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Questions for people who are computer techs...

In order to pass the test, do I need to be able to calculate in binary, or do I just need to (for example) be able to recognize an IP address from a subnet mask address?

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On 1/9/2020 at 3:12 PM, dave4shmups said:

So I've thought about taking the CompTia A+ exams-both the 220-1001 and the 220-1002. but I have some questions for people who are professional computer techs.  Would I be driving around a lot, or could I just be based in a store like Micro Center, and work on computers that need repair that come into that store? Also, could I specialize in one area-let's say I love working on laptops; could I just (or mostly) do that?

So the the job you accept will determine if you are driving around or sitting behind a desk.

 

There is nothing wrong with getting your A+, but it should only be an entry point and not something you plan on long term. Networking, Security,  development, etc... those are areas to focus on. If you want to make yourself a very valuable resource go down the Security path. There are literally thousand of unfilled jobs and we there is a big shortage on people with the skillset needed for this field.

 

So not only will you be highly valued, but you will also make great money. If that sounds good then I would start with focusing on your networking education.

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On 1/11/2020 at 1:37 PM, dave4shmups said:

In order to pass the test, do I need to be able to calculate in binary, or do I just need to (for example) be able to recognize an IP address from a subnet mask address?

You should only need to get a 75% or so to pass the exam and get your cert. the networking part of A+ was not that hard when i took it.  (granted that was about 5 years ago, and I did not keep up on the CEUs to keep it up to date.)

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28 minutes ago, DavidKalinowski said:

You should only need to get a 75% or so to pass the exam and get your cert. the networking part of A+ was not that hard when i took it.  (granted that was about 5 years ago, and I did not keep up on the CEUs to keep it up to date.)

OK, thanks!  But what about having to calculate in binary?  In other words, does the exam give you a set of 1s and 0s and expect you to know (for example) what IP address that would translate into?

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57 minutes ago, dave4shmups said:

OK, thanks!  But what about having to calculate in binary?  In other words, does the exam give you a set of 1s and 0s and expect you to know (for example) what IP address that would translate into?

Not that I remember having to do. I think you might if you go for the Network+ cert but for just the A+ I don't think I did. I know in my CCNA (cisco networking) class we did and I didnt like it. lol. Its one of those things they want you to learn, but I dont think even my network admin at my job has ever needed to use binary math. 

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1 hour ago, DavidKalinowski said:

Not that I remember having to do. I think you might if you go for the Network+ cert but for just the A+ I don't think I did. I know in my CCNA (cisco networking) class we did and I didnt like it. lol. Its one of those things they want you to learn, but I dont think even my network admin at my job has ever needed to use binary math. 

Gotcha, thanks!  Would working as an Apple Certified Technician require A+ certification?

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Not that I know of, I'm not entirely sure how one would actually get apple certified. I've never looked into because I don't deal with apple hardware/software enough to justify it. 

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3 hours ago, dave4shmups said:

OK, thanks!  But what about having to calculate in binary?  In other words, does the exam give you a set of 1s and 0s and expect you to know (for example) what IP address that would translate into?

If you can't take a practice exam, it might be best to either ask the organization you're taking the test from, or prepare yourself to be able to calculate it anyways.

In my opinion/experience, you won't be calculating IP addresses from binary on a daily basis and if you are, you will use a tool for it. But it still is helpful knowledge to have. Basic binary to IP is not that difficult either. The other way around isn't that much harder too.

"We're all in this together, might as well be friends" Tom, Toonami.

Sorry if my post seemed rude, that is never my intention.

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On 1/9/2020 at 5:50 PM, dave4shmups said:

The thing that worries me about getting into Cyber Security is all the data/privacy breaches that seem to happen (at least) on a weekly basis now.  So I worry that I'll end up being cut even if I was doing my job.  Somebody has to be the fall guy after these events.  Or maybe I'm just worrying too much, which I have a tendency to do.

 

The other thing that concerns me is how to get hands-on A+ experience-should I build my own PC and take video footage of the process?

 

I did watch all of the online video courses, through Udemy, for the 220-1001 exam, and took all the quizzes and they emailed me a certificate of completion.  Unfortunately, that doesn't count towards getting a discount on the exam, which is a bummer.

 

So on the cybersecurity front it could play out that way, but in most cases it doesn't. 

 

As for the A+ unless you are intending to skip higher education entirely I would probably wait or skip it all together. It is very much an entry level cert that only is acknowledge for a handful of entry level jobs.

 

I mean I guess of you are wanting to get the comptia trifecta to show general competency then that might be different. That would consist of A+, Network+, and Security+. All of which are easy.

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8 hours ago, AngryBeaver said:

So on the cybersecurity front it could play out that way, but in most cases it doesn't. 

 

As for the A+ unless you are intending to skip higher education entirely I would probably wait or skip it all together. It is very much an entry level cert that only is acknowledge for a handful of entry level jobs.

