Student Balaji Kundalam may still be preparing to enter the technical workforce, but his understanding of how things work has already given him a leg up on his peers.
The Indian engineering student knew his years troubleshooting hometown computer issues wouldn't mean much without backing that people recognize and respect.
"Just saying I'm experienced in hardware and software, employers hardly recognize that as I don't have any proof to substantiate my statement," said Kundalam, 22. "But with CompTIA A+, I can prove that."
Career Launch Pad
Budding entrepreneur Kundalam views his CompTIA A+ certification as a launching pad for his career.
Kundalam, a resident of Chennai, a major economic and industrial center in southern India, said when seeking out certification related to hardware, he came upon CompTIA A+ "and when I saw its overview, I thought 'why shouldn't I take it?' "
With wide-ranging subject matter including maintenance of PCs, mobile devices, laptops and operating systems and its vendor-neutral flexibility, the global standard was the perfect professional legitimacy for his knowledge to date, Kundalam said.
"When I was preparing for CompTIA A+, I studied topics related to Windows, iOS and Android as well," he said. "This provides versatility to the people going for CompTIA certification. Otherwise, they need to take more than one certification for different technologies."
Kundalam notes that his own immediate plans include earning CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Server+ certifications.
Early Problem Solver
Kundalam, currently in his final year of study at Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Viswa Mahavidyalaya, knew at an early age he wanted to solve problems "the way engineers and technical people solve problems and design solutions."
Given the gift of a desktop PC by his father, Kundalam turned what to many would be a frustrating experience into the groundwork for a career choice.
A PC malfunction necessitated the home visit of a technician so skillful and kind in explaining software, hardware components, assembly and recovery, Kundalam knew right away he wanted to be one such professional some day.
He seems to be well on his way.
For the past nine years, Kundalam, who has also earned Microsoft certifications, has provided technical troubleshooting services he described as "non-profit" for friends and family, working out of his father's office.
"I charge only if there is a part replacement involved," he said.
In addition to this and college studies, Kundalam also offers support through Microsoft TechNet forums and has supplied more than 400 answers as a part of the Microsoft Community online support group.
His certification is already paying dividends in that arena.
"With CompTIA A+, I can provide solutions to issues where hardware is also related more precisely than before," he said.
Certified Value at All Levels
Kundalam earned his CompTIA A+ certification in April 2013. As he describes it, he now has a true record of his knowledge base to carry with him on his job search.
In Kundalam's estimation, certification can prove valuable regardless of experience level.
For graduates beginning a new job typically accompanied by a training period, "training time can be reduced if the people take up these certifications prior to joining," he said.
Certifications also give veterans the chance to refresh and update their knowledge, Kundalam noted.
As he embarks on a goal of working in a data center, Kundalam feels well prepared.