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  • Has anybody taken courses like this?

    I'm thinking about takinga PC repair course through the program at this site here since I want to get the CompTIA A+ hardware certification, and I was just wondering if anybody around here has taken any "mail order" courses like this? One of the reasons I'd do it like this rather than taking an actual course somewhere is that I'm a big self learner (for example, I've never taken a real course on anything computer related, I've just learned everything myself through websites, tutorials and some books), and I have a very busy life so it can be hard to fit in a extra class anywhere, it's much easier if I can just do it on my own time. I'm just wondering if it's going to be worth the cost (about $1500 cdn) from the info I was sent, they say that they do actually give you writted feedback and marks and include the tools needed for the work (POST card, multimetre etc.) and at the end of the course you get some kind of study guide for the A+ test. do you think it would be more worth it to just get study books or something?

    - David

  • #2
    David..

    That's a pretty big hunk of change. Have you tried picking up some ole computers, taking them apart and getting them back together. Then look around for a shop that does repairs and work free for a period of time.

    Hands on, to me, is the best teacher. This might help you decide if you really want to head in this direction without a huge dent in your wallet. And later, you might consider a formal school. You have so much natural graphic talent, be a shame not to use it. Of course, knowing how to fix one's computer is always a "plus."

    Do you ever use Gimp, now that you have Photoshop?

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    • #3
      well I already know enough to do all my own upgrades (I've already done ram, hard drive and a couple PCI cards) but I really want to get into the fine details of all the parts. it is a fairly big cost in total, but I can pay it in monthly installments so it would easily be affordable for me, price isn't actually that big a deal. and when I compare it to the price of college courses, it doesn't seem too bad.
      re GIMP, I haven't used it much at all lately, mostly because I haven't been having success in getting my tablet (graphire 2) to work with it it's a really nice program, and it's got some unique filters which are very nice for photo art, but by now I can't stand working with a mouse so for now I'm just sticking with PS and painter classic.

      - David

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      • #4
        Hi David

        I thought about doing the A+ training before I lauched Image Pure. I thought I would share my reasons for not doing the course.

        I spoke to a rep about the course and they were offering after the course help with job placement and the course sounded good as well.

        So what put me off, well the only job placement that they were offering was in the centre of London (not my idea of fun!) and the out side placement were places like PC shops. So I went to my local PC shop (one they had mentioned) and asked about possitions with the company for the type of job that A+ training includes and there answer was ..... We will take people who have this training, but we prefer a learned your self approach as this seems to cover more of the type of pc repair that we cover.

        The other big off point for me was the cost - they also offerd a defered payment method - but this did not cover the cost of the exam which was quite a lot of money (remember to add this into your calculations)

        Well I hope my ramblings help, good luck if you decide to go with it

        Clare

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        • #5
          Hi David, I did take a course like that once, but my experience was so long ago it might be invalid in any current discussion. Some of what I experienced seems to still apply though according to other's replies.

          The course I took was "keypunch" - does anyone remember what that is? The course cost $700 - an impressive sum in those days!!

          I took the course against the advice of family and friends and I really enjoyed it.

          At the end of the course, the "job placement" help I was offered consisted of an old help wanted section from a Toronto newspaper (I was living in Calgary at the time)

          Calgary was booming in the oil business, so I called all the oil companies and was told they train their own keypunch operators. Needless to say, I didn't land the job of my dreams.

          But I still don't consider the course a waste of time. The information I got from that course served me well in other ways. Years later, it helped me pass the entrance exam to get in on the re-training program at my work.

          Then I wanted to be a writer so I paid mega$ for a learn at home writing course. The course turned out to be more about marketing your writing than about the construction of sentences or outlining the great Canadian novel, but what I learned was that trying to sell my writing would take all the fun out of it - a valuable lesson in my opinion.

          A couple of years ago, I took some courses offered by a local community association - the courses themselves didn't help me much, but I learned a lot from the instructor when he wasn't delivering the course material.

          So....my advice is: if you aren't going to go hungry because of the cash outlay, take the course. Something has attracted you to the it and you WILL learn something even though the lesson may not be what you expected.

          Take care, Margaret

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          • #6
            I've not taken any repair courses like this one specifically. However, I am currently attending the University of Phoenix online getting a Marketing degree. I've been going for about seven months now, and am deeply into my major. I've actually found it to be easier for me and less work than a traditional college. The curriculum is pretty much the same, and I'm certainly doing college level work, but the format is much easier to fit into my life. I don't think I'd be able to work full time and go to school full time (not to mention spending as much time on this dang site as I do!) if I weren't attending classes on-line.

            If anyone wants any more details on what the classes are like, let me know! It might turn into a long post, so I'll spare the rest of you the gory details.

            Amanda

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            • #7
              I'd spend the money on a local college class...or something similar. If you get a good instructor you are going to learn a lot more from them than you would from a mail order class. I know I probably learned more at school from general conversations with my professors than I did from actual course material!

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              • #8
                thanks for the loads of info and advice everybody, looks like I'm gonna have to do more research before I go ahead on anything.

