IT Essentials: PC Hardware and Software (CompTIA A+)

Description: This course offers an in-depth understanding of computer hardware and operating systems with an emphasis on practical experience to help learners develop fundamental computer skills, along with essential career skills. Participants learn the functionality of hardware and software components as well as suggested best practices in maintenance, diagnosis, troubleshooting and safety issues. Through hands on activities and labs, learners assemble and configure a computer, install operating systems and software, and troubleshoot hardware and software problems. In addition, an introduction to networking is included. This e-course helps participants prepare to earn CompTIA's A+ certification.

Target Audience

  • Entry level cable personnel
  • Customer Service Representatives
  • Broadband Premises Installers and/or Technicians
  • Commercial Installers or equivalent
  • Broadband Premises Maintenance Technician or equivalent
  • Headend Technicians/Engineers
  • IT Personnel

Benefits to a Student:

  • Offers a comprehensive introduction to the IT industry
  • Provides a comprehensive introduction to the IT industry and in-depth exposure to personal computers, hardware, and operating systems
  • Learn by doing: hands-on activities and labs help students become familiar with how to safely and securely install, configure, maintain, upgrade, and troubleshoot computer systems
  • Anytime learning: course text, assignments, quizzes, and discussions are supported on mobile devices
  • Immediate feedback on assessment questions helps students monitor progress and reinforces learning
  • Helps students prepare for CompTIA A+ certification exams
  • Supports development of career skills needed to succeed in entry-level IT jobs


This course is designed to assist learners in preparing for the CompTIA Network+ certification exam. CompTIA testing is available through Pearson VUE ( testing centers and is not part of the SCTE·ISBE training.


Online, Self-Paced

This course is expected to take 12 weeks to complete online, about 2 to 3 hours per week. As an onsite boot camp, the length is 2 days. Learners view online interactive materials, complete activities and exercises at a time that is convenient for the learner.

Course access information will be emailed when the course is purchased.

System Requirements:

  • High speed Internet (HSI) connection
  • Updated Internet Browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer)
    • HTML 5 Support


  • Understanding Network Technology


  • IT Essentials Guidebook

Included in the Course:

  • In-depth content modules
  • CORTEX mobile app to access content modules in the field 
  • Module assessments, interactive activities, hands-on labs and practice exams for the certification
  • Course final exam
  • SCTE·ISBE and Cisco Academy course completion certificates
  • 3 recertification units (RUs) towards SCTE·ISBE certification renewal

Requirements for Successful Course Completion:

  • Chapter Assessments 80% or higher
  • Checkpoint Assessment 80% or higher
  • Final exam 80% or higher
  • Complete Course Feed Back
  • Complete Hands-on Skill Labs Assigned by Instructor

You may take an assessment, practice final or final exam in each course up to 2 times

Course Objectives:

Upon completion of the IT Essentials course, students will be able to perform the following tasks:

  • Select the appropriate computer components to build, repair, or upgrade personal computers.
  • Explain how to correctly use tools and safely work in a lab.
  • Install components to build, repair, or upgrade personal computers.
  • Explain how to perform preventive maintenance and troubleshooting on personal computers.
  • Install Windows operation systems.
  • Perform management and maintenance of Windows operating systems.
  • Configure computers to communicate on a network.
  • Configure devices to connect to the Internet and Cloud services.
  • Explain how to use, configure, and manage laptops and mobile devices.
  • Explain how to configure, secure and troubleshoot mobile, OS X, and Linux operating systems.
  • Install and share a printer to meet requirements
  • Implement basic host, data, and network security.
  • Explain the roles and responsibilities of the IT professional.
  • Troubleshoot advanced hardware and software problems

Course Modules:

Chapter 1: Introduction to the Personal Computer
Chapter 2: Introduction to Lab Procedures and Tool Use
Chapter 3: Computer Assembly
Chapter 4: Overview of Preventive Maintenance
Chapter 5: Windows Installation
Chapter 6: Windows Configuration and Management
Chapter 7: Networking Concepts
Chapter 8: Applied Networking
Chapter 9: Laptops and Mobile Devices
Chapter 10: Mobile, Linux and OS X Operating Systems
Chapter 11: Printers
Chapter 12: Security
Chapter 13: The IT Professional
Chapter 14: Advanced Troubleshooting

Course Learning Objectives:

Chapter 1: Introduction to the Personal Computer

  • Learn how power supplies operate
  • Explore a longtime principle known as Ohm's Law
  • CPU architecture defined
  • Cooling systems explained
  • Investigate various forms of memory in a PC
  • Explore PC components and how they interact with each other
  • Learn about specialized computer systems

Chapter 2: Introduction to Lab Procedures and Tool Use

  • Learn about personal and equipment safety
  • Define Electro-Static Discharge (ESD) and Electro-Magnetic Interference (EMI)
  • Explore hardware tools and software tools
  • Investigate electronic test equipment such as a multi-meter

Chapter 3: Computer Assembly

  • Learn how to install a power supply
  • Learn what a mother-board is and how to install it and associated memory
  • Learn about hard drives and optical drives and then - install them!
  • Learn about adapter cards and Network Interface Cards (NICs)
  • Explore all the cables used in PC systems
  • Define Power On Self Test (POST), Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) and Basic Input/Output System (BIOS)
  • Learn how to configure BIOS and UEFI
  • Explore upgrade methods, such as: BIOS, Central Processor Unit (CPU), Random Access Memory (RAM) and hard drives

Chapter 4: Overview of Preventive Maintenance

  • Explore various tasks performed to maintain a computer and the components the tasks focus on
  • Learn various trouble shooting methods when things are not working as they should
  • Outline troubleshooting steps by isolating problem areas
  • Explore common problems that arise in computers and learn the most probable solutions

