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Comptia A+ out dated?


Stranger Than Fiction
Political User
Hey all,

I'm considering taking an A+ class & exam this summer since it seems knowing what you're doing isn't nearly as important as having a cerification saying just that. What I'm wondering is if anyone has taken the exam recently? I ask because all of the practice tests I've found, I've failed because its all "In DOS 5 what blah blah blah" or "you have an ISA slot with IRQ blah blah blah" and I just have no idea how to handle this stuff. I've never worked with DOS, don't know what an ISA slot looks like even. I'm an XP/2000 god though, have built a number of systems (including an x64) both for myself, friends and a company I worked for. I guess what I need to know is if the certification is still old school or if it's updated? If it's updated I might just buy a study guide and skip the class. If its old I'll need to wake up early this summer so I can get my learn on. Any ideas?


The One and Only
........ ok....... you've never worked with DOS, and never seen an ISA slot........ how were you expecting to pass this exactly? no offense, but it's the flat out truth. no, it's not outdated. saying you know what you're doing can mean that you know everything about any computer since..... DOS 1.0..... or it could be saying that you know everything about computers from, as you said, XP and 2000. A+ Certification PROVES that you pretty much know what you're doing or can find your way around just about any computer you see. I've taken it and passed it. barely, but passed it. it's a real pain in the arse if you don't know about these things. the A+ test get's updated i think once every other year or somethin like that..... maybe every year. i forget. but once you pass you're not required to take it again. it's a once and done thing. I'd say take the class, AND get a study guide. Find an old computer and crack it open/turn it on if you have to, because i don't think really any certification test is based strictly on the here and now.

P.S. Sorry if i sounded like i was trying to be an ass in the beginning there..... didn't mean to.
Bounce, it really depends on what you are going for.... what type of work you are interested in within the IT industry.

A+ Certification PROVES nothing. It's a piece of paper. If you know your shizzo, you know your shizzo.

EDIT: But as you said yourself, people seem to care about that little piece of paper.


The One and Only
Mastershakes, it actually does prove that you know what you're doing. i think people will believe someone a bit more that has a little piece of paper that you can only get after taking like $240 worth of tests than someone that just says "yeah, i've done that."
Makes little to no difference in real world. If I say I can do it, am hired, and I produce, well it's done.

teh piece of paper opens doors. Knowing your shizzo gets the job done. I got the pieces of paper, cuz I want in ze doors. Pay is better.

Example: At work we have a 52 year old supporting several clients. He's got his MCSE. On production, completely useless. I showed him how to free up some of the Internet option tabs in IE so he could change some settings. Day before, I showed him how to access the Windows registry. I asked politely when he got the MCSE. He got it in '02. hmmmm....

It's paper. Put it on your wall. Look at it occasionally. Then continue learning.

EDIT: $240 huh? not bad.


Stranger Than Fiction
Political User
Thanks for the info. I actually went to school for programming and I HATED it. I've had several tech jobs, but they were with small midwest companies .. now I'm in Orlando and they competition is strong. I've only been working with PC's for 5 or 6 years and I can handle most anything they throw at me but I've never had any need for the older OS's or hardware setups. I really don't want to take the class but I'm not sure if a book is enough since I might not ever read it since I think I know everything.... I'll think about it some more I guess.


Stranger Than Fiction
Political User
Mastershakes said:
Cool. Sounds good Bounce.

A+ is saturated. Go for the gold. CCNA, MCSE to start.

That's the plan ... get A+ to start so I can get off the phones (customer service "are teh suck") then get my Microsoft and Cisco stuff. Then retire in the sun ... eventually.
I actually have a bunch of old computers with MS-DOS on it. If I find one, maybe I can send it to you to work on. you just pay shipping. But let me see if they are in working condition still.

But anyways, the "A+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide" (4th edition) is a good book in my opinion since it goes through all the old hardware and software. I heard the 5th edition skips over some old stuff but I never actually read the 5th edition of the book so I wouldn't know.
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The reason most of that "old school" stuff is still on the Exam is because businesses still use them. MS-DOS computers are still being used by companys and they still have machines with an ISA slot. The majority of companys update rarely as they have to pay to update hardware/software and also have the problems of custom software sometimes.

Also I guess the A+ certificate is kinda like a diploma from a college. You may konw your stuff but some people wanna see that piece of paper.


Staff member
Political User
When I took the tests it was a adaptive test you had between 20 and 30 questions depneding on your answers and they were multi choice ones. Not a lot about legacy stuff ie DOS etc but it was there as there are companies that still have computers using these old OS's for some reason or another.

Yes its a piece of paper for which doors can be opened though you have to know what your doing otherwise they'll find out and out the door you would be

Son Goku

No lover of dogma
Xie said:
The reason most of that "old school" stuff is still on the Exam is because businesses still use them. MS-DOS computers are still being used by companys and they still have machines with an ISA slot. The majority of companys update rarely as they have to pay to update hardware/software and also have the problems of custom software sometimes.
Tell me about it. Though this instance was rather rare. I was browsing in EB or something like that, in the local mall back in Dec. 1996. Another guy was there and we got to talking. He told me a bit about his job, and obviously his boss from hell. The bosses thing was that he didn't want any employees to have anything newer then he had, so they were stuck with a 386 server and 286 workstations. The floppy drives were so old (pre-5 1/4" I gather) that the capacitors were already popping outa the circuit board, but still the boss wouldn't let him replace them. He was supposed to just tape the capacitors back on. Actually come to think of it, the 386 server might have been an old upgrade he managed to slip in, without the bosses knowing...

