Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How to get a job in IT: Get your A+ certification

At Peirce, we understand how important it is to support students in their efforts to continue their education. Academics and work experience are important factors, but so are training resources and certification programs.

With that in mind, this April’s Continuing Education Workshop will focus on information technology preparation, “Preparing for A+ Certification.” If you already know why this certification is important, go ahead and sign up for the eight-session course here. If not, here’s why we’ve chosen A+ certification prep as the focus of the April course.

It’s the one skill set required for 389 positions listed on Monster.com, 482 on CareerBuilder.com, and a whopping 4,233 on Indeed.com: expertise in computer hardware and software installation, preventative maintenance, networking, security, and troubleshooting.

How do you prove you’ve got what it takes in IT? Achieving A+ certification means you’ve completed a two-part exam that shows you’re trained in the latest skills needed to work as a computer support specialist.

Who is A+ certified? These are the experts who come to the rescue when your hard drive crashes; figure out why you can’t get online; wipe your machine clean of viruses; and in general, protect the sanity of people whose work is done on a computer. You might already be this person to your family, friends, and colleagues. But if you get the certification, you can make a career out of your love for computers.

It’s also a great way to get your foot in the door in any business or IT department. A quick scan of what companies are looking for from IT is desktop support and field service technicians. Why are these great introductions to the field?

Because the best place to start in terms of an IT career is to understand the hardware and how to fix it. It’s crucial to have the A+ certification, among other certifications, to be able to do this kind of work. While you work in a position such as help desk support analyst or field technician, you can gather experience and pursue additional certifications that lead to IT jobs further up the salary food chain.

Why climb the IT ladder? The Spring 2009 Occupational Outlook Quarterly, published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), gives a few great reasons to set your sights on higher level jobs in the industry.

1. IT jobs are growing. The BLS says that employment in combined IT occupations is expected to increase by more than 800,000 jobs between 2006 and 2016, a 24 percent growth for this field compared to 10 percent growth for all occupations.

2. The field represents the fastest-growing positions. Network systems and data communications analyst is projected to be the fastest growing of all occupations in the United States.

3. The salary is great. According to data from Certification Magazine's 2008 Salary Survey, the average salary of the A+ certification holder is $65,190.
While A+ certification is not required for all basic support level IT positions, imagine a hiring manager choosing between two applications for a computer support position, one with a certification and one without. Who do you think they’ll choose?

Passing the A+ exam will boost your marketability, help you stand out, and is one of the most recognizable certifications in all of IT. It will be the start of a great foundation that can leverage a move into fields such as computer and information systems manager or network and computer systems analyst.

Interested? Peirce’s April training course is targeted at those who aspire to enter the IT field and requires attendance at eight, three-hour sessions that cover PC repair, software, hardware, troubleshooting, customer service, and help desk support. The course is approved by CompTIA, the non-profit trade association for IT professionals and companies.

This course is ideal for anyone who wants to gain a basic understanding of computer network technology, and is a fit for novice computer users who have basic PC knowledge but want to upgrade their skills to perform in a desktop support position.

Upon completion you’ll have mastered:
- Installation, configuration, and maintenance of PC operating systems.
- Maintenance and installation of basic PC hardware components.
- Troubleshooting and diagnosis of PC hardware and software.
- Basic network skills, including networking PCs and troubleshooting networks.
- Basics of PC and networking security.
The eight sessions are scheduled from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on April 19, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, and 29. They will be held at the Peirce College campus at 1420 Pine Street, Philadelphia. Cost is $1,500.00. For more information or to register, please call 888.GO.PEIRCE, ext. 9000 or visit our Web site.