CompTIA A+ Certification
Celebrates 20th Anniversary

CompTIA A+ Certification Celebrates 20th Anniversary
By Todd Thibodeaux

In an industry where product lifecycles are often measured in months, finding an IT certification program that matches the rapid fire of technological advances is a daunting task. One stands out among the crowd, holding its standing as the best, foundational step an individual can take towards launching a career in information technology: CompTIA A+.
Today’s IT professionals still heavily rely on CompTIA A+, now celebrating its 20th anniversary, as an entry point to an IT career and a stepping stone to professional advancement. In fact, 56 percent of CompTIA A+ certified individuals took the exam to improve their employment opportunities.Offered in 124 different countries by CompTIA, the non-profit association for the IT industry, CompTIA A+ remains the industry’s only vendor-neutral, ISO/ANSI accredited certification program that validates foundational industry knowledge and skills necessary for a career in IT service and support. To date, more than 936,000 IT professionals have risen to the challenge and become CompTIA A+ certified.

Launched in 1993, the credential was originally established to address the industry’s need for skilled PC technicians. It has since become a critical asset for potential applicants to have at their disposal in order to qualify for higher wages and to generate better job prospects. According to Redmond Magazine, 49 percent of certified individuals believe that their certification has led to employment retention during the past economic recession, a promotion, and even a better paying job at another firm.

CompTIA A+ certifications are mandatory in order to work for certain organizations, like Lenovo, which requires it of every authorized service technician. Other companies reward existing employees if they become certified. Dell is just one example. The tech bellwether offers compensation incentives to its support personnel who take the time to become CompTIA A+ certified. With the IT industry constantly evolving and competition becoming increasingly steep, a credible skillset is vital in order to earn a top-paying job at a top-level firm.

Not only do credentials like the CompTIA A+ benefit employees, they also give HR managers the ability to set firm benchmark qualifications for their entry-level IT hires. Having clear candidate preferences from the start saves hiring managers’ time when weeding through stacks of resumes. According to a 2011 CompTIA study, 64 percent of IT hiring managers rated certifications as having extremely high or high value in validating the skills and expertise of job candidates.

CompTIA A+ in particular has been identified as an industry standard for buffing up IT workers’ foundation at the beginning of their careers. And as the IT skills gap continues to grow globally, the reliance on certifications like the CompTIA A+ by employers will only increase.

Technology has become pervasive in a way that most IT professionals didn’t contemplate 10 years ago. As technology continues to change at a rapid fire pace—posing both new challenges and opportunities—the demand for employees with top-tier IT pedigrees is only going to increase. CompTIA A+ will continue to be a relevant standard for technological literacy for years to come.

Todd Thibodeaux is the president and chief executive officer of CompTIA, the leading trade association representing the business interests of the global information technology (IT) industry. He is responsible for leading strategy, development and growth efforts for the association.

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