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General discussion

Having a few doubts about becoming A+ certified.

Nov 18, 2008 7:13AM PST

I've been studying for my A+ certification from a 50 dollar book, I thought this was enough (I feel that it is enough), but the other day I got a call from a PC institute called New Horizon which offers A+ certification and Netwok+ certification in a course that lasts 2 months and costs 3,500 or so dollars. This threw me for a loop. The reason why is because the person who contacted me from New Horizon told me getting certified just from studying the book I have in my posession won't be sufficient- In my defense, I have three computers around that I mess around with, and I've fixed them up numerous times, other people's computers too. All other studying options seem so pricy, and I'm utilizing the cheapest one. Is it enough? I've taken dozens of A+ prep exams on the net and I do great.

oh, and where are good places that A+ certified technicians get to work and what are the wages, I'd like to work with PC's thoughout college. I apologize for the length of this post, but I'm genuinely worried.

Discussion is locked

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Papers
Nov 18, 2008 12:09PM PST

Certification is the paper trail that places a value on training and education. If you don't have it, don't expect a free pass unless having experience. You can use the book all you want and then pay to take some A+ test or short course for a test so you can have that under your belt and continue to any other level. Of course taking the test is yet another expense. All these other venues basically are offering a test at the end of the training/eduction period. Look at your options and what's available to you. If you don't have some real paperwork saying you're "certificated" or some way to prove it, its all a waste of time, they basically don't have any value to an employer or acknowledged as a true certification process.

tada -----Willy Happy

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hmm
Nov 19, 2008 8:54AM PST

No, no, I'm definitely getting certified. I was just having doubts because the New Horizon representative told me my method of studying wasn't enough, and I feel that it is.

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Just do the exam and see.
Nov 19, 2008 8:10PM PST

No need to worry yet, I'd say.

Kees

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A+ is a joke and New Horizons is scamming you
Nov 21, 2008 11:52AM PST

A+ certification is what HR people use to weed out the most clueless job applicants. Hands-on experience is the most important thing, which you say you have. The study material will help you learn about older hardware and software that predates your experience. A+ likes to ask old tech questions. By all means get the cert but realize that it's only to get your foot in the door.

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A+ cert isn't worth $3500+
Nov 22, 2008 4:27AM PST

I haven't looked around much at entry level IT jobs, but an A+ cert is one of the most basic certifications you can get. It only represents about 6 months of training. There are a lot of people who dabble in computers who could pass the exam if they took it. It doesn't hurt to have it because some employers don't have the time to see whether you have said skills, but don't expect it to impress too many people especially in the current economy where you are going to be competing with many job applicants for jobs.

If you really know what you are doing and know the A+ cert book from cover to cover you should pass the exam. Good luck.

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be cautious
Nov 22, 2008 4:25AM PST

I invested about $3,000 and weeks and weeks if not months of studying and got almost nothing in return from a "guaranteed"!! on line training course Thomson NetG or something similar I have also spent several thousand and months of time going to local community college courses which claimed would completely prepare me for A+ certification. It did little or nothing for me. 99% of what I know has simply been self taught. I learned a few things ultimately from both but nothing worth the time or money I invested

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New Horizons
Nov 23, 2008 1:18AM PST

New Horizons is a school that portends to be an employer and it advertises extensively in job hunting circles, notably Careerbuilder.com. New Horizons posts ads in Careerbuilder like 'PC Helpdesk, no exp necessary,'... read further and they say that their clients ask for people of varying degrees of experience of them, leading one to believe now that New Horizons is some sort of placement firm. If you answer the ad, you'll get an email setting up an interview, wherein you are walked through their classrooms and told how much you can make if you let them instruct you with their various classes and certifications. It is a very expensive school. And like any tech school, they offer placement services when you graduate, and even say they can offer some intern positions as you make your way through their school curriculum after you have been there for such and so period of time.
If you can afford it, and want formal classroom training, or don't mind going many thousands into student loan debt for your cert, then maybe it is an avenue you could explore.
Yet in the end, whether you self instruct from the book, or you attend their school, you will have to schedule your actual test, and you will be taking the same tests for your certification as the schools graduates do, ( and probably even from the
same testers ).
I think the schools tuition also pays for ( includes the price of ) your first attempt to take and pass the test. Without the school, you'll be scheduling your own test date and paying for the test out of pocket. Which is still a lot cheaper than the schools tuition.
In my opinion, if you really know your way around computers well, and just need that paper to prove it, then your method of home study will be just fine.
The school's A+ cert is really for folks who have No computer repair knowledge and need to be taught from step one. Although they will tell you different in their sales pitch.

Also Keep in mind, though, the school can help with hands on work with hardware and software that you may not have access to otherwise.

If I were you, I'd finish your book, get your certification, and get your foot in the door somewhere that might assist you in furthering your education. I've always felt that if a company wants you to be certified in one thing or another, than they should bear at least the brunt of such a cost.
The drawback to that is that some employers may insist on formal education, and they will want the name of the school where you got your certification.
But maybe you can get away with "school of hard knocks", if you can say so with a knowing smile. Happy

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thanks for the great reply!
Nov 23, 2008 12:03PM PST

And to all the other replies in this thread. I knew something was suspicious about New Horizon's claims. I just finished fixing a laptop that had a crippling compatibility problem with the McFee security software that led to a blue screen of death upon each and every start up, and now the laptop is running better then ever. I haven't encountered a malfunctioning computer I couldn't fix so I dare say my method of studying will suffice. Thanks guys, I think I'll be visiting this forum for ages to come.

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Your Welcome
Nov 23, 2008 6:26PM PST

And Best Wishes to you. And Happy Holidays as well ! Happy

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Go cheap - cert. generally good for HR staff screening only
Dec 8, 2008 2:59AM PST

Go the cheapest route you can to get certified. Don't count on A+ certification getting you to far either. In today?s world, it is generally assumed that you will know (at least the basic) stuff about Microsoft products.

If you want a job as a 'web developer' you'll be expected to know end-user Windows-XP/Vista configuration, Office, SQL-Server, & Visual Studio.Net. If you're going for a job as 'help desk' staff you'll be expected to know PC/network hardware, Windows-XP/Vista, e-mail/anti-virus/anti-spam software (and maybe SQL-Server) security/user configuration.

I've been in IT 40+ years and involved in numerous hiring?s. I've found certifications (and college degrees to some extent) may indicate you CAN learn not that you HAVE learned anything. They may help a companies HR staff pre-screen applicants but interviewers don't pay much attention to certifications, seminars, etc ... interviewers want to know "What can you do for my company without (generic/common) training?" and will you fit in. It is assumed the job specific training will be required, so the question is more "How fast can you come up to speed on my stuff (not Microsoft?s stuff)?".

Note: Most employers/interviewers do pay attention to a computer science degree (especially a masters) and one should definitely help you get in the door.

Note: Training is never ending in this industry and you better like to 'self train' as most companies hire you for what you know not what you can learn. This is especially true for the high paying positions you always hear about (ie: from trade school operators).

No matter how you get started in IT, do not expect your employer to spend a lot training you on new 'industry' stuff ... expect them to train you on what THEY need to stay in business (not what YOU need to know to be valuable/marketable outside their firm). Expect to teach yourself the new industry (cutting/bleeding edge) technology.

Good luck on breaking into the industry.