 

I mean I guess of you are wanting to get the comptia trifecta to show general competency then that might be different. That would consist of A+, Network+, and Security+. All of which are easy.

Well, I already have a BA that I got back in 2001.  I just love computers, and computer technology and I think it would be fun to work on computers for a living.

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4 hours ago, dave4shmups said:

Well, I already have a BA that I got back in 2001.  I just love computers, and computer technology and I think it would be fun to work on computers for a living.

Should have taken a B.S. degree.

 

I mean I applaud you getting a 4 year degree to better yourself, I just feel a Bachelor of Arts degree doesn't really do much for most careers. I guess you could toss another 40-60 credits at it and have a second degree in  B.S major. Computer Science or Cybersecurity being my top 2 choices.

 

Anyways that a side. It you have a 4 year degree and want to get your feet in the door. Take your comptia trinity certs and try to land something in networking, security, or even data analytics to start out. I would skip most computer support/repair jobs and probably even help desk unless it is more of a t3 support engineer role that does more complex work and interfaces with the internal teams more.

 

I recommend this because support/help desk in general isn't great pay. I don't even think I would consider it a liveable wage in a single income household. Then there is also the fact end users are annoying as hell and the bane of ITs existence.

 

Here is a true story. I've literally had an executive call up the SOC (Security Operations Center) to ask if a email was legitimate that was asking him to end in various credentials with a CC number to redeem a reward. Only to tell him it was harvesting O365 creds and more than likely CC numbers. Less than 8 hours later he apparently couldn't help himself and did it anyways. He was then outraged when I got him a nice forced password reset as well as adding him to a more restricted proxy group. Not sure what the outcome on his CC was, but this is literally life in IT. We try to account for the dumbest dumb people, yet everyday are shocked to find there is always someone even dumber than you could have anticipated.

 

Anyways rant over. Just stay out of help desk lol. At least in my role I don't have to take crap and can have them in front of HR getting walked out. 

 

Btw if you go into Information Security even at entry level you can expect to start around 60-65k. Then after 3yrs or experience expect to be in the 85k+ range. By 5 years you should be close to if not sitting at 6 figures. Plus you are a very valuable resource that is always in demand in an industry with a 0.0% unemployment rate.

 

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19 hours ago, AngryBeaver said:

Should have taken a B.S. degree.

 

I mean I applaud you getting a 4 year degree to better yourself, I just feel a Bachelor of Arts degree doesn't really do much for most careers. I guess you could toss another 40-60 credits at it and have a second degree in  B.S major. Computer Science or Cybersecurity being my top 2 choices.

 

Anyways that a side. It you have a 4 year degree and want to get your feet in the door. Take your comptia trinity certs and try to land something in networking, security, or even data analytics to start out. I would skip most computer support/repair jobs and probably even help desk unless it is more of a t3 support engineer role that does more complex work and interfaces with the internal teams more.

 

I recommend this because support/help desk in general isn't great pay. I don't even think I would consider it a liveable wage in a single income household. Then there is also the fact end users are annoying as hell and the bane of ITs existence.

 

Here is a true story. I've literally had an executive call up the SOC (Security Operations Center) to ask if a email was legitimate that was asking him to end in various credentials with a CC number to redeem a reward. Only to tell him it was harvesting O365 creds and more than likely CC numbers. Less than 8 hours later he apparently couldn't help himself and did it anyways. He was then outraged when I got him a nice forced password reset as well as adding him to a more restricted proxy group. Not sure what the outcome on his CC was, but this is literally life in IT. We try to account for the dumbest dumb people, yet everyday are shocked to find there is always someone even dumber than you could have anticipated.

 

Anyways rant over. Just stay out of help desk lol. At least in my role I don't have to take crap and can have them in front of HR getting walked out. 

 

Btw if you go into Information Security even at entry level you can expect to start around 60-65k. Then after 3yrs or experience expect to be in the 85k+ range. By 5 years you should be close to if not sitting at 6 figures. Plus you are a very valuable resource that is always in demand in an industry with a 0.0% unemployment rate.

 

What could I do with a Linux+ certification?  That interests me more then Information Security.

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@dave4shmups Network Administrator in a Linux heavy setup. Maybe a systems engineer, etc. 

 

Linux is also a big need, just not one I am personally passionate about. If you push for being a Linux Red Hat then there is some serious money to be made there.

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I did a few Walmart locations when chip & pin was rolling out so yeah, you can touch POSes. The impression I got from the project lead was that most POS handling is done by a retail tech provider who might also do alarms, cameras, and digital signage. Toshiba was contacted to do all the stuff at the stores I visited, who in turn subcontacted it to Teksystems who I was working through. 

 

If you are concerned about any cert I would recommend getting the MeasureUp practice test. I can't vouch for their comptia stuff (I haven't done any of them) but the microsoft and cisco material is good. 

