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Thread: CompTIA A+ Certification Exam Objectives

  1. #1
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    Default CompTIA A+ Certification Exam Objectives

    For CompTIA A+ Certification, a technician must pass both 220-801 & 220-802 exams, described below.
    A+ Certification Objectives 2011

    CompTIA 220-801
    PC Hardware 40%
    Networking 27%
    Laptops 11%
    Printers 11%
    Operational Procedures 11%

    PC Hardware Objectives (Summary)
    Configure and apply BIOS settings.
    Differentiate between motherboard components, their purposes, and properties.
    Compare and contrast RAM types and features.
    Install and configure expansion cards.
    Install and configure storage devices and use appropriate media.
    Differentiate among various CPU types and features and select the appropriate cooling method.
    Compare and contrast various connection interfaces and explain their purpose.
    Install an appropriate power supply based on a given scenario.
    Evaluate and select appropriate components for a custom configuration, to meet customer specifications or needs
    Given a scenario, evaluate types and features of display devices.
    Identify connector types and associated cables.
    Install and configure various peripheral devices.

    Networking Objectives (Summary)
    Identify types of network cables and connectors.
    Categorize characteristics of connectors and cabling.
    Explain properties and characteristics of TCP/IP.
    Explain common TCP and UDP ports, protocols, and their purpose.
    Compare and contrast wireless networking standards and encryption types.
    Install, configure, and deploy a SOHO wireless/wired router using appropriate settings.
    Compare and contrast Internet connection types and features.
    Identify various types of networks.
    Compare and contrast network devices, their functions, and features.
    Given a scenario, use appropriate networking tools.

    Laptops Objectives (Summary)
    Install and configure laptop hardware and components.
    Compare and contrast the components within the display of a laptop.
    Compare and contrast laptop features.

    Printers Objectives (Summary)
    Explain the differences between the various printer types and summarize the associated imaging process.
    Given a scenario, install, and configure printers.
    Given a scenario, perform printer maintenance.
    Operational Procedures Objectives (Summary)
    Given a scenario, use appropriate safety procedures.
    Explain environmental impacts and the purpose of environmental controls.
    Given a scenario, demonstrate proper communication and professionalism.
    Explain the fundamentals of dealing with prohibited content/activity.


    CompTIA 220-802
    Operating Systems 33%
    Security 22%
    Mobile Devices 9%
    Troubleshooting 36%

    Operating Systems Objectives (Summary)
    Compare and contrast the features and requirements of various Microsoft Operating Systems.
    Given a scenario, install, and configure the operating system using the most appropriate method.
    Given a scenario, use appropriate command line tools.
    Given a scenario, use appropriate operating system features and tools.
    Given a scenario, use Control Panel utilities (the items are organized by “classic view)
    Setup and configure Windows networking on a client/desktop.
    Perform preventive maintenance procedures using appropriate tools.
    Explain the differences among basic OS security settings.
    Explain the basics of client-side virtualization.

    Security Objectives (Summary)
    Apply and use common prevention methods.
    Compare and contrast common security threats.
    Implement security best practices to secure a workstation.
    Given a scenario, use the appropriate data destruction/disposal method.
    Given a scenario, secure a SOHO wireless network.
    Given a scenario, secure a SOHO wired network.

    Mobile Devices Objectives (Summary)
    Explain the basic features of mobile operating systems.
    Establish basic network connectivity and configure email.
    Compare and contrast methods for securing mobile devices.
    Compare and contrast hardware differences in regards to tablets and laptops.
    Execute and configure mobile device synchronization.

    Troubleshooting Objectives (Summary)
    Given a scenario, explain the troubleshooting theory.
    Given a scenario, troubleshoot common problems related to motherboards, RAM, CPU and power with appropriate tools.
    Given a scenario, troubleshoot hard drives and RAID arrays with appropriate tools.
    Given a scenario, troubleshoot common video and display issues.
    Given a scenario, troubleshoot wired and wireless networks with appropriate tools.
    Given a scenario, troubleshoot operating system problems with appropriate tools.
    Given a scenario, troubleshoot common security issues with appropriate tools and best practices.
    Given a scenario, troubleshoot, and repair common laptop issues while adhering to the appropriate procedures.
    Given a scenario, troubleshoot printers with appropriate tools

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    Not trying to be a smart*ss, but how much of what's being taught here will apply in 1 year? 5 years?

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    That's the reservation I have, too, Chuck. In the other thread I mentioned desktops will be going somewhat extinct.. it's most relevant to supporting servers. The best news is that it is easy to acheive and makes MSCE easier to understand (after High School). So the market for A+ is much smaller than 20yrs ago, but introducing it in high school today as an elective may be more beneficial in long-term than I know at this time (if someone works towards MSCE).

