I Have CompTIA A+ - What’s Next? 3 IT Pros Offer Advice

You’ve earned CompTIA A+. Now what? Three successful IT pros who’ve been in your shoes share practical tips for how to move forward.
What's Next After CompTIA A+ 3 IT Pros Offer Advice“I have CompTIA A+ - now what do I do?” Have you ever asked yourself this question? If so, you aren’t alone. But before you get too down on yourself for not yet landing a job, take a moment to congratulate yourself.

You currently hold the industry standard for starting an IT career. And because CompTIA A+ is a performance exam, this proves you can think on your feet to perform vital IT support tasks. You’ve proven yourself to be a problem solver. You have all you need to support today’s core technologies and be the go-to person in end-point management and technical support roles.

Because you have CompTIA A+, you are qualified for these job roles:

Also, don’t forget that CompTIA A+ appears in more tech support job listings than any other IT credential.

You’ve earned CompTIA A+, and that’s a pretty big deal. But where do you go from there?

What Should You Do After Getting CompTIA A+?

Feeling unsure of what to do after getting certified is understandable, and you aren’t the first IT pro who has experienced this. It can be easy to get so laser focused on passing your CompTIA A+ exams that you don’t prepare for the next step. Or, you may have made a plan for building your IT career post-certification but had some aspect of it fall through.

No matter how stuck you feel, you can use your CompTIA A+ certification to catapult yourself into a fulfilling IT career, starting today. But don’t take our word for it. Below, three successful IT pros who’ve been in your shoes share practical tips for how to move forward once you have CompTIA A+.

Wondering what’s new on CompTIA A+? Check this out.

Pro Tip #1: Create Your Own Work Experience With Your CompTIA A+ Skills

Often, the first move a CompTIA A+-certified IT pro makes is toward the help desk. But a technician’s career trajectory is not always so straightforward.

One reason some IT pros don’t go on to get a job after earning CompTIA A+ is a lack of work experience. Some employers are sticklers about wanting technicians to have at least a few months of help desk or related experience. But how can you get experience when no one will give you the opportunity to get it? You make it for yourself.

That’s exactly what Steve Manhertz, an IT specialist with the Lee County (Florida) Government, suggests CompTIA A+-certified IT pros do, especially if they feel stuck and unable to move forward. Manhertz earned CompTIA A+ in June 2019, just seven months after earning CompTIA IT Fundamentals (ITF+).

“CompTIA A+ validated that I had the foundational knowledge I needed to do an IT job well and absolutely helped me get my foot in the door to an IT career,” he explained. “But I wanted additional work experience in IT, so I created it myself.”

To gain relevant experience that would advance his IT career, Manhertz built a home network lab where he could practice using switches and routers. He opted to create a physical network as he needed a physical switch and other types of hardware to get the hands-on experience he wanted.

If building a virtual or physical lab is financially limiting or seems overwhelming, put your CompTIA A+ skills into practice by volunteering.

“Because I wanted additional work experience, I went to the public library and volunteered,” Manhertz said. “I had quite a few seniors who wanted someone to walk them through using a new device, setting up email, etc. They would make an appointment, and I would spend up to an hour going over things with them. We always had a waitlist of end users. Volunteering served me well and is valid IT work experience and proof of my CompTIA A+ skills.”

If you’ve got CompTIA A+ but no work experience, follow in Manhertz’s footsteps and create your own.

Find more career tips from Steve Manhertz in Career Changer Shares Ways to Successfully Transition to the IT Industry.

Pro Tip #2: Use Virtual Networking to Advertise CompTIA A+ and Make Connections

Another common reason some people don’t get a job after earning CompTIA A+ is because they haven’t built a professional network. Up to 85% of jobs are filled via LinkedIn. So, if you aren’t active on the platform, you are putting yourself in the 15% of people who get jobs the traditional, more challenging way.

You can advance your career much more quickly and easily after getting CompTIA A+ by networking on LinkedIn. That’s what Ian Clark, insider threat analyst for General Motors, did.

Clark is a big fan of CompTIA A+. He believes it exposes individuals to the fundamentals that they must understand to work with end users and back up their answers in an IT job interview. He sees CompTIA A+ as a necessary steppingstone to get to where you want to go in IT.

