Friday, August 21, 2009

Courses for CompTIA A Plus - News

By Jason Kendall

Computer training for CompTIA A+ covers four specialised areas - you'll need exam certification in two of these areas to be competent in A+. This is why, the majority of colleges simply provide 2 of the four in the syllabus. Our opinion is this is selling you short - sure, you can pass an exam, but knowing about the others will prepare you more fully for when you're in the workplace, where you'll need a more comprehensive understanding. So that's why you deserve training in everything.

As well as learning how to build PC's and fix them, trainees of A+ will be taught how to operate in antistatic conditions, how to fault find, to diagnose and to remotely access problems. If you aspire to looking after computer networks, add the excellent Network+ to your training package. This will mean you can assist you greatly in the job market. Alternatively, you may prefer the Microsoft networking qualifications (MCP, MCSA and MCSE).

Ensure all your accreditations are commercially valid and current - don't even consider courses which lead to some in-house certificate (which is as useless as if you'd printed it yourself). Only fully recognised qualifications from the likes of Microsoft, Adobe, CompTIA and Cisco will have any meaning to employers.

The old fashioned style of teaching, with books and manuals, is an up-hill struggle for the majority of us. If all this is ringing some familiar bells, find training programs which have a majority of interactive, multimedia parts. Many studies have proved that long term memory is improved when we use all our senses, and we put into practice what we've been studying.

Locate a program where you'll receive a library of CD and DVD based materials - you'll be learning from instructor videos and demo's, with the facility to use virtual lab's to practice your new skills. All companies should be able to show you some simple examples of the type of training materials they provide. Expect video tutorials, instructor led classes and a variety of interactive modules.

Avoiding training that is delivered purely online is generally a good idea. Ideally, you should opt for CD and DVD ROM courseware where offered, so you can use them wherever and whenever you want - it's not wise to be held hostage to your broadband being 'up' 100 percent of the time.

It's important to understand: the course itself or an accreditation isn't what this is about; a job that you want is. Far too many training organisations put too much weight in the piece of paper. Don't let yourself become one of those unfortunate students that choose a course which looks like it could be fun - and get to the final hurdle of an accreditation for a career they'll never really get any satisfaction from.

Take time to understand your leanings around career development, earning potential, and how ambitious you are. It makes sense to understand what will be expected of you, what particular exams are needed and in what way you can develop commercial experience. Have a chat with someone that understands the work you're contemplating, and who'll explain to you detailed descriptions of what you actually do in that role. Contemplating this well before you start on any learning path will prevent a lot of wasted time and effort.

Don't accept anything less than the most up to date Microsoft (or any other key organisation's) authorised simulation materials and exam preparation packages. Some students can get thrown by trying to prepare themselves with questions that aren't recognised by official sources. Sometimes, the question formats and phraseology is unfamiliar and it's important to prepare yourself for this. Why don't you test your depth of understanding by doing quizzes and simulated exams to get you ready for the proper exam.

It's quite a normal occurrence for students not to check on a painfully important area - how their company actually breaks down and delivers the courseware elements, and into how many bits. Students often think it makes sense (with a typical time scale of 1-3 years to achieve full certification,) for your typical trainer to courier the courseware in stages, as you achieve each exam pass. However: With thought, many trainees understand that the company's typical path to completion isn't as suitable as another. Sometimes, it's more expedient to use an alternative order of study. And what happens if they don't finish in the allotted time?

For future safety and flexibility, most students now choose to request that all their modules (now paid for) are delivered immediately, and not in stages. That means it's down to you in which order and at what speed you want to finish things.

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