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Monday, January 18, 2010

Considering CompTIA A Plus Retraining Uncovered

Posted by patrick

By Jason Kendall

The CompTIA A+ training program covers four areas of training; you're thought of as competent at A+ once you've passed your exams for two of the four areas. This is the reason that most training providers only have two of the courses on their syllabus. You'll find that to carry out a job effectively, you'll need the information on each subject as many jobs will ask for an awareness of the whole A+ program. You don't have to qualify in them all, however we'd advise that you at least have a working knowledge of every area.

Once on the A+ computer training course you'll be taught how to build, fix, repair and work in antistatic conditions. You'll also cover fault finding and diagnostics, through both hands-on and remote access.

You might also choose to consider adding the CompTIA Network+ training as you'll then be in a position to work with networks, and have a more responsible working role.

One crafty way that course providers make a big mark-up is by charging for exams up-front and presenting it as a guarantee for your exams. This looks like a great idea for the student, until you think it through:

Patently it isn't free - you're still paying for it - it's just been wrapped up in the price of the package.

Students who go in for their examinations when it's appropriate, funding them as they go are much more likely to pass. They are aware of what they've paid and revise more thoroughly to make sure they're ready.

Don't you think it's more sensible to hold on to your money and pay for the exam at the time, not to pay the fees marked up by the training company, and to do it locally - instead of the remote centre that's convenient only to the trainer?

A lot of extra profit is netted by a number of companies that get money upfront for exam fees. Many students don't take them for one reason or another but the company keeps the money. Believe it or not, providers exist who rely on that fact - and that's how they increase their profits.

Don't forget, with 'Exam Guarantees' from most places - they control when and how often you can re-take the exam. Subsequent exam attempts are only authorised at the company's say so.

Due to typical VUE and Prometric tests coming in at approximately 112 pounds in Great Britain, it makes sense to pay as you go. Why splash out often many hundreds of pounds extra at the beginning of your training? Commitment, effort and practice with quality exam preparation systems are the factors that really get you through.

The somewhat scary thought of finding your first job is often eased by some training providers because they offer a Job Placement Assistance service. With the huge skills shortage in the UK right now, it's not too important to get too caught up in this feature though. It isn't so complicated as you might think to secure your first job as long as you're correctly trained and certified.

You would ideally have advice and support about your CV and interviews though; and we'd recommend everyone to work on polishing up their CV the day they start training - don't procrastinate and leave it until you've graduated or passed any exams.

Getting your CV considered is more than not being known. A surprising amount of junior jobs are got by trainees (sometimes when they've only just got going.)

If you don't want to travel too far to work, then you may well find that a specialist locally based employment agency may serve you better than a national service, as they are much more inclined to be familiar with the local job scene.

A big frustration for a number of course providers is how hard trainees are prepared to study to get qualified, but how ill-prepared they are to market themselves for the job they've acquired skills for. Get out there and hustle - you might find it's fun.

We need to make this very clear: Always get full 24x7 instructor and mentor support. Later, you'll kick yourself if you don't.

Don't accept certification programs which can only support students with a call-centre messaging system when it's outside of usual working hours. Companies will defend this with all kinds of excuses. Essentially - you need support when you need support - not when it's convenient for them.

The very best programs tend to use an online access 24x7 facility utilising a variety of support centres throughout multiple time-zones. You'll have an environment which switches seamlessly to the best choice of centres irrespective of the time of day: Support when you need it.

If you fail to get yourself support round-the-clock, you'll quickly find yourself regretting it. It may be that you don't use it throughout the night, but you may need weekends, early mornings or late evenings.

Now, why is it better to gain qualifications from the commercial sector as opposed to familiar academic qualifications gained through the state educational establishments?

Industry now recognises that to learn the appropriate commercial skills, official accreditation supplied for example by CISCO, Adobe, Microsoft and CompTIA often is more effective in the commercial field - for considerably less.

Vendor training works through focusing on the particular skills that are needed (alongside an appropriate level of background knowledge,) rather than spending months and years on the background 'padding' that academic courses can get bogged down in - to pad out the syllabus.

The bottom line is: Authorised IT qualifications tell an employer precisely what skills you have - everything they need to know is in the title: for example, I am a 'Microsoft Certified Professional' in 'Managing and Maintaining Windows Server 2003'. Consequently companies can look at their needs and what certifications are needed for the job.

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