Clark acknowledged that it can be challenging to start your career after getting certified. His advice for those having this issue? “The most important thing is to network on LinkedIn,” he said.

“I owe everything that I’ve accomplished in my career to my connections on LinkedIn,” Clark explained. “They helped me navigate the complex field of IT and ultimately figure out what I wanted to do, which was to work in cybersecurity. Actually, a connection on LinkedIn encouraged me to get CompTIA A+ in the first place.”

Clark admitted that his LinkedIn profile was bare in January 2020. Going into 2021, he was in the top 1% in the IT industry as far as quality of content on his LinkedIn profile. CompTIA A+ gave him a competitive advantage and helped him break into the IT industry.

If your LinkedIn profile is bare, or if you don’t have one, take Clark's suggestion and get active on the platform. Advertise your certification(s), skills, education and any experience you have, and be sure to claim your digital badges. Then just start connecting with others.

“Find people on LinkedIn who are in the same boat as you,” Clark advised. “These people can sometimes be the most helpful when it comes to you finding a job and getting your start in IT.”

Interested in learning more about Ian Clark? Check out From Food Service to IT: Tips to Get Into IT Fast Without a Degree. Also, feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn.

Pro Tip #3: Begin Working on a New Certification After Earning CompTIA A+

William Wantling, level 1 technician at Velocity IQ, thinks getting additional certifications is the best move you can make after earning CompTIA A+. Wantling is an advocate for CompTIA A+ - it helped him get his foot in the door to the IT field and gave him the confidence to pursue jobs. But he doesn’t think IT pros should stop there.

“If you don’t know what to do after getting CompTIA A+, go for CompTIA Network+ and then CompTIA Security+,” said Wantling, who was named Outstanding Online Student by the St. Petersburg College Department of Information Technology. “This will increase your job prospects and further your understanding of computers. But make sure you have CompTIA A+ before pursuing these other certifications.”

Manhertz echoed this advice. “Honestly, my best advice to those with CompTIA A+ is to immediately start pursuing their next certification. I recommend CompTIA Network+.”

Do you feel uncertain about what to do now that you’ve earned CompTIA A+? If so, getting another certification as Wantling and Manhertz suggested may be just the thing to get your career moving in the right direction.

William Wantling’s journey to a career in IT is nothing short of inspirational. Read about it in IT Certifications Double IT Pro’s Salary, Set Path for Career Advancement.

How CompTIA Can Help You Move Your Career Forward

One of the best things about getting a CompTIA certification is that you’ve got CompTIA backing you every step of the way as you start your IT career. Did you know that CompTIA is committed to helping you succeed in your IT career, not just get certifications?

Here’s how CompTIA can help you if you feel stuck after getting CompTIA A+:

  • CompTIA can help you study for and save money on additional certifications. There is zero pressure for you to get certs beyond CompTIA A+. But it’s undeniable that earning more certifications will increase your job prospects and pay. That’s why CompTIA created official certification training materials – to help IT pros study for and pass their certification exams.

CompTIA also offers voucher discounts and financing options to help you save money on getting new certifications.

  • CompTIA offers free resources to help you get a job. Are you taking advantage of the free resources CompTIA offers career seekers who hold a CompTIA certification? One of those resources is the digital badge you can claim as soon as you get certified. Claiming your badge and advertising it on LinkedIn and other career platforms will help you find job opportunities that relate to your new CompTIA certification.

Also, with CompTIA and ZipRecruiter, you can receive personalized email alerts that are based on your specific certifications, experience and skills. How? By using Skill Sync by ZipRecruiter. Simply sync your CompTIA digital badge to your ZipRecruiter profile to boost your job prospects and get matched with jobs that would fit your skill set.

Learn more in + Means IT Careers: How CompTIA Can Help You.

Interested in getting another certification now that you’ve earned CompTIA A+? CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+ and CompTIA Server+ are great options. Click on each certification to find out what jobs you can get with it and how much you can earn.

Put your certification to work today. Claim your digital badge and sign up with ZipRecruiter to find your next opportunity.

 

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