Predicting the Next CompTIA A+ Exam

Inevitably, CompTIA A+ Certification, the vendor-neutral certification for entry-level computer technicians, has always provided a rear-view-mirror image of computer and network technology. It takes time to determine which operating systems, products, and procedures are necessary for technicians to learn and master, and which ones are doomed to become Jeopardy questions (“Tech Fads for $200, Alex”), such as Microsoft BOB or CueCat. With the next iteration of the CompTIA A+ Certification exams expected in late 2015 or early 2016, it’s anyone’s guess what the exams will look for. However, it’s a useful exercise, so here goes.

What Should Be Added?

win81 privacy settings  
Windows 8.1’s PC Settings menus can be used to configure many (but not all) of the operating systems’s settings.
Windows 8/8.1 present new challenges for tech support, and even though you can still use the Control Panel, anyone working the Help Desk for Windows 8/8.1 has to handle a lot of questions that revolve around the Start screen and its system management features.

Will Windows 9 make the cut? If it is released in the spring of 2015 as expected, there might be enough time. Otherwise, I’d expect it to show up in a refresh of the next exam, much as Windows 7 content was added in a refresh of the 220-701/702 exams a few years ago.

Now, let’s kick it up a notch:

Coverage of Bootable CDs for Troubleshooting

rescue cd creation 
Bypassing an infected operating system with a rescue CD is an important skill that deserves to be covered in the next release of CompTIA A+ Certification exams.

With malware infections capable of preventing computer access to the Internet and installed anti-malware apps, techs frequently need to create and use boot CDs or DVDs that can be used for malware removal, file copying, and disk partitioning. With the number of vendors on the market, it might make the most sense to cover basic features and generalized usage rather than specific step-by-step procedures.

Hands-on Virtualization

Virtual machine (VM) Oracle VM VirtualBox
Creating a virtual machine (VM) using Oracle VM VirtualBox

Virtualization is barely touched upon in the current generation of CompTIA A+ Certification objectives. However, whether a tech is working a help desk, testing apps, or testing an operating system, understanding the basic process of setting up a virtualization environment and installing an OS and common apps in a virtual machine is increasingly important. I think it’s time to add to this topic.

Beyond Printing – Scan, Fax, and Copy Features of Multifunction Devices

Epson photo printer menu Mark Edward Soper
The current CompTIA A+ Certification exams ignore multifunction device functions other than printing.

Although multifunction devices (print, scan, copy, fax) devices are much more common than print-only devices, the current CompTIA A+ Certification Printing domain ignores these other features. It’s time to expect certification candidates to have a basic grasp of scanning and copying resolutions and how to set up fax services.

Cross-Platform Networking

Wi-Fi menu Android smartphoneSelecting a Wi-Fi network with an Android smartphone

The current Networking domain has a strong hardware component, but needs more depth in configuration issues, especially given the greater popularity of MacOS, Android, and iOS devices on SOHO and corporate networks. The exams need objectives covering networks supporting multiple OSes, including basic setup, file sharing, and device sharing.

Missing Objectives in Mobile Devices

ios tshoot rev
With the proliferation of mobile devices in corporations, expect to see more iOS content in the next CompTIA A+ Certification exams

Mobile devices occupy an entire domain in the current tests. Unfortunately, the current test objectives miss two of the most significant issues with mobile devices: BYOD (“bring your own device”) security and mobile device troubleshooting. With tablets starting to outsell laptops and the laptop market splitting into three parts (iOS, Android, and Windows 8.x/9), the mobile device domain badly needs a makeover.

So, those are my nominees for new and improved coverage. Is it time to cut anything loose?

Now Departing…?

xp vista rev
Will Windows XP and Windows Vista continue to be covered in the next release of CompTIA A+ Certification exams?
Although Windows XP is “officially” no longer supported by Microsoft, some large companies are continuing to pay for support for their vast fleets of XP-based desktop, laptop, and embedded systems. Windows XP is also the base OS for many financial institutions’ ATM machines. CompTIA has never been in a hurry to discontinue coverage of older operating systems, so I’m on the fence about this one. However, it’s probably safe to say that if XP makes the cut for the next test round, that test will probably be the last time XP appears.

What about Windows Vista? Usage-share stats from organizations such as Net Applications, StatCounter, and others show Windows Vista with usage of under 5%, so if CompTIA feels it’s necessary to cut loose an older OS, Vista is a clear candidate.


