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CompTIA [A+] a waste of time?!

Discussion in 'A+' started by diddy_tong, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. diddy_tong

    diddy_tong New Member

    I've been studying towards my CompTIA A+; have the exams booked for mid-September.

    I just had a phone conversation with a potential employer (didn't work out!) who said that CompTIA certifications are a waste of time, and that I should really do a CCNA. I explained that I didn't have the equivalent experience to do the CCNA, so I would build up to it, but he still thought that was a better option.

    This confused me somewhat as it contradicts experiences on this forum. Just wondered if others had encountered similar attitudes, and what they think about it?
  2. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

    It really depends.

    My personal feeling is that no study/learning is ever a waste of time. You can never have too much knowledge, and if that leads to a certification which validates the knowledge/skills you have then all the better.

    Whether a particular cert is of value to an employer is another matter. Some regard certifications as fairly essential, some seem to disregard them alltogether. No two employers will be the same, so don't put off doing A+ because one guy has advised against it - the next one you talk to may insist you have it.
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  3. NZ Kris

    NZ Kris Nibble Poster

    Hi Tong.

    When I did my A+ last year I kinda of thought it was a bit of a waste before i started but i did it based on advise from this forum.

    I found i knew most the stuff anyway but I actually did learn a few things. I don't regret if for a second as I have found each exam I build on my knowledge. Regards to getting a job I don't know if in my situation the A+ specifically gave me an edge but my employer could see the path progressing from a good foundation and he definitely commented on how I had showed great motivation by training my self and finding out the best path, rather then blindly listening to a training provider (we had a discussion about why i went the route I did, told him about forums and research I had done, he was Impressed).

    I have since i have started work in IT (3 months and loving it) that a few times the "basics" you learn in foundation exams do spring to the forefront of your mind.

    My opinion/advice is to take the A+ especially if you've started studying already, I don't think you will regret it at all.7
    Plus its less stress going to the A+ exam to started then say a windows 7 exam (they are quite a step up I found from windows XP and N+ etc).

    Hope that helps you decide. Best of luck.
    PS. Keep looking for an IT job no matter if you have no certifications at all.
    You learn so much on the job you might as well get started as soon as possible.
    Certifications: A+ 2009, Network+, MCDST, MCTS, MCSA
  4. kevicho

    kevicho Gigabyte Poster

    Well everyones entitled to an opinion, It would be interesting to know why he thinks people with no cisco experience should be doing Cisco exams, and also what impact that could potentially have on a network when that guy gets hired and realises that reality and a lab are two different things!

    Stick to A+, then get some of the Desktop OS Microsoft Certs, if Networking is something you want to do, go for the CCENT, (or the CTA I think thats what the Cisco starter cert is called) and by all means study for the CCNA, but for the exam to be of real benefit then you should be using these skills.
    Certifications: A+, Net+, MCSA Server 2003, 2008, Windows XP & 7 , ITIL V3 Foundation
    WIP: CCNA Renewal
  5. 1/4

    1/4 Byte Poster

    I have spoken to more than a few recruiters / agencies and heads of IT who have mostly said that the MS certs are much more valuable than CompTIA - about 25% of the people saying this had never even heard of an A+... :eek:

    Having said that I thoroughly enjoyed my A+ and did learn a bit from it as well - whether i'd pay for both the exams again i'm not so sure.
    Certifications: A+, N+
    WIP: 70-680
  6. Lozler

    Lozler Bit Poster

    Well it depends on what you're trying to gain from the A+. I learnt new things from the A+ and whenever someone asks me for help, I always think back to the A+.

    I would say about a 1/4 of employers / agencies don't know what the A+ is, so I spell it out on my CV showing what I learnt from the A+.
  7. JSH333

    JSH333 Byte Poster

    It may be fair to say the A+ is not the most recognized cert by employers (seems that way in the UK anyway), but I think its accepted that its one of the best places to start in the run up to certs that are recognised.

    It's not in any way a waste of time, I belive I was as comfortable as I was with the MCDST thanks to the A+ (and particularly the network+). It gives you a good foundation as some of the later certs make the assumption you have the knowledge required for A+. I've been in a few situations where Ive thought "if I hadn't of done A+ id be a bit lost"

    And finally, in the interest of being an all powerful IT practitioner and to have as many letters as possible on your CV, it would be less than perfect if you didn't have it :twisted:
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2011
    Certifications: A+, Network+, Security+, MCP, MCDST
  8. diddy_tong

    diddy_tong New Member

    This is all good stuff! I felt somewhat thrown by the initial comments - especially having studied towards, and booked the exams! I have really enjoyed the study I've done, and I think it will be a helpful stepping stone to more in the future. I have spoken to a number of people who work in the IT industry who haven't heard of CompTIA though, which is a little worrying!
  9. JSH333

    JSH333 Byte Poster

    This happened to me in my interview :D

    But I think it helped in all honesty as I explained what I'd done and what I was looking forward to doing, and that I was building up to MCDST (which they had heard of). It gave me the chance to talk about my knowledge and hopes for the future which they seemed impressed by (and I did get the job by the way) :lol:
    Certifications: A+, Network+, Security+, MCP, MCDST
  10. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

    Is doesn't mean much in the general job market, but it does cover essential prerequisite skills and knowledge.

    Recruiters just care bout their next commission check and give advice on marketability, they don't understand the industry, the qualifications, the skills or the motivation of engineering types.

    To them someone with a CCNA is more marketable, because they see more jobs with it as a requirement and average salaries and therefore commissions will be higher, its just a game of TopTrumps to them...

    They are salespeople, they are motivated by targets and commissions, you are a commodity for them to sell, a can of beans on a shelf...

    They don't generally care about the cans of beans, they chase the consumers who buy cans of beans...

    In fact none of it amounts to a hill of beans...
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2011
  11. tech4life

    tech4life Bit Poster

    I have seen jobs for IT Technician roles and Helpdesk Technicians asking for A+, N+, XP exams, while the same job roles, pay scale asking for HNC/HND and/or degree in some area of Computing, really depends on the employer and environment you will be working.
  12. diddy_tong

    diddy_tong New Member

    Update: Passed my A+ on Tuesday, so hopefully that will help in the job hunt.

    A bit of background: I work for a small charity (between 4-8 employees during the time I've been there). The unofficial part of my job is dealing with all things IT, as we don't have a dedicated person to do that. We don't use any server software, so it's effectively consumer desktop support. I also do a bit of freelance work for a friend of mine who has a student housing business. I help them with IT jobs that need doing, and replace equipment, fix problems etc (again on a domestic scale).

    Despite these things being the secondary part of what I do, it's the part I enjoy most, so I'm looking to get into IT fulltime, hence taking the A+. Given what I've said, and that the most likely starting point is some kind of helpdesk/1st line position, what would be the best certifications to take next? Options would be Network+, or Microsoft cert (MCITP - Desktop Support -70-680, 70-685 seem the most relevant), or even CCENT.

    I'm leaning towards the MS certs as they would seem to fit best; but do I need the Network+ knowledge before doing them? MCITP seems to be more sought after in job adverts I've seen.
  13. seanmoss

    seanmoss New Member

    i started with a level 1 city and guilds then went comptia stata then A+ just passed my mcitp 680 exam with a score of 945. i think if i hadnt done my A+ then i would have struggled on the 680, so it is a good idea to work up through the ranks as they say. also as mentioned in an earlier thread all exams are a certificate to show potential employers. good luck with future interviews
    Certifications: comptia + mcitp network security c & g 3

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