Should I get my A+? Massive Computer Enthusiast

ItsJonoItsJono Member Posts: 6 ■■■□□□□□□□
Hey guys,

I'm currently attending college part time as I cannot afford full time classes and have yet to qualify for FAFSA and such but I did apply so hopefully it'll go through this time.

Anyway i'm hugely into computers and have done computer repair work in High School. I'm in my early 20's and am still unemployed and hold no certifications, degrees, or otherwise aside from experience and anecdotal education.

I've been planning to get my A+ since I was 15 and I was confident back then I could ace the test given some practice but here I am now and have yet to get it despite amassing large knowledge of computers. I've been on this forum and have made a similar post upon registration but have yet to act.

Is it advisable to goto the local bookstore for a day, look over an A+ Certification book (I read very fast with comprehension) and just buy a voucher to take the test? I feel a majority of the information covered is something I know but I also don't want my confidence to be my folly and to waste good money.

What is the best way for someone like me who wants to get into IT work to go about this? If I do go about obtaining the A+, I do plan on getting N+ and MCXX certifications so that I might be much more employable than I am now.


Thanks for your guys' time.
Uncertified idiot

Comments

  • hackman2007hackman2007 Member Posts: 185
    ItsJono wrote: »
    Hey guys,

    I'm currently attending college part time as I cannot afford full time classes and have yet to qualify for FAFSA and such but I did apply so hopefully it'll go through this time.

    Anyway i'm hugely into computers and have done computer repair work in High School. I'm in my early 20's and am still unemployed and hold no certifications, degrees, or otherwise aside from experience and anecdotal education.

    I've been planning to get my A+ since I was 15 and I was confident back then I could ace the test given some practice but here I am now and have yet to get it despite amassing large knowledge of computers. I've been on this forum and have made a similar post upon registration but have yet to act.

    Is it advisable to goto the local bookstore for a day, look over an A+ Certification book (I read very fast with comprehension) and just buy a voucher to take the test? I feel a majority of the information covered is something I know but I also don't want my confidence to be my folly and to waste good money.

    What is the best way for someone like me who wants to get into IT work to go about this? If I do go about obtaining the A+, I do plan on getting N+ and MCXX certifications so that I might be much more employable than I am now.


    Thanks for your guys' time.

    I would recommend against getting the A+ certification.

    You stated very clearly that you are unemployed and cannot afford full-time classes. What is the A+ certification going to get you that you don't already have? Two exam vouchers (remember there are two) from totalsem.com would cost $310. And since the A+ certification expires, I don't see the point getting it unless you want to validate the experience you have with the certification. The certification alone will not open up doors and in my opinion when you don't have the money, is not the greatest investment.


    Instead, if I were you, I would concentrate on the Security+ certification. It is still entry-level, but assumes you have a grasp of A+ certification topics (not all, but a lot), networking experience and security experience. You can get Darril Gibson's book for $10 using Kindle for PC (or read it directly on the Kindle). I think it would be a much better investment of your money ($245 for a voucher at Totalsem and possibly cheaper) and time.
  • tecjohnsontecjohnson Member Posts: 46 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I agree with hackman. For the money, Security+ is faster to get and cheaper. And I recommend Gibson's book, although I would deffinitely read it, study it and take some notes, not just read it in the bookstore.
  • xenodamusxenodamus Member Posts: 758
    The thing about the A+ is that it's just so dang expensive.

    I have it, and it did help me get entry level jobs back in the day. But the value of your certification depends largely on the person doing the hiring.

    If the price tag doesn't hurt you too bad, I do think it will help you get that first job. But make sure you are fully prepared. I wouldn't skim a book and then take the test.
    CISSP | CCNA:R&S/Security | MCSA 2003 | A+ S+ | VCP6-DTM | CCA-V CCP-V
  • andrew09andrew09 Member Posts: 15 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Although I agree with some points already made (too pricy, degree > cert etc)... I would never recommend NOT getting it. If you can, go write it. The fact is, it is an entry-level cert but you have to start in an entry-level job if you want to prove yourself and start moving up. Most places require A+ anyhow, and some HR reps will not know any better that your scope of knowledge is well beyond A+ level.

    Just last month, got turned down from a 65k+ job because I didn't have my A+. Went and wrote it yesterday that way next time they post, I'll be ready.
    Completed: [A+:2009, MCP, MCSA:2003, MCTS x6, MCITP:EDA7]

    Studying for: [MCITP:SA (646), MCITP:EA (643, 647)]
  • CodeBloxCodeBlox Member Posts: 1,363 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Had an employer tell me that he strongly recommended I get A+. Security+ is the only requirement however for the particular job.
    Currently reading: Network Warrior, Unix Network Programming by Richard Stevens
  • mattlee09mattlee09 Member Posts: 205
    ItsJono wrote: »
    Anyway i'm hugely into computers and have done computer repair work in High School. I'm in my early 20's and am still unemployed and hold no certifications, degrees, or otherwise aside from experience and anecdotal education.

