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Which course for the A+/N+?

Discussion in 'A+' started by friendlyblues, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. friendlyblues

    friendlyblues New Member

    Hi everybody,

    I've been reading on these pages for a long time and find alot of useful information from people on here, this is the first time I've posted.

    I was considering doing a course on the A+ a while ago and saw alot of peope suggest I do self study. the problem with me is motivation to get home and get my head down and study. I think the best way for me is definitely a course. I know the basics in IT through the ECDL and working in admin (clearly not as clued up as some on here).

    I was thinking of going for firebrand for the A+/N+ but seen it slated by some people. Have you any reccomendations for a fast way to learn it. I don't think a online course would benefit me anymore then just reading my books. I think I would like to do some background reading and do an intense course, but does anyone recommend any? If not I'll try at a local college to do an evening course. 8)
  2. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

    I actually recommend doing at your local college, simply because some colleges offer the A+/Network+ in combination with the iPRO. This will benefit you in two ways:

    1. You get two qualifications at the end &
    2. Because it's been integrated with another educational program, it's cheaper (it'll be already cheaper as it's done thru the college, but if it's integrated with another educational program it gets Government funding)

    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: PGDip
  3. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

    What he said ^

    I would always trust a college over a training provider.
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  4. Markyboyt

    Markyboyt Kilobyte Poster

    None of my local colleges seem to do any CompTIA or Microsoft certs which is a bit crap but I have my boom anyway so its ok
    WIP: A+
  5. The Zig

    The Zig Kilobyte Poster Forum Leader

    Don't take the things you read on the net too seriously. If a Training Provider (TP) has 95 satisfied customers for every 100, guess which 5 customers are gonna write about them all over the internet! Call it the cry-baby-factor. A google search very nearly stopped me from going to work in Japan about 2 years ago - the things I read about my prospective company very nearly made me jack the whole thing in. But I went, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. It redefined my life. The complaints on the net weren't lies, but they only showed one side of the possibilities. Mostly they were people who went for the wrong reasons, with the wrong expectations. And cry-babies! I can say from personal experience that very few companies are as evil and depraved as a google search would suggest. Sometimes you just have to chose what looks like the best option, go for it, and make the best of it.

    That said colleges are probably a safer bet than TPs. They're better regulated. A college isn't under quite the same financial pressure. Conversely, a TP, given the cost, is likely to have more resources to throw at you.
    So a TP is maybe the higher risk option.

    Final point is, shop around. It might not be as black and white as: pure TP or pure Self-Study.
    There are intensive courses that do the full, live-on-site, 12-hour-a-day, everything-covered-in-class experience; ones that do a month course and put more emphasis on evening homework, and hands-on practice in the day; ones that you only go to for work-shops and do most of the study at home; distance-learning/on-line courses with tutor support; complete self-study packs with test questions; and the purely self-directed route (books, websites, wikipedia, etc - this is what I did).

    Figure out what's best for you given your circumstances and your budget and go for it.
    If you go for a TP, DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING on the day they come to your house. Talk to more than one TP before you commit.
    If the SALESMAN that comes to your house tells you it is a one day only offer and that you'll miss out if you don't do it today - say "Too bad. Bye!" You can bet your butt they'll either drop the price there and then, or that next time you phone them they'll have a similar offer. They will not turn you away if you think about it for a week and phone them back!
    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. friendlyblues

    friendlyblues New Member

    Thanks alot for your useful input everybody. I have just checked into doing it at a college close by and rang up to get details. They say they do an IT Essentials 1 (with A+ Option IT Tech. Training) and would have to do the exam and get the cetificate elsewhere. The real problem is it would take a year there and just learn abit each week. I think that would be too slow for me, so I think I will go with the intense school idea.

    So do you think firebrand is the way forward or is there any that are better? I've checked out alot of places that just seem to do it online with tutor support. Is there anywhere where you could study the A+/N+ for slightly longer so experts can keep up. eg. maybe 2 weeks?
  7. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    If you don't have the motivation to study, you'll likely have a difficult time throughout your IT career. IT requires almost continuous learning to ensure you stay on top of new technologies (and ahead of your competition). So most of us have to study at home. Companies aren't going to spend the money (or provide you the paid time off!) to take a training class, so you might as well learn how to develop the self-discipline to self study now, while the subject matter is nice and easy. It's a skill that will serve you well throughout your career. :)

    If you truly want a fast way to learn it, just pick up a book (recommend Meyers A+ All-in-One Sixth Ed) and learn it. You can go as fast or as slow as you want, so if you're truly "an expert", it shouldn't take you long at all. If you need a "tutor" or some assistance, there are several of us here who are writers/trainers/senior techs who can guide you through whatever you need. And if all you need is a constant swift kick in the butt... we can provide that at a fraction of the cost (free)! :twisted:

    Why would paying for a course motivate you any more than you committing to study from 7-8pm every night, or from 6-10 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, for example? Is it because you will have committed money to the course and you don't want to waste it? Just send the money to one of us, or to your wife/girlfriend, or to your brother, or whomever... and every time you miss a study session, you'll lose 100 bucks - instant motivation! If you don't miss any, you'll get all your money back. That said... again, if it takes losing money to motivate you, you're likely in the wrong biz. Most of us live, breathe, and love IT, and enjoy learning it. If this stuff doesn't thrill you already, then you'll be passed up by those who do.

