So my high school offered the class for it, and I took it. I'm a Junior. 2 months in and my teacher (who is a total dumbass btw, his knowledge is like 10 years out of date) and the CompTIA A+ textbook haven't taught me anything I didn't already know. Even looking through the back of the book about how things actually work, I noticed most of it is stuff considered almost common knowledge on this forum. The test is cheap so I might as well take it, but is being A+ certified really going to mean anything to an employer? Should I get my Network+ too? What other certs? I plan on going to a University after high-school too.
I can't speak from experience, so don't hold me to everything I say:
Unfortunately, employers look at that. Is it a joke? from what I've heard and seen from the syllabus about a year ago, hells yes it is. I'd take it, but I don't exactly have a few hundred that I'm willing to spend on a test that for all I know is useless without a supplementary college education.
Yes, take it, it's a good foundation for any IT career, especially if you plan on working your way up. It can help you land entry level positions. Some of the things the test touches on is basic networking stuff as well, which is a good segue in to Network+. Beyond that, there are things like Security+, CCNA, Linux+, but that all depends on where you want to take your career.
I'm currently taking it at my college as well, along with a Linux+ course. It has been good for me, but I'm lucky enough to have an up to date curriculum and all that. My course boasts that you'll obtain the certification as well as the equivalent of approx 12 months of on the job experience. I imagine that even if your class sucks, that principle of 12 months experience more or less still comes with it. I feel that it is worth having the actual formal certification under your belt even if you aren't learning anything new.
Thanks for the input guys. Are the Network+ and Linux+ courses/certs more informational? Especially to someone like me who only knows the basics of Networking and Linux. Also what is CCNA about? And Security plus?
CCNA is Cisco Certified Network Associate -networking stuff. It's a must have for network engineers.
I did CompTIA A+, CCNA and a BTEC Level 2 Diploma at college last year. Frankly I hated it and did not feel as though I learned anything useful -well, except for a few things on the CCNA side, but really not enough to get a job in my trade. It was mostly writing documentation. I figured it was no use because I was more likely to be the lackey who fits the wires and configures the software than be writing out 50 page documents for AAA corporations. The college just didn't let us get any experience working with the switches and routers. I got bored with it. That might just be my college, though.
The thing is, you need these certs to build up your qualifications. The career path is pretty linear. While these certs are a bit of a joke, it can mean the difference between you getting the job and somebody else. And it's the low-level jobs you need in order to get experience -and that is what employers are really after.
People with all those quals that SinisterMephisto mentioned will get hired before those without. There's also a reverse effect though it matters what year it is too. If you have an A+ from like 1996 with 10+ years in work ex (That's you in 10 years) will be more hire-able than someone with the qual and just out of school.
Get all the Quals. Hack all the things. Get all the moneys. In that order.
if it's in high school yeah take it but, waste ANY money on it's joke. at the shop i work at every one says it's joke, a friend of mine has cloud company they they think it's joke and the of two googlers I have had the chance to work with never once mentioned any thing about A+ or other certifications in the interview process.
a+ is useless but, would be a cool class to take. Like logan said there could also be a few things you learn + there more than likely be like minded peers to learn from. other certifications, i think are different story though there are probably a few other useless certs like A+.
EDIT: if i had been able to get an A+ in high school i would have jumped on it in a heart beat.
Just saying, the class is full of pretentious pseudo-intelligent neckbeards who think they are the hottest shit since sliced bread because they can recite acronyms out of the glossary (16/17/18 year olds still playing and getting emotional over Yu-gi-oh). I don't think I'll be learning from my peers but the book is teaching me a little about networking. Today a kid was telling everyone about how he created a game from scratch written in binary. My days in this class are full of shit like this.