    I've been planning to get my A+ since I was 15 and I was confident back then I could ace the test given some practice but here I am now and have yet to get it despite amassing large knowledge of computers. I've been on this forum and have made a similar post upon registration but have yet to act.

    I think I get where your coming from (I'm 20).


    What do the IT job postings look like in your area? Are they "A+ or equivalent experience recommended"? If so - Go apply for some jobs/recruiters today and see if your interview skills can land it for you. They'll ask you some basic questions to try and determine how your mind works (troubleshooting-wise), and it'll most likely be for a Helpdesk/Desk-side support role, in which your soft skills (communication, appearance) will be almost equally as valuable.

    For a small local computer repair shop, the type of experience you describe might suffice for them. Location is a big factor, as is the number/qualification of other applicants.

    Go out there and talk to the managers/recruiters for a week, if it isn't looking so hot, that'll tell you if it would be worth it for an A+ Net+, Sec+.


    When I was a youngster (16) I worked at a local retailer temporarily for 2 months during Christmas JUST so I could buy books/study materials/vouchers. I definitely know how expensive it is, and that it isn't always easy to justify.


    If I can ask, why do you think you didn't pursue it when you originally posted in 04/2010? Is this a career choice for you, or just a job until you can get started with college for a different path?

    You said in that original post that doing this as a job wouldn't make it much fun as a hobby - there are definitely more of those days in a support/Helpdesk job than "rewarding" ones.
  • mikej412mikej412 Member Posts: 10,090
    andrew09 wrote: »
    Although I agree with some points already made (too pricy, degree > cert etc)... I would never recommend NOT getting it. If you can, go write it. The fact is, it is an entry-level cert but you have to start in an entry-level job if you want to prove yourself and start moving up.
    Ditto. You have to start somewhere.

    If money is an issue, then use your enthusiasm and people skills to try for an entry level slash your wrist with a spork if you do it for more than 6 months type of help desk job. Use that paycheck to fund your continued studies (and certifications) and the experience to jump (or get promoted) to your next job.

    Something like the old Microsoft MCDST Certification is also a possibility for getting a foot in the door. Not sure if there is a replacement for this or if it's now in the MCTS Series of Microsoft Certifications.
    :mike: Cisco Certifications -- Collect the Entire Set!
  • ItsJonoItsJono Member Posts: 6 ■■■□□□□□□□
    mattlee09 wrote: »
    If I can ask, why do you think you didn't pursue it when you originally posted in 04/2010? Is this a career choice for you, or just a job until you can get started with college for a different path?

    You said in that original post that doing this as a job wouldn't make it much fun as a hobby - there are definitely more of those days in a support/Helpdesk job than "rewarding" ones.


    I'm just unsure of what I want to do in life. This is a fairly common situation as I understand, but the clock is ticking. In High School I took an A+ Cert. training class and passed it with relative ease in a group of 20. I liken the experience to what my hispanic friends did: Take Spanish as an elective, even though they are native speakers lol. Easy A.

    I did so well that the teacher recommended me when a small, local business was looking to hire some kids to keep their costs low. I was an intern for a month or so but quickly became a technician. I was apparently good enough and that, at the time I had a different job and they demanded that I quit my other job and incentivized it with higher wages. For a high school kid to be making as much as some adults, I felt pretty good and kept working. I got laid off a year later and got offered the company but didn't own a car so I couldn't take on the responsibilities. I did a short stint at retail after and for the past three years i've been unemployed in a perpetual, self-destructive limbo with the economy downfall not helping.

    Some quick reflection of the past years i've been out of HS and with my on/off history of college, and the way I use my time just points at computers. It's what i'm good at and it's what I love, and of course there's that lingering feeling that it's going to turn into a chore more than something I enjoy -- but of course now I'm thinking, why can't I make money while doing it?

    There's probably a lot of underlying issues why i've mentally blocked myself from going into this career path, even knowing that it's most logical; I feel like maybe i'm not as good as I think or as computer oriented as I would've hoped and that the strenuous requirements needed to differentiate myself from everyone else in a highly competitive/saturated environment are too great for me. I think it's somewhat rational to be afraid of having your best talents and your longest hobby experience objectively examined and told that you're just not good enough.

    Even though that's one of my biggest fears, I feel that perhaps underlying talent being wasted in hesitation and inaction is even worse. I just need direction.

    Which is why i'm here, maybe I can finally make that first step and get the ball rolling. It sucks being unemployed for so long, it looks bad, and even worse that I haven't any education. My interview skills are so-so and my last attempt at a customer service job was declined, but they offered me a stock-room position. I felt insulted and pride made me reject their counter-offer -- it doesn't feel good being told you have poor people skills (which I don't think is entirely true, i'm not too socially awkward, not more than most at least!) and you're better off secluded in the back. After looking back to that experience, I can only quote Marsellus Wallace, "**** Pride".

