When choosing a career, you want to pick a profession that is challenging, lucrative, and continually in demand. When you consider all the possible careers and industries out there, they all seem to have one thing in common—computers. Computer technology powers businesses everywhere, and those computers require certified professionals to keep them up to date and running efficiently. And when it comes to technology, certifications matter. If you have a certification, it demonstrates your expertise and shows your employer and their customers that you are up to date on the latest hardware, software, and best practices.
Demand for computer technology workers is growing. The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) reports that 92 percent of its small-business members need skilled tech workers. At the same time, only 7 percent expect to be able to find qualified candidates, and 74 percent say it’s going to be hard to find candidates with the right skills. With an ongoing scarcity of qualified tech workers, now is clearly the right time to get your tech certification and develop your career.
Getting a Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) A+ certification is the easiest way to break into the IT industry. A CompTIA A+ certificate shows you understand computer hardware and software. And once you get into IT, you can easily apply those skills to other career opportunities in related fields.
The first step, however, is earning your CompTIA A+ certificate.
The Benefits of a CompTIA A+ Certification
A CompTIA A+ certification demonstrates your expertise with computer hardware, basic software installation and configuration, and troubleshooting, which can open doors in tech support and computer servicing.
IT professionals prefer to hire workers with practical experience, and a certification is an indication that you have had hands-on computer training. As you acquire more experience, your skills become more marketable, and you can qualify for more challenging jobs with higher salaries. However, with a CompTIA A+ certificate, you may already be able to find a good-paying job.
Because A+ is an entry-level certification, the salaries for recipients vary widely depending on the industry, their years of experience, the local job market, and other factors. Salaries for those entering the tech workforce with a CompTIA A+ certificate average $38,932 per year.
You can add other CompTIA certifications to your resume and increase your value. CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, CompTIA Server+, and CompTIA Linux+ certifications can help you land higher-paying jobs in other areas of computer technology.
Understanding the CompTIA A+ Certification
The CompTIA A+ certification was created by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), the trade organization formed by computer manufacturers, distributors, and resellers in 1982. The purpose of the certification is to validate the competency of PC service professionals entering the profession. Specifically, the A+ certification tests for installing, configuring, and maintaining personal computers, including understanding issues related to computer operating systems, networking, mobile devices, and security.
To earn the certification, A+ recipients are required to take the necessary courses and pass a 90-question exam. There are two basic types of certification. CompTIA A+ 220-901 covers computers, peripherals, mobile devices, networking, and troubleshooting hardware and connectivity issues. CompTIA A+ 220-902 addresses software-related issues such as configuring Windows, Apple OS X, Linux, iOS, and Android operating systems as well as the basics of cloud computing and data security.
Originally, an A+ certification was valid for a lifetime, but with rapid changes in technology, the A+ certification now has to be renewed every three years. Since the specifics for qualification are updated regularly, it makes sense to regularly acquire continuing education units (CEUs) to stay current with the latest technology and keep your certification up to date.
A CompTIA A+ Certification Opens Doors
The A+ certification was created to help bring more professionals into IT support. Certification can help you get an entry-level IT position even if you don’t have any practical experience. Here are just some of the types of jobs you can qualify for with an A+ certificate:
- IT/desktop support specialist—$57,000 starting salary
- Technical support specialist—$44,000 starting salary
- Desktop/technical support analyst—$44,000 starting salary
- Field technician/field service technician—$42,000 starting salary
- Help desk specialist—$42,000 starting salary
Also, keep in mind that computers are used in all types of businesses, so you can find work in education, finance, retail, manufacturing, or virtually any other industry you choose.
Taking the Next Step
You should get started on your CompTIA A+ certificate by finding the right career training program to help you prepare, and be sure it includes both classroom instruction and practical, hands-on training. Work with experienced instructors who understand what is required to pass the exam. Also, be sure you can get help preparing for the exam itself. You should plan on 6-12 months of coursework to learn the basics and prepare for the certification exam.
If you are interested in starting a career in computer technology, Career Development Solutions offers a wide range of classes in IT and computing, including courses that prepare you to pass the CompTIA A+ exams with access to all the course material you need for certification. Our computer technology training instructors and mentors teach certification classes that blend theory with hands-on training, providing all the information you need to start your career in IT. Why not contact us today to learn more about how to get started with a career in computing?