Wednesday, March 27, 2013

CompTIA A+ Certification Marks 20th Anniversary

Mar 21, 2013, CompTIA

Worldwide vendor-neutral certification still on cutting edge of technology

Downers Grove, Ill., March 21, 2013 – In an industry where product lifecycles are often measured in months, CompTIA A+ certification this month marks its 20th anniversary and continues to hold its standing as the best, first step an individual can take to launch a career in information technology.

“CompTIA A+ is still on the cutting edge of technology skills, as relevant in 2013 in a world of BYOD, cloud computing and cyber security as it was when it was launched in 1993 as a credential for the break-fix PC repairman,” said Todd Thibodeaux, president and chief executive officer, CompTIA.

CompTIA A+ is an ISO/ANSI accredited certification that validates foundation-level knowledge and skills necessary for a career in IT service and support. More than 925,000 IT professionals have earned the credential since its introduction,

The first person to become CompTIA A+ certified was Patrick Farley, a training systems developer for Compaq’s server tech support. Farley was certified on March 19, 1993.

“Back in the day, any little highlight on my resume helped me differentiate myself,” recalled Farley, who now works as a systems engineer for IBM Systems & Technology Group. “I also liked how the articulation agreements in place allowed me to use A+ as an elective credit that counted toward my bachelor’s degree.”

Today’s IT professionals continue to rely on CompTIA A+ as an entry point to an IT career and a stepping-stone to advancement and promotion.

Employers rely on certifications like CompTIA A+ when hiring IT staff because certified IT workers have a greater ability to understand new and complex technologies; are more productive and bring more insightful problem solving to the workplace. A 2011 CompTIA study found that 64 percent of

IT hiring managers rated certifications as having extremely high or high value in validating the skills and expertise of job candidates. Eight in ten HR professionals surveyed believed IT certifications will grow in usefulness and importance over the next two years.

Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Cory Brown earned his CompTIA A+ certification in January 2013. He plans to pursue other CompTIA certifications to build credit toward a bachelor's degree in computer information technology.

"I wanted to get the CompTIA certs because they're the industry standard, and everyone understands what it takes to get that qualification,” said Brown.

CompTIA A+ Fast Facts
  • Number of countries where CompTIA A+ is currently delivered: 124
  • Number of CompTIA A+ exams delivered in 1993: 2,265
  • Subjects covered in 1993 exam: Windows 3.1 and MS-DOS, hard drives measured in megabytes, x386 and 486 CPUs, monochrome CRT displays, parallel printer ports, 3 ½-inch disk drives and dial-up 14.4kbps modems. 
  • Number of exams delivered in 2012: 115,919
  • Subjects covered in 2013 exam: mobile devices (iOS and Android operating systems), virtualization and security.

The idea of a foundational skills-level certification for IT technicians was first raised by members of the Association of Better Computer Dealers (later renamed the Computing Technology Industry Association, or CompTIA).

The intent was to remedy the "spotty" quality of PC technical support and training in the early 1990s, recalled Aaron Woods, a member of the committee that created CompTIA A+.

"We knew we needed to provide some level of quality for resellers' technician training," said Woods, now director of Xerox Corp.'s North American Reseller Relationships and Partner programs.

Twenty years and nearly one million certifications later, mission accomplished, Woods believes.

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