CompTIA A+ certification remains one of the most popular IT qualifications available – and with good reason. This introductory-level certification focuses on identifying and troubleshooting common IT problems faced by organizations, making trained professionals indispensable as businesses must integrate new technology and ensure current deployments are working as intended to own their market space and get ahead of the competition.
While CompTIA certifications are in-demand across the United States, the rapid growth of tech companies in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) area offers huge potential for well-trained technology professionals.
So let’s dive in – what exactly is this certification? How do you earn CompTIA A+? What other qualifications are worth considering when you’re starting your career? And what can you do with a CompTIA A+ certification in Washington D.C.?
Unpacking CompTIA A+ Certification
The CompTIA A+ certification is often considered foundational for IT careers. This qualification is designed with entry-level technology professionals in mind and focuses on mastering nine critical technology skills:
- Hardware – Learn how to Identify, connect, and utilize hardware devices on the network.
- Operating Systems (OS) – Understand how to install and support both Windows and Linux systems.
- Software Troubleshooting – Discover how to identify and remediate common software problems.
- Hardware Troubleshooting – Learn how to locate and fix typical hardware concerns.
- Networking – Gain knowledge of typical networks and connections such as TCP/IP and WiFi
- Security – Identify key security concerns and deploy critical defenses.
- Mobile Devices – Learn how to install and configure laptops and other mobile devices on the corporate network.
- Virtualization and Cloud Computing – Gain the ability to compare and contrast common cloud computing models.
- Operational Procedures – Learn how to identify and deploy common IT best practices.
Earning CompTIA A+ certification requires the successful completion of two exams: 220-1001 and 220-1002. Both are 90 minutes long and contain no more than 90 multiple choice and performance-based questions. Passing scores of 675 for exam 1001 and 700 for exam 1002 are necessary to earn this certification.
Other IT Certifications to Consider
With IT skills now in high demand, the CompTIA A+ certification is a great way to get noticed by recruiters and managers if you’re looking to switch careers or get started with your first IT job. And while it’s easy to go down the rabbit-hole of more advanced certifications – everything from Certified Ethical Hacking (CEH) to CISSP to CCNA – many of these qualifications are designed for IT professionals with years of practical and theoretical experience.
Certifications such as CompTIA Network+, meanwhile, are designed for entry-level IT professionals and are often listed in job advertisements alongside requirements for CompTIA A+. This certification takes a deeper dive into network operations, troubleshooting, and common configurations. When paired with CompTIA A+, Network+ gives IT professionals the ability to both create and manage corporate networks – something companies now prioritize and are willing pay a premium for if they can find the right professional.
Given the overlapping nature of the material in these two courses, it’s worth considering combined training options that allow students to prepare for both A+ and Network+ exams simultaneously.
How CompTIA A+ Certification Boosts Your Potential Job Prospects
While many companies are willing to hire “new collar” workers who demonstrate an interest in IT but lack hands-on skills, earning a CompTIA A+ certification helps your resume stand out from the crowd by making it clear to employers that you’re willing to put the time and effort into learning key skills and developing your IT knowledge. CompTIA A+ also serves as a validation of fundamental skills and is recognized across the globe, making your transition into IT easier and increasing your overall earning potential.
Armed with both A+ and Network+ knowledge, IT professionals are prepared for a variety of entry-level technology positions, including:
- IT Support Specialist
- Service Desk Technician
- IT Operations Technician
- Desktop Support
- PC and Hardware Repair
Doing More in the Tech Corridor
With technology jobs in-demand across the United States, you’ve got the opportunity – there are positions available at every level and in every industry nationwide. Specific areas remain hotbeds of IT activity; Silicon Valley and New York are the obvious standouts, but over the last five years the so-called “Dulles Tech Corridor” has been gaining prominence as both startups and established organizations open new offices and look for local IT staff to fill critical positions.
In Maryland and Virginia, expanding federal and state government programs across industries such as healthcare and infrastructure provide opportunities for CompTIA-certified professionals looking to jumpstart their IT careers. In Washington D.C., meanwhile, there’s a rapidly-growing startup scene that requires tech professionals to both push the envelope and help businesses ensure IT service delivery and day-to-day operations are meeting consumer expectations.
Bottom line? CompTIA A+ is the go-to certification to get your D.C. tech career started. Paired with CompTIA’s Network+, these two qualifications form the foundation of long-term IT success.