I have nev­er placed much faith in the qual­ity of CompTIA cer­ti­fic­a­tions. Now that I have both an A+ and Net­work+, I must reit­er­ate that opin­ion. The exams aren’t designed to test your know­ledge, they are designed to trip you up. 

The best way to study for a CompTIA exam is to com­plete as many prac­tice ques­tions as you can. There’s not much need for any real study or under­stand­ing of the issues at hand (although it can help). That is the view I took when study­ing for the Net­work+ exam. I began by read­ing the text­book which had been sup­plied to me, but I quickly gave up on it and turned to prac­tice ques­tions. After 400 ques­tions, I felt ready to take the exam. Mind you, I did have a lot of pri­or know­ledge and under­stand­ing, but I’m cer­tain that most people who take this approach do not. In fact, at least 10% of the ques­tions in my exam were identic­al to prac­tice ques­tions I had done earlier. 

How skil­ful can you expect a CompTIA cer­ti­fic­a­tion hold­er to be if the test­ing meth­od is so point­less? Will they be able to apply the ‘know­ledge’ gained from mem­or­ising mul­tiple choice answers to real-life situ­ations? Over­all, I don’t believe they can. 

Case in point: for sev­er­al months I have had trouble con­nect­ing to a couple of Web sites. I knew they were up, but my Web browser would time out whenev­er I tried to con­nect. I have known of the exist­ence of the traceroute tool for many years (and I even used it sev­er­al times), and its use was covered in Net­work+. How­ever, I only put one and one togeth­er rel­at­ively recently. Pri­or to this, I nev­er con­sidered using the tool to troubleshoot my con­nec­tion to those sites. 

Of course, upon real­ising this I whacked myself on the fore­head for my ineptitude. I’m not nor­mally that slow. It got me think­ing, though. If I — who knew about the tool even before study­ing it for the exam — did not think of using it, what were the chances for the aver­age Net­work+ cer­ti­fic­a­tion hold­er? You know, the people who do the cert just to get a job and not because they have any real aptitude or interest? 

I’m glad to be doing some­thing else now. Struc­tured pro­gram­ming is a chal­lenge, which is far more than I can say for the CompTIA certs. 

CompTIA Certifications / Sridhar Dhanapalan by Sridhar Dhanapalan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY-SA 4.0 licence.
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