CompTIA 220-301 A+ Sample Question


A user complains that the monitor flickers and displays the wrong colors. They noticed the problem after installing new speakers near the monitor. What is the MOST likely cause of the monitor distortion?
A. The speakers near the monitor are unshielded.
B. The video card is defective.
C. The monitor’s resolution is too low.
D. The monitor’s refresh rate is too low.

Answer: A


What is the difference between an RJ-45 connector and an RJ-11 connector?

A. RJ-11 and RJ-45 are the same.
B. RJ-11 is used for the phone line while RJ-45 is used for a slightly larger network cable.
C. RJ-45 is used for the phone line while RJ-11 is used for a slightly larger network cable.
D. They have the same function but RJ-11 uses slightly older connections than RJ-45.

Answer: B

CompTIA Brings Out IT Industry Outlook 2014: Positives Outweigh Challenges [Professional Services Close – Up]

(Professional Services Close – Up Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The information technology (IT) is likely to experience moderate growth in 2014, according to the IT Industry Outlook 2014 released by CompTIA, a non-profit association for the IT channel.
According to a release, consensus forecast of CompTIA projects a growth rate of 3.4 per cent in 2014 for the IT industry worldwide, with a potential upside of 5.9 percent. The U.S. forecast is slightly lower than 3 percent, with a potential upside of 5.4 percent.

CompTIA noted that in comparison, recent estimates of the United Nations provides that the global economic growth to 3 percent worldwide and 2.5 percent in the United States for 2014.

In addition, quarterly CompTIA IT Industry Business Confidence Index increased by 2.1 percentage points in the 1st quarter of 2014 , 60.2 out of 100 – point scale . The forward-looking component of the index provides a gain of 2.2 points, which, if realized, would mark a record in the five -plus year history of the survey. The index is based on the opinions of the U.S. economy, the IT industry and their business IT managers.

“The importance of technology to business success has never been as great as it continues to move from a support tool to a strategic driver”, vice president, research, CompTIA.

A range of cloud computing technologies, mobile applications, big data and others have caught bigger with customers over the last two years, he noted, although business confidence nascent industry is offset to some extent by margin pressures in product categories.

Looking ahead to 2014, IT services and software showing the most growth potential, according to the forecast CompTIA. IT hardware is expected to grow at a slightly slower rate.

On the employment front, 41 percent of companies plan increased investment in IT personnel in technical positions this year, compared to 15 percent of the organic plant decreases. Among the non-technical positions, 32 percent of businesses in the program increases and decreases by 16 percent.

CompTIA view 2014 as a year of momentum and continuity, the incremental advances in several areas as they make their marks on the producers and consumers of technology. Twelve trends to watch over the next 12 months: Macro Trends- technology becomes a core competency for most businesses.

A range of technologies cloud computing, mobile apps, big data and others have gained a bigger foothold with customers over the past two years, he noted, though rising industry business confidence is offset to some degree by margin pressures in key product categories.

Looking ahead to 2014, IT services and software show the most growth potential, according to the CompTIA forecast. IT hardware is projected to grow at a slightly lower rate.

On the employment front, 41 percent of IT companies plan increased investments in staffing in technical positions this year, compared to 15 percent that plan staffing decreases. Among non- technical positions, 32 percent of firms plan increases and 16 percent decreases.


CompTIA views 2014 as a year of momentum and continuation, as incremental advancements in several areas make their marks on the producers and consumers of technology. Twelve trends to watch over the next 12 months: Macro Trends -Technology becomes a core competency for more businesses.

  • -Mass customization gets more sophisticated.
  • -Processes and workflow get a makeover.
  • -Technology is increasingly embraced as the remote control of life.
  • Technology Trends -Cloud wars intensify.
  • -Diverse devices flood the market.
  • -Big data has a little sibling.
  • -Software’s appetite is not satisfied.
  • IT Channel Trends -When it comes to your channel business, it’s OK to stay in two lanes.
  • -Time to rebrand the “trusted advisor.” -Back to basics: Reinvesting in technical expertise.

-Channel dynamics: Partner or competitor? CompTIA’s IT Industry Outlook 2014 is the result of an online survey of 525 IT industry companies conducted in late December 2013.

