Aug 10, 2022

What Is the CompTIA A+ Certification?

    The CompTIA A+ certification serves as an introductory qualification within the information technology (IT) industry. Administered by the IT association CompTIA, this certification is widely acknowledged as an industry standard, often utilized as the stepping stone for an IT career. 

The CompTIA A+ consists of two exams in the Core Series—namely, the 220-1101 and 220-1102. As of November 2022, each exam costs $246 in the US, totaling $492. These exams assess your knowledge in operating systems, mobile devices, security, networking, hardware, as well as virtualization and cloud computing. Various training programs are available to prepare for the CompTIA A+ exams, including the Google IT Support Professional Certificate and the CompTIA CertMaster Learn for A+ Core 1.

Jobs roles with CompTIA A+ Certification

The CompTIA A+ certification is widely regarded as the fundamental certification for entry-level positions in IT. Here are a few such roles, along with their average US base salaries (as per November 2022 data from Glassdoor):
  • Help desk analyst: $49,307
  • IT technician: $46,083
  • Help desk specialist: $48,473
  • Technical support specialist: $50,130
  • Desktop support administrator: $50,422
  • System support specialist: $58,567
  • Associate network engineer: $71,713
It's important to note that these figures can fluctuate based on your location; larger cities might offer higher salaries to compensate for the cost of living. Other factors, such as your education level and prior experience, can also influence your salary.

CompTIA A+ Exam Overview

The exam for this certification combines multiple-choice questions with performance-based questions. It broadly evaluates your understanding of various IT fundamentals in categories including hardware, software, networking, operating systems, and security. Expect questions to encompass the following domains:

Domains for exam 220-1101:
  • Mobile devices: Installation and configuration of laptops and mobile devices
  • Networking: Various types of networks and connections (TCP/IP, wifi, SOHO, etc.)
  • Hardware: Identification, usage, and connection of devices and hardware components
  • Virtualization and cloud computing: Comparison of cloud concepts and setup of client-side virtualization
  • Hardware and network troubleshooting: Resolution of issues with devices and networks

Domains for exam 220-1102:
  • Operating systems: Installation and configuration of Windows OS, understanding of Mac OS, Linux, and mobile OS
  • Security: Identification and protection against vulnerabilities in both devices and networks
  • Software troubleshooting: Resolution of issues with applications on PCs and mobile devices, including security support
  • Operational procedures: Best practices for safety, sustainability, communication, and professionalism
How to Obtain CompTIA A+ Certification

There are several avenues for preparing for the CompTIA A+ exam:
  • Online, instructor-led courses can prepare you thoroughly.
  • Local community colleges might offer preparatory courses.
  • Self-study—learning through online videos or books without an instructor—can also be effective.
Regardless of the method chosen, CompTIA recommends gaining nine to 12 months of hands-on experience in the lab or field and dedicating 120 hours to exam preparation.

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