IT Career JumpStart

Nov 21 2008   9:45PM GMT

The New and Improved Shape of CompTIA A+

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel

The A+ PC Technician certification has been around for some time now (just over 15 years as I write this blog). In keeping with CompTIA’s 3-year update/revision cycle on this exam, it’s getting ready to morph itself again in 2009. This time the exam structure has been broken up into two parts, where a single A+ Essentials teams up with one of three “job scenario” exams to create different flavors of A+:

  • A+ Certified IT Technician:
    Essentials exam plus 220-602 is closest to the traditional A+ credential, focusing on entry level service technicians who work in in-house service, support, or IT operations.
  • A+ Certified Remote Support Technician:
    Essentials exam plus 220-603 includes the core of the traditional A+ credential, along with coverage of troubleshooting and interacting with customers remotely or via phone or e-mail.
  • A+ Certified Depot Technician:
    Essentials Exam plus 220-604 also includes the core of the traditional A+, along with coverage of repair bench operations with an emphasis on computer repair and troubleshooting skills.

My gut feel always was that the A+ put equal emphasis on all of these things (though perhaps somewhat less on customer interaction and support than might be entirely beneficial to candidates, employers, and their customers alike). It’s interesting to see specializations in remote support and depot technician roles emerge from CompTIA’s painstaking job skills and activities assessments. Surely this indicates that the roles that PC technicians play are becoming more specialized where those who slot themselves into some of these roles may no longer find themselves called upon that much to fill the other roles described here.

For another, different, and interesting take on the emerging shape of A+ 2009 changes, see Emmett Dulaney’s recent CertCities column entitled “First Look at 2009 A+ Changes.” He makes some useful observations about how the 2006 and 2009 domain weightings and categories have changed. He also indicates that 220-603 and 220-604 are much less well-elaborated and understood than 220-602, something which CompTIA doesn’t really explain on its Web pages for the various second exam options to earn an A+. Good to know!

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