Without beating the proverbial dead horse whose name begins with the letter “C,” I’d like to bring your attention to an area in which many AV integrators and professionals don’t dedicate enough time to becoming accustomed with and delving into: IT certifications. There’s a handful of certifications available to us in the AV world, but what’s beyond that? In the IT industry, there’s a certification you’ve probably never heard of around every corner, lurking the alleyways of the massive industry. But where do you begin? How do you embrace that industry without becoming overwhelmed with these dozens of exams and certifications to take?
IT certification cannot be mentioned without hearing the word “CompTIA.” CompTIA released its first certification exam in 1993, by the name of A+. Since then, it’s been one of the non-profits involved in the development of many other vendor-neutral and ANSI-accredited certification exams. I do not work for nor represent CompTIA in any way, but their offerings are interesting, especially with regard to AV integrators interested in becoming well versed in IT. This post will provide you with a brief understanding of three of their most popular certification exams.
Today, the A+ is one of the most common entry-level IT certifications. It’s the way many junior-level technicians get their foot into the industry. The exam covers a lot of maintenance, basic networking, hardware, and operating system configurations. While an A+ certification won’t revolutionize your career, it’s a great study path and certification to give you a basic understanding of IT if you’re not too familiar with the industry in general.
Recommended for individuals with an A+ or nine months of networking experience, the Network+ certification is the next tier of the CompTIA ladder. Studying for this exam just may have you reciting the 7-layer OSI model in your sleep. This can also be considered a good milestone goal for integrators involved in video conferencing protocols, streaming, and other network intensive AV projects. With a good background in IT, many individuals integrating networked AV into a network or experience working with IT may want to consider starting here.
When it comes to network security professionals who harden systems, ethical hack, and conduct cyber forensics for a living, the Security+ is nothing but an entryway into network security and the first certification on the way to a CISSP or other higher-level certification. For everyone else, this exam and its objectives cover the most of what we would need to know about network security, as we’ll typically be working with IT staff to get devices onto their networks and hardening them per their requirements. CompTIA suggests at least two years of experience in IT administration, specifically security, before taking this exam.
However you choose to embrace IT, at least consider adding a certification or two to your resume. IT staff will appreciate your ability to speak their language, and the growth of confidence when dealing with IT is worth it on its own. CompTIA is good organization to look at, especially for entryways into the industry, but there are several other vendor-neutral and vendor-specific options out there.
Morteza works as an Infocomm CTS-D, CTS-I, and CompTIA Security+ certified AV/IT support staff member in the D.C. metropolitan area. He currently studies Business Administration at a local university. He spends his spare time involved in some of the geekiest things possible like studying AV standards and learning about the latest products.