New member here, some advice please

sudsygrlsudsygrl Posts: 5Member ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello everyone. I have been reading these boards for a few weeks now and have found tons of information on here. Here is my story, I have signed up for the COMPTIA A+ PC Service Technician course at my local community college. It starts on March 2nd and goes thru June 17th. I have heard from many people in my area it is a great course and the instructor is awesome and has a lot of years experience. And it is perfect for beginners who want to be in this field. SO I have been really excited about going on Monday. I really like messing with computers and when something goes wrong with mine or my friends, I enjoy trying to figure out what happend (if I am able to).

But now I have been reading on some forums (not this one) that you shouldn't waste your money on taking courses and if you do, maybe this isn't the right path to take. I have read that you should be able to pass the exam on your own with just using books. So I am very discouraged right now and kinda upset thinking I am in way over my head with this. I want to learn EVERYTHING right and have a hands on approach and that's why I chose to take the course. I have the book that I need for the class already and I also bought another study book to use also. I also bought myself a old computer to mess with to even get more hands on experience. I don't want to just pass the test, I want to learn also.

Sorry for the long post but I am just hoping somebody will tell me I am going about this the right way. I am 39 years old and really enjoy computers and just want to learn something that I enjoy doing.

Thanks for this great site, and I hope to get some positive feedback.

Comments

  • dynamikdynamik Posts: 12,314Banned ■■■■■■■■□□
    People learn best in different ways. Personally, I prefer to teach myself, but that's just me. If you enjoy the classroom environment, go for it. While it certainly is cheaper to teach yourself, money isn't everything. I wouldn't take what others say too seriously (especially on some forum on the internet ;)). Go with whatever route you think will benefit you the most.

    Also, be sure not to confuse a course like that with boot camps, which attempt to cram all the required knowledge into a short amount of time, such as five 8-10 hour days. Boot camps are useful as an overview or review, but the consensus is that they're inadequate on their own.

    Welcome to the forums, and keep us abreast of your progress :D
  • mikej412mikej412 Posts: 10,090Member
    Self study is one way to earn the certification -- and for someone who already is working in IT and has experience, it may be the cheapest way.

    When I decided to finally get some Computer Certifications I took the Cisco CCNA Network Academy courses at my local Community College. I had been out of school for quite some time and it helped me focus to study and take exams.

    Plus the structure of classes helped with the self-discipline to study. If I had tried self-study I might have let work obligations interfere with my study. A lot of people start work on their certifications, but not all of them finish.

    Bootcamps that try to cram lots of new information into someones head (and cost thousands of dollars) aren't the best idea -- unless you prepare before hand and work is paying for it. Even the official classes can be intense and you should do a bunch of reading before the class to prepare and still spend some time after to review before trying the certification exam(s).

    Community College courses are usually reasonably priced and give you plenty of time to learn the material. Access to instructors and your fellow students can help you over any difficult or new topics. Lab equipment is usually available -- and since you probably pay a lab fee, spend lots of time there to get your money's worth. Plus if you're one of the "top students' and have a well connected instructor, they may be able to jump start your career with a job recommendation.

    Once I got back into the swing of study, I went the self-study route (and home lab) for the rest of my certifications. Forums like this one can help fill some of the social void and offer support for people doing self-study -- but for people taking classes it's also another resource to ask questions and get support.

    Welcome to the TechExams.net Forums! :D
    :mike: Cisco Certifications -- Collect the Entire Set!
  • Daniel333Daniel333 Posts: 2,077Member ■■■■■■□□□□
    Welcome to the forms and IT!

    Certification are a great way to benchmark your progress and can be a lot of fun in the right doses. A+ is a pretty good way to start and your making the right choice by starting with a class. Eventually you will self train on everything but at the start, it's good to have people to help you out.

    A+ itself isn't much of an accomplishment, the exam was harder than it needed to be, but the material was good.

