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CompTIA, Value and Top Certifications
Interested in certification? Then you've probably heard about CompTIA and its certifications. What is the value of CompTIA certifications? The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is essentially a member organization that promotes competences and standards in the IT industry. As most CompTIA literature, state, “CompTIA is a global trade association representing the business interests of the information technology industry.”
While CompTIA provides
research, networking and partnering opportunities for its members
globally, it is the area of certification that CompTIA attracts more
attention from IT professionals. Through vendor-neutral certification
programs CompTIA develops human resource standards for guiding
practitioners in the IT industry.
The concept of developing
vendor neutral benchmarks is founded on the recognition that technology
lasts much longer than vendor products. And a solid vendor-neutral
technology foundation will always help IT professionals in today's
multi-vendor world. In fact
sponsors of vendor certifications acknowledge this view by building in
CompTIA's vendor-neutral certifications into their certification
In assessing value and
certifications, which CompTIA certifications stand out?
A+ is one of the most popular
certifications in the IT industry and is CompTIA's top certification. A+ is massively popular worldwide as it validates
skills and knowledge in technical support covering competencies over
products from leading manufacturers including IBM, Intel, Microsoft, HP
and Lotus. It confirms the competence of individuals with at least 500
hours of hands-on experience in computer service. Records indicate that
over 500,000 individuals have achieved the A+ certification.
programs developed by Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco, Novell and
Certiport all recognize A+. For example, A+ certification, coupled with
either CompTIA's Network+ or Server+ certification, can be used as an
elective for Microsoft's MCSA certification.
You become A+ certified by passing two exams - the A+ Core Hardware exam and the A+ OS Technologies exam. A+ was updated in 2001 and again in 2003 Presently A+ candidates can mix and match 2001 and 2003 exams to earn CompTIA's A+ certification. However the Mix and Match grace period ends on the September 30th, 2004.
It's easy to understand why
A+ is so popular. The exams cover the key areas of tech support, one of
the busiest areas of IT: installation, configuration, diagnosing,
preventive maintenance and basic networking. In addition, A+ offers
newcomers the opportunity to acquire solid foundational hardware and
software skills that are valued for entry-level jobs.
Get more information on A+
Network+ is CompTIA's second biggest certification behind A+ in terms of interest and number of certified individuals. Interested in acquiring and or validating fundamental networking skills and knowledge? Then you should consider Network+. CompTIA recommends Network+ for IT professionals with nine months experience in network support or administration and unlike the A+ it is achieved by passing one conventional format exam.
“A Network+ certification
demonstrates your technical abilities in networking administration and
support, and validates your knowledge of media and topologies, protocols
and standards, network implementation, and network support”.
The dynamic nature of the
Networking world is obvious for all to see. In the huge multi-vendor
world of network systems, products and manufacturers, Network+ gives the
individual a solid vendor-neutral foundation to successfully grow in any
of these areas of networking. It is certainly the most popular
certification designed to validate knowledge and skills in the
fundamentals of networking.
Microsoft, Novell, Cisco,
Compaq, Lotus and 3Com have all recognized Network+ as part of their
Network+ was first introduced
in 1997 and updated in January 2002. CompTIA
announced in July, 2004 that the popular Network+ certification will be
upgraded in 2005 "to cover advances in technology
Although there are no
for this certification, CompTIA recommends that you possess the A+
certification. As industry trends indicate more growth and developments
in networking, Network+ is expected to continue to grow in value.
Get more information on
Businesses and organizations are accepting the fact that project management has its own qualifications and skills. There is a growing need to prevent waste and reduce risks associated with IT projects. “CompTIA Project+ is the first IT industry project management certification to be designed by IT people for IT people”.
Project+ certification is a
vendor-neutral credential recognized worldwide for the management of IT
projects. The IT Project+ was transferred from the Gartner Institute to
CompTIA in February 2001, and upgraded in November 2003.
The Project+ designation is
achieved by passing one conventional format exam that covers "best
practices in project management methods and processes, critical business
knowledge and important interpersonal skills." In view of the
interactive and communicative nature of project management, Project+
focuses on people skills much more than the usual technical
certification programs. Soft skills incorporated include “conflict
resolution, negotiation, communication, team building/leadership and
setting and mapping expectations”.
Project+ has no
prerequisites and is recommended for individuals with at least 12 months
practical project management experience. It is also a core requirement
for the Novell MCNE certification.
Project+ is a program that
should grow in relevance considering the premium being placed on soft
skills and management in the IT industry.
Get more information on
An Interview with Ayana Nickerson, Project+ Certification Program Manager for CompTIA (the Computing Technology Industry Association)
Linux is here to stay. Linux
is proven on the server realm and is making significant inroads in the
desktop market. Linux+ is designed to certify professionals who can
install, configure, manage, network, and troubleshoot Linux-based
desktops and servers. “The Linux+ certification validates technical
competency and provides a broad awareness of Linux operating systems.
