Those of us living and working in the certification realm have known since around April of 2022 that CompTIA was planning to update the A+ Core exams to better align with the current state of technology. We also knew that CompTIA would likely continue to offer the older versions of the A+ Core exams for a few months after the new exams were released, this overlapping period being CompTIA's way of providing a convenient means for students to finish their certification cycle. Now that the old A+ Core exams have been retired, what can you expect as someone who might be seeking to obtain your A+ certification in the near future? As I have spent the last few months updating our products to align with CompTIA's new A+ Core exam objectives, I am probably in the ideal position to provide you with a little bit of insight and perhaps a smidgen of old-timey wisdom.
Many of us here at Boson are what you might refer to as "seasoned IT professionals." This may sound a bit like we might have seen action during the Great GIF Pronunciation Wars or that most of us could probably still tell you the speed of a modem connection based only its charmingly nostalgic sequence of negotiation tones. However, at a more fundamental level, this means that throughout our collective careers we've witnessed a tremendous amount of change in the industry: not just in certification and education, but also in the design, implementation, and operation of computer and network systems. We've also seen a lot of things endure. So I will start with the most important, and unsurprisingly obvious, nugget of wisdom: to best prepare for the current A+ Core exams, you should use resources that are specifically tailored for those exams.
I know, you're probably thinking, "Thanks for that, Captain Obvious." But, as obvious as it may seem, it is just as important to realize that this nugget should be considered first and foremost, so that at no point can one look back and claim that something so obvious was overlooked. So I'll even say it again in a more general way. Nothing can better prepare you for a thing than something specifically created to prepare you for that thing. Now you may ask, "But can I use this thing to prepare myself for other things?" And that is where I think you may find my recent insights of some value.
As a much younger lad, I was very much preoccupied with the latest and the best when it came to all things technological and otherwise. Many a stat was studied and comparison made to justify upgrading to the newest thing. Continuing my modem example from earlier, I distinctly remember the huge download speed increase I'd see when I upgraded my V.34 modem to one that supported V.34bis. I mean, anyone could see clear as day that 33.6 kbit/s blows 28.8 kbit/s out of the water, amirite? However, age and experience seem to have tempered this pathological need a bit. Now, I know you're probably thinking, "OK boomer, how's all this relevant to my exam prep experience?" So I'll simply say, "Ouch, I'm not quite THAT old," and then ask that you stick with the ramble just a bit longer, as I hope this anecdotal bit will tie things together in a moment.
As students of technology, we have a similar desire for the latest and greatest. We want to develop an understanding of the latest technologies and practices. We want to use the most up-to-date resources to inform our knowledge and then take the most recent certification exams to test that knowledge. However, you'll find that more often than not, once you have mastered the old magic, the latest and greatest is just an iterative or incremental improvement of what you already know. Although, on paper, things might look very much changed or improved, in reality, things are likely much as they have always been. Recognizing the degree of change and reacting to it appropriately are two of the most valuable skills you have in this industry, and they will serve you well as you prepare to for the CompTIA A+ certification.
If you are starting your CompTIA A+ journey today, you are best served by using the latest and greatest resources available to you. Fortunately, at Boson, we have just released our updated exam preparation materials, which include references to third-party resources that you can use to optimize the time you spend studying for your exams. However, if you have already been on the path to CompTIA A+ certification for minute, be confident that the time you have invested in learning up to this point has not been wasted. The things you have learned and the resources you have used while preparing for the older A+ Core exams are just as relevant in your preparation to take the new A+ Core exams. Just know that there a few new topics that you might need to add into your curriculum to ensure that you are sufficiently prepared when you decide to sit the exam. In particular, if you are preparing for the A+ Core 1 exam, spend a bit of time getting more comfortable with printers, mobile devices, and general networking. For the A+ Core 2 exam, shore up your knowledge of backup technologies, malware, social engineering, and wireless networking.
Most of all, whether this is your first step towards certification or your eleventy-second step, don't stress too much that CompTIA has updated its exam objectives and its A+ Core exams. As with all things technological, change is inevitable, but it is rarely comprehensive and this latest update from CompTIA is no exception to that rule. And as always, trust that we at Boson will take the time and make the effort to ensure that you get down that path unscathed.