Gold Scholarship Opportunities: CompTIA And Me!

Posted in: Gold Community, Mentoring, Opportunity Fund

The Gold Opportunities Fund provides extra funding to Gold Scholars to help them complete an activity of their choice. I applied for the Fund to purchase exam vouchers for the CompTIA ITF+ (IT Fundamentals+) and the CompTIA A+ qualifications I aimed to achieve, while also taking advantage of the Summer Mentoring Scheme. Initially, everything went according to plan, but I encountered several difficulties that necessitated many changes to my plan. Nevertheless, with resilience and assistance from my Gold Mentor, I was able to find solutions to the numerous barriers I faced over the past year. 


CompTIA and Why I Chose Them! 

CompTIA's Logo

CompTIA, also known as the Computing Technology Industry Association, is a non-profit trade association that provides certification programs for IT professionals. CompTIA certifications are widely recognized in the industry and are considered a standard measure of competency for IT professionals. 

One of the most popular CompTIA certifications is the A+ certification, which is designed for entry-level IT professionals who are interested in computer hardware, software, and basic networking concepts. The A+ certification covers a wide range of topics, including installation, configuration, troubleshooting, and maintenance of personal computer systems. 

The ITF+ certification, on the other hand, is an entry-level certification that covers basic IT concepts, including hardware, software, networking, and cybersecurity. It is designed for individuals who are considering a career in IT or who need a basic understanding of IT concepts in their current job. 

Therefore, my strategy was (and still is) to prepare for and take the ITF+ exam as a stepping stone towards the A+ exam! 

CompTIA certifications are reputable because they are vendor-neutral, meaning that they are not tied to any particular technology or vendor. This makes them valuable to employers because they demonstrate a candidate's ability to work with a wide range of technologies and platforms. Additionally, CompTIA certifications are recognized globally and are frequently required by employers in the IT industry. 


My Journey! 

In July 2022, I was fortunate enough to be granted funds through the Gold Opportunities Fund, which I used to buy exam vouchers for the ITF+ and A+ exams. I was eager to complete the exams by the end of the summer, with me wasting no time in purchasing study materials in June to prepare for them. I bought ITF+ CertMaster Learn, which is a virtual learning environment that delivered the content in a clear and precise way, and ITF+ CertMaster Practice, which was a bank of hundreds of practice questions. For the A+ exam objectives, I also purchased a virtual lab environment to gain hands-on experience. 

CompTIA CertMaster Learn

In addition to the study materials, I was also assigned a Gold Mentor who provided me with guidance and support throughout the process. We built rapport in our first few meetings, and I sent her a list of the many things I wanted to complete over the summer (which included many more things than just preparing for the qualifications). We scheduled several meetings throughout the summer, and I had to fill in a document that documented my progress in completing my goals. 

However, I soon realised that I had overestimated the amount of time that each goal would take to complete. I was overly ambitious - I crammed too many things into my summer schedule and failed to realize my limits. Moreover, many unforeseen events during the summer presented numerous setbacks. 

During one of our meetings, my mentor suggested that it would be better to spread out studying for the ITF+ and A+ exams over the entire year and then take the exams by the end of the year. This would give me more time to properly plan and prioritise my time. Although it was not my initial plan, I agreed with my mentor and started studying at a more manageable pace. 

Studying for the CompTIA exams has not been without challenges. Throughout the year, I had to manage lectures, coursework deadlines, problem sheets, work, volunteering, and other extracurricular activities that took up a lot of time. As a result, I had to reprioritise my time frequently. However, when I finally had the time to study for the CompTIA exams, I had to revise the content I had previously learned before moving on. I had regular meetings throughout the year with my Gold Mentor, who offered me advice, support and improvement when completing these goals. 

Starting my placement has also introduced its challenges, but that also hasn't stopped me from continuing to learn and apply what I have learnt.

Even though the past year had been fraught with set backs, thanks to the support from the GSP, I was able to push through and continue with the learning.


My Future Plans

It is now approaching nearly a year and a half after first deciding to take these exams! It has been a slow process but I'm continuously approaching the finish line. Learning the CompTIA curriculum has helped me upskill technically in a myriad of ways, from how to take apart a computer and upgrade its parts, to how to create scripts for a computer to run. It has also helped me in volunteering roles and will help me in my placement as I technically upskill in a variety of Microsoft technology. Since I now have much more time on my hands outside of working hours (compared to second year!), I plan to finally become CompTIA qualified by the end of my placement year! And when that happens, I will definitely blog about it.

Posted in: Gold Community, Mentoring, Opportunity Fund


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  • Well done Ruth! Life is full of ups and downs and it takes a lot of strength to change plans and persevere. Good luck with your exams.