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    I don't desktops are going to be extinct, even somewhat. Granted, the more mobile a person is, the less need for a desktop there will be, however desktops still reign king for gaming, a/v editing, servers, you name it. Sure laptops are slowly being desktop replacements, but desktops have one thing most laptops don't have, upgradability, it's easier to through a vid card or do a routine upgrade, or physical cleaning than a laptop. At least that is how I see it.
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    Don't get me wrong--I think helping young people prepare for a productive life is a wonderful thing. But I question the short-term "trade school" approach. The local community college runs a number of trade-type programs. A measure of success is the rate at which student loans are either repaid or defaulted upon.

    The numbers are interesting. The students that enroll in "automotive technology" and "food service" have the highest rates of default--over 40 percent. "Information technology" isn't far behind. On the other hand, the nursing and dental assistant programs have hardly any default to speak of.

    IT (and for that matter, cooking, music, automotive tech and a host of other things) seems to be one of those things that one exhibits an aptitude for. The strange thing is that if one has the aptitude, then structured formal education is the worst way to educate someone. Far better to let that individual "follow his nose" and simply make resources available. Someone with a musical ear, mechanical turn or the palate and imagination of a good cook needs little encouragement. On the other hand, you can't get blood from a stone--and giving someone the hope of a good job because they passed a certification exam might be more than a little disingenuous.

    It's one of the conundrums of our time--and I have no answers. Today's MSCE is yesterdays Novell CNE.

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    I'm in agreement. But the employers [many IT Managers] are not as savvy as their IT team and still use the cert as a unit of measure on who to bring-in for an interview.
    Granted, certs could be a small or large weight for candidates without a few years of real-world experience.
    The cert isn't a replacement for real-world experience. Most folks start close to the bottom if they are not a warm-referral.

  7. #7

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    I'll interject. I do sort of think the High School A+ training is perhaps reducing the market opinion of the test (devalue?) however it's always good to get this knowledge. It's just stuff that a lot of us have learned already over the years from experience. It's a general knowledge certification showing that you can likely be trusted fixing most hardware or software issues.

    It's good for a resume, more so for someone starting out because one thing that younger job seekers often fail to realize (this is something I would have stressed a LOT if I could have convinced my younger self) yes you might know a subject inside and out, however the technical team isn't the one receiving your resume. It's generally some HR person who has no technical understanding at all other than the word matching they do on your resume vs the job posting to figure out whether to pass it to the manager/hiring personnel. Even then you still need to get your foot in the door for the opportunity to talk to them and let them hopefully see you have good communication and know what you're talking about. So.. like with any certification it's showing you can learn and at some point in time knew the topic well enough to pass a test so perhaps you're worth talking to for the job at hand.

    In fairness (and this probably isn't the norm) but my last two jobs our least knowledgeable techs were the ones with an actual technical degree. Sort of an irony, but I don't think they'll ever have trouble getting their resume past the submission system like the rest of us which is good.
    Looking to acquire: IBM 5100, Altair 8800

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    A+ certs used to be permanent. Not anymore! Also, they really don't give the newbie to the field much clout. With continuing improvements/changes in the field A+ is only good for so-long. It's unfortunate that some of the "basics" will be dropped in favor of the newest technology and software. Microsoft's and Cisco's certs carry more weight and are corresponding much more expensive. My A+ cert "died" a year ago. Do I miss it? Over 50 has few chances of employment and put down you're a vet and you'll be on food stamps/unemployment forever (oh, this includes college degrees too!).
    Rick Ethridge

  9. #9

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    I also got mine when they were permanent. But part of the reason the other certs had a higher weight was because of the required upkeep and maintenance. So technically it's a good thing. Me testing on something 10 years ago doesn't necessarily mean I remember all of it or that I've learned any newer technology. Having a refresher test I'd actually enjoy but dislike the costs The other technique I'm not very fond of but is common some other respected computer security certifications is the submitting of CPEs throughout the year. They go beyond just expiring and require you to have taken classes or be part of club memberships and attend meetings from authorized groups that give you 1 point and you're required to have a certain number of points each year or you'll also lose your certification. I think it's a good idea in theory however I also think the people that made that rule have a large salary and can afford the disposable income of yearly memberships and conferences.

    Back when the CEH just came out they went even less friendly and said only classes from them counted so you had to get xx hours (pay them for classes) to maintain your certification. I found that tactic much more of a scam so I passed on the test at the time. Now I think they're actually "respected" and have opened up to more approved CPE providers.
    Looking to acquire: IBM 5100, Altair 8800

  10. #10

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    In my field there are lots of free CPEs available fortunately. The dues are still steep though but fortunately they are typically reimbursable through AP.

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