News: Superchargers Working to Score A+
AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq – Capt. Mark Williams, a communication systems officer with the 189th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command and a native of Okawville, Ill., and Pfc. Rashaad McMannen, an information systems specialist with the 189th CSSB, seized an opportunity to expand their knowledge and attended a civilian industry A+ certification prep class at Baghdad Signal University.
Soldiers need to be proficient in a myriad of different tasks that enable them to perform their duties in support of the mission, especially when deployed to a combat zone.
Along with being proficient at basic soldiering skills, a specialized group of Soldiers within the 189th CSSB also provide automations and network support to the battalion and its supported units.
These signal Soldiers have already received the highest quality of industry training from the Army School of Information Technology for their Military Occupational Specialty training. But, as the IT field continues to grow and change so must a Soldier’s skill set.
“CompTIA is one of the main certification authorities for IT professionals,” Williams said. “They are commonly known as the voice of the world's IT industry. As a non-profit trade association advancing the global interests of IT professionals and companies, they focus on four main areas: education, certification, advocacy and philanthropy.”
The class that Williams and McMannen attended concentrated on preparing them to take and pass the CompTIA A+ certification exam upon redeployment. This certification is coveted because it provides the credentials to expand administrative rights and capabilities which normally lead to expanding careers.
CompTIA A+ certification validates foundation-level knowledge and skills necessary for a career in personal computer support. Two exams are necessary to be certified: the CompTIA A+ Essentials and CompTIA A+ Practical Application tests.
“While working in the IT field, it’s important to demonstrate your knowledge of how computers work and how to troubleshoot problems,” McMannen said. “The A+ certification prep course gave me a better foundation for understanding how computers work. The class provided a good starting point for achieving my certification.”
Williams has a background in general management and sought the opportunity to attend the class in order to broaden his knowledge about the way computer systems operate.
“I had minimal computer experience before joining the Army and becoming a signal officer.” Williams said. “The A+ class further helped me understand how a computer is put together and how the different components work with one another, transforming what looks like just a box into a tool that has come to mean so much to our society.”
Once soldiers obtain the CompTIA A+ certification, they will be industry-certified with the credentials to access various types of computer hardware and software and to hold positions in various types of organizations as systems administrators.
This A+ certification is seen as a spring board to other, more specialized, certifications that could further enhance their careers and marketability, Williams said.