Is A+ a step backwards?

chrhuf1129chrhuf1129 Member Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
I am just getting in to the IT field. I am wrapping up my B.S. in Info Systems Security in a couple of months and just recently got my Net+ certification. I am currently working in the Operations Center for a Data Center company as an analyst. For those of you that have been in the field for a while, do you think that going after my A+ certification would be a step backwards, when I should be going after MCSA and CCNA certs instead?


  • Halcyon HellHalcyon Hell Member Posts: 30 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Welcome!!! I've been a sysadmin for more than a year without certs and now only recently decided to get certified. Got my N+ the other day and then getting my A+ certs the following fridays. CCNA will be the next hurdle for me after A+ is gained. The answer to your question, no its not a step backwards. Its a good foundation for Microsoft certs. Get yourself a N+ and you will understand Cisco better aswell.
    BOFH (in training)
  • nelnel Member Posts: 2,859 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Imo it depends. i think the A+ is well suited for someone just starting in IT or who has no knowledge at all. personally, if this is not you then i would not recommend it due to the high cost of attaining the cert. I know it seems more popular in the US then anywhere else, in the UK its not a well sought after cert in my experiance.

    Your job role sounds like you'll be doing entry level networking / desktop support / helpdesk stuff? if thats so then i would look for a cert aimed towards that. If your doing the type of work i mentioned then the mcsa/e & net+/CCNA are a good place to start.

    Then i would decide which area you would like to specialise in - i.e. sysadmin, networking etc then i would focus on higher level certs in that area.

    Welcome to the forums too!
    Xbox Live: Bring It On

    Bsc (hons) Network Computing - 1st Class
    WIP: Msc advanced networking
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,312 ■■■■■■■■■□
    What are you currently doing (in terms of actual tasks) and what do you want to be doing? The A+ is going to cover hardware and basic OS concepts. Is that something you're currently working with and would like a better understanding of, or is it a position you'd get into? You may just want to do it in order to fill any gaps in your knowledge instead of using it as something to advance your career. I always think it's a little absurd when an MCSE or whatever can't handle basic hardware issues.
  • Daniel333Daniel333 Member Posts: 2,077 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Not a fan of Comptia, so I wil just say yes. Move foward to more in demand vendor specific ceritification.

    MCP >> MCSA >> MCSE >> MCSE:Messaging >> MCSE:Security >> MCITP: Domain Admin

    CCENT >> CCNA >> CCNA: Security >> CCNA:Wireless >> CCNA:Voice >> CCNP
  • chrhuf1129chrhuf1129 Member Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I'm really thinking about the A+ for a few different reasons. First, with Net+ it counts towards MCSA which I am aiming for one day. Next, the economy is in such a #$%@ mess right now, if my company let me go tomorrow I think there would be more immediate job options with the A+. I think the cert fills a certain "knowledge gap". I've built computers before, and I upgrade and troubleshoot them on a regular basis for friends and family.

    As far as what I am doing now, it is mostly a second level help desk. There's a lot to do with routing problems, DNS, email, web hosting. Troubleshooting wireless takes up a good deal of time too. There's not much, but there is a little hands on work on the servers if the engineers need help or a customer needs remote hands.

    I guess I'm really thinking about it to have something to fall back on in a real emergency...
  • chrhuf1129chrhuf1129 Member Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Daniel333 wrote:
    Not a fan of Comptia, so I wil just say yes. Move foward to more in demand vendor specific ceritification.

    MCP >> MCSA >> MCSE >> MCSE:Messaging >> MCSE:Security >> MCITP: Domain Admin

    CCENT >> CCNA >> CCNA: Security >> CCNA:Wireless >> CCNA:Voice >> CCNP

    Why then did you spend the time to get Net+ and A+?
  • Mrock4Mrock4 Banned Posts: 2,359 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Has anyone looked at job postings lately? A LOT of jobs require A+/Net+, just to get your foot into the door. Why not? If you already know the stuff, why not have something in hand to prove you do? I say go for it.
  • Daniel333Daniel333 Member Posts: 2,077 ■■■■■■□□□□
    I have gone back an forward with this, my opinion is Comptia is a bit out of touch with the industry and their certs are loosing respect.

    I find A+ helpful for Geek Squad/Firedog and low end help desk jobs. Do a search at or dice and you'll find it is respected in low wage IT jobs but not much elsewhere.

    I was told Comptia was the way to go when I started out. I don't agree with that now, being 2009 on. I believe their exams are more difficult than they need to be as they tend to be too esoteric to be useful in the real world. Memorization of IRQs, memory address spaces, dated Novell and Apple networking come to mind.

    In the end A+ takes two exams and requires more studying than people give it credit for. Microsoft and Cisco are providing much better entry level ceritifcation paths than they did even a couple of years ago (when I started), with MCTS and CCENT. They provide a very solid entry level baseline that applies to real world jobs that have fair wages. They also have great growth potential, see the paths from my earlier postings.

    If you are looking for career boosting entry level certifications I believe the way to go for 2009 is....
    Microsoft Certified Professional - Windows XP (70-270)
    Technology Specialist - Configuring Windows Vista (70-620)
    Cisco Certified Entry Level Technician (640-822)
    Microsoft Certified Professional - Windows 2003 (70-290)

    I hope this helps you in some way,
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,312 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Also, you may want to consider doing the two exams for the MCDST and then the new upgrade to MCITP: Enterprise Support Technician. Those are more help-desk level certs and may be more beneficial to you if that's what you're doing. You can also use the MCDST as your elective for your MCSA (but not MCSE).
  • chrhuf1129chrhuf1129 Member Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks to all who replied. I've decided to go for the A+ IT Tech cert. I don't want to spend the rest of my career doing help desk or desktop support, but maybe the MCDST is in my future too...
  • NetwurkNetwurk Member Posts: 1,155 ■■■■■□□□□□
    chrhuf1129 wrote:
    Is A+ a step backwards?

    Nothing learned is ever a step backwards. If you think you are applying for a position where the people hiring might look down on a cert, then just leave it off your resume.

    The A+ (2002 version) was somewhat easy for me because I've worked with hardware for almost 30 years. So I can see where you might need to study for something that might be more in tune with your own strengths.

    The only reason not to go for it would be

    A. You could spend the time studying for something more in line with your own skills and goals
    B. You know the stuff, but don't feel the need to spend the $400 to sit for the tests.

    I think that A+ shows that you at least have a clue about how hardware works!

    * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    OK. I'm done defending a cert that I think is really worthwhile

  • mamonomamono Member Posts: 776 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Netwurk wrote:
    Nothing learned is ever a step backwards.

    I completely agree with this statement. There is so much about computer technology and IT that we just can't learn everything, but what we can do is fill in the gaps as best as possible. This will make you more versatile in whatever job role that you happen to take in the future. Never stop studying and learning about technology because once you do, that is when you become obsolete.
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