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A+ seems a bit...well, redundant?

Discussion in 'A+' started by Boffy, Feb 3, 2011.

  1. Boffy

    Boffy Megabyte Poster

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    Hey All,

    So while working through Mike Myers book I can't help but notice that most of the information, is simply information that really isn't needed for an IT helpdesk/support role?

    A+ is seen as a beginner cert, but reading 75pages purely on how a CPU works and operates seems slightly overkill for me.

    I've worked as an IT Technician (Helpdesk and Desktop Support) for just over 2 years, I did do computing and ICT for GCSE/A Levels - am I just finding silly because I've heard most of it before? I just find I have never needed to know so much in my job but I can't even see needing it for any higher roles?

    Don't get me wrong, I'm going to complete the book and take the A+ exams, but I just can't help but feel its wasted time when I'll never really need to know how many pins are in a VGA cable.

    I'm not being negative, but if you haven't done any IT before then maybe you wanted to know this, but has it actually ever helped in your job?
     
    Certifications: BSc Computer Game Technology, A+
    WIP: MOS 2010
  2. kevicho

    kevicho Gigabyte Poster

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    Its a weird one, A+ and Network+ are generally seen as the only certs that are aimed at helping you get a job rather than showing experience, so in a way they prove that you know or are aware of the fundamentals of a PC, its components and also from the software side the basics of an OS.

    A lot of the IT exams there is a good chance you will come an feature or product you will never or rarely use in real life, unless your role is basically that one area, but they will highlight a new piece of knowledge and will be handy to know this exists.

    I can understand what you are saying, but considering Microsoft counts A+ and Network+ an an elective for the MCSA shows that it has value, and the other side of the coin, it shows potential employers that you value learning and certification of the skills you possess, I would highly recommend gritting your teeth and working through this, and would say it is not a waste of time.
     
    Certifications: A+, Net+, MCSA Server 2003, 2008, Windows XP & 7 , ITIL V3 Foundation
    WIP: CCNA Renewal
  3. alexdc12

    alexdc12 Kilobyte Poster

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    I found a lot of it was basic knowledge that i already posessed but there was a lot that i didnt know so it was very helpful and i took the exams and passed, id of done it just for the knowledge even if it doesnt get me a job, its the conceptuals thats i found helped the most.
     
    Certifications: GNVQ Advanced IT, CompTIA A+, CompTIA N+, 70-680
    WIP: 70-685, ITIL v3 Foundation
  4. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    I know what your saying but there are places and people out there that use old technologies so knowing about them is useful also know about the older technologies helps you understand the newer technologies better.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  5. soundian

    soundian Gigabyte Poster

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    You've got to remember that the book is based on Meyer's interpretation of the exam objectives. He has to include everything that he reasonably expects the exam to cover. I don't know whether the exam will ask you how many pins a VGA connector has, but neither does Meyer's. If he omitted the information and the question came up in your exam that would be a lot worse than including it in the book and not getting asked.

    You've also got to remember that this is a general IT cert. It covers a wide range of jobs, which used to be reflected in the three different paths. Just because you see no need for a particular piece of knowledge it doesn't mean someone else doesn't need it. If you do mostly telephone/email support knowing how many pins a VGA cable has probably is superfluous, if you do a lot of bench work maybe it isn't superfluous.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2011
    Certifications: A+, N+,MCDST,MCTS(680), MCP(270, 271, 272), ITILv3F, CCENT
    WIP: Knuckling down at my new job
  6. steve_p1981

    steve_p1981 Byte Poster

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    Hi boffy, I'm doing the a plus too and i'm near the end of my book and although alot of the information seems excessive, i've actually had to use it both at home and at work so i does come in handy. I'm trying to get into the IT game professionally as at the moment it's just kind of a side line to my main role at work.
    nice to see a local lad on here, i live in collier row near the bell and gate pub. How did you get you first job in IT? was it with a local company or did you get lucky and get a job up the city first?
     
    Certifications: A+ 220-701 and 220-702
    WIP: none at current but poss 70-680 soon
  7. Boffy

    Boffy Megabyte Poster

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    Hey Steve,

    I've actually only just moved to Collier Row, I'm on Chase Cross Road (maps show I'm just round the corner from the pub!). I've been working at a independant school for a couple years part time while at university. They offered me a full-time placement 6 months ago so I've just moved closer, I used to travel 35miles each way.