    You are doing the right thing with A+ and once you have finished that you might want to -look into the 70-620 exam from Microsoft. It's a perfect cert for someone on the first few steps in IT.

    Just feel free to come back and talk about what you learned sharing what you learn is a great way to reinforce it.

    Just some A+ recommendations -
    Snag a couple old computers, ones you are willing to break.
    Videos from Online software tutorials, training CDs, Photoshop Tutorials, Dreamweaver Tutorials, Apple Tutorials from vtc.com or CBT Nuggets: Training for Cisco CCNA SQL MCSE VB.NET A+ Linux PMP & Many More IT Certification Exams! are great
    You will need questions and answers from companies like Transcender to get past the test.
    -Daniel
  • PlantwizPlantwiz Posts: 5,057Mod Mod
    Welcome.


    I personally would NOT take a class, especially for A+, but it depends on what you think you need.

    You can buy ALL titles on A+ on the market and still not pay what some of those courses cost. Only you can decide if the value is worth it.

    The 3 places near me that offer 'IT-type' school are way over priced for the information they provide and the 'graduates' still don't have a clue when the enter the field. I've worked with a few and have interviewed many.

    So, my take is that they charge good (and maybe a little naive) people too much money and do not adequately prepare them for the workforce. Of course, with any type of school/class......THE STUDENT needs to assume the responsibility to ensure they understand the material, not merely 'pass' the exam.

    YMMV


    You need to do what you think it right. Not what a bunch of strangers on an Internet Forum would do.
    Plantwiz
    _____
    "Grammar and spelling aren't everything, but this is a forum, not a chat room. You have plenty of time to spell out the word "you", and look just a little bit smarter." by Phaideaux

    ***I'll add you can Capitalize the word 'I' to show a little respect for yourself too.

    'i' before 'e' except after 'c'.... weird?
  • sudsygrlsudsygrl Posts: 5Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    WOW, thank you to everybody for your responses. You make me feel more at ease with the decision of taking the course. I just felt since I have no technical training or background that it would just be the best for me to have a classroom type structure. And after all that and if I pass my exams, then I could possibly do the self study. I really look forward to chatting with you all on here. I will absolutely let you know how my first day of class goes, which will be Monday night. I haven't been to school in 21 years, lol. It's kinda scarry :)
  • sudsygrlsudsygrl Posts: 5Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Well I promised you guys I would post after my first class which would have been tonight. Well school is closed due to bad weather, so my first class will now be on Wednesday. I am really bummed and was so looking forward to tonight. I will update you guys on Thursday morning the day after class, hopefully.:)
  • NetAdmin2436NetAdmin2436 Posts: 1,076Member
    Welcome to the forum and I wish you the best of luck.

    As everyone mentioned, it's ultimately up to you and what you feel comfortable with. Personally if I were starting a new field, I would want some formal training in the beginning. Then decide if I'm comfortable with self study after I get my feet wet. I began my IT journey at a community college as well and have never regretted it. Believe me when I say this, it will be a long but fun journey. Technology is ever changing and you will be constantly learning new things.

    You definitely have the right attitude starting out wanting to learn the material and not trying to look for shortcuts. icon_thumright.gif
    WIP: CCENT/CCNA (.....probably)
  • d00dled00dle Posts: 46Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    hi,

    I'm taking a comptia A+ class too @my local community college from Jan to May (also Net+). I don't think it's a waste of money (unless ur paying tuition 20g a year for these courses). @my community college it was pretty cheap, plus I get free ebook, practice exams, study guides, discount, etc. I agree, it's nice to have some formal training in the beginning.

