CompTIA A+

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Sep 30, 2018
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#1
Interested in obtaining the CompTIA A+ certification? Already completed it?
Feel free to use this thread to:
  • ask questions
  • share helpful resources
  • talk about your experiences
  • thoughts on whether it is helpful to your career
  • or anything else that will be helpful to the community
 
Last edited:

BIOS

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Oct 30, 2018
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#2
I completed the A+ exams a number of years ago when they were still 220-801 & 220-802.
I just checked out A+ (Plus) Certification | CompTIA IT Certifications and I see they are launching new exams in a couple weeks (on January 15, 2019).

The new CompTIA A+ Exam Codes will be 220-1001 & 220-1002

My advice for anyone looking / needing to complete the exams:
  • Check out CompTIA site and see what the current topic are on the exam.
  • Get a good study guide. Personally, I like e-books. Easy to take with you wherever you go and easy to make notes in.
    • I used ‘EXAM CRAM’ by David L. Prowse via Google Play (but available on Amazon too)
    • He does offer a video course as well. Never watched it, but looks a bit pricey (especially compared to other offerings – see next point).
  • If you learn better by video, you should check out Professor Messer. I didn’t use his videos for A+, but I did when I studied for Network+
    • One reason you really need to check him his videos is because his prices are very competitive (and by that I mean free).
    • I noticed he does offer some paid content like a PDF of pop quiz questions – but again the prices (though not free) are very reasonable.
  • Lastly, especially if your employer is paying for you obtain these certifications, I recommend you purchase the “Premier Bundle” exam vouchers. (Though perhaps more useful for Network+ or Security + - and also depends how well you do on exams typically). It is a fair bit of money, the price I’m currently seeing is basically $500. But it comes with the CertMaster Practice, which I found useful when doing the Network+. But more importantly it comes with a re-take voucher. You may never need to use the re-take voucher, but it does give you peace of mind when going in for the exam. Since you already have the re-take voucher as part of the bundle, you don’t have the stress and worry about having to tell your employer that you failed on your first go. If you fail – then you can easily study the areas where you were struggling and go back shortly after and take the exam again without asking your employer to buy you another voucher. Thus keeping your pride (at least publicly) intact.
Are the A+ exams useful for people working in DFIR?

I guess it depends on your perspective. A lot of the material covered is likely stuff you’ll never really encounter again – for example I recall a lot of questions having to with printers and printer set-up. But I think the value of A+ (perhaps more from an employer’s perspective) is that if you are not able to learn and understand the basic fundamentals around computers – then maybe continuing further into DFIR is not for you. But again, a lot of A+ is simply memorization and ability to select the correct answer on often poorly worded multiple-choice questions. So perhaps it really says nothing about whether you can succeed at DFIR, but it is simply a necessary evil to pass to continue on your journey.
 

azuleonyx

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Oct 20, 2018
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#3
I think the certification can be useful to those without basic computer knowledge; however, I am not fond of many of the CompTIA certifications due to the way the exam are written.
 

Lids

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Oct 23, 2018
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#4
I think the certification can be useful to those without basic computer knowledge; however, I am not fond of many of the CompTIA certifications due to the way the exam are written.
How do you mean, @azuleonyx - are the questions deliberately written to be misleading?
 

azuleonyx

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#5
@Lids, I am not sure if "misleading" is the right word. They try to word questions as if some customer was asking them which never works. So, you end up with long winded questions with very simply solutions. I would say this is true for the A+/N+ (took my Sec+ and Linux+ a while back).
 

RobertM

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Sep 30, 2018
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#6
I had the same experience with A+, Network+ and Security+. The questions contain a lot of grammatical mistakes and are very poorly worded making part of the test about trying to figure out what the question is asking.

Having stated that, the A+ at least provided a minimal standard for those looking to get into Digital Forensics, especially for those with minimal technical backgrounds which you may find in Law Enforcement.
A good first test to see if a person has the ability to study and demonstrate some technical abilities before investing a lot more money and time in computer forensics courses.

As with anything in life, the value you get from the CompTIA certifications is equivalent to the effort you put in. There are a lot of resources to show you how to cram for the test or get actual test questions, but this is not setting you up for a successful career in digital forensics.

If you want to succeed in this field, then be sure to take the test seriously and study (not cram) to fully grasp the concepts and understand technology at a deeper level. This will be very valuable as you begin to dig deep into artifacts within Digital Forensics.
 

azuleonyx

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#7
@RobertM, I am not sure if that only part of it. Some of the questions are not just poorly written by try (and fail horribly) at capturing a support call or question from someone. However, there are the only "beginner" certifications. I would have to agree on actually learning the material instead of just getting the test bank questions.

Out of all the certifications that I've attempted/passed, I think by far the Cisco Collaboration is the only one that I know which using ONLY the formal study material only means you will get only 70-80% on the test. I have not notice this with CompTIA or the ISC(2) tests.
 

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