Though I was spared the recent massive layoffs, they’re telling us that July 1 could see a 50% cut in the library budget, and I doubt I would survive that.
So, I have to look to getting my resume ready for the hunt. I’ve done hardware tech support in the past, so I’m thinking about brushing up and getting my A+ Certification, but I wanted to make sure it’s still the thing to get, that says to prospective employers, “This guy’s got the skills I need.”
The A+ cert was never “it”. I actually got the certification back in my junior year of high school, along with a few friends. (In fact, the following year my high school offered a formal class to prep for it.) It’s an entry-level exam - it’s meant to show that you’ve some basic idea of how to do most day-to-day PC tech work, but not much beyond that.
Further, while I’m sure it’s changed since when I took the test (2001) - back in the day, I wasn’t convinced it was all that valuable as an assessment tool. A lot of the test covered gear that we simply would never encounter in the real world, even in 2001. (ISA cards? Seriously?) It also, importantly, didn’t touch on Macs at all - I’d hope that has changed, as it’s a much bigger market portion today than it was then, but I don’t know. Most importantly, the questions themselves were just plain poorly constructed - for example, a lot of the hardware ID questions were bad sketches rather than actual photographs.
I never ended up doing anything with the certification - college came along, then law school, and life went on. So take everything I said above with a grain of salt - but unless there’s a specific job or set of jobs that you know wants the certification, I wouldn’t take the time or spend the money to get the cert.
That said, if you do decide to take the exam, take it seriously. For all my gripes above, the test did seem to be designed to be rigorous by its own lights - it wasn’t a cakewalk. If you don’t already have PC tech experience, get some practice - either volunteer at someplace forgiving of newbie errors, or at least walk through some common tasks on your own PC. And do get a good prep book - the A+ Certification for Dummies book worked for me, but I don’t know if it’s been updated to the current test.
we just recently hired a guy, of the six people we interviewed five a+ certified guys could not identify an obviously blown capacitor on a motherboard. We quizzed all of them on a variety of hardware, software, and networking issues. We ended hiring the one guy who didn’t have the A+ because he was obviously way more fluent in almost every aspect of basic Pc repair. One of them sounded like he would have a hard time with anything more advanced than reloading windows and had never touched a vista or win7 machine, even months after release, and was currently employed as an onsite tech by a competitor.
A+ certification isn’t saying much. I have it, and it’s never helped me. The thing is so many IT people are out of work, it’s really your past skills that matter.
I never used to compete with IT people. My IT jobs have always been bridging IT and the regular offices. But now with so many unemployed or underemployed you’ll be competing with A+ people with lots of skills too.
You could test the water by making multiple resumes and applying for the job with or without A+ Certification. Go to Google Voice and get a phone number for free. Then create a fake resume with similar skills to yours except put A+ certification on it. Then see if your fake resume gets more call backs.
When was A+ ever “it”? I have an A+. Just about everybody I work with has an A+. Anybody who can spend 4 hours studying can get an A+. And since (at least until recently, but only for new applicants) the exam doesn’t expire, it’s something you only have to worry about once. And everyone who is an “it” in IT knows all this too. A+ is basically a stepping stone towards real IT certifications. It gives you an idea of what to expect when testing for a cert. Getting a Cisco certification (I used to have a CCNA, and was working on a CCSP until I lost interest) is really more of an “it” cert, since you actually have to know what you’re doing, and know it well, to earn it. Same goes with most of the certs from Citrix, Oracle, Checkpoint, etc. Microsoft certs are one step up from the CompTIAs - everybody’s got them, and they’re easy to get, so they ain’t worth diddily.
2 weeks ago I was forced by my company to get an HP - Servicing Commercial Desktops, Workstations & Notebooks certification. Is that one “it”?
A+ wasn’t ever “it” except for a very short period, and even then only for people looking to get in at first-level PC support type work, which you won’t stay at too long unless that’s your thing, and if it is, it’s likely you’re way beyond A+ anyway.
I never bothered with it; my first job out of school was about 1/3 PC support, 1/3 networking, and 1/3 ERP development and maintenance.
Second job was 100% ERP development and maintenance, and I haven’t fooled with a PC except for my own since my first job.
I am a Senior IT Consultant with 13 years of experience for Fortune 1000 companies. I have zero certifications but lots of experience. I have no idea if that ever stopped my resume dead in its tracks at an HR department but it has never come up in an interview. I review resumes as well and I don’t really notice A+ certifications much unless two people were at a dead tie (identical twins) and I don’t know any hiring managers that do either. It could be helpful at an entry-level help desk job but wouldn’t always be necessary given other qualifications.