A+ preparation And Future Goals

|CMF|SoulAssassin

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 3, 2008
Messages
334
I recently took a college course on the A+ Preparation and don't feel to confident about taken the test yet,(A+ Core Hardware exam is 220-301) & (A+ OS 220-302). Can anyone give me a few pointers on how to past this test? I've tried CompTia Nugget Video, And also studied the book, i study about 1 hour a day

Second Question is should i be studying for the test our take the next course which is Network Telecom N+ & Advance Networking Security +... Or should i take these two courses to help me pass my A+ ? thanks for the Advise

My general goal is to be a Network Security Administrator.

So here are my career Goals to be

A+ Certified
N+ Certified
S+ Certified
CCNA Certified
MCSE Certified
 

Mabrito

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Dec 24, 2004
Messages
7,004
You might want to ditch the MCSE for one of the MCITP exams.
 

Soulstice

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 26, 2001
Messages
1,104
If you want to pass the exams, I recommend you use Transcender or similar test preparation software. I guarantee you'll pass. Keep in mind that the questions you get asked generally have more to do with the vendor's "kool-aid" than actual knowledge of hardware, software, security, infrastructure, etc.

It's obviously important to know your stuff, both at the theoretical and practical levels, but knowing your stuff does not equal a pass. More importantly, for vendor-based certs, you need to prepare yourself for certification-based questions. You can know your shit inside and out, but if you don't know what answer the vendor wants from you, you're done.

I've never failed an exam, but I have walked into a couple knowing my craft inside and out, and almost failed. Yet, on others, such as the new 2008 MCITP: Enterprise Admin and Server Administrator exams, which I crammed into one dedicated month of study and then wrote over the course of a week, I scored a perfect 1000 / 1000 on two, and low 900s on the rest. Basically, what I'm telling you is that I've learned over the years of writing certs that understanding what the vendor wants you to know is more important (only in terms of passing, not real-world) than actually knowing the concepts at an expert level.

If you study hard, and utilize Transcender, you'll pass... If you don't, Transcender will pay for your re-write. I would recommend studying on your own, and purchasing the Transcender questions over taking any courses. I've taken one cert course in my life (back in 1998 when I was preparing to write my first ever cert, the A+...), and it was nothing but a waste of time and money.

With free virtualization software available at your finger tips these days, you can practice every excercise, lab, configuration step, installation, etc on virtual machines. It makes learning so much quicker, and, at the same time, provides you with the necessary practical experience. Much better than sitting in class listening to an instructor write notes on a board, which you can easily make yourself by purchasing a well-rated cert book.

Just my two cents... ...this coming from a guy who's written a lot of exams. Just check the sig.
 

Heather Taylor

Velocity Micro Customer Experience Specialist
Joined
Oct 6, 2007
Messages
620
If you're serious about taking this route, get your A+ since you've already taken a course on it, and then immediately switch focus into network security. Dump the rest of the CompTIA stuff, go for your CCNA and get your GIAC cert in whatever area interests you. Check www.sans.org for some good resources.

One of my former employees just went down a similar path, and he just landed a job with the DoD doing this stuff. Apparently the GIAC certs are good mojo. :)
 

FibreChanMan

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 18, 2001
Messages
1,908
One tip I can provide for A+ is the A+ All in One guide by Michael Meyers.

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/A-...m-Guide/Michael-Meyers/e/9780072263114/?itm=1

The book has had multiple revisions for the changes A+ has gone through (I bought this book in 2003 to pass mine), and the book is hard to put down. Very good writing, and Michael Meyers can explain everything clearly.

One other caveat, is he encourages you to contact via email if needed. I had a question about the test, and he gladly responded within a day.
 

Vermillion

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Apr 5, 2007
Messages
4,369
The route you take should be based on what you want to do.