This boss heard about online shopping and wanted to try it out. So he approached this employee, and wanted him to implement this feature for their customers on their 386 server (which he thought was older). Problem, no software for this function would run on something so old. This employee, from what I gather was left having to custom make the software, and beings the computer was so old...he had to write the entire fricken server software package in assembly language.

He mentioned that he actually did get this to work, but then the boss complained that it didn't have all the lattest bells and whistles in security... I was left asking this dude, "let me get this straight. You managed to write this entire piece of server software in assembly language, and got the whole thing with e-business to work on a 386, and you're keeping that job? Why don't you look for a better job? There has got to be something...for an assembly level programmer who could pull that off!"

Son Goku

No lover of dogma
Personally, I never took the A+, though I had been through the classes that cover. The first class, was required for my major in computer networking, the second was not. We went over the test questions for the A+ cert at the end (this was back in 2000), and I was left, shall I say unimpressed. I do know what you mean about certain items being dated though. There was a question like

What frequency is used for the front side bus in a PC

a. 66 MHz
b. 100 MHz

Mind you, the Pentium III had already come out by then, let along the Pentium II 400 and 450 (the 333, being the last PII to use the 66 MHz fsb). The Athlon had also come out by then, both the first slot A Athlon as well as the Tbird, socket A version. They all used a 100 MHz fsb, but 66 MHz is the answer they wanted.

Many questions however, the answer, lets just say I have some familiarity outside of PCs as well as in the UNIX world, and some answers they wanted it was "it could be, but on other platforms it doesn't necessarily have to be". Many of my class mates (also in the computer networking major or some other technical major) were saying "I can't believe I have to dumb myself down to pass this test. The teacher who was a computer engineer agreed, though that's the anwer they wanted. I spent a lot of time memorizing "the answer they want", even when I knew another answer was in reality more correct.

Perhaps an employer could be looking for an A+ in which case I could go back and get it (though I'd have to review a more recent revision of the test before going in, no doubt). I wasn't left thinking it was so serious myself however, and had a certain lack of confidence in the test after going through it all...

More recently however, I just finished Cisco 4 (the last class for a CCNA), as well as network troubleshooting this semester, and got a 93% on the voucher exam, first time through (70% is all that's required the first time, 80% the second, and 90% the third). The voucher is good for getting a $75 discount on the CCNA exam from what we were told.

Walking away from the classes for CCNA, I'm left with the impression that, well it seems more believable of a test to me. The CCNA test I do plan on taking... I might look at the Red Hat cert as well, next. Either way, I took the first course in that sequence, though we weren't able to get the material for it, in advanced UNIX.

Basically, the teacher went in to get it (had to before he could teach it), but ran into a slight problem. He did well on the first parts of the test (most people didn't, and all but a few didn't make it to the final part). The thing that got him, he forgot to save the partition table to the hard drive, before he proceeded to install it. It's proficiency based, and has a time limit which leaves one no time to go back. Forgetting to save it to the MBR killed him on the last part of the test. I gather he got it since though.

The next class is network security. Assuming they offer it, I definitely plan on going on to take that class. Besides, someone who knows something of network security would be in demand these days... After this semester, I'm also down to electives to graduate. Mise well get something useful for some of those electives. I might take the last class in that direction as well as an elective as well, in which case I'd have Linux as well as the Cisco cert down by graduation. Time will tell how all the scheduling works out...


Blame me for the RAZR's
Im just working on my ITS (business side) degree in college and then when i get time i will knock the certifications out. In the mean time im racking up job experience with doing these two internships. God i hope i can bypass the help desk **** because i deal with people on them everyday and id have sedate myself to stand it.


Political User
I think the A+ is deprecated, or at least it should be updated to a more recent version. I ahve taken the first two CCNA classes, and i have to say that networking/computers is a fast moving target. Next year a new version of the program comes out so that means i have to take 1 + 2 all over again.
X-Istence said:
I think the A+ is deprecated, or at least it should be updated to a more recent version. I ahve taken the first two CCNA classes, and i have to say that networking/computers is a fast moving target. Next year a new version of the program comes out so that means i have to take 1 + 2 all over again.
A+ just grows. It currently covers from DOS to XP in software and from 386's to p4 eqivalent hardware.
i just took the A+ hardware test friday and passed
i did not get a single question about IRQ's or I/O's one for DMA but thats it. The test is very broad and covers alot. it goes up to XP and down to P1's...but i did study and master it all :) ... my 2 cents

i have done work for companies that still use DOS and windows 98 and 95 so it is important to know about windows 95/98 even though you dont use it in your own home

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