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Do you agree the A+ needs a serious re-writting?

Discussion in 'A+' started by Juelz, Aug 28, 2017.

  1. Juelz

    Juelz Gigabyte Poster

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    I find the current and past objectives ridiculous.. why on earth is remembering pin counts in this exams scope? I have always avoided this cert due to the objectives being so ridiculous.. I think at this point Im more leaning dow the Microsoft track when it comes to certs.
     
    WIP: bit of this bit of that
  2. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Seems like a fair point
     
  3. Pseudonym

    Pseudonym Byte Poster

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    I'm sometimes surprised how often things I thought of as silly have come up since I've been doing desktop support. Like, knowing what cable to search for(when ordering new a new one) cause I can see the pin count, or understanding why a file transfer is going so slow (Over USB 1.0/1.1) I can understand the frustration, but for me the knowledge has been useful.
     
  4. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Some of the knowledge may be useful, testing on most of it probably isn't. You can work out what motherboards need what processors with google.

    I've built PC's for 20 years, done my own electronics projects, soldered my own RS-232 null modem cables, I'm all for learning fundamentals, but yeah I'd say the A+ has become too broad and is carrying too much cruft.

    Fixing stuff more than 5 years old is uneconomic in western countries, testing on tech older than that is therefore is probably questionable.

    If people want to go further they should be pushed into electronics, programming, physics, robotics, don't have them studying pin counts for months.

    At this point the A+ is looking about as useful as a farrier exam after the invention of the motor car, the skills the A+ targets have already been commoditized.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2017
  5. Pseudonym

    Pseudonym Byte Poster

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    You can work anything out with google. The A+ just gives prospective employers the confidence that you'll have a baseline knowledge and won't need your hand held for every minute detail throughout the day. It's all well and good saying learn programming, physics or robotics, but that level of knowledge can take years to accumulate. I'm not disagreeing with you by the way in that respect. I can see myself eventually moving into one or more of those areas. I also agree the A+ is broad.. too broad? I'm not sure. I do know that the last time I looked over the objectives I was shocked I'd managed to cram that much into my head, so you could be right. I still think whilst desktop support exists as a job a lot of the knowledge is useful. I come across parallel cables and shitty old laptops constantly.
     
  6. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    No you cant work out everything with google, that is the point, you cant work out a solution to a unique problem with google. Physics professors dont sit on google all day, neither do mechanics and not because they memorized outdated specs for equipment. They learnt real fundamentals, knowing there is a transmit and a receive line in serial communications is useful, knowing what a handshaking protocol is, is useful, knowing about DTE and DCE connectors, not so useful.

    In 10 years time, we could have flying cars and robots, who knows, we should push youngsters to learn the stuff with the maximum value.
     
  7. Pseudonym

    Pseudonym Byte Poster

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    Are you saying that the you can't obtain the knowledge in order to work something out by using resources found on google? Cause I'd be inclined to disagree.
     
  8. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Problem solving involves a unique process of applying intelligence, troubleshooting, and knowledge. Some problems are not NP complete meaning there are no brute force solutions only heuristics.

    Google is largely a search index created with an algorithm called page rank. Granted they have extensions for language conversion, currency conversion, synonyms etc. Fundamentally however its an index system like a library, you put in a a query and you get a result, its knowledge retrieval. Much of the value comes in the interpretation of the resulting data by the user.

    Google may help some of the time, but not all of the time. Its incredibly useful no doubt, but if your job is largely dependent on on simple data look up and application of said data then again your job is at risk of being replaced by a rather simple robot.
     
  9. Pseudonym

    Pseudonym Byte Poster

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    That wasn't what I was saying. Yes, you may have to apply some process to the data retrieved by google to come up with a solution, but you can find almost any publicly available knowledge through search engines, and then you can go from there. For instance, you can teach yourself physics, or teach yourself programming. etc
     
  10. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Yes you can use the internet as a learning resource, however this takes much time and effort.