Chapter 5: Windows Installation

  • Define operating system (OS) terms
  • Explore different OS types
  • Investigate various OS requirements
  • Learn how to upgrade OS
  • Learn how to install OS by partioning drives and working with file systems
  • Explore PC boot-up processes, by working with the BIOS, startup modes and registries
  • Define multi-boot OS and learn the various forms found in PCs
  • Learn what directories are and how to use them

Chapter 6: Windows Configuration and Management

  • Learn how the Graphical User Interface (CUI) works and explore the desktop, startup menu task manger and explorer
  • Describe the control panel, folder options, Action Center and power options
  • Work with disk defragmentation and general hard drive maintenance
  • Investigate Windows command line
  • Define virtual PC by way of Hypervisor
  • Learn how update PCs and using scheduling to accomplish this, and also how create restoration points

Chapter 7: Networking Concepts

  • Explore the devices found in computer networks
  • Define various network topologies from Local Area Networks (LANs) to Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs)
  • Define the OSI and TCP/IP models
  • Learn how encapsulation operates and what occurs at each layer of the OSI model
  • Investigate Ethernet standards for both wired and wireless networks
  • Learn how IPv4 and IPv6 addressing is used in networks
  • Define Transport Layer protocols such as User Datagram Protocol (UDP) Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and when each one is used over another
  • Learn how port numbers are used in PCs

Chapter 8: Applied Networking

  • Configure NICs, both wired and wireless
  • Explore network sharing concepts such as: Homegroup and Vista
  • Learn how to map network drives
  • Explore Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
  • Explore various broadband technologies from DSL to satellite
  • Explore cloud services
  • Learn network services such as DHCP, DNS, E-Mail, Authentication and IPS firewalls
  • Lear various troubleshooting methods

Chapter 9: Laptops and Mobile Devices

  • Explore more about laptops such as special function keys, various displays types and accessories - external or internal
  • Configure power settings and wireless settings on a laptop
  • Learn how to replace various hardware pieces
  • Explore what is inside a mobile device
  • Learn various maintenance techniques for both laptops and mobile devices

Chapter 10: Mobile, Linux and OS X Operating Systems

  • Learn various mobile device OS platforms such as iOS and Android
  • Investigate mobile device security software
  • Define Bluetooth and Mobile synchronization
  • Configure e-mail on a mobile device
  • Explore Linux and OS X operating systems
  • Explore Command Line Interface (CLI) commands
  • Learn troubleshoot techniques for mobile devices

Chapter 11: Printers

  • Explore common features and various types of printers
  • Install printer drivers and optimize them
  • Learn how to share printers in a network via wired and wireless methods
  • Learn how preventive maintenance intensive printers can be

Chapter 12: Security

  • Learn what forms of security threats there are, such as: Malware, SPAM, TCP/IP attacks, Zero-Day attacks and Social Engineering
  • Explore security policies
  • Define web security measures such as: ActiveX, Pop-Up blockers and SmartScreen Filters
  • Explore securing access to data such as: firewalls, biometrics, data encryption and file permissions
  • Learn how to protect devices from malicious attacks
  • Learn how to secure both wired and wireless networks
  • Explore physical security measures

Chapter 13: The IT Professional

  • Explore various IT communication skills and some best practices for companies to follow
  • Explore what it means to work with a customer
  • Define computer forensics and chain of custody
  • Learn about ethical and legal best practices that an IT department can utilize
  • Define call center positions such as level one and level two technical support

Chapter 14: Advanced Troubleshooting

  • Learn techniques related to troubleshoot PC components and peripherals
  • Learn various OS methods of troubleshooting
  • Explore network issues
  • Learn what to do when security fails

Optional Equipment (Not Required to Complete the Course):

Lab PC Hardware Requirements:

  • PC Tower Case with 450W power supply
  • PCI, PCIe, or AGP-compatible motherboard
  • 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • Cooling fan and heat sink
  • 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (Windows 7 32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (Windows 7 64-bit) (2 X 512 MB or 2 X 1GB suggested)
    • Some labs will require one module of RAM to be uninstalled or the simulation of a faulty module for troubleshooting purposes.
    • 1 GB is the minimum requirement to run the full functions of Windows 7 Professional
  • Floppy drive
  • 60 GB hard drive (minimum); 80 GB or more (recommended)
    • The system must support a full install of Windows 7 and two partitions of the same size.
  • 1 DVD-ROM (minimum) or CD/DVD Burner (recommended)
  • Ethernet card
  • PCI, PCIe (recommended), or AGP video card
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
  • Ribbon cables to connect HDD/CD/Floppy
  • Mouse
  • Keyboard
  • Super VGA (1024 X 768) or higher-resolution video monitor

Tool Kit:

  • Safety glasses or goggles
  • Electrostatic discharge (ESD) wrist strap or antistatic mat
  • Flat, torx, hex and phillips head drivers
  • Wire cutters
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Cable strippers
  • Part retriever (or tweezers or needle nose pliers)
  • Thermal compound
  • Electronics cleaning solution
  • Compressed air can
  • Cable ties
  • Parts organizer or plastic tub for storing computer parts
  • Older PC with hard drive installed
    • Windows XP or Vista Installation CD
    • With 2 or more RAM modules
    • Additional PCI NIC with driver
    • Additional HD
    • Antistatic bags for electronic parts
  • Multi-meter
  • LAN Cable Tester
  • LAN Coupler
  • Category #5 straight jumpers (2)
  • Category #5 crossover jumpers (2)
  • Network Loop back plugs

Network Equipment:

  • Wireless router/switch
  • Old Hub or switch
  • Wireless adapter
4/17/2018 - 7/10/2018

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