Honestly Hijack, talking down on the people in your class won't get you anywhere and you have to start somewhere. Thinking you know a lot doesn't mean you can do a lot. Experience and experience and experience will get you jobs. But to get a foot in the door you need to drag yourself through these qualifications and maybe even do an internship. I'm not saying don't aim high, but for my 4 years in college I couldn't get near the places I wanted (Google Dublin, Microsoft) even at the top of my class. Don't complain about learning the foundation, if you do, you get bored and are then passed by people who know less but have the paper to say otherwise.
You've made some good points. I'm not trying to get rich, I just don't want to get fucked over by having a useless education as a whole and then not making enough money to support my lifestyle and/or future family.
As everybody has said, get the A+ cert if it's not too expensive, just because jobs look at certs over anything else but hands on experience on a job.
Network+ is a bit better, mostly because it focuses on just networking. CCNA is much better, both in terms of knowledge and cert desirability.
You will be able to get an entry level NOC (networks operations center) position just with a CCNA.
The thing is, the more you learn in the IT fields, the more you understand how much there is to learn, how diverse the various branches are, and how your entire lifetime could be spent studying and there would still be people that are better / more knowledgeable than you.
So yea, once you finish a CCNA, you basically get that you know fuck all about real networking. Once you finish the CCNP, you are still in that position (you are better off, but a lot will come with on the job exp).
If you take your A+ and then think you want to continue to networking, within a year you can have a CCNA (you can do it in much less, just the 4 courses are generally done in a 1-2-1 way). Within finishing university you can have a CCNP and more if you focus on networking.
I personally have a CCNA and am working towards a CCNP. I wish I had a highschool where we could get any cert at all. I wish I got serious with computers 10 years ago.
I also tried the MCITP (Microsoft IT Professional) and HATED them. The courses and books from MS give you a general idea about the subjects, but don't actually go into them as they should. They will mention that you can do x, y, and z, but only show you X hands on, since it is the easiest of them all. An example was file servers, basically they only show you file sharing, which was not much more complex than what you can do on a normal / retail Windows PC.
Also, all their tests were pure memorization. A mix of multiple choice and fill in the blank. They basically throw at you a bunch of info, lather it in loads of names that mean nothing, and then ask you to repeat it all.
If you are good at memorization, you can pass any of the MCITP certs, without knowing anything about computers. Bad part is, they teach you very little, and they are hard to pass because it is all memorization.
Cisco exams have a bunch of that too, memorization, and remembering what they call a certain something, but there is also a good deal of hands on, and there are at least 3 hands on parts to the CCNA exam (fix what is broken, create something, a mix of the two).
Despite the MS certs being shit, knowing Windows Server is a pretty big +, even without work experience on it. You can easily build a home lab and set up Active Directory (AD) and a Domain, and pretty much play with a lot of what nearly all businesses run in some fashion (domain + ldap).
Linux is also something you should get into (I see you already are, but more is better, etc) because in the business world, everybody uses Linux for their servers.
On the Linux side I would suggest to play around with things. I found I learned more from projects rather than books. So build your own NAS box (you can start with free nas, but I would suggest just using Samba on your favorite flavor of Linux), torrent server (Transmission remote gui FTW), mail server, phone server (asterisk), etc.
Depending on location, 40-60k for entry level / little experience CCNP.
I think it's good money.
Look at this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CompTIA
It gives you a decent explanation of what each of their certs do. CCNA has been already explained by others and myself a bit below.
What you might also want to look into is Virtualization. It's already big and it will become even bigger. Basically you can run multiple OSes on the same hardware. Naturally resources are shared, but it's generally done with beast mode enterprise hardware.
Everybody and their mother's uncle want to get in on it, because it saves them a buttload of money.
Think of this: before virtualization, if you needed two different servers, you needed two sets of hardware, now you just need one beefy enough to handle the load of both.
Now there are companies out there that will virtualize applications. You need <random proprietary software that runs only on X but you have Y> nooo problemo.
Naturally you can also virtualize people's desktops, so you don't have to manage 300 different PCs (well you sorta still have to, but it's thin clients now) and everything is in one easy to backup location.
Bad part, the cert is all memorization :( (for VMware)