting of imaging PCs, upgrading and troubleshooting. I'm taking my A+ test around the same time. All of this is good to make me marketable down the road.
    Does it help to have additional computer skills? I'm also a web designer:
    http://www.realitycrash.com/ http://www.newjerseyfilmmakers.com/
     
  19. SteveMc

    SteveMc Stunt Coordinator

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    I have been thinking about getting A+ or Network+ (more likely) certified even though I just graduated with an Information Systems degree. It may not be that significant to have the A+ cert now, but a lot of jobs out there demand that you have it. I don't know if need all the study materials, but I will probably end up taking the test. Especially since I need to find a new job in 2 months. Some places won't even consider you if you don't have it. Hell even Best Buy want you to have it to work in their service dept.
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