    Before I signed up for the classes, I didn't have a clue that I need to take exams from 3rd party to certify. It wasn't like getting an AA or BA so it was nice to have someone to clarify that.
    Comptia A+
    220-601: Essentials - score 685 (March, 2009)
    220-602: IT Technician - score 792 (March, 2009)

    Comptia Network+
    N10-003 - score 554 (April, 2009)

    MCTS
    70-620: Configuring Windows Vista - score 807 (May, 2009)
  • sudsygrlsudsygrl Posts: 5Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    So, last night was my first class and I have to say I am a little disappointed. First off they changed my instructor and didn't feel the need to inform us about it. Our new instructor isn't even A+ certified and has never taught the A+ course. He is certified in like everything else but A+. So last night he is just giving lectures and never once had us open our text book, the whole time he is talking about motherboards and doing the formula for finding the bus bandwidth, all of us are looking thru our books trying to figure out what he is talking about.

    One the the students asked him if we were going to use the chapters in the book he said we will use some of it but I have never taught from this book. Meanwhile it cost me $100 for the two books required for the course. He said there is no homework in this class, it's gonna be lecture, self study and some hands on. Now at the end of the class he goes well we basically went thru chapter one tonight. So long story short it looks like this class is going to be more of self study then anything and I am quite upset about it because I feel I just spent $800 for something I could have probably done on my own. All I wanted to do was learn from formal training and this is what I get, lol.

    Sorry for the long post, but I will keep you guys posted as this course goes on. I still can't believe I am complaining about no homework icon_lol.gif
  • dynamikdynamik Posts: 12,314Banned ■■■■■■■■□□
    Don't they give you a week or two to get your money back? If that's all the more involved with it, you might be better off just picking up the CBT Nuggets and asking your questions here. Sorry to that's not going as you had anticipated.
  • PlantwizPlantwiz Posts: 5,057Mod Mod
    sudsygrl wrote: »
    So, last night was my first class and I have to say I am a little disappointed. First off they changed my instructor and didn't feel the need to inform us about it. Our new instructor isn't even A+ certified and has never taught the A+ course. He is certified in like everything else but A+. So last night he is just giving lectures and never once had us open our text book, the whole time he is talking about motherboards and doing the formula for finding the bus bandwidth, all of us are looking thru our books trying to figure out what he is talking about.

    One the the students asked him if we were going to use the chapters in the book he said we will use some of it but I have never taught from this book. Meanwhile it cost me $100 for the two books required for the course. He said there is no homework in this class, it's gonna be lecture, self study and some hands on. Now at the end of the class he goes well we basically went thru chapter one tonight. So long story short it looks like this class is going to be more of self study then anything and I am quite upset about it because I feel I just spent $800 for something I could have probably done on my own. All I wanted to do was learn from formal training and this is what I get, lol.

    Sorry for the long post, but I will keep you guys posted as this course goes on. I still can't believe I am complaining about no homework icon_lol.gif

    Not sure what you expected?

    A+ material is sort of....well...you need to use it to 'get' it. And it would be pretty tough to replicate every environment so lecture should be a fine way to go.

    As far as the instructor not using the book, good for him! Students can read on their own time. Class work should be used to explore what the self-research brings up.

    Again, I come back to, I personally wouldn't pay for a class. This material is something that is best learn on your own.

    AND a person does NOT need to hold an A+ to be proficient in hardware. The fact he's going over bus speeds sounds like he has a clue which is good for the class.

    If you don't like it, look into dropping it. However, you have already signed up and its pretty tough to evaluate a course by 1 class alone. At this point, what do you lose by staying with it? IF you don't know anything now as you stated....why do you think this guy cannot show you anything new?
    Plantwiz
    _____
    "Grammar and spelling aren't everything, but this is a forum, not a chat room. You have plenty of time to spell out the word "you", and look just a little bit smarter." by Phaideaux

    ***I'll add you can Capitalize the word 'I' to show a little respect for yourself too.

    'i' before 'e' except after 'c'.... weird?
  • sudsygrlsudsygrl Posts: 5Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Plantwiz wrote: »
    Not sure what you expected?

    A+ material is sort of....well...you need to use it to 'get' it. And it would be pretty tough to replicate every environment so lecture should be a fine way to go.