I know I want to continue playing with things like Active Directory, Exchange, and Server 2003/2008. Thus why I have my MCSE, MCSE: Messaging, MCTS in Exchange 2007 and I'm working on my MCITP. I also have a Network+ and Security+. I skipped A+ (but I do teach A+ and Network+ on the side). I did all the studying for my CCNA but never took the exam because I just got too busy (getting engaged does that unfortunately). And I will say all of that knowledge comes in handy every day for me at work especially when the higher ups, those who have been there longer then you but know much less, start spewing crap from their mouth.

For the Cisco stuff I used a program called RouterSim. I found it to be very helpful. There are better tools out there though that others could probably recommend. Especially since my version of RouterSim is a year old or more.

To prepare for my MCSE and Exchange classes I used a lot of virutal machines to allow myself to try out everything and do all the labs. Clusters and trusted forests are fun to setup and blow away. ;)

If you're going to college as well look into Microsoft Dreamspark. They allow college students to download much of their software for free for learning purposes. These make it far easier to learn to cluster things like 2003 and 2008, use disaster recovery methods, setup Exchange servers and play with some of cool support tools like ADSIEDIT because you can set it all up, break it, fix it, and restore it in the blink of an eye thanks to VM.
 

Ur_Mom

Fully [H]
Joined
May 15, 2006
Messages
20,634
If you want to be a security admin then forget A+ and start on your CCNA.

A+ is still a good place to start with little to no experience.

The A+ is (was when I took it, 1999) very simple and easy. If you can pass the practice tests with 80% or better, you'll do awesome. The practice tests were a lot harder than the actual test for me. I put it off because I was nervous and unsure. After the test, I was amazed at how easy and fast I finished.

Just schedule it, and cram like hell and you'll do fine. The hard part is wondering when you're ready. But, if you have the date set, you'll study and be ready.

It is a hell of an expense for an entry level cert, but for the entry level it is a good start. You have to start somewhere. You can't just get an MCSE and CCNA and be a system admin. The A+ and Net+ can get you an interview as a tech or help desk. From there, learn and earn the next level cert (MCITP, CCNA) and try and move up to a higher position... And keep going!

Good luck. The A+ isn't that bad. After you take it, you'll feel a lot better about taking the other certs when you get there.

As for books, look for Mike Meyers A+/N+ All in One study guide. It's amazing.
 

YeOldeStonecat

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
11,330
IMO A+, Network+...all are good to take..so "build your foundation" of credentials. Nothing wrong with starting with the basics...even seasoned IT people can often learn good pointers in prepping for even the basic exams that you can carry on with you throughout the rest of your career.
 
Joined
Aug 6, 2008
Messages
726
If your goal is security, forget about MCSE or A++. It might make you look like a cert boy. Some people are turned off with too many certs. The security is mostly you know who or you have written some ground breaking papers and applications. If you want to be a network admin who does security on the side, you are better off concentrating with the Cisco certs. However, If you want to be a consultant, you want your MCSE. The consultants have to be generic as possible. I say 90% of real pen testers don't bother with certs.
 

|CMF|SoulAssassin

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 3, 2008
Messages
334
If you want to pass the exams, I recommend you use Transcender or similar test preparation software. I guarantee you'll pass. Keep in mind that the questions you get asked generally have more to do with the vendor's "kool-aid" than actual knowledge of hardware, software, security, infrastructure, etc.

It's obviously important to know your stuff, both at the theoretical and practical levels, but knowing your stuff does not equal a pass. More importantly, for vendor-based certs, you need to prepare yourself for certification-based questions. You can know your shit inside and out, but if you don't know what answer the vendor wants from you, you're done.

I've never failed an exam, but I have walked into a couple knowing my craft inside and out, and almost failed. Yet, on others, such as the new 2008 MCITP: Enterprise Admin and Server Administrator exams, which I crammed into one dedicated month of study and then wrote over the course of a week, I scored a perfect 1000 / 1000 on two, and low 900s on the rest. Basically, what I'm telling you is that I've learned over the years of writing certs that understanding what the vendor wants you to know is more important (only in terms of passing, not real-world) than actually knowing the concepts at an expert level.

