Looking for more articles like this? Be sure to check out our revised post for 2017, "What Has CompTIA A+ Done for You?"
CompTIA asked IT professionals what the CompTIA A+ certification did for them. Stories and situations differed, but each said earning the vendor-neutral, foundational IT credential took them where they wanted to go.
“I took the CompTIA A+ certification exam about five years ago when I applied for an entry-level IT position,” said Kurt Lavia, a field technician supervisor with ASI System Integration,” a New York City-based technology solutions firm that requires A+ of its technicians. Lavia since earned the CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+ and Microsoft Certified IT Professional credentials in Windows 7, Windows XP and Windows 8, and is preparing for his CompTIA Server+ exam. “The A+ got me an entry-level position to begin with, and from there I was able to develop my own personal skills in computers and be promoted from there.”
Linda Smith, also with ASI, used CompTIA A+ to transition into IT from a 20-year career as a security officer. “I was paid very well at my security job, but I wanted to do something with computers,” she said. Smith faced two obstacles: the lack of a high school diploma and the lack of proof of her self-taught IT skills. In 2011, Smith went back to school to earn her General Educational Development (GED) high school equivalency diploma. In 2012, she participated in a three-month CompTIA A+ training course at Per Scholas, an IT workforce development program in New York City, to pass her A+ exams.
“I graduated from Per Scholas in the beginning of February, and by the last week of February, I was hired by ASI,” she said. “A+ did help me get the job.”
Still at ASI, Smith is a senior installer, supervising a team of 10 people at the New York City Department of Education. “So far so good,” she said. “I love my job.”
C. Kevin Tucker also used A+ to support a career transition. In 2005, he had two bachelors’ degrees – in math and finance – from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a full-time job with The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) as an investment analyst. But he wanted to work in IT.
In 2008, Tucker resigned his full-time job and studied A+ training materials for two weeks, and aced the exam. A month later, Tucker scored a full-time job with the TVA as a Level II IT analyst. He earned his CompTIA Network+ credential soon after that. “I knew how to fix problems right away because of my certifications,” Tucker said. “That got me a full-time job pretty quick.”
After running his own IT consulting business for several years, Tucker is now an end-user analyst, employed by Zycron, a Nashville-headquartered IT service and solutions firm, assigned to TVA. “I laid a strong foundation with A+ and Network+, and now with Security+, my intention is to focus on IT security,” Tucker said.
Daniel Grimes earned the CompTIA A+ in 2009 to augment his associate’s degree in computer information systems earned at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, NY. “I understood how computers worked; how programming worked; how hardware worked; but never actually got the hands-on experience,” he said. “A+ shows an employer that you have the knowledge to do the job,” he said. “It’s harder to find employment without it.” A week after earning his A+ certification, he was hired by ASI, where he is a now technical supervisor, repairing devices that can’t be repaired in the field. “I love what I’m doing now,” he said. “It’s definitely a challenging job, with lots of puzzles each day, but I’m not the kind of person who can sit still and do nothing. I have to be using my brain all the time.”
For Matthew Blaquiere, earning the A+ in 2011 helped launch his career as a client systems journeyman in the U.S. Air Force and win leave to visit his family in Michigan for the first time since he went into boot camp in Mississippi.
Blaquiere had entered the Air Force at his father’s suggestion after working as an entertainer at Disney World. “I thought I’d be in customer service and entertaining the rest of my life,” he said. However, a military assessment test indicated Blaquiere had the aptitude to be a computer technician or electrician. He underwent nine days of intensive preparation for the A+ exam and remembers thinking, “I’d better pass this test!” He did.
A month later Blaquiere was working on computers at Lajes Air Force Base in the Azores, off the coast of Portugal.
Now Blaquiere is a client systems technician taking care of U.S. Air Force computer and smartphone issues at Royal Air Force Mildenhall base in the UK while preparing for the Network+ and Security+ exams. He said, “The A+ created the foundation and the path for where I need to go.”CompTIA A+ got a facelift in December 2016. Read more about the new exam in 5 Things You Didn't Know About CompTIA A+.