    Now I've moved closer, I've just applied for jobs in London for last 2 weeks, had an interview this week and I'm in round 2 interviews next Thursday (there is only 2 of us left), so by next Friday I might be working in the city.

    How long have you been looking? I've found quite a few jobs in Loughton and Chigwell recently - a lot of helpdesk roles in the City even for people without any experience. My recruitment agency asked me to play down my experience as this place wants someone with only 6months experience so they can mold the person.
     
    Certifications: BSc Computer Game Technology, A+
    WIP: MOS 2010
  8. Boffy

    Boffy Megabyte Poster

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    Thank you for all the replied. I will be sticking with the A+, just wanted to see what others thought.

    I'm not saying that I haven't learnt anything, I am learning plenty, just thought I would be able to apply more than what I current have.

    Soundian: I never thought about it that way - very good point.

    Anyway, I'm going continue with the book, Mike has made it quite an easy read. I'll do N+ and then look further at MS course
     
    Certifications: BSc Computer Game Technology, A+
    WIP: MOS 2010
  9. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    All that information can indeed be useful in working in an IT job. For example, learning about how a CPU works gives you the theoretical knowledge necessary to build a solid foundation, so that when you start learning about, for example, 32-bit vs 64-bit, you're not left wondering what the heck the author means by "32-bit"... you'll know what those differences really ARE. This can, in turn, give you a better idea as to which components would be best to use in a PC build, knowledge about incompatibilities on an existing PC, and so on.

    Build a strong foundation, and the house of knowledge you build upon it will also be stronger. ;)
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  10. 1/4

    1/4 Byte Poster

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    In the AIO book's defense it does state quite a lot that the information contained inside in many areas goes well beyond the A+ exam objectives.

    You've got to understand that a lot of people entering IT for some reason are from walks of life that know next to nothing about computers and so the book might seem a little overwhelming.

    Lets take the subject matter to something like... I don't know Equestrian care. It's have to explain an awful lot before you'd start to get a good grounding in Stable Management wouldn't it? If you knew nothing about a horse except that it had 4 legs and a tail. Without the background information being there in detail a lot of people might get lost.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+
    WIP: 70-680
  11. Shinigami

    Shinigami Megabyte Poster

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    Look at it this way.

    Sometimes the basic information is what glues together the more complex things.

    For example, I sometimes know something about X or Y, but there's a small portion of data on which I draw a blank. But the day I learn about another technology, the pieces all fit together because it was the missing piece that helped me understand how X and Y work, and in some instances, intertwine.

    A very simple analogy would be to tell you that a car has an engine and wheels. It's great info to know as it helps you to understand that the engine drives the wheels, but... how can the engine perform in different conditions? And then one day you discover that cars also have a gearbox.

    Now, I can honestly tell you that I've never come across a situation where I've had to be as picky as to know the exact number of pins on a VGA male port, but it's like knowing the capital of France is Paris. It may not be essential knowledge (to some), but when you play knowledge games with friends and the card comes up and the question is "What is the capital of France", you can hit the buzzer and yell out "PARIS!"

    In the very same way you will have an upper hand when discussing, researching and working in IT, by knowing the smaller things (of course some of which you may already know from years ago now). To give another example, I had a very easy time with the N+ book, took me just a few days to read and I passed the exam a week later. Did I know everyhting? No, of course not, but I knew a vast majority thanks to already working in IT, but what DID help me were some bits of info here and there which made me go "doh, so THAT's why it's been like this". Sure I may know things like link speeds between CAT 5 or 6 cables, even the color coding between cross over or standard cables, but sometimes you just find out more about what these number or colors mean in their basics, and that in turn increases my confidence in understanding IT as a whole.
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCITP, MCDST, MOS, CIW, Comptia
    WIP: Win7/Lync2010/MCM
  12. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Not only that... but when you hear something about Paris, you won't be lost, wondering, "Where the heck is Paris?" :scratch Same thing with IT stuff.
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  13. alexdc12

    alexdc12 Kilobyte Poster

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    Another essex lad here! :P Harlow for me tho.

    Where do you look for jobs as im tryin to find one with no experience and 98% of the jobs i see all require experience, Im confident i can do the job just need the big break!
     
    Certifications: GNVQ Advanced IT, CompTIA A+, CompTIA N+, 70-680
    WIP: 70-685, ITIL v3 Foundation

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