Those holding Linux+ certification demonstrate critical knowledge of
installation, operation, administration and troubleshooting services”.
Linux+ was introduced in
September 2001 and CompTIA recently announced that the Linux+
certification would undergo a major revision in late 2004.
According to Yvonne Keith,
CompTIA Linux+ certification program manager. "The revised exam is
designed to build Linux capabilities for today's job tasks, and to
prepare individuals for success as they train for and earn more advanced
vendor-neutral and vendor-specific Linux certifications."
There are no prerequisites for
this certification and it is seen as an entry-level certification.
However, CompTIA recommends that you possess the A+ and Network+
certifications. With the strong and ever-increasing demand for Linux,
Linux+ certification is an acknowledged starting point for network and
system administrators with an interest in Linux expertise. The Linux+
designation is achieved by passing one conventional format exam.
Get more information on Linux+
The ever-present menace of hackers, viruses, spammers and other IT related threats have brought IT security to center stage. This in turn intensifies market demand for security professionals. CompTIA's Security+ certification attempts to address this need by covering the fundamentals of information security.
Security+ is one of
CompTIA's newest certifications - it was introduced in 2002 - and is
also one of the most popular. Organizations are realizing that since
security is not an option, IT staff must be equipped with security
skills. Technologies and policies alone are not enough to stop hackers
and decrease costs associated with security incidents. In fact studies
indicate that human error and not technology is the major cause of
security breaches and threats in the workplace.
Security+ is recommended for
network and security administrators, especially those who have two years
on-the-job networking experience, with an emphasis on security. It is
achieved by passing one conventional exam that covers security knowledge
such as “communication security, infrastructure security,
cryptography, access control, authentication, external attack and
operational and organization security”.
To underscore its relevance,
Security+ is an elective or prerequisite to advanced certifications from
Microsoft and IBM. It may also serve as a launch pad to more advanced
security certifications such as ISC2's CISSP and Cisco's CCSP.
Get more information on
Other CompTIA certifications
CompTIA's other certifications
may not be as well recognized as those listed in this article, but they
still hold great value to those interested in the areas covered. These
are: CDIA+ (Electronic document imaging systems), CTT+ (Certified
Technical Trainer), e-Biz+ (electronic business), HTI+ (Home Technology
Integrator), i-Net+ (Internet and Web protocols, management and
technologies) and Server+ (Server support and proficiency).
Find out more about All
CompTIA Certifications here:
Credibility of CompTIA
CompTIA doesn't have the marketing dollars of Cisco, Novell, Oracle,
Sun and Microsoft because unlike these big players in the certification
market, CompTIA has no hardware or software product it sells. But
don't let that fool you. CompTIA is no pushover in the global certification
market. As highlighted in this article, CompTIA credentials focus on
market areas of high demand and growth. In the case of foundation level
certification, CompTIA leads others follow.
The credibility of CompTIA
certifications is further enhanced by the fact it's a member
organization of credible IT organizations, not just one vendor behind
the development of these certifications.
As technology changes CompTIA
upgrades its certifications to keep up with the latest technologies and
techniques. However, once a person achieves the CompTIA certification,
the certification will not expire.
Which CompTIA certification
The value of CompTIA certification is not in doubt. The questions are: is
CompTIA certification for me? Which
CompTIA certifications interest you? Which area (s) of IT interests you?
Some certifications are more
popular than others, but it isn't wise to choose simply based on
popularity. What is your need? Have
you set your benchmarks? What
do you want to achieve?
Each CompTIA certification has its target audience. Even though most tend
to be for entry-level candidates CompTIA usually recommends some level
of experience and or certification.
But CompTIA certifications are
not for beginners only. If you need fundamental skills in a specific area of IT, does CompTIA
address your need? How solid are you in the
fundamentals? Very often we skip the fundamentals to save money and
time. And of course this approach usually backfires and costs even more
by hindering career growth.
Furthermore, understand what certification can do for you and what you
need to do for yourself. (http://www,jidaw.com/realistic.html).
Acquiring the certification is one thing. How do you translate this to
career growth? Get real value by developing your soft skills and
managing your IT career with a success-driven attitude.
Basics, Depth of Knowledge and
The message of CompTIA, top certifications and value is simple: Recognize that basic fundamental knowledge and skills are a necessity for sustainable career growth. It's about removing vendor limitations and using the basics to ensure depth of knowledge. Look beyond titles.
Appreciate the value of being
strong in the fundamentals and put this to play as you grow in your
career. It works all the time!
I wish you all the
best in your IT Career!
Jide Awe is the
Founder of Jidaw.com
Get more information on CompTIA here:
For more coverage and
information related to this topic, head to the IT Career Resource
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