5 In-Demand CompTIA A+ Skills

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

CompTIA A+ is a key certification for developing IT skills and staying competitive in the job market. Learn more about CompTIA A+ certifications and which in-demand skills you need to be successful.

[Featured Image] An IT specialist starts a new job after learning in-demand CompTIA A+ skills.

When hiring IT professionals, businesses are looking for candidates with demonstrable skills in security, infrastructure, and other aspects of computer technology. If you want to establish yourself competitively in IT and succeed in an entry-level role, consider the CompTIA A+ certification. Read on to learn about this certification, which skills you need to pass the exam successfully, and why it's a vital addition to your IT resume.

Read more: The CompTIA Certification Path Explained

What is CompTIA A+?

CompTIA A+ is a certification offered by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). CompTIA promotes industry growth through the professional development of IT professionals in various aspects, including cybersecurity, new technologies, legislation, and emerging trends.

CompTIA A+ certification is designed to help launch your IT career. This industry-recognized credential helps prove your foundational IT skills across various topics. The certification requires you to pass two exams covering subjects such as:

  • SaaS applications for remote work

  • Cloud virtualization

  • Multiple operation systems

  • IoT device security

  • Diagnoses and correction of common software problems

  • Data management and scripting

Read more: What Is the CompTIA A+ Certification? A Certification to Start Your IT Career

Why is it important to develop CompTIA A+ skills?

CompTIA A+ skills and the certification help highlight resumes because businesses want a reliable way to evaluate potential hires on their knowledge and skills quickly. The credential shows you have at least several months’ worth of experience in an IT role, which is great for jobs that want you prepared on the first day.

The CompTIA A+ skills for resumes that the exam requires are key for success in IT roles that work with computers since they involve customizing, installing, operating, and configuring computers for a business or organization. Since CompTIA A+ is vendor-neutral, you can take these skills to any industry or company you’d like to work for since you’ll have foundational knowledge that is easily applied across multiple types of tech setups.

CompTIA A+ skills list

The CompTIA A+ skills list for success at the exams ranges from hardware configuration to cloud computing. Some of the essential skills include the following:

1. Hardware

Experience with different types of hardware is crucial, including the ability to identify, use, and connect various devices. You’ll want working knowledge of CPUs, RAMs, motherboards, and the cabling options included.

2. Operating systems

The CompTIA A+ exam will test your knowledge of the system configuration, client support options, command lines, and common troubleshooting questions for the main operating systems. These include Mac OS, Android, Linux OS, and Chrome OS.

Read more: What Is an Operating System?

3. Troubleshooting

Familiarity with common troubleshooting issues is important for the exam. You’ll want to have experience with handling problems such as printing difficulties, end-user access, slow computer performance, issues with peripheral devices, PC and mobile device software issues, and short battery life.

4. Security

You’ll need the ability to identify and quickly resolve security issues across multiple operating systems. Experience with malware removal, implementing cybersecurity controls, configuring a secure workstation, website authentication, and encryption are all key security skills.

5. Cloud computing

Knowledge of the different cloud computing concepts, including common cloud models and virtual desktops, is key. You’ll need to know how to configure client-side virtualizations.

Read more: What Is Cloud Computing? 15 FAQ for Beginners

How to prepare for CompTIA A+ certification exams

Most professionals spend around a year in entry-level IT roles to gain the knowledge required to pass the CompTIA A+ certification exams successfully. However, gaining your certification before you transition into the IT field from another unrelated job is also possible. To do so, you can opt to take introductory courses that provide the opportunities to learn foundational skills that would otherwise develop naturally while on the job.

CompTIA offers study guides on its website that provide guidance and an overview of what to expect on the exams. Look over the objectives and see if your skills match up well with what the exam is looking for. If you find gaps or places where you might need more experience, it’s worth looking for courses or on-the-job opportunities to develop those skills.

Those opportunities might include self-directed online study, instructor-led study, or professional development courses offered through your workplace.

Read more: How to Get the CompTIA A+ Certification

Types of careers that use CompTIA A+ skills

CompTIA A+ skills are foundational, widely applicable, and useful in various IT roles. Some of these jobs include:

Computer technician

Average annual base salary (US): $50,461 [1]

Computer technicians are responsible for supporting a business or organization’s computer infrastructure. This includes maintaining computer equipment, performing routine updates, troubleshooting, and sometimes leading staff training. Computer technicians sometimes have bachelor's degrees, but gaining this role through certificate courses and hands-on experience is possible. 

Read more: How to Get a Job as a Computer Technician: 10 Tips

Network support specialist

Average annual base salary (US): $71,907 [2]

Network support specialists are responsible for supporting an organization’s team as they use their computers to complete tasks. This role includes providing technical assistance to employees, maintaining a network, performing data and file backups, and troubleshooting issues as they occur. Network support specialists typically require an associate’s degree or certification. 

Read more: What Does a Technical Support Specialist Do? Career Guide

Cybersecurity specialist

Average annual base salary (US): $124,106 [3]

Cybersecurity specialists analyze, maintain, and troubleshoot an organization’s networks. In this role, you are a key member of the disaster recovery team and typically manage both the backing up of data and the recovery of missing data. You monitor systems for security breaches or vulnerabilities and mitigate any threats as they occur. Cybersecurity specialists typically have a bachelor’s degree as well as certification. 

Read more: Your Guide to Cybersecurity Careers

Build your CompTIA A+ skills with Coursera.

Sharpen your IT skills and gain foundational knowledge with courses on Coursera. CompTIA’s Computer Security Support Fundamentals is a great way to learn more about the different aspects of an IT professional role. You’ll learn what it takes to be an IT professional and have the chance to prepare for the CompTIA A+ exam through a new and effective skill set.

Article sources


Glassdoor. "What does a Computer Technician do?, https://www.glassdoor.com/Career/computer-technician-career_KO0,19.htm." Accessed February 26, 2024.

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