                Clare - that's definitely interesting to hear what the shop had to say, I'm thinking that if I really know my stuff well and can prove it, then there's not necessarily a need to get the certification.

                Margaret - thanks for the info, that's actually one thing I'm worried about if I was gonna take a course like that, these guys do seem like the big marketing types from the info I got in the mail so I would be a little worried about how good the real course content is.

                Amanda - I haven't really looked at any online courses, but that sounds interesting, the only thing that might stop me from doing one of those classes for Pc work is that I like to follow along with work guides and that isn't really possible unless you have 2 computers (1 to read the actual info of of and 1 to actually do the work on) which I don't. I would be interested to hear what it's like though, do you get much contact with the instructor?

                Chuck - thanks very much for the book info, I was trying to find a book like that but wasn't having luck, also I was able to find the latest edition on the two big canadian book sites (amazon.ca and chapters.ca) which
                is good since I don't have to deal with our horrible exchange rates from anywhere in the US.

                Greg - I would definitely like to do something like that, but it just doesn't work for a couple reasons; between work, regular schoolwork, and other things I just don't have time for anything courses especially since I'd have to travel on our incredibly slow transit system, also, I'm not even finished grade 11 yet, so I wouldn't exactly be applicable for college courses anywhere that I know of (unless I'm wrong.. I haven't researched the possibility much)

                So by now I'm thinking the best way to do it would be to just learn on my own (I did manage to get a couple good computer books that I've just been referencing anytime I needed to install any new hardware, the titles are: "PC Upgrading and Maintenence guide" by Mark Minasi and "PC Hardware in a nutshell" from O'Reilly press) and if I really want to get the A+ certification then I'll definitely get that book that chuck mentioned (well I'll probably get it either way). Clare, you mentioned that the exam was a pretty big cost, do you know of anywhere I can find that info? I was able to find some places locally where I could take it, but I couldn't find anything about the cost of it. partly I think it would just be nice to be able to have some kind of actual certification on my resume, and for some types of jobs it could definitely help since I've notice at places like FutureShop (equivilent to Circuit City in the US) their repair places always say something about A+ certified technicians.

                - David

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                • #9
                  thanks chuck, I was looking at the CompTIA site, but I guess I just didn't look hard enough, it was staring right at me!

                  - David

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by d_kendal

                    Amanda - I haven't really looked at any online courses... I would be interested to hear what it's like though, do you get much contact with the instructor?
                    As much as you like. The UOP does all of the classes through a newsgroup format, so you can save posts, reread them as necessary, or post new threads with questions. All of the profs that I've had to date have also released all of their contact information (including home phones, cell phones, and work email addresses) in the course syllabus just in case you have an urgent question. On the admin side of things, you have an academic counselor and a financial aide officer should you have any other questions. I've never had any problems at all getting a question I had answered in almost close to real time.

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                    • #11
                      Interesting info Amanda, I was curious about how they did those courses.

                      - David

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                      • #12
                        David, you can probably pick up a good used computer for a couple hundred dollars.

                        I'm glad to hear about the UOP courses. I was toying with the idea and wondered about the value - good to know.


                        Margaret

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                        • #13
                          Hi david,
                          I did a quick search on google and came up with the following - I did not read all this stuff as its kind a late in the UK, but I hope it helps. There are some books and study stuff here...

                          http://www.vista-net.com/
                          http://www.ffg.com/IT-News/5-3/new-a-plus.asp
                          http://www.learnthat.com/courses/computer/apluscore/
                          http://www.trainingplanet.com/html/a__training.html
                          http://www.learnthat.com/courses/com...pluscore/quiz/
                          http://www.plaza101.com/plaza/store/...Certification/
                          http://www.beginners.co.uk

                          I'll dig out the info on the course that I was interested in and check out the prices for you - i'll post it as soon as I find it!!!!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Margaret - My dad actually has an old computer around (actually very old, it's from around 1992) but the only thing in it that's really usable for rebuilding is the case. This summer I'm going to start working full time so that at some point next year I can afford to build up my next system (I'm going to save for a while so I can go all out on this one.. ) so I think I'll just wait til then for any rebuilding projects, also, I'm planning on rebuilding my current system to use as my own webserver (I'll just need to get a static IP from my web provider and then get my domain name directed to that address). I would definitely agree with anybody who says hands on is the best way to learn, so that'll be a perfect oppurtunity to get comfortable working with all types of hardware.

                            Clare - thanks very much for digging up all the info. I did check on the CompTIA website and they have a section where you can select a certification and your country and it will show the price of the test (the area of the site is here if anybody else is interested)

                            - David

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Just a word of warning David, it's very difficult to knuckle down to an on-line/distance course if you have a busy schedule. It takes a great deal of dedication to take it to completion (drop-out rates on on-line/distance courses are much higher than face-to-face courses). I know you have a tight schedule, but I'd go with Greg's advice of f2f coursework.

                              The hands-on idea is also a good one. Get an ATX case and a couple of P2 motherboards, CPUs and hardrives and try and build them up from there. Learning how to make bits and pieces work with Windoze is something you'll never get taught on a course.

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