    When your car breaks down on the side of a motorway you pay for a professional to come and fix it, you don't enroll on a mechanics course on your iphone.

    The mechanic is useful because he has internalized the principles of the combustion engine, braking systems, suspension, clutch, ignition system, starter motor. He has learnt a lot of basic physics, electronics and mechanics.

    What would you check if your car doesn't start ?

    Typically there is a process that revolves around spark, fuel and compression.
    https://www.yourmechanic.com/articl...rk-or-loss-of-power-condition-on-a-modern-car

    These skills and application of knowledge is what makes a mechanic useful, the A+ is like top trumps for computer scientists. Its really pretty pointless.
     
  11. Pseudonym

    Pseudonym Byte Poster

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    Probably not the best example as I have fixed most of my own car issues using youtube and ebay.
     
  12. Pseudonym

    Pseudonym Byte Poster

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    You can't say that the A+ is pointless. Yes, one day it WILL be pointless. But at the time of writing, the skills taught in it are still in demand. Sometimes just knowing you can memorise information and pass a test can give people a confidence boost. Enough for them to believe that they can go on and pass a more difficult test, and so on. Saying everyone should go into building robots is all well and good, but some people don't have the confidence to be able to accumulate and apply that knowledge immediately.

    Everyone's path is different. The A+ has helped me, maybe you don't see any value in it. Maybe you find learning easy. But don't write it off when it does undoubtedly assist people into tech jobs.
     
  13. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    So you learnt useful skills by watching a professional online and having the process explained ? Then you went out and practiced said skills in the real world ? In a manner maybe akin to an apprenticeship or a technical college maybe ?

    Did you instead ditch youtube and get a 1000+ page book and take a 2 hour computer based test about fixing cars ?

    Do you see my point? What value does the test add in the process ? Is 100% of the objectives really necessary ? Given 90% of A+ applicants are probably getting 0% hands on experience, is it valuable ?
     
  14. Pseudonym

    Pseudonym Byte Poster

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    If I wanted to be a mechanic, and I found a test that would assist me into an entry level mechanic job, then yes I would probably go down that path and then start filling in the blanks.
     
  15. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    My point is the 'filling in the blanks' part is probably the most important bit...

    It wouldn't be so bad if everyone could knock out the A+ in under a month, but to see people spending 6 months to a year on it seems criminal.
     
  16. Pseudonym

    Pseudonym Byte Poster

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    You don't need to know how to reverse engineer a piece of software to replace a RAM module in a laptop. If you read the all in one by Mike Meyers, there is lots of conceptual knowledge in there, and I 100% agree that that is more important than the detail. However, it's quite difficult to make test questions about abstract concepts.
     
  17. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Replacing a ram module in a laptop is an end user serviceable item, its not a skill anybody should be basing their job on.

    Most academic tests do test abstract concepts, that is their whole point. That is where they excel.

    My point is don't take a vocational subject and turn it into a 'fake' academic subject. Doing so is disingenuous to students of all sorts including those that benefit from vocational or academic methods of tuition.

    Typically vocational students don't excel at exams but can be highly competent in the real world. Forcing such students to do largely book work and exams is bad for everybody.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2017
  18. Pseudonym

    Pseudonym Byte Poster

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    But nobodies forcing anyone to do anything? The A+ is entirely optional. I'm not supporting the system of teaching people pointless things, in fact I'm entirely against it. But I don't control companies and their hiring practices. It's a game that has to be played, and as long as companies have HR filters that include getting an A+ for entry level jobs, then I'm still going to encourage people to go and do it.
     
  19. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Fair point, as long as we agree 50% of it is a game that is played that wastes peoples time and effort.
    Fortunately in my country the A+ is not mandated for positions, and as you mentioned is optional to individuals, so I don't see it as particularly relevant.
     
  20. Pseudonym

    Pseudonym Byte Poster

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    No, I completely agree. Most of getting a job is jumping through hoops. If there was a hoop of higher intellectual value that would achieve the same result I'd encourage people to go and do that instead.
     

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