CompTIA Applauds Chicago Public Schools Plan to Make Computer Science a Core Subject

Chicago Public Schools to raise the computer a central theme of learning will go a long way towards reducing the digital divide and the expansion and diversification of the workforce in high technology, according to CompTIA , the nonprofit association Useful for technology (IT) .

Chicago , CEO of Chicago Public Schools, today announced a new five-year plan to make the calculation of core subjects in place of an elective class , science class offered at least one computer in every school, and help students to learn the tools needed to build applications and software , from elementary school.

” Early identification of students who have an aptitude for computers and technology is a key factor in the education of these children in the many career opportunities available to them in the future ,” said Todd Thi bodeaux , president and CEO of CompTIA.

Comptia A Certification

” More importantly, the technical literacy is a prerequisite for almost all professions today’s information economy , even beyond technology positions ,” he continued. “We applaud the Chicago Public Schools take this important step. Expanding access to technology in the classroom , students will be better prepared and more eager to get advanced degrees and professional certifications and pursue careers that offer good pay and opportunity to progress and grow. ”

CompTIA has worked closely for several years with the Chicago Technology Academy , a non-profit organization , the four-year school located in the city of University Village neighborhood . The school was founded to inspire, educate and connect the next generation of leaders , and increase the number of low-income and minority students to pursue science , technology, engineering and mathematics ( STEM) in college and careers.

Comptia A Certification

The link between teenagers , young adults and strong technical force. CompTIA A 2012 survey of 1,000 young people aged between 13 and 24 years found that 97 percent of the technology loved or liked . In addition, 58 percent is often served as solving technological problems , helping friends and family with questions about computers, software , mobile devices and related technologies.

CompTIA is the voice of the world of information technology (IT ) .

CompTIA Addresses Growing Mobile Security App Needs

The global market for mobile devices continues to grow both in the consumer and business. This is making the integration of mobile devices and security management applications some of the services most needed between organizations and the basic skills required to solution providers .

To help solve this CompTIA has introduced a new certification of skills for solution providers and developers to increase awareness and safety training for the development of mobile applications. CompTIA Security + Mobile App is vendor-neutral and validates the skills needed to create a mobile application ensures secure network communications and back-end web services , the non-profit association of IT.

Comptia Certification

CompTIA is aware that the mobile device management and security are growing service opportunities for the channel. In fact, for the first time ever , shipments of mobile devices are outselling PCs . In the future , the difference is only going to increase .

To put things in perspective , it is expected that sales of PCs around the world to reduce to 315 million this year to $ 341 million in 2012 , then dropped to 302 million in 2014 and approximately 271.6 million in 2017, according to a research report published earlier this year by Gartner.

In comparison , it is expected that mobile devices ( including ultra -portable laptops , tablets and mobile phones) to increase by more than a combined total of two billion in shipments this year , rising in 2014 to 2300 million July 2 billion in 2017 , according to Gartner .

” Although there will be some people who maintain personal and a Tablet PC , especially those that use one or both for work and play , the more satisfied with the experience they get from a tablet as their primary computing device ,” said Carolina Milanesi , research vice president Gartner , at the time of the publication of the report. “As consumers change their time away from your PC for tablets and smartphones, which will no longer see your PC as a device that needed to replace a regular basis. ”


In terms of operating system , Google ( GOOG ) Android , Apple (AAPL ) iOS / Mac OS and Microsoft ( MSFT ) Windows will remain among the top three, said research firm .

As a result , the New certification exams will be published only by CompTIA native mobile applications for iOS and Android, the company says.

” Mobile applications accounts are millions of them are downloaded every day on smartphones, tablets and mobile devices Other” executive vice president of skills certification , CompTIA , in a statement. ” But too often in his career vertigo market new applications Bring rapidly , security considerations are re-examine them again with these certifications , our goal is to bring the discussion back to where it belongs safety – . Exit Network In Mobile Application Development .”
CompTIA SAID those candidates Mobile App CompTIA Security + credentials Vendres mobile application developers , software developers , development managers , and application developers of network security . Complete exam objectives are available on the website of CompTIA certification.

Areas covered in the exams include:

  • Principles of secure application development
Security models of Android and iOS devices
  • Common threats to mobile app security
Web services security models and vulnerabilities
Secure coding techniques
  • Common implementations of cryptography
  • Encryption for storage and communications

The mobile revolution, as I have stated before, has just begun. Mobile application development and security is a critical skill for solution providers moving forward.