The New CompTIA A+: Problem Solvers Wanted

by Jessalynne Madden | Dec 10, 2018
An IT pro gives a thumbs up for the new CompTIA A plus

Today’s technical worker does much more than just fix PCs. They play huge roles in their organizations and must understand how applications work across large systems and be capable of solving problems that help keep technologies and companies running smoothly.

Launching in January 2019, the new CompTIA A+ certification was designed to ensure that IT pros are equipped to handle complex problems successfully. This entry-level IT certification helps individuals demonstrate their skills and develop a vast understanding of cloud, virtualization, cybersecurity and more.

“You may be very capable, but an employer can’t be sure of that unless you have the certification to prove it,” CompTIA Senior Director, Certification Products, Teresa Sears explained on the CompTIA Volley podcast on November 30. “[CompTIA] A+ levels the playing field. It’s a tool the employer can use to determine a candidate’s skill set and have some evidence of what a person knows.”

A New CompTIA A+ for Today’s Tech Support Pro

The number of job openings in the area of technical support is vast and projected to grow much faster than average over the next 10 years. As systems become more complex, the need to have IT workers who can quickly solve problems is intense. Sears said that that’s exactly what CompTIA A+ validates to employers: that an information technology professional is proficient in problem solving.   

The new CompTIA A+ offers a sizeable ROI for both the IT pro and employer.

Information technology workers can gain the following from the new CompTIA A+:  

  • Creative problem-solving skills
  • Strategies for resolving cybersecurity issues
  • Knowledge of cloud and virtualization
  • Exposure to a variety of IT functions

“The new [CompTIA] A+ will open up avenues for career development,” Sears mentioned. “A+ holders might end up working in cybersecurity, network engineering, network administration, business analysis or data analytics. It’s not a direct path, but it exposes technical workers to the functions of IT that really can open up some exciting career opportunities.”

The redesigned entry-level IT certification benefits employers as well. For example, when an entry-level worker who has earned CompTIA A+ is able to address complicated IT issues, senior-level employees are afforded the time and resources to work on higher-level projects that enable business and impact a company’s bottom line.  

“Now that you have more empowered help desk people who can identify problems and fix them, you are freeing up senior IT employees to work on more strategic projects,” said CompTIA Senior Director, Industry Analysis, Carolyn April, who co-hosts the podcast with Senior Director, Technology Analysis, Seth Robinson.

CompTIA A+ and Cloud Computing

Today’s entry-level IT workers are dealing with increasingly difficult problems. They are slowly taking over the domain, at least in part, of network administrators. This reflects how swiftly the workforce is morphing as digital transformation becomes a higher priority for companies. Taking this into consideration, CompTIA redesigned A+ with a greater focus on cloud computing and virtualization.  

It’s vital that tech workers are able to troubleshoot any issue an end user could experience with software as a service (SaaS) applications. To equip IT pros with these specific skills, the new CompTIA A+ certification emphasizes knowledge of cloud and virtualization.

“With the new A+ certification, there’s attention payed to devices other than laptops and mobile phones,” Sears explained. “There is discussion of how to support IoT devices. It all ties back to an increase in the sophistication of these technological environments.”

CompTIA A+ and Cybersecurity

The refreshed CompTIA A+ not only focuses on cloud and virtualization, but also cybersecurity. CompTIA A+ has always included cybersecurity skills, but the new version takes them to a new level.

“In the [900 series] of A+, you had to be able to recognize malware,” Sears said. “In the new series, you not only need to recognize it, but you need to be able to detect and remove it.”

In the information technology industry, there is a broadening and deepening of cybersecurity expertise that the new CompTIA A+ certification will ensure IT workers have.

Coming in January 2019: A New CompTIA A+

The updated CompTIA A+ certification will be available in January 2019. CompTIA will also release training materials for the new exams, including the Official CompTIA A+ Study Guide and the CompTIA CertMaster line of products.

Learn more about the refreshed CompTIA A+.

40 Comments

  • Valentine Chukwuebuka

    Friday, December 14, 2018

    I have been preparing to sit for my very first COMPTIA A+ certification on February 2019 but it has been 220-901 and 220-902 series. Now that it has changed to 1000 series, What is the implication for me?

  • Friday, December 14, 2018

    Hi, Valentine! No need to worry - the 900 series will be available until July 31, 2019, so if you're studying for that, keep at it and take it as planned. Good luck!

