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Getting started in comptia a+

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by Claypole1977, Jun 24, 2008.

  1. Claypole1977

    Claypole1977 New Member

    Hi, Ive been using a computer at home to surf the internet, print pictures and produce music for years and now Im looking to start a career in PC matienence and troubleshooting.
    Ive been advised to do a Comptia a+ course and so have looked at various colleges to try and find a course to do. The thing is Ive sort of hit a brick wall as most courses assume that you know a great deal about building PC's and also I.T solutions already and so far this has worried me.
    Although Im not a total novice in using the a PC, I am a total novice when it comes to building them and so I bought a book "the idiots guide to comptia a+ certification" and have been flicking through this to try and learn alittle of the background behind the course.
    Again this book also assumes you have prior knowledge of the course, so I guess what im trying to say is how do I start from the VERY beginning so that I can learn the basics before I pay out to do a college course?.
    Any advice would be much appreciated.
  2. kevicho

    kevicho Gigabyte Poster

    Have you ever built a pc before?

    It may be worth buying a few parts to get some experience in setting up pcs.

    List of parts you will need include:
    Processor (with fan + thermal paste)
    Cd or dvrom/writer/rewriter (take your pick)
    Video Card
    Case (with PSU)
    keyboard and mouse (if you dont already have one)

    and go from there.

    Depending on budget:

    What i would suggest the first time if you are looking for something cheapish, is ebay, i would buy, at the bare minimum, a motherboard (something such as a gigabyte or asus board) which needs an AMD processor, and also takes a PCI express graphics card.

    Once you have this find out what speed of memory it needs, then also look at either a sata or ide harddisk (sata is easier to fit and faster)

    Or if you have the cash:

    you could buy all of these parts from a retailer such as tekheads.co.uk or overclockers.com at least that way you are guaranteed working parts!.
    This can lead to less frustration lol!

    Post here if you need more help with what to buy.

    Once you have all these parts, the fun of putting them together will begin, dont be daunted, just take your time, read the motherboard manual and have fun.

    Also I would suggest you look for a basic PC setup tool kit, which will include an anti static wristband, and a whole variety of tools which you will need along the line.

    Its like riding a bike, easy once youve done it once.

    Also might be worth doing some reading on the basics of these parts.

    A good book is the Mike Meyers A+ book, there is also a PC technicians toolkit?? which is written by a poster here named tripwire45, check them out, both are highly recommended.

    Good luck, hope this will get you started
    Certifications: A+, Net+, MCSA Server 2003, 2008, Windows XP & 7 , ITIL V3 Foundation
    WIP: CCNA Renewal
  3. TimoftheC

    TimoftheC Kilobyte Poster

    Hi Clay.

    Another thing you could look at is whether any of your local Colleges do a course in basic computer maintenance. As an example, a College local to me offers this course which would seem to be a good starting point for you -

    The above link is just an example but do any of you local colleges do similar courses?

    As Kevicho stated above, there is no real substitute for getting your hands dirty and just trying things - that's how I started. There is a lot more help and literature about these days and the net is obviously a wonderful resource for this type of thing and wikipida is a good starting point http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_hardware

    You should be able to pick up a cheap low spec computer from a local paper classified adds section or maybe there's a charity in you area that sells reconditioned computers and parts.

    The one warning that I would give if you have no experience of opening a computer up is to read up on static precautions and NEVER EVER even think about opening up a power supply unit (psu). I think everything else is common sense (like don’t disconnect internal parts whilst the computer is on…)
    Certifications: A+; Network+
    WIP: MCDST???
  4. danvan

    danvan New Member

    I am in the same boat as you - just about to enrol on a comptia A+ course with local provider. I asked them what i could do in advance of the course as preparations and they suggested that do some reading up about basic hardware, networking and TCP/IP. I am not sure though which book would be best, but will let you know if i find anything.
    Certifications: A+
  5. The Zig

    The Zig Kilobyte Poster Forum Leader

    I'd second this. I'm finding Mike Meyers' book (A+ AIO, 6th Ed) really good.

    I think it would be quite suitable for someone with limited techie experience. It certainly simplifies techie things quite well (for example, the processor is effectively described building up from a 'man in a box' analogy). It's written in quite a relaxed, inviting style - it's certainly not one of those books that reads like an instruction manual - makes it quite easy to get your head around things.

    So far, at least, I'm impressed (tho I only started it last friday, so I'm on about chapter 4 - I've taken the book's non-techie advice and am reading it like a novel, from beginning to end).
    Certifications: A+; Network+; Security+, CTT+; MCDST; 4 x MTA (Networking, OS, Security & Server); MCITP - Enterprise Desktop Support; MCITP - Enterprise Desktop Administrator; MCITP - Server Administrator; MCSA - Server 2008; MCT; IOSH; CCENT
    WIP: CCNA; Server 2012; LPIC; JNCIA?
  6. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

    PC Technician street smarts by James Pyles will help with upgrading and building PCs.
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  7. postman

    postman Byte Poster

    Buy a cheap computer off ebay (£20/30 most) and open it up, take it apart and put it back together again and make sure it works (Street Smarts is a good book to have to help you).
    WIP: A+
  8. Dullage

    Dullage Byte Poster

    I agree with Postman, I have just ordered books to start me off in the A+ but luckily I have been taking apart computers since I was 10.

    Take apart the PC, lay all the parts out and try to identify each item, use the internet to help you with this. Then learn about how they all connect, why they are compatible with each other...and put it back together again.

    Certifications: A+
    WIP: Network +
  9. mickaveli2001

    mickaveli2001 Byte Poster

    Clay - your in the same boat as me...

    1) Best book to get is "Mike Meyers All In One guide" (SIXTH edition) <<< newest edition

    2) buy a faulty PC on ebay for spare parts

    3) self study through the book, and book the exams yourself... Doing it through college is a bit of a waste, because you still have to pay for the industry recognised exam regardless if you do it at college or yourself, so best to use the college for something else
    Certifications: NC Communication/Computing
    WIP: A+
  10. Davidus

    Davidus Nibble Poster


    Look at the three posts prior to this (hopefully) from postman onwards.

    Between them, thats all you need to do for the time being. The book will guide you from zero knowledge to competant (well, enough to get you to pass the Comptia A+ exams, provided you take it all on board, lol).

    I'd wait until you're part way through the book and then get the book as recommended by GBL (Street smarts) and then building a pc from scratch would be relatively easy (well, easier, lol).

    Best of luck.

    Certifications: EDCL (don't laugh)
    WIP: 70-536, Comptia A+

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