Updated exam to focus on problem solving, critical thinking skills
CompTIA has reworked its flagship A+ certification to put more emphasis on creatively solving real-world problems in key areas such as cloud computing, cybersecurity, the Internet of Things (IoT), and virtualization, the organization said this week.
The Lowdown: CompTIA officials say the updated training content and exam requirements serve to assure both IT professionals and the folks that hire them that A+ certification holders are up to the task of supporting and securing the gamut of systems that make up a modern IT environment, from endpoints to the cloud and beyond.
The Details: The new CompTIA A+ Core Series requires candidates to pass two exams: Core 1 (220-1001) and Core 2 (220-1002). The exams cover:
Infrastructure: network architecture, network components and protocols, endpoints
Hardware: PCs, mobile devices, hardware components, IoT and embedded systems
Data: Backup, recovery, storage, management and analytics
Security: Settings, administration, threats and vulnerabilities, threat prevention methods and tools
Software: cloud-based software, operating systems, e-mail administration
Operations and Service: troubleshooting, problem solving, foundational IT skills, customer service and other “soft” skills
CompTIA concurrently released new training materials to support the new A+ exams, including instructor, student, and consumer study guides. The IT advocacy and certification organization also rolled out CertMaster Practice, a companion assessment and simulated testing tool. Additional materials will be released in the coming weeks, officials said.
Background: The new 1009-series requirements take the place of the A+ 900-series exams, which will be phased out over the next several months, officials said. CompTIA is urging those who have been preparing for 900-series exams to take those tests as soon as possible.
The Buzz: “New content included in the CompTIA A+ 1000 series exams reflects the impact of new and emerging technologies,” said Dr. James Stanger, chief technology evangelist for CompTIA in Downers Grove, Ill. “Workplace technology continues to change, sometimes radically. CompTIA A+ captures the critical skills that IT professionals need to support and secure today’s end points, from traditional and mobile platforms to cloud-enabled IoT devices. No other certification in the marketplace offers this combination of skills assessment and validation.
“An entry-level worker who has earned CompTIA A+ is a proven problem-solver, someone who’s able to address complicated IT issues,” noted Teresa Sears, senior director, certification product management, at CompTIA. “That frees up senior-level employees to work on strategic, higher-level projects that enable a business to operate more efficiently and impact a company’s bottom line in a positive way.”