  • Updating the A+ for today's needs

    Friday, December 14, 2018

    I passed my A+ certification exam in 1999 and ended up not doing much with it. I remember that the curriculum was very backward looking covering rather old PC technology. Does the new exam require study of old technologies and OSs? I found the whole thing very impractical in that regard.

  • Friday, December 14, 2018

    Hello! Thanks for your question. CompTIA A+ has changed a lot since 1999. We now have a formal process of updating the exam every three years and bringing in IT pros who work in the field to develop the questions and make sure that the exam objectives and topics relate to what they do every day. The new CompTIA A+ covers not just PC repair, but also cloud, cybersecurity, IoT and more. If you haven't listened yet, the podcast touches on what the exam looks like today. You can also download the exam objectives for both the 900 series and the core series, which comes out in January, to see what's on them: https://certification.comptia.org/certifications/a#examdetails

  • DANIEL DELGADO

    Friday, December 14, 2018

    If I was to buy the 201 and 202 training bundle.. does it give me the resources necessary to troubleshoot real life issues? And how long should I study a week?.. need some good advice to guide me and be ready to study so I can be ready to take the exams..

  • Tom

    Friday, December 14, 2018

    Hi, I have quick question. I just passed my A+ 901 /902. I completed the 902 just a few weeks ago in Nov. With the new exam serious 1000 will I still be able to keep my 901/902 A+ exam current by taking CU's every 3 years and not have to take the new exam. It seems like the 901/902 hasn't be out very long and now it going away already. I just got my certificate in the mail this week. Thank You

  • Thomas Rogers

    Friday, December 14, 2018

    Hello I took the A+ exam in August of 2014 it is now expired and I’m trying to figure out how to regain a valid certification how do I go about doing that

  • Garrett

    Friday, December 14, 2018

    When will study/practice material be available for 1001 and 1002?

  • Ashton Burnette

    Friday, December 14, 2018

    Hi there, I purchased the exam amd study materials for the 901 from CompTIA two weeks ago. I just passed the fundamentals exam today. Is it possible to refund/exchange my purchase to get the 1001 instead? I emailed the store for support as well.

  • Liam

    Friday, December 14, 2018

    I'm currently studying and working towards my 901 before purchasing 902 and achieving my A+, does this effect when I have to purchase the second part of my exam or can I upgrade to 1000 series?

  • Claudia

    Friday, December 14, 2018

    When will the training materials be released for the new exams?

  • Jesse

    Friday, December 14, 2018

    So if Im studying for the 220-901 and 902 I can take those instead up until July?

  • Friday, December 14, 2018

    Hi, Jesse! Yes, you can still take the 900 series through July 2019. Good luck!

  • Friday, December 14, 2018

    Hi, Thomas! Thanks for your question. Unfortunately, if you let your A+ certification lapse, the only way to bring it current is to take the exams again. Good luck!

  • Friday, December 14, 2018

    Hi, Daniel! Thanks for your questions. CompTIA A+ is developed by real-life IT pros - not just CompTIA staff - so the exam objectives and questions all relate back to real-life tech support. Because of that, training products designed around the CompTIA A+ exams cover many challenges you'll face on the job. The eBook and CertMaster Practice, which are included in the A+ bundles, were developed using Official CompTIA Content, so you know that what's in those training products will help you prepare for your exam and your tech support role. As far as how much time you'll need, it all depends on how much experience you have. Successful candidates who have little to no IT experience spend an average of 128 hours studying for both exams. So, if you are looking to get into IT, you will want to allot several weeks or months, depending on whether or not studying is your full-time job or you have to balance it among other priorities. If you are already working in IT, you may not need as much time to prepare. You can download the exam objectives and sample questions for free to see what's on the exam and then decide how much preparation you'll need. Good luck! https://certification.comptia.org/certifications/a#examdetails

  • John Weintraub

    Friday, December 14, 2018

    I did my A+ certification in 1999. At that time I told it was non-expiring. Is that still true, given that you told Thomas that his certification has or may have expired? Thanks.

