All You Need to know about CompTIA A+

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Imagine you find yourself in the middle of a dark Treasure Island at night: there are so many hidden treasures but you need to find a lamp to guide you to the boxes that hold the treasure; if you do not find the lamp early enough, you will be attacked by dangerous beasts. 

CompTIA A+ is this lamp in the IT treasure world. But what makes it so special, and what beasts attack you in the IT world? 

What Is CompTIA A+

In simple words: CompTIA A+ is the lamp you need to unlock the treasure in the IT world and stay away from the beast that attacks one in the IT world: the beast of confusion.

You have heard about the prospects in the IT industry; you have read that IT skills are the most in-demand skills, you certainly wish to have those skills, but then the IT world is just as confusing as it is prospective.

CompTIA A+ certification is seen as the beginning course for any career in IT; that is, if you have absolutely no knowledge of how the IT industry works you should start with the A+ certification.

Courses all over: cybersecurity, network management, cloud computing, all of these may sound confusing to the beginner.

CompTIA A+ guides you to the fundamentals and introduces you to the IT world in such a manner that you would be able to cater for yourself afterward, knowing what step to take after what.

And even if you are interested in some of the more advanced roles like cybersecurity, then A+ lays a very good foundation to understanding the other courses, and having A+ knowledge is a recommended prerequisite for other CompTIA certifications.

A+ preparation courses gives you foundational skills in, among other areas, software, hardware and network troubleshooting as well as security and networking.

CompTIA A+ Jobs

The way A+ lays a good foundation for you to step into the IT world, you would think that is all it offers you: a good foundation.

In reality, it offers you much more: CompTIA A+ certification course is basically an illustration that a person has computer technician competency; it is not a very good place to stop, but apart from laying a very good foundation for your other steps in the IT world, A+ is also enough to secure you a job.

CompTIA A+ prepares candidates for the following job roles:

  • Service desk analyst
  • Help desk tech
  • Technical support specialist
  • Field service technician
  • Associate network engineer
  • Data support technician
  • Desktop support administrator
  • End-user computing technician
  • Help desk technician
  • System support specialist 

A+ does not prepare you, as cheap as it sounds, for just any job, but for averagely good-paying jobs.

Here are a few CompTIA A+ jobs and their average salaries:

  • Support specialist: $54,500
  • Field service technician: $46,000
  • Desktop support analyst: $60,000
  • Help desk tier 2 support: $45,000

CompTIA A+ Certification

How Much Does The Certification Cost?

In order to take the certification test, you’ll need to buy an exam voucher. A voucher represents a unique code that you can buy at the CompTIA Store and use to take your test at a Pearson VUE testing center. If a voucher is all you need, then the cost is $232 per exam.

If you don’t pass an exam, you’ll need to purchase another voucher to take another test.

Number of questions

Maximum of 90

Types of questions

Multiple choice and performance-based

Length of test

90 minutes

Recommended experience Six to 12 months of hands-on experience in the lab or field

Passing score

CompTIA A+ 220-901: 675 (on a scale of 900)

CompTIA A+ Exam Objectives

Exam objectives can be thought of as a competency standard. Each objectives document outlines knowledge and skills that the industry has deemed important for candidates to be successful on the job.

The objectives also comprise the topics that will be covered in the exam you are studying for. They are designed to guide your studies and prepare you for a future job.

In general, an exam objectives document is split into several domains that are followed by the various objectives.

The exam objectives for all CompTIA exams are available to download for free here

For CompTIA A+, these are the domains and how much weight each carries in the certification test. 

  • 1.0 Hardware -34%
  • 2.0 Networking -21%
  • 3.0 Mobile Devices – 17%
  • 4.0 Hardware & Network Troubleshooting- 28%
  • Total -100%

Successful candidates are expected to have the following skills :

  • Configure, install and upgrade operating systems, including Windows, Apple OS X, Linux, iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile
  • Install and manage virtual machines
  • Set up and troubleshoot peripheral devices
  • Assemble and disassemble computing hardware
  • Set up and support basic home and small office networks
  • Implement cybersecurity controls appropriate to helpdesk and technical support roles
  • Troubleshoot and support end-user access to applications and data

CompTIA A+ Study Guides

Study guides are books written to prepare you for the certification; they cover all the domains, and if you get the right study guide, along with some practice tests, then this would be enough to prepare for the CompTIA A+ exam. 

There are many available study guides on the internet, some for free and some are paid. 

CompTIA publishes their own study guide but it comes for a price and can be downloaded here

Other highly recommended study guides are: 

  • The Official CompTIA A+ Study Guide. by Taylor & Pengelly.
  • CompTIA A+ Certification Premium Bundle. Tenth Edition. by Mike Meyers.
  • CompTIA A+ Exam Cram. First Edition. by David Prowse.
  • CompTIA A+ Complete Study Guide. 4th Edition. by Docter & Buhaglar.

Other CompTIA A+ Preparation Resources

CompTIA A+ Training 

For many people, using the study guides and taking practice tests is never enough, rather, they often need to take a full training where a tutor guides them through the preparation steps. This is far from necessary if you lay hands on the right study guides and practice tests, but in a case where you still find the need, some of the best training can be gotten from: 

  • Pluralsight
  • Udemy
  • Professor Messer 

YouTube Videos 

If you do not want to take a paid training, YouTube videos are what you should stick to complement your study guide and practice tests. 

There are whole playlists explaining the course and available for free on YouTube. 

Some of the best you can find for CompTIA A+ are:

You should also follow this channel for other beneficial CompTIA certification videos. 

Practice Tests 

There are several ways, several resources to prepare for CompTIA certification exams, but whatever preparation method you choose, one thing that shouldn’t be left out is practice tests

Having the knowledge is not enough, you need to be familiar with the examination environment and question modes in order to excel in the exams. 

CompTIA exam questions are often similar and confusing, and being familiar with practice tests gives you an edge. 

You can take reliable CompTIA A+ practice tests here, and by the time you are ready for the exam, you would have been very familiar with many of the questions you would come across. 

Closing Thoughts

As an IT/tech enthusiast with no IT foundation, the first step that would make your IT journey guided and straight is to prepare for the A+ certification. 

A+ gives a good foundation for those hoping to delve into other fields like cybersecurity and networking and also is a good start for a job role in the IT world.

And in the course of preparing for the A+ exam, there are many study methods that can be employed, but one constant thing is the need for practice tests to get familiar with the exam question, style, and method. 

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