Ryzen 3600 - MSI B450 Tomahawk - Gigabyte 1070 - Samsung 860 EVO - Corsair 16GB DDR4

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If I worked as a tech at Micro Center, I wonder how much time I'd spend selling vs. repairing?  They have a listing open now, but you have to do some sales work, which sounds like a weird requirement for a computer tech.?

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Micro Center could be trying to fill multiple positions with one person. If I had to guess, when a persons pc breaks and/or cannot be repaired they would want you to be able to sell them the new thing in the pc world. Get them to upgrade, even though they might not need it. 

 

As for a help desk, I can vouch that you will have plenty of stories to tell when it is all said and done...

 

Assuming you are around 40ish? With no pc background, I would definitely recommend getting the certifications and go from there. They will cost you, but its a price you pay for a decent job.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 1/29/2020 at 7:41 AM, alewan888 said:

Micro Center could be trying to fill multiple positions with one person. If I had to guess, when a persons pc breaks and/or cannot be repaired they would want you to be able to sell them the new thing in the pc world. Get them to upgrade, even though they might not need it. 

 

As for a help desk, I can vouch that you will have plenty of stories to tell when it is all said and done...

 

Assuming you are around 40ish? With no pc background, I would definitely recommend getting the certifications and go from there. They will cost you, but its a price you pay for a decent job.

Yeah, I'm in my early 40s.  What about Best Buy, and working for the Geek Squad?  Would I be driving all over the place, or could I just work at a store, like I could with Micro Center?

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On 1/13/2020 at 12:48 PM, dave4shmups said:

OK, thanks!  But what about having to calculate in binary?  In other words, does the exam give you a set of 1s and 0s and expect you to know (for example) what IP address that would translate into?

That is more a network+ or ccna thing and it is stupid easy.  4 - 8 bit segments (for ipv4)

 

128 , 64 , 32 , 16 , 8 , 4 , 2 , 1.

 

So

 

10010010 = 146. Etc.

 

More people have issues with subnetting and cidr notation

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3 minutes ago, AngryBeaver said:

That is more a network+ or ccna thing and it is stupid easy.  4 - 8 bit segments (for ipv4)

 

128 , 64 , 32 , 16 , 8 , 4 , 2 , 1.

 

So

 

10010010 = 146. Etc.

 

More people have issues with subnetting and cidr notation

Nah CCNA doesn't give you those questions anymore, or at least I don't remember it giving those. It's more of a "You have a subnet of 10.0.0.0/16, assume you need 5 networks of 50 people and 1 network of 100 people, what mask would the 50 person network need?" or something about what would be the range of the last set of networks, those sorts of things are more common.

I could see the Net+ or something asking to convert from binary to a mask though.

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Louis rossmann did a video or two about the comptia exams. Might wanna check those videos out usually louis has a pretty good opinion on things.

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On 2/20/2020 at 2:37 PM, dave4shmups said:

Yeah, I'm in my early 40s.  What about Best Buy, and working for the Geek Squad?  Would I be driving all over the place, or could I just work at a store, like I could with Micro Center?

So here is the hard truth about geek squad or even microcenter.... the pay is trash.

 

These are the lowest of the low when it comes to entry level tech jobs. I mean it might be a way to get started in the field for experience, but if you are in your early 40s it will more than likely be pretty hefty pay hit.

 

Depending on what you have done in the past you can probably sell that as experience and a cert on top should secure you something a little better.

 

I mean I love the tech field, but some of the jobs pay way less than they should. A lot of that is how easily they are outsourced.

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On 2/28/2020 at 9:19 AM, AngryBeaver said:

So here is the hard truth about geek squad or even microcenter.... the pay is trash.

 

These are the lowest of the low when it comes to entry level tech jobs. I mean it might be a way to get started in the field for experience, but if you are in your early 40s it will more than likely be pretty hefty pay hit.

 

Depending on what you have done in the past you can probably sell that as experience and a cert on top should secure you something a little better.

 

I mean I love the tech field, but some of the jobs pay way less than they should. A lot of that is how easily they are outsourced.

Well, I joined a Geek Squad Reddit group and was told that the two in-store Geek Squad jobs (as opposed to jobs that require a lot of driving around) are Consultation Agent and Advanced Repair Agent.  The latter is listed as an entry-level job, but requires "6+ months experience diagnosing, troubleshooting, or repairing technology products"-and I don't know where they expect you to get that.

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44 minutes ago, dave4shmups said:

Well, I joined a Geek Squad Reddit group and was told that the two in-store Geek Squad jobs (as opposed to jobs that require a lot of driving around) are Consultation Agent and Advanced Repair Agent.  The latter is listed as an entry-level job, but requires "6+ months experience diagnosing, troubleshooting, or repairing technology products"-and I don't know where they expect you to get that.

A lot of people I know who took an IT degree also volunteered for basically a free student help desk type group. Which in this case would probably suffice.

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