If you study hard, and utilize Transcender, you'll pass... If you don't, Transcender will pay for your re-write. I would recommend studying on your own, and purchasing the Transcender questions over taking any courses. I've taken one cert course in my life (back in 1998 when I was preparing to write my first ever cert, the A+...), and it was nothing but a waste of time and money.

With free virtualization software available at your finger tips these days, you can practice every excercise, lab, configuration step, installation, etc on virtual machines. It makes learning so much quicker, and, at the same time, provides you with the necessary practical experience. Much better than sitting in class listening to an instructor write notes on a board, which you can easily make yourself by purchasing a well-rated cert book.

Just my two cents... ...this coming from a guy who's written a lot of exams. Just check the sig.

Very good Advice, I think I'm gonna set up a date to take the exam and study study hard, We where currently using this book for class http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Maintaining-and-Repairing-PCs/Charles-J-Brooks/e/9780132409810/?itm=4
I got my hands on Test Out http://www.testout.com/products/aplus/and seems like a very good VM Tutorial. Transcender looks pretty promising too, Now I'm a little lost whats the difference between MCSE Vs MCITP ? I just enrolled for those two classes N+ & S+ (My work pays for them) With a passing grade of a 3.2 GPA I just recently received my grade for my A+ Class and got me a solid 4.0 GPA, The instructor wrote me a letter saying that she thinks I'm ready to take the CompTia A+ Exam and if i pass it she will pay. I currently work as a comp tech right now, and the only way i could move up is if i get my certificates. School starts on February 17 so that leaves me about a month in a half to get to work, I just don't want to cram up two Certificates it would seem a little harder for me to do..
 

Vermillion

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Apr 5, 2007
Messages
4,369
Very good Advise, I think I'm gonna set up a date to take the exam and study study hard, We where currently using this book for class http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Maintaining-and-Repairing-PCs/Charles-J-Brooks/e/9780132409810/?itm=4
I got my hands on Test Out http://www.testout.com/products/aplus/and seems like a very good VM Tutorial. Transcender looks pretty promising too, Now I'm a little lost whats the difference between MCSE Vs MCITP ? I just enrolled for those two classes N+ & S+ (My work pays for them) With a passing grade of a 3.2 GPA I just recently received my grade for my A+ Class and got me a solid 4.0 GPA, The instructor wrote me a letter saying that she thinks I'm ready to take the CompTia A+ Exam and if i pass it she will pay. I currently work as a comp tech right now, and the only way i could move up is if i get my certificates. School starts on February 17 so that leaves me about a month in a half to get to work, I just don't want to cram up two Certificates it would seem a little harder for me to do..

In the end there is no big difference between MCITP and MCSE in my opinion. All MS did was update to the latest software and change up their certifications allowing for specialization now.

For instance with MCSE 2003 you more or less get a broad overview of everything Server 2003. You can boost certain knowledge with the elective exam for one of the 7 exams but you don't get anything specific. I took the security exam as my elective. ;)

Now with MCTS/MCITP you can specialize in a specific area. Meaning you could become a Server Administrator or an Enterprise Administrator or something else.

Another good example is right now I'm an MCTS Exchange 2007. However, with two more exams I would be an MCITP: Enterprise Messaging Administrator. Meaning I've specialized in Exchange 2007.

Go here for more information: :) http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/default.mspx
 

QHalo

2[H]4U
Joined
Sep 30, 2002
Messages
3,432
If you're serious about taking this route, get your A+ since you've already taken a course on it, and then immediately switch focus into network security. Dump the rest of the CompTIA stuff, go for your CCNA and get your GIAC cert in whatever area interests you. Check www.sans.org for some good resources.

One of my former employees just went down a similar path, and he just landed a job with the DoD doing this stuff. Apparently the GIAC certs are good mojo. :)

Thank you for talking about the DoD stuff. Here's a path already laid out. This is what I'll be following. By the way, GIAC is not something to scoff at either. That shit is super indepth, very difficult, and requires a ton of work. Also look at the CISSP/SSCP from ISC².

DoD Directive 8570.1
 
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