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Sunday, January 10, 2010

CompTIA A Plus Training Providers - Thoughts

Posted by patrick

By Jason Kendall

Four separate areas of study make up a full CompTIA A+; you're thought of as competent at A+ when you've gained exams for 2 out of 4 subjects. For this reason, the majority of training establishments offer only two of the training courses. In reality it's necessary to have the teaching in all areas as many jobs will ask for an awareness of the whole A+ program. It isn't necessary to qualify in them all, although it would seem prudent that you at least have a working knowledge of every area.

As well as learning how to build PC's and fix them, students on an A+ training course will learn how to work in antistatic conditions, along with remote access, fault finding and diagnostics.

You might also choose to think about adding the CompTIA Network+ training as you can then also take care of computer networks, which means greater employment benefits.

Many training companies only give basic 9am till 6pm support (maybe a little earlier or later on certain days); very few go late in the evening or at weekends.

Avoid, like the plague, any organisations which use messaging services 'out-of-hours' - with your call-back scheduled for standard office hours. It's not a lot of help when you've got study issues and need help now.

Keep your eyes open for training programs that incorporate three or four individual support centres around the globe in several time-zones. All of them should be combined to give a single entry point and 24x7 access, when it's convenient for you, with no hassle.

Search out a training school that offers this level of study support. Only proper round-the-clock 24x7 support delivers what is required.

So many training providers only look at the plaque to hang on your wall, and completely avoid what it's all actually about - which will always be getting the job or career you want. Always start with the end goal - don't get hung-up on the training vehicle.

Avoid becoming one of the unfortunate masses who choose a training program that seems 'fun' or 'interesting' - and get to the final hurdle of an accreditation for something they'll never enjoy.

Prioritise understanding what industry will expect from you. Which particular certifications they'll want you to gain and how you'll build your experience level. It's definitely worth spending time assessing how far you'd like to get as often it can force you to choose a particular set of accreditations.

Sense dictates that you look for advice and guidance from an experienced industry professional before making your final decision on some particular training course, so there's little doubt that the chosen route will give you the skill-set required for your career choice.

Getting into your first IT role sometimes feels easier to handle if you're supported with a Job Placement Assistance program. The need for this feature can be bigged up out of proportion though - it's quite easy for eager sales people to overplay it. Ultimately, the still growing need for IT personnel in this country is what will make you attractive to employers.

However, don't procrastinate and wait until you have finished your training before polishing up your CV. As soon as you start studying, enter details of your study programme and get promoting!

Quite often, you'll land your initial role while you're still a student (even when you've just left first base). If you haven't updated your CV to say what you're studying (and it isn't in the hands of someone with jobs to offer) then you aren't even in the running!

Most often, a local IT focused employment agency (who will, of course, be keen to place you to receive their commission) will be more pro-active than a centralised training company's service. They should, of course, also know the local area and commercial needs.

To bottom line it, as long as you focus the same level of energy into landing a job as into training, you're not going to hit many challenges. A number of people bizarrely put hundreds of hours into their training course and then call a halt once qualified and seem to suppose that interviewers know they're there.

A so-called advisor who doesn't dig around with lots of question - chances are they're actually nothing more than a salesman. If they push a particular product before looking at your personality and current experience level, then it's definitely the case.

If you have a strong background, or maybe some commercial experience (maybe some existing accreditation?) then obviously your starting level will be very different from someone with no background whatsoever.

If this is going to be your opening crack at an IT exam then you may want to start with a user-skills course first.

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