Re: A+ Certificate.
I picked up the teacher training materials for the just out of date syllabus for A+ from a trainer on freecycle. (after the syllabus is updated so are the training materials). I had (until I gave them away) training manually for all the comptia + range.
the only ones that I thought were worthwhile for me would have been network + and security +. the A+ exam for my experience level at the time was too basic.
If you're just starting out it's probably the perfect exam, if you've worked in IT for a few years, or even just been into computers and building your own as a hobby then the A+ will probably seem really basic.
The MCP and MCSE and MCITP exams are aimed at professionals with experience, you can pass them from book reading alone, and that is why MS are constantly trying to change and evolve their exams.
MCITP/MCSE/MCP exams are aimed at you getting a job in server or desktop support. supporting the actual applications, A+ is designed to give you a fundamental understanding of hardware and software, so rather than support teams, it's more aimed at first line support or PC shop staff.
regarding the exam expiring every three years.
I like the old system.
if you were MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) in windows NT4 then you were a certified expert in NT4, NT4 is a packaged product, it hasn't changed, if you were an expert you still are an expert. that status for the specific product/version should not be taken away from you.
the new exams however are much more like the Cisco exams.
if you take your CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) then Cisco are saying that you know how to work their products, you're good at it, they've examined you against a standard and you know what you are talking about.
Fast forward a few years, and the equipment that you were certified on (hardware) has probably changed, maybe even not sold any more, the software has changed, and maybe even discontinued. etc...
Cisco take the certification away from you because it is damaging to the certification program if you have people who certified ten years ago on CATOS 5 saying that they are great, but have never seen newer versions of IOS, (where there are different commands etc).
The MCSE (Now Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert -they've stopped pretending that they can bestow professional engineer titles on people!) is saying that you are a solutions expert, in a product/solution, but not a specific version of a product/solution.
This is good and bad for you taking the exams.
It's good because, lets say you want a job supporting windows 7 or windows 8 desktops, but you only have your MCITP in windows Vista or windows 7, your CV may be passed up because you're not qualified in that particular version of the software. so it's much better for you to have your cert say, solution expert for Desktop infrastructure. That way your qualifications move with you as the technology changes.
but bad because after 3 years it's taken away.
On the other hand this is bad. If I take my MCSE in Exchange management now, I am tested against exchange 2010. at the end of the year I may apply for a job being mail admin of a company using exchange 2013. my cert says I'm an exchange expert, I might get the job. but I'll have still never seen the product. so this new system is bad for people who hire by paper certs alone.
Practically of course, we've been thrown by the long running windows XP and windows Server 2003.
must other software of course rolls around on a few year cycle.
exchange 2000, exchange 2003, exchange 2007 exchange 2010 exchange 2013
SQL server 2000, SQL server 2005, SQL server 2008 etc.
so if you qualified in a specific version your skills have always been behind the curve after around three years anyway.
I didn’t fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian…
Im sick of people saying 'dont waste paper'. If trees wanted to live, they'd all carry guns.
"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; The inherent vice of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries."