Difference between the new A+ 220-1002 and the CompTIA A+ 220-902 certification
First about the exam number: At the time we are writing this we have reasons to believe that 220-1002 will be the exam number that will be replacing 220-902. However, this is early enough that things could change in that respect. If so, we’ll update as needed. Update: The exam number is confirmed to be A+ 220-1002 but the exam now also has a name. It is A+ Core 2.
As an entry-level certification, A+ is rather a wider than a deep credential. It is to some extent stating the obvious to say that the Exam Objectives for A+ 220-1002 will aim at reflecting technologies dominant today that were not included, or at least not prevalent, in the objectives as stated three years ago.
Are A+ exams 220-902 and 220-1002 “Software” exams?
A semantic survival from the A+ certification’s past is still around in some well-informed circles. When the A+ certification program was first launched in the early 1990s (and yes, we were there…) it was split into two exams and they were not known by a number. There was no need to refer to a number as these were the very first exams and so the only ones around. However, they were known as and referred to as the A+ Hardware and A+ Software exam. The A+ Hardware was all PCs, Macs. and printers, no devices yet (this was 1992). The Software exam was Windows and Apple. By including Apple, it ensured a vendor-neutral imprint on the exam. In any case, if you take a look at the exam objectives of today’s A+ 220-901 vs 220-902, you can clearly see that that division is still alive and well:
|Main Domains of A+ 220-901
|Main Domains of A+ 220-902
|1.0 Windows Operating Systems
|2.0 Other Operating Systems & Technologies
|3.0 Mobile Devices
|4.0 Hardware & Network Troubleshooting
|4.0 Software Troubleshooting
|5.0 Operational Procedures
As you can see in the above table the demarcation between hardware and software is still there. So, to answer the question: “Are A+ exams 220-902 and 220-1002 “Software” exams?”, the answer is yes even though CompTIA, for the several last releases, has stopped to refer to these exams in that way. But enough digressing and on to the expected content changes.
How will the new A+ exam objectives change?
Below is a list of the topics that we expect CompTIA to either enhance or to add to the new A+ 220-1002 exam objectives:
– Software that supports cloud technologies
– Expansion of Virtualization
– Increased support for a greater variety of mobile devices (mostly settings)
– Additional performance and security monitoring tools
– Enhanced and more detailed analysis of metrics obtained from monitoring and tracking tools
– Deepening of the understanding of network access and setup
– Sideloaded applications and management of the process
– Expect security to occupy an even larger part of the A+ objectives as cybersecurity becomes an ever-growing concern
The trend over the years has been about 25% to 35% new content added and very little old content removed, maybe 5 – 10%. As additional information becomes available, we will update you on this.
Beyond new topics, we should also expect CompTIA to add more performance-based questions and by doing so, add emphasis to the practical application of knowledge. Any sub-objectives starting with “Given a scenario…” will be a clue that that type of questioning is coming up. We should expect to see more of those in the new A+ objectives. It is all based on CompTIA’s effort to, as much as possible, move from testing “knowledge” to measuring “understanding”.
UPDATE! Here are the actual changes, not just “expected”…
New material in A+ 220-1002 that was not part of the A+ 220-902 exam objectives
This contribution focuses on the new items in the 220-1002 exam objectives compared to the 220-902. If you have been studying the A+ 220-902, then consider that your foundation and add the 1002 objectives that follow.
Main Domain 1.0 – Operating Systems
first new element given is the Windows 10 OS version. Since it is listed as a common operating system it should be a valid consideration throughout your study and testing.
BranchCache has been added.
When considering OS installations and upgrades you will need knowledge of the HFS file system and the swap partition. The install /upgrade prerequisites and upgrade path are shown as new. Compatibility for hardware, OS and applications are also new here.
At the Microsoft command line you will need to know one additional navigation parameter, the ..(double dot). Several new command tools or utilities have been added that relate to network access and utilization. Here is the list:
Your Control Panel requirements now cover the Credential Manager and Sync Center in addition to the others. You will need a deeper overall understanding of device synchronization throughout A+ when compared to previous requirements.
When installing and configuring applications you will now need to know security considerations such as the impact to the device and the impact to the network.
The kill command is new to your list of basic Linux commands.
Main Domain 2.0 – Security
Physical security measures now include a security guard, server locks, and USB locks.
Basic Active Directory functions are new including account creation, deletion and disabling.
Main Domain 3.0 – Software Troubleshooting
You are software troubleshooting for the Microsoft Windows OS: Know address slow bootup and slow profile loading.
Mobile OS and app troubleshooting now includes App log errors. The ability to use log files to diagnose problems is emphasized throughout the A+ certification.
Main Domain 4.0 – Operational Procedures
This main domain has a substantial number of new additions and you should consider them carefully as entire sub-objectives have been added. We will start with the most changed ones.
Best practices associated with types of documentation are compared and contrasted using the following criteria:
- Network topology diagrams
- Incident documentation
- Regulatory and compliance policy
- Acceptable use policy
- Password policy
- Inventory management
– Asset tags and Barcodes
You will be given a scenario where you will use the best practices to implement basic change management.
- Documented business processes
- Purpose of the change
- Scope the change
- Risk analysis
- Plan for change
- End-user acceptance
- Change board
- Backout plan
- Document changes
When implementing basic disaster prevention and recovery methods you will address the following:
- Backup and recovery
– Image level
– File level
– Critical applications
- Backup testing
- Surge protector
- Cloud storage vs. local storage backups
- Account recovery options
Common safety procedures now include the waste handling of cell phones and tablets.
New policies for handling regulated data pertain to:
– PII (Personally identifiable information)
– PCI (Payment Card Industry)
– GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)
– PHI (Protected Health Information)
- The basics of scripting is a new area and include:
- Script file types – Here know both the programs that create and use them.
- Environment variables
- Comment syntax
- Basic script constructs such as Basic loops and Variables
- Basic data types like Integers and Strings
Earlier in the 220-901 objectives, you defined and described remote access protocols. Now you are asked to use them. You will need to know how to use Telnet, SSH, Screen sharing and consider the security implications for each method.
Should I take the A+ 220-902 now or wait for the new A+ 220-1002 exam?
First and foremost, you take the version available at the time you need to get certified, typically there is no good reason to wait around for a future version. The main reason for that is that no matter what A+ version you sit for, you will be just as certified for three years from the date of the exam irrespective of new vs “old”. Having said that, there will be six months (or more) of a “grace period” between the introduction of the new A+ 220-1002 and the retirement of the A+ 220-902. During this period, you will actually be able to pick and choose your exam objectives i.e. 902 vs 1002 or 901 vs. 1002. What should then guide your choice? The short answer is, your training. If, at that time, you have been training for A+ 220-902, and are ready to pass the test, then without hesitation sit for the A+ 220-902. The training on 220-902 will not be transferable enough to succeed at the A+ 220-1002. That is because a 25 – 30% change in exam objectives will scuttle any chances to get the approximately 85% so score that is required to pass the exam. During the grace period, your training will have to be the paramount consideration. If, on the other hand during, you have not specifically trained for 220-902, then take a long hard look at both exam objectives and just pick the one you feel the most comfortable with.
Again, it doesn’t matter if you happen to take the current version a day before its retirement date, you will remain certified and therefore, per CompTIA current, for three years no matter what. Another reason you may want to take the current version over the next one is that we often have a healthy tendency to prefer “the devil we know”… Also, because a new version sees a fair amount of changes and edits in the first few months after release, there will be more predictability in committing to A+ 220-902 than the new exam.
Whatever you decide, best of luck in your quest for A+ certification!
Below is an example of a Performance-Based Question (PBQ) for A+ 220-902.