    You can do it! Don't tell yourself you can't! :thumbleft
    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!
  8. del_port

    del_port Byte Poster

    i don't agree with your theory,i dislike books a lot so self studying isn't an option,whereas college is a good option,be there each week at a set time,and you noticeably progress through each week,as there are regular tests,every single week really at college.

    When you already have some experience,and you've passed the A+ you don't need to be picking up a book non stop to work in a job,you would have to learn something about new technologies,i'm fairly up to date with a huge number of computer subjects, i still haven't read a book on any of them,there is enough short reading material on the web for book reading not to be a required option.

    I have the discipline to take subjects in and learn them,but that doesn't involve reading huge books,a book is a lifeless object,you can't debate with it,or hold long conversations with it like you can at a college course,the material is simply there to read,the perspective you will get just from reading a book is quite limited,college is thorough,and makes sure you comprehend the subject properly.

    If you have any questions on the subject,the book won't give you a reply,a college course will.

    On the further points of self study,yes you can buy a pc to practice on,again you are on a rocky road,a college won't let you mess about and damage the pc,self studying will allow you to damage the pc.

    I can understand if you have a low income,or don't feel the value is there in a college course that self study can be an option,but it isn't for everyone.

    There are plenty of reasons to be motivated enough to want to attend college every week,more so than the reasons to pick up a book on a regular basis i feel.

    I could have self studied the mcdst,the subject which i'm doing just now,but i'm learning more by attending college to do this subject,even though i couldn't afford to do the course in the first place.

    Add to all this the A+ is one of the cheapest subjects to study at college,and is very good value for money,£300 or there abouts for 100 hours of tutor tuition.
    Certifications: A+ and MCDST 70-271
    WIP: mcdst 272
  9. Qs

    Qs Semi-Honorary Member Gold Member

    Each to their own I suppose.

    Both have pros and cons - you need to pick which is best for you.

    From a personal stand-point (having done both self-study and college) I prefer self-study - purely for the fact that I can study material to suit me at my own pace.

    Example - Maths course for my HND. They allocated a module for it which I 'had' to attend and had pre-set allocations where we had to do maths. I already have a A-Level in Physics and Maths so it was very easy.

    If I was self-studying then I'd have more free time to do what I wanted to do / focus on as I wouldn't have these preset periods of study.

    I'd also prefer to use self-study books rather than pay over the odds for a course, but that's just how I work. Sure some of the 'easier' courses are cheap, but as you progress the cost will increase exponentially. Check out course costs for a CCNA or a CCNP for instance.

    My two cents...

    Certifications: MCT, MCSE: Private Cloud, MCSA (2008), MCITP: EA, MCITP: SA, MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003, MCITP: EDA7, MCITP: EDST7, MCITP: EST Vista, MCTS: Exh 2010, MCTS:ServerVirt, MCTS: SCCM07 & SCCM2012, MCTS: SCOM07, MCTS: Win7Conf, MCTS: VistaConf, MCDST, MCP, MBCS, HND: Applied IT, ITIL v3: Foundation, CCA
  10. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

    The choice between self-study and courses disappears when you are asked to learn something new for which no course exists.

    IMHO you *have* to get used to book learning to stay ahead in this game.

    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+
  11. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    If you disagree, then it's your prerogative to do so. But in my time in IT, I've seen it repeatedly: those who have no motivation to study tend to fall behind those who do.

    ...and costs far more than self-study. If you want debate and conversations and answers to questions, that's what these forums are for.

    Again, what are you gonna do when you GET in IT and you can't take time off to go to college or take a class?
    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!
  12. The Zig

    The Zig Kilobyte Poster Forum Leader

    For me, both seem like valid options. But in the end, if it's gonna be worth anything, the real driving force has to be you.

    When I was a kid, sixth form college got me through some A-levels. I got decent grades. Then Uni got me through electronics. Did okay. But to be honest, I was always just coasting through. It was someone else's job to 'teach' me and I just did what I was told to pass. And sure enough, I passed.
    Now I view that whole period of my life as a waste (even if it did make my family happy!) I did okay, but not as well as I could have done. The whole thing, to me, was just some arbitrary hoop jumping exercise. And at the end of it all I really didn't see the point any more.

    The point is, NO-ONE can "teach" you something. It's all self-study in the end. A good teacher can make stuff clearer, or present stuff in such a way as is easier to understand - pivotally, they can inspire you to learn, and help when you get stuck - but no-one can put knowledge in your head. Ultimately, as Asimov said:
    I took an A-level again later, again with a college. This time I spent a tenth as much time in college, and only saw the tutors a few hours each week in class. I got the top grade (stunning the teachers, who had told me that this was basically impossible).
    But this time it was easy. I was doing all the hard work at home - and I was really enjoying it. College was just a tool I used to do it. A kind of focal point.
    At the time, I attributed this to a fundamentally more interesting subject, but recently I've been looking over some of my old degree books, and actually they're damn good. I just didn't see it before.

    Fundamentally it's the difference between being responsible for your own learning, and trying to palm off responsibility to someone else.

    So my point... in a nutshell, I'm with BosonMichael. Colleges can be useful expedients, but they're no substitute for real drive. Whichever way you do it, you'll still have to do most of the real work yourself if you want to do it well. Might as well face up to this at the start and save yourself some money!
    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?

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