A sneak peek into the updated CompTIA A+ 2009 certification

I recently received this invitation in my email inbox:

CompTIA Certification News
CompTIA A+ Job Task Analysis (JTA) Survey

CompTIA needs survey participants for the CompTIA A+ JTA Survey. The survey will assist in the exam development process by providing a clear picture of the skills and knowledge required to perform the job duties of an entry-level PC support and service technician.

The surveys cover two of the four available CompTIA A+ exams: CompTIA A+ Essentials and CompTIA IT Technician (220-602). CompTIA A+ Essentials validates knowledge of basic computer hardware and operating systems. The CompTIA IT Technician (220-602) exam is targeted for individuals who work or intend to work in a mobile or corporate technical environment with a high level of face-to-face client interaction. Individuals may participate in both surveys.

Since the last revision of the CompTIA A+ exam requirements was in 2006, it’s not unexpected to think that a new version of requirements may be in the works. Sure enough, the first page of the survey was pretty clear about their intentions.

CompTIA A+ Essentials Exam (2009 Edition) Survey

Thank you for your help with this survey.

The purpose of the survey is to define the content for the CompTIA A+ Essentials Exam.

So, what was new and different? I’ve broken it all down for you.

There were two surveys attached to the email invitation. One of the links was for the proposed “Essentials” exam requirements and the other for the proposed “Technician” exam requirements. Both surveys discussed the current draft of the exam requirements and asked for feedback on how important each topic was, and how often a borderline qualified candidate would perform each task.

It was clear that this current certification requirement structure was a draft version that was under construction. Although there were no surprises on the survey, there were a few things that stood out:

  • The current draft of the requirements wasn’t dramatically different than the existing major category domain structure.
  • There were a number of relatively new technologies listed in the survey (Blu-ray, SD cards, DDR3, TV tuner cards, and Bluetooth, to name a few).
  • Windows 2000, Windows XP (32-bit and 64-bit) and Windows Vista (32-bit and 64-bit) were all listed as components. A number of the latest Vista technologies (Aero, UAC, etc.) were also included.
  • With the addition of Vista, it was also necessary to include some of the tools for migrating users and their data from Windows XP to Vista.
  • Some of the older networking technologies were dropped and the latest cabling standards (CAT6) were added. Cellular networking was mentioned often.
  • The security section was updated to include encryption, authentication technologies, and updated biometric technologies. There’s additional requirements for 802.11 security methods (WEP, WPA, etc.).
  • There were no online surveys offered to me for Remote Support Technician or Depot Technician, and there were no mentions of either of those designations.
  • The survey asked to add any categories they missed and left plenty of room for comments.

Should you certify now, or wait for the new exam?
There’s a lot of time between now and the introduction of an updated A+ exam requirement list, and the new list of requirements wasn’t a dramatic change from what you’ll already know for the current exams. If anything, most of us are already familiar with some of the latest technologies – who hasn’t seen or used a Bluetooth headset at this point?

Once you’re CompTIA A+ certified, you’re certified for life. There are no update exams or additional certifications you’ll need once the new exam requirements are released, so study up and get your A+ now! What are you waiting for?

The survey ended with a link to CompTIA A+ Item Writing Workshops that will be held at CompTIA in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois on November 10-14 and November 17-21. If you’ve ever wanted to help write questions for the exam, now’s your chance! Visit the workshop invitation at http://certification.comptia.org/a/sme.aspx.

  1. Hi Professor,

    What is going on with the 220-603 & 220-604? Are they still going to be part of the A+ exams or are they being dropped?

    I was planning to take the 220-603 for extra “star power”.

    Thank you for your site and guidance.

    Best wishes


    1. Marjorie –

      CompTIA has not made any official announcements about the 2009 edition of the CompTIA A+ exam, but they’ve posted draft exam requirements for new 220-701 and 220-702 exams. Unless they plan on posting additional requirements, it looks like the next edition of the A+ certification will consist of only two exams. If you’re planning to take the 220-603 and 220-604 exams, I would expect that you still have a few months before the 600-series exams are discontinued.

  2. Hi Professor

    i just want to know if when this Comptia A+ 20009 (220-710 and 220-702 exams) will be final,coz i have exam on next monday june 15,2009 to take the 601 exam,do i need to study some of this draft that they want to add now?

    thank for all the comptia A+ videos that you just shared to us,it helps me so much..

    1. jp –

      We’ve not heard any official word from CompTIA on when their new exam will be out of draft mode, but even when they announce the switch there will probably be some time where both exams are available. At the moment, you should concentrate on the test requirements for the 220-60x exams, and you won’t be expected to know any of the new material from the unreleased 70x exams.

  3. Hi Professor,

    For someone who is about ready to take their CompTIA A+ (as of mid-July 2009) would it be advisable to wait for the new 70x exams before purchasing exam vouchers? Any guess as to how long it might be before the new exams are offered?


    1. Barry –

      There have been no official announcements from CompTIA regarding the 2009 A+ exam requirements, but we’re all guessing that the expiration of the existing exam vouchers is a good reference point. In the past, there have been transition periods where you could continue to take the older exam at the same time as the new exam. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.

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