  • Friday, December 14, 2018

    Hi, John! Thanks for your question. CompTIA A+ (and other) certifications issued prior to 2011 are considered Good For Life and do not expire. You can read more here: https://help.comptia.org/hc/en-us/articles/115005364303-Good-for-Life-Certifications

  • Friday, December 14, 2018

    Hi, Tom! Thanks for your question, and congratulations on getting certified! Have no fear - your certification is not already out of date! As long as you keep up with your continuing education requirements, your certification will remain active. One way to renew your certification in one step is with CompTIA CertMaster CE. CertMaster CE bridges the gap of content between the exam you took and the new exam, so if you use CertMaster CE to renew your A+, you'll learn everything that's on the new version. You can look for a new version of CertMaster CE for CompTIA A+ in January. Read more here: https://certification.comptia.org/continuing-education/choose/renew-with-a-single-activity/complete-a-comptia-certmaster-ce-course

  • Fernando Silva

    Saturday, December 15, 2018

    How much is it for the new bundle??

  • Robert

    Sunday, December 16, 2018

    Hello, I first obtained my A+ back in 1997. It was new at that time and I found myself having to explain to hiring managers what it was and the value it brought to hiring me. Fortunately we are long past this issue. But in looking for Employment the last few Years. I have found the A+ requirement by Employer's to be just a formality. They don't seem to value an potential Employee's experience or past Training. This seems to be particularly prevalant in the Help desk arena. Where it seems like the main requirement seems to be a warm body to answer the phone. So I don't see how you can say that the new A+ will be of value to people in that job function.

  • Monday, December 17, 2018

    Hi, Ashton! Thanks for your question. Your A+ voucher is good for any version of the exam - either the 900 series or the forthcoming 1000 series. Just be sure to watch the expiration date on your voucher. If you've already begun using CertMaster for the 900 series, you may want to continue with that. The 900 series will be available through July 2019, so you have plenty of time, and you can always use CertMaster CE to renew your certification and catch you up on what's covered by the new exam. If you have any more questions or need help, please contact our support team: https://help.comptia.org/hc/en-us/requests/new Good luck!

  • Monday, December 17, 2018

    Hi, Robert! Thanks for your comment. Help desk jobs are an entry into IT, and as with every other step in your career journey, you get out of it what you put into it. You need to take the initiative to push yourself and work hard and show your employer that you can do more. And during the interview process, you have to do more than say, "I have CompTIA A+." You have to talk about why that makes you a valuable candidate - it gives you exposure to a broad range of IT functions and issues and helps you to become an excellent problem solver, which is really what IT is all about.

  • Sara

    Monday, December 17, 2018

    Hi, I currently have a voucher to take the Comptia 901 by July 2019 (I have yet to book a date). I had planned to do the 902 afterwards. However, now that the exam is expiring in July, I will not be able to complete both in time. Is there a possibility of using or transferring the voucher to the new replacement exam? If so, can you provide details of how I go about this, thanks

  • Monday, December 17, 2018

    Hi, Sara! Thanks for your question. You can use your voucher for either the 900 or 1000 series, however both exams (901 and 902 or 1001 and 1002) must be from the same series in order for you to get certified. You may want to plan on taking the 1000 series if you will only be able to take one of the exams before the end of July. You can download the exam objectives for the 1000 series now - there is likely some crossover in what you've already begun studying, so it shouldn't be a complete loss. Good luck!

  • Rudy

    Friday, December 21, 2018

    Bro I don't know what Sears is talking about. I have an A+ and have held one for the past X amount of years...AFTER already working in the industry for 7 years. Like most things these certs are a joke and are designed to try and fail the test taker which I don't like. In reality companies should do in-house training or prefer demonstrable real world experience over someone who takes a test. However it seems like our companies today are too cheap for the first option and too lazy to produce solid interview skills for the second. So i get his point that we will keep having to acquire these at the end of the day pointless certs . This I'd why I have A+, Sec+, CEH, CySA, and so forth.yet I work Helpdesk (in a very specialized area if) and so many of our customers that call in don't know anything about the systems their in charge of maintaining. My real world experience trumps anything the content of these exams can simulate Anyway since my sister needs this cert for an entry level gig. I'm just hoping the study material she has now is still valid. Which I suppose it will be because last I checked thisbtrdt was still making people memorize useless info like RAM Pin counts, OLEDvsLED, and SCSI bus speeds and other junk

  • Mustafa Fazal

    Thursday, December 27, 2018

    Hi I did the 800 series I have A+ ce so when the new continuing Education For A+ comes out I would be notified?