    Anyway this is where i'm at: I'm still in school and want to get my degree for obvious reasons, i've applied for FAFSA and should qualify so more money should open up to me. I am wanting to get a part-time job that's more stimulating than flippin' burgers while i'm in school to have extra money for living expenses and for further education investment into myself. Mostly however, I must admit that securing a job would most likely mean I'd be able to move out of my parent's house. We have a big family and extended family here to boot, there's too much distraction here and I feel pressured by my family, peers, and expectations of someone in my age group to already be out and independent. Let alone employed!
    Uncertified idiot
  • earweedearweed Member Posts: 5,192 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Your not too bad off as youre still young. Get a helpdesk/ desktop support job and move up. Get your degree and some certs and you'll be golden.
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • hackman2007hackman2007 Member Posts: 185
    ItsJono wrote: »
    I'm just unsure of what I want to do in life. This is a fairly common situation as I understand, but the clock is ticking. In High School I took an A+ Cert. training class and passed it with relative ease in a group of 20. I liken the experience to what my hispanic friends did: Take Spanish as an elective, even though they are native speakers lol. Easy A.

    I did so well that the teacher recommended me when a small, local business was looking to hire some kids to keep their costs low. I was an intern for a month or so but quickly became a technician. I was apparently good enough and that, at the time I had a different job and they demanded that I quit my other job and incentivized it with higher wages. For a high school kid to be making as much as some adults, I felt pretty good and kept working. I got laid off a year later and got offered the company but didn't own a car so I couldn't take on the responsibilities. I did a short stint at retail after and for the past three years i've been unemployed in a perpetual, self-destructive limbo with the economy downfall not helping.

    Some quick reflection of the past years i've been out of HS and with my on/off history of college, and the way I use my time just points at computers. It's what i'm good at and it's what I love, and of course there's that lingering feeling that it's going to turn into a chore more than something I enjoy -- but of course now I'm thinking, why can't I make money while doing it?

    There's probably a lot of underlying issues why i've mentally blocked myself from going into this career path, even knowing that it's most logical; I feel like maybe i'm not as good as I think or as computer oriented as I would've hoped and that the strenuous requirements needed to differentiate myself from everyone else in a highly competitive/saturated environment are too great for me. I think it's somewhat rational to be afraid of having your best talents and your longest hobby experience objectively examined and told that you're just not good enough.

    Even though that's one of my biggest fears, I feel that perhaps underlying talent being wasted in hesitation and inaction is even worse. I just need direction.

    Which is why i'm here, maybe I can finally make that first step and get the ball rolling. It sucks being unemployed for so long, it looks bad, and even worse that I haven't any education. My interview skills are so-so and my last attempt at a customer service job was declined, but they offered me a stock-room position. I felt insulted and pride made me reject their counter-offer -- it doesn't feel good being told you have poor people skills (which I don't think is entirely true, i'm not too socially awkward, not more than most at least!) and you're better off secluded in the back. After looking back to that experience, I can only quote Marsellus Wallace, "**** Pride".

    Anyway this is where i'm at: I'm still in school and want to get my degree for obvious reasons, i've applied for FAFSA and should qualify so more money should open up to me. I am wanting to get a part-time job that's more stimulating than flippin' burgers while i'm in school to have extra money for living expenses and for further education investment into myself. Mostly however, I must admit that securing a job would most likely mean I'd be able to move out of my parent's house. We have a big family and extended family here to boot, there's too much distraction here and I feel pressured by my family, peers, and expectations of someone in my age group to already be out and independent. Let alone employed!

    You don't sound any different than anyone else to be honest. It doesn't get any easier from what I've noticed. I'm 22 and will be graduating from college in May. The scariest thing is, I still feel like "maybe i'm not as good as I think or as computer oriented as I would've hoped", so you are not far from everyone else.

    As far as job success, I've had one interview so far and was declined. I haven't been called back by a single company. I am worried a little, but you just have to stay positive. I think the same goes for you as well, just stay positive.
  • JpgonzalJpgonzal Member Posts: 32 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Talk to a financial aid person at your local university or 2-year college. The first thing they will ask is if you filled out your FAFSA and go from there. While I'm not totally versed in the inner working likes she is, most people get SOMETHING. This might be in the form of subsidized loans, unsub loads, etc. If your eligible, maybe even Pell Grant (based on need) or others.

    That should at get you started on your A+ (and more certifications) if money is an issue.

    Disclaimer: I am not a professional in financial aid so please get all the information from them, thats what they are there for! Loans at your own risk but doing it right has posed no problems for me.
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