IT Career Courses In The UK Compared

By: Jason Kendall

CompTIA A+ computer training covers four specialised areas - you'll have to qualify in 2 different areas to be seen as competent in A+. You'll find that most training providers limit their course to 2 of the 4 sectors. We think this will under prepare you - of course you can gain accreditation, but training on all 4 will give you a distinct advantage in the workplace, where you'll need a more comprehensive understanding. So that's why you should train in everything.
Qualifying in CompTIA A+ in isolation will give you the ability to fix and repair stand alone Macs, computers and laptops; ones that are most often not part of a network - this generally applies to home use and small companies.
Perhaps you see yourself as the kind of individual who is a member of a large organisation - supporting, fixing and maintaining networks, build on A+ with Network+, or follow the Microsoft route - MCP's, MCSA or MCSE to give you a better comprehension of the way networks operate.
Charging for exams up-front then giving it 'Exam Guarantee' status is a popular marketing tool with a good many training companies. However, let's consider what's really going on:
They've allowed costings for it somehow. It's definitely not free - they've just worked it into the package price.
It's everybody's ambition to qualify on the first attempt. Taking your exams progressively when it's appropriate and paying as you go puts you in a much stronger position to qualify at the first attempt - you take it seriously and are mindful of the investment you've made.
Hold on to your money and pay for the exam at the time, and avoid college mark-up fees. You'll also be able to choose where to do the examinations - so you can choose somewhere closer to home.
Huge profits are made by many training colleges who get money for exam fees in advance. A number of students don't take them for various reasons but no refunds are given. Surprising as it sounds, there are training companies that actually rely on students not sitting all the exams - as that's very profitable for them.
It's also worth noting that you should consider what an 'exam guarantee' really means. The majority of companies won't be prepared to pay for you to re-take until you have demonstrated conclusively that you won't fail again.
Average exam fees were around the 112 pounds mark twelve months or so ago when taken at local VUE or Pro-metric centres throughout the country. So why pay hundreds or thousands of pounds extra for 'an Exam Guarantee', when any student knows that what's really needed is consistent and systematic learning, coupled with quality exam simulation software.
Any program that you're going to undertake has to build towards a commercially valid certification as an end-goal - and not a worthless 'in-house' plaque for your wall.
The main industry leaders such as Microsoft, Cisco, Adobe or CompTIA have nationally approved skills programs. Huge conglomerates such as these will give some sparkle to your CV.
Commercially accredited qualifications are now, most definitely, taking over from the traditional routes into the IT sector - but why is this happening?
With the costs of academic degree's increasing year on year, alongside the industry's general opinion that vendor-based training is closer to the mark commercially, there has been a big surge in Microsoft, CISCO, Adobe and CompTIA certified training paths that supply key solutions to a student for much less time and money.
Essentially, the learning just focuses on what's actually required. It isn't quite as lean as that might sound, but principally the objective has to be to focus on the exact skills required (along with a certain amount of crucial background) - without trying to cram in all sorts of other things (as universities often do).
Imagine if you were an employer - and your company needed a person with some very particular skills. Which is the most straightforward: Trawl through loads of academic qualifications from graduate applicants, asking for course details and which commercial skills they've mastered, or pick out specific commercial accreditations that precisely match your needs, and make your short-list from that. You can then focus on how someone will fit into the team at interview - rather than establishing whether they can do a specific task.
Always expect the current Microsoft (or Cisco, CompTIA etc.) accredited exam simulation and preparation packages.
Don't fall foul of depending on non-official preparation materials for exams. The way they're phrased is often somewhat different - and sometimes this can be a real headache when the proper exam time arrives.
Clearly, it is really important to ensure that you are completely prepared for your actual certification exam before embarking on it. Revising 'mock' exams adds to your knowledge bank and will save a lot of money on thwarted exam entries.

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(C) Jason Kendall. Check out for great ideas on IT Courses and Comptia Courses.

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