Things happened this weekend

Let me fill you in on what happened over the weekend, in order.

I got up early on Saturday morning for my first kickboxing class for a while (actually the second, but I had to work last week). I enjoy kickboxing and it is a great workout. When I first started it was a shock to my un-exercised system and I nearly died for the first two weeks. This time was different and I actually felt that it could have been harder. Despite this claim, my muscles are very sore right now. All of them. I aspire to someday walk comfortably.

After kickboxing I popped home for a shower and a little bit of study before my exam. Instead of studying I ended up watching TV1’s Star Trek: Voyager marathon for a few hours. Time well spent. With an hour to go I was getting a bit nervous and took 2 No-Doz (caffeine) tablets to ensure I stayed alert, as I was fatigued from kickboxing. Perhaps I am a drug cheat? Taking two tablets was a mistake though because the caffeine combined with the nervousness to make my hands shake. I don’t know why I was nervous. I had gone over a sample exam and knew 80%-90% of the answers without study, so I knew I would pass.

3pm came and I started CompTIA A+ Core Hardware 2003 (exam 220-301). No worries, the allotted time was 90 minutes and I was finished in 21 with a better than passing result. I was quite pleased and called Kip and my parents to tell them.

I sound like a bit of a wanker talking about how easy the exam was, but it was easy for me because I am not the target audience. This exam is aimed at people who hear that “IT is a good industry to get into” and need some kind of proof of competency to get the job. So it is basically a simple introduction to hardware spanning the last 15 years. I lived through this period as a geek and used and configured almost everything covered in the exam. So for me, it is easy. For someone wanting to get an entry level support job it is challenging but helpful.

You may have noticed above that I said “the last 15 years”. That’s right, the exam was updated in 2003 and still there were questions about IBM XT computers. It is a joke. I can’t imagine that there is anyone in the first or second world who is running an IBM XT, or even a 386, 486 or Pentium; for anything other than novelty value. Anyone who might have this hardware is either an enthusiast who would repair it themselves, or very poor and unable to afford a certified technician. 80% of the material covered in this exam is entirely useless in the 21st Century. Any part of the 21st Century.

You might wonder why I paid $268 to do such a pointless exam. Well the answer is: it counts as a subject of my uni course, and is mandatory. They actually wanted me to pay $1650 to do a 5 day course to learn this stuff but luckily they accepted my experience and are satisfied with just the exam. I have 5 more exams to complete before the end of the year to earn my Diploma in Information Technology (Networking Technologies), which is half of the Bachelor’s Degree. I spent a lot of money to do this course for a single reason: The Netherlands. To get a job I have to have an ‘HBO’ level of education, which is sort of halfway between TAFE and a Bachelor’s Degree. I have to get the Diploma by the end of the year so it can be translated in time for my leaving (134 days).

The exam over, I bought a well-earned beer and went home to drink it whilst getting ready. It was Tristan’s birthday and we had been invited for dinner at his parents’ house. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but suffice it to say that Tristan’s parents are very nice people and are excellent hosts. Also, Tristan had much more of an accent when he was a small child.

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