What’s New about the 2019 CompTIA A+ Exam?

Alert: In case you haven’t heard, the CompTIA A+ certification exam has been revised.

The old sections were numbered 901 and 902. The new tests are numbered 1001 and 1002 and are called the “CompTIA A+ Core Series.” Be aware that you may certify with the old tests until July 2019 OR you may take the new versions beginning now. However, you may not combine the old with the new and take, for example, take test 901 and combine it with 1002 for certification. Both tests to certify must be from the same edition: either 901 and 902 or 1001 and 1002. Also, be very careful to match any test prep you use to the test version number you will take. The content is quite different. Union Test Prep is in the process of adding specific preparation for the new edition, so check here for the latest. Or, if your plan is to take the old version of the CompTIA A+ certification test (both parts before July 2019), go here for prep materials.

New Areas of Emphasis

Technology changes at a rapid pace. With the new CompTIA A+ Core Series Exam, CompTIA proves that it is keeping pace with those changes. The new content falls mostly into three areas: security, operational procedures, and networking. It addresses growing areas such as the increased use of cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), and security and privacy concerns. The Mobile Devices domain, previously dominated by laptop questions, adds more on smartphones, tablets, and wearables. It also gains sections on mobile device synchronization and network connectivity and application support. Virtualization and cloud computing get a new domain dedicated to that topic. As the new comes in, the old goes out, so some older items and terminology (remember “phablets”?) get dropped.

“Security” Concepts Are Everywhere

Anyone who reads the news knows that security and privacy have become increasingly important to organizations. The new CompTIA Core Series addresses this by threading security through other topics, such as Active Directory, securely accessing devices, application security, email filtering, mobile device management, and device hardening. Items added to the security domain include rainbow tables, denial of service, port security, SSL certificates, and active directory account management. Privacy concerns are addressed with questions about the new General Data Protection Regulation and handling personally identifiable information and protected health information.

More Operations Content

Companies have been challenged to meet the demands of a growing set of standards and regulations with which they must comply. Knowledge of operational procedures is required to meet that demand, and it is covered on the new exam. Expect questions about documentation, change management, and disaster recovery. Another welcome addition is scripting, a key skill for operational procedures and very useful across a wide variety of IT responsibilities.

Networking and Cloud Concepts Added

Networking is the remaining topic that has been expanded in the CompTIA A+ Core Series. While networking remains its own domain, more networking and connectivity topics are covered in other domains, as they ought to be. After all, pretty much everything in IT is now connected in one way or another. Connecting to IoT devices has been added. The new cloud and virtualization domain covers connectivity as it relates to cloud, though cloud-based network controller is covered in the network domain. Other additions include more detailed SOHO router/firewall settings, wireless mesh network, radio frequency identification, and wireless protocols Zigbee and Z-wave.

So, What Stays the Same?

While a lot has changed, some of the best features of CompTIA exams remain. The exam remains vendor-neutral. Questions are written to emphasize problem-solving skills. Even with the move toward cloud computing and software-as-a-service, the exam still tests on the basics, right down to the motherboard. The exam is performance-based and focused on problem-solving. When you pass the new CompTIA A+ Core Series exams, you know that you proved yourself to be a knowledgeable and capable IT professional.

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