Matthew Brady's job interview at R&K Technologies was going well. He had been working elsewhere as a technician handling printer basics and hoped to move up the job ladder into more technically demanding territory. So, when his interviewer brought up the topic of his previous IT experience, Brady gave an answer that was technically accurate.
"I thought, being young and naïve, oh yeah, I can go in and install a print driver and delete a corrupted print job out of a queue; I've had to troubleshoot software issues on printers, so you could say I have some IT experience," Brady said.
Brady had some experience, but not much. He started at R&K as an IT analyst and project manager and was thrown into the deep end. The company was updating its copiers to communicate with its servers, and the settings he was called upon to manage were nothing he'd ever seen before. Brady got the job done but realized that there was going to be more to this career than winging it. Fortunately, he had someone to take him under his wing.
R&K's IT director, seeing Brady's potential, became his mentor. He pointed Brady toward CompTIA certifications. And as Brady started down the certification path – first to CompTIA A+ and then CompTIA Server+ – he discovered a study tool as critical as any other means of tech training he would use – CompTIA CertMaster.
CompTIA CertMaster: The Biggest Confidence Builder
As Brady continued to learn on the job, he started to self-study for his A+ certification. He purchased the packet for the 901 exam, and among the materials he found CompTIA CertMaster. He logged in and began playing around.
Brady immediately took to the way CompTIA CertMaster taught. It made learning feel less like rote memorization and more like being repeatedly rewarded for building a real, working IT knowledge base. He still had a lot to learn at the CompTIA A+ level, but he already knew that CompTIA CertMaster was going to play a central role in his exam preparation – for CompTIA A+ and beyond.
"I decided that even if I went back to school, that before I sat for any CompTIA exam, I was definitely going to get CompTIA CertMaster for it," Brady said.
Brady did return to school. Taking night courses at a certification-oriented IT training institute, he availed himself of video modules and other cert-targeted training tools. And while guided instruction certainly helped, CompTIA CertMaster reinforced that he had what it would take to pass.
Brady quickly passed the 901 and 902 CompTIA A+ exams. And from there, though he'd only been really working in IT a few months, he was already on his way to higher-level certifications – with CompTIA CertMaster at his side.
A Big Leap with CompTIA Server+ and CertMaster
While the next step in Brady's school curriculum was CompTIA Network+, his still-new job pulled him away from studying for a while. When he tuned back into class, the next certification on the list was CompTIA Server+.
I decided that even if I went back to school, that before I sat for any CompTIA exam, I was definitely going to get CompTIA CertMaster for it.
Brady's courses gave him the framework for understanding server management and maintenance. But as he began working through CompTIA CertMaster Server+, he found it to be more than just a test prep tool. CompTIA CertMaster was supplementing, and even outpacing, what he was learning in his class.
CompTIA CertMaster made unfamiliar topics like RAID configurations and best practices for achieving information redundancy easy to grasp. Brady took the CompTIA Server+ exam and passed, again attributing his success in no small part to CompTIA CertMaster.
"You couldn't put a price on the value of CompTIA CertMaster Server+," Brady said. "I went into that test center a lot more confident after having gone through the CompTIA CertMaster program. I wouldn't have done it without CompTIA CertMaster."
And even though he wasn't a server administrator, the information he learned was immediately applicable in the workplace. Assigned with setting up a client's scanners to transmit documents directly to the company's servers, he knew exactly how to approach the task.
"CompTIA Server+ helped clear things up, for sure," Brady said.
Circling Back to CompTIA Network+ – and Moving Forward
Only nine months after getting started in IT, Brady held two CompTIA certifications, plus various vendor-based certifications, and had the skills to show for it. He applied for – and accepted – a new position at Spectrum Cable. His certifications, naturally, helped his interviewers appreciate that he was serious about the trade.
In his new role, Brady will be managing networks – which he sees as dovetailing perfectly with the CompTIA Network+ certification he now intends to pursue. And as with his previous exams, he'll be using CompTIA CertMaster to study.
But Brady isn't stopping with CompTIA Network+. He plans to quickly earn CompTIA Security+ and focus on cybersecurity. From there he's eyeing the new CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) exam and even the high-level CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) certification.
Brady is, of course, planning to study for CompTIA Security+ using CertMaster. And he hopes to use it as well for the higher-level certs to keep building his skills, resume and career.
"[CompTIA's cybersecurity certifications] all sound interesting, so I can't wait," Brady said. "I'm almost chomping at the bit to get started with some of that stuff, honestly. I'm going to just keep on certifying and just keep learning and moving forward."
Looking for a next-level study tool to make sure you knock your certification exams out of the park? Read more about CompTIA CertMaster.
Matthew Stern is a freelance writer based in Chicago who covers information technology, retail and various other topics and industries.