A+ certification: The only major non-vendor-specific hardware certification available

Certification: CompTIA A+ - A+


Fundamental Concepts of Non-vendor-specific Hardware Certification

The term ‘Vendor neutrality’ refers to a business as well as design oriented approach that aim to ensure large-scale compatibility, accreditation and interchangeability of a range of products, services and technologies. The model covers impartial business practices as well as non- proprietary technology and design principles.

Vendor-neutral hardware products and technologies are designed for achieving worldwide compatibility as well as interoperability. The term vendor-neutrality contrasts with the term vendor-specific. Generally, the vendor-specific hardware products and technologies are offered by the single vendors, for example, data center; whereas, the vendor-neutral products and technologies belong to a variety of vendors and sources. The contemporary data centers mostly represent the vendor-neutral form. 

Certification programs might be either vendor-neutral type or vendor-specific type. A vendor-neutral hardware certification program aims to validate the knowledge and proficiency of the individuals and professionals over broad-scale subject matter, whereas the vendor-specific hardware certification program aims to validate the knowledge and proficiency of the individuals and professionals over the products and technologies developed by a particular single vendor in depth.

However, from the business perspective, vendor neutrality refers to the system of taking decisions pragmatically along with considering the best of the available options, rather than preferring merely one vendor to another.  

Fundamentals of A+ Certification

A+Certification is offered to the individual who can prove their knowledge and proficiencies necessary to become successful and expert-level computer service technicians. This certification includes two tests that cover both the hardware as well as software technologies.  A+Certification does not include any topic related to any type vendor-specific product.

CompTIA Organization sponsors the A+ Certification program.  CompTIA is a non-profit organization. It is comprised of individuals who belong to a variety of big companies, such as, AT&T, Packard Bell, Digital, US Airways, etc. Over 6,000 numbers of computer resellers, distributors, training companies, VARs and manufacturers in the U.S., Canada and other countries of the world work with the certification program provided by CompTIA. Reseller members not only form the core of this association, but also serve the diverse roles staring from systems integrators of particular location to the countrywide franchise groups.

History A+ exam as a non-vendor certification

Previous to the offering of the A+ certification, IT certification offering procedure was limited among several particular vendors. Though the required qualifications for all of those vendor-specific certifications were almost similar, the candidates were required to undergo individual certification process for each of Dell, IBM, Compaq, etc. Afterward, five vendors took an initiative to progress the prospective IT industry globally and founded the Association of Better Computer Dealers in the year of 1982. And later the name changed to the Computing Technology Industry Association, or CompTIA. This association aimed to demonstrate their significant contribution in the ever growing computer industry along with the transforming business environment of the United States. This company underwent rapid growth during the 1990s. At present, CompTIA is comprised of manufacturers, resellers, distributors, training companies, etc. from IT and other areas and got worldwide accreditation as one of the top most IT certification providing organizations. CompTIA made a revolution in the world of computing certifications in 1993 by developing the A+ certification.

Required Exams for Non-vendor A+ certification

According to the latest update of 2012, the current structure of the CompTIA A+ certification process is consisted of two exams. Those are: CompTIA A+ 220-801 exam and CompTIA A+ 220-802 exam. To pass both of these exams is obligatory to obtain CompTIA A+ certification. However, the upgraded test structure of the CompTIA A+ certification exams requires Windows 7 operating system.

The structure of the bothexam is composed of 90 questions. For both of these tests the total exam-duration is about 90 minutes. The candidates are recommended to undergo about 6 - 12 months of practical experiences either in the field or in the lab to overcome these tests successfully. These exams can be taken in several languages, such as, English, Simplified Chinese, Portuguese, Japanese, Brazilian, German, Arabic, Thai, French, Spanish, etc. CompTIA A+ exams are valid for three years.

Test Details of Non-vendor A+ 220-801 Exam

The exam questions of CompTIA A+ 220-801 measures the knowledge-level of the candidates on the fundamental level computer technology, basic networking, installation of desktop PCs, laptops, hardware, etc.; configuration of hardware, desktops, laptops, etc. To pass the CompTIA A+ 220-801 exam the minimum required marks is 675 on a scale of 900.

The CompTIA A+ 220-801 certification exam has been designed on five objectives. They are: PC Hardware, Networking, Laptops, Printers and Operational Procedures. About forty percentages of the total 90 questions would cover the PC Hardware related issues. The Networking is the second important domain that covers about twenty-seven percentages share of the questions. Besides these, about eleven percentages of questions are drawn from each of the three domains, namely, Laptops, Printers and Operational Procedures.

Test Details of Non-vendor A+ 220-802 Exam

The exam questions of CompTIA A+ 220-802 measures the knowledge-level of the candidates on the installation of the PC operating systems; configuration of the PC operating systems, configuration of common features including network connectivity, email, etc. for different mobile-based operating systems like, Android, Apple iOS, etc.  To pass the CompTIA A+ 220-802 exam the minimum required marks is 700 on a scale of 900.

The CompTIA A+ 220-801 certification exam has been designed on four objectives. They are: Operating Systems, Security, Mobile Devices and Troubleshooting. About thirty-six percentages of the total 90 questions would cover the Troubleshooting related issues. The Operating Systems is the second important domain that covers about thirty-three percentages share of the questions. Besides these, about twenty-two percentages of questions are drawn from another significant domain, namely, Security. And the rest nine percentages share of the questions come from mobile device related issues.


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