    As far as the instructor not using the book, good for him! Students can read on their own time. Class work should be used to explore what the self-research brings up.

    Again, I come back to, I personally wouldn't pay for a class. This material is something that is best learn on your own.

    AND a person does NOT need to hold an A+ to be proficient in hardware. The fact he's going over bus speeds sounds like he has a clue which is good for the class.

    If you don't like it, look into dropping it. However, you have already signed up and its pretty tough to evaluate a course by 1 class alone. At this point, what do you lose by staying with it? IF you don't know anything now as you stated....why do you think this guy cannot show you anything new?

    I do plan on staying with it but I think he might actually be a little to advanced for us beginners taking the course. I just hope we have plenty of hands on experience. I have 3 sets of books I am using, the one required by the school which is the COMPTIA A+ comprehensive guide to all 2006 exams, and I also bought a Mike Meyers complete guide to A+ and Jean Andrews A+ book. I was just a bit overwhelmed I think last night and hope it gets better as the classes go on. I just feel if we aren't going to use the book then why did I have to spend $100 for it. I have no problem if he doesn't have a A+ certification but he has never even taught a A+ course. It's not a matter of showing me anything new, it's actually a matter of learning the whole thing. I have only done stuff to my own computer which is really just installing memory and hard drives and dvd drives. But this is something I really want to do and get into. I will still keep you guys posted as this goes on, my next class will be on Monday, I plan on trying to read several chapters from now until then and maybe I will be able to keep up with him.
  • skrpuneskrpune Posts: 1,409Member
    sudsygrl wrote: »
    I do plan on staying with it but I think he might actually be a little to advanced for us beginners taking the course. I just hope we have plenty of hands on experience. I have 3 sets of books I am using, the one required by the school which is the COMPTIA A+ comprehensive guide to all 2006 exams, and I also bought a Mike Meyers complete guide to A+ and Jean Andrews A+ book. I was just a bit overwhelmed I think last night and hope it gets better as the classes go on. I just feel if we aren't going to use the book then why did I have to spend $100 for it. I have no problem if he doesn't have a A+ certification but he has never even taught a A+ course. It's not a matter of showing me anything new, it's actually a matter of learning the whole thing. I have only done stuff to my own computer which is really just installing memory and hard drives and dvd drives. But this is something I really want to do and get into. I will still keep you guys posted as this goes on, my next class will be on Monday, I plan on trying to read several chapters from now until then and maybe I will be able to keep up with him.
    If you can, do try to stick it out. It's really easy to feel overloaded and overwhelmed when beginning on new topics, and while A+ materials aren't incredibly difficult, there's a LOT of material to cover and it can seem like a foreign language at first for the uninitiated. Just give it some time and let some of the terms sink in and it should get better soon.

    I'm not too surprised that they didn't "inform" anyone of the instructor change...it's common for schedule changes and instructor changes to occur after schedules are first published, and it's possible that they weren't left with a choice in the matter. Perhaps the original instructor bailed out, or maybe he/she wasn't able to do it at the last minute. Thankfully they were able to find another instructor for the class and keep the schedule. This new instructor probably got tossed in at the last minute and didn't have a choice in the required books for the class, so it's no small wonder that they might not be heavily referencing the books that were thrust upon them.

    And don't let the fact that this person hasn't taught the class before skew you on their abilities. My hubby is a first time prof, and he's never before taught the classes he's teaching now, but it doesn't have an impact on the quality of his teaching. If the instructor is good and does the job to get the info across, then it doesn't really matter if they've done it before.

    Give it some time & keep an eye on the class drop/refund dates...if as the deadline approaches you're still unhappy, then by all means drop the class and recoup some money.

    Good luck, hope it goes well for you!
    Currently Studying For: Nothing (cert-wise, anyway)
    Next Up: Security+, 291?

    Enrolled in Masters program: CS 2011 expected completion
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