  • Simon Wilshire

    Thursday, December 27, 2018

    The A+ is the most under rated and yet vital qualification around, but ask any recruiter what it is and generally 99% simply don't have a clue. Any improvement on this certification is welcome, but what is really needed is better PR across the world. You need a field engineer, support, system builder - this is the go to qualification and yet there are so many people who simply don't know what it is and the sheer number of areas it covers. I would like to see basic add-on per new OS in order to certify current knowledge. Keep making it better, tougher - but above all promote it better to the industry as a whole :-)

  • Ayanda

    Thursday, December 27, 2018

    I have already passed 220-901 exam now I'm left with 220-902 to get certified..my question is ''How long will my certification be valid for?

  • Peter

    Thursday, December 27, 2018

    Hello,I already did Comptia A+ ( 901 and 902 ) in 2016, so I just want to know that it's a must to renew my "Comptia A+ ce" certificate even I'm busy studying Cyber security Analyst?

  • Alan Romero

    Thursday, December 27, 2018

    I am preparing for my 220-901 and 220-902 exams. Will I be able to take the exams based on the 900 series?

  • Joe

    Saturday, December 29, 2018

    I have been preparing for the 900 series and have already purchased those vouchers as well as the CertMasters for both part 1 and part 2. Are we able to trade the 900 series vouchers in for 1000 series vouchers? I would much rather study for an updated program instead of the noticeably dated 900 series. If so would that be something that could be accommodated for the CertMasters? I want to be more up to date with my skills.

  • Victor Graves

    Monday, December 31, 2018

    I passed my CompTIA A+ (900 series) in September 2018 (expires in September 2021). Will I need to take pass the CompTIA A+ when the 1000 series begin?

  • Wednesday, January 2, 2019

    Hi, Mustafa! We send out a monthly email about new products that, as an alumni, you should be receiving. If you don't get an email, check back later this month - all of the training products for A+ will be released around the same time as the new exam.

  • Wednesday, January 2, 2019

    Hi, Ayanda! Thanks for your question. After passing both exams to earn CompTIA A+, your certification will be valid for three years. You can then renew it every three years through continuing education. Read more here: https://certification.comptia.org/continuing-education/learn/how-to-renew

  • Wednesday, January 2, 2019

    Hi, Peter! Thanks for your question. Don't worry - by earning CySA+, you will automatically renew your A+. There is no additional step. Read more here: https://certification.comptia.org/continuing-education/choose/renew-with-a-single-activity/earn-a-higher-level-comptia-certification Good luck!

  • Wednesday, January 2, 2019

    Hi, Alan! Thanks for your question. You can take the 900 series exams through July 31, 2019, so you still have plenty of time. Good luck!

  • Wednesday, January 2, 2019

    Hi, Joe! Thanks for your question. Your voucher for CompTIA A+ can be used for any version - you just need to use it before it expires. Regarding CertMaster, please contact customer service to see how they can help you. Good luck!

  • Wednesday, January 2, 2019

    Hi, Victor! Congratulations - once you earn your A+, you do not need to take it again as long as you keep your continuing education up to date. You can do that with CertMaster CE for A+, which will come out later this month, or through another means. Learn more here: https://certification.comptia.org/continuing-education/learn/how-to-renew

  • shan

    Friday, January 4, 2019

    I have had my a+ and server+ for about 4 years now. My renewal is coming up in 2020. With the updated a+ cert coming out in Jan of 2019, will you be requiring techs that are grandfathered in on their a+ to take the new a+, since most that are grandfathered in were certified on even older tests? I find when interviewing techs that have had their a+ for more than 8 years are not up to date at all on current equipment and are not looking to update their a+ because it is grandfathered in and doesn't expire.

  • Friday, January 4, 2019

    Hi, Shan! Thanks for your question. People who earned A+ prior to 2011 have what's called a good-for-life (GFL) certification, which does not have any continuing education requirements. They certainly can re-take the new A+ exam to earn a CE certification, which will keep them up to date on the latest skills and technology, but it's not required. For anyone who already has the CE version of A+, using CertMaster CE to renew will get you up to speed on anything that's covered by the new exam but wasn't on the last one. Learn more about the differences between old exams and the new A+ on our A+ landing page: https://certification.comptia.org/the-new-comptia-aplus-core-series

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