Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

The team behind the far-reaching, widely-adopted CompTIA A+ certification program received industry recognition earlier this month when members of the A+ Originators team were inducted into the IT Channel Wing of the IT Hall of Fame.

Aaron Woods of Intelligent Electronics accepted the award on behalf of the IT organization, acknowledging the contributions of Jean Alexander, who today is vice president, business development of the ASCII Group, and a former director of CompTIA who spearheaded the certification series while at CompTIA during the accreditation’s creation.

Before the A+ certification program began in 1993, resellers spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours sending engineers on often redundant training programs for all their major developer partners, recalled Alexander.

Developed out of CompTIA’s service organization, A+ is a vendor-neutral program that eliminates costly duplicate training for solution providers; assures developers that reseller partners are qualified to sell and support their products and services, and reassures end-customers that their channel partners are well-trained in vendors’ solutions, Alexander said.

"It was four years in the making. By the time that four years had passed, 200,000 people had gone through. To date it’s up to 825,000 people that have gone through," she said. "I believed in A+ from the very moment we started it. I believed in it with all my heart. I knew it would become an industry standard that would stop redundant training, one that would get resellers back to work and return engineers to billable hours. Four or five days of training for every product line is pretty costly. And it would be a hiring tool VARs could use. I looked at it has something that had to be done."

Alexander spoke to all members of the vast IT community, collecting input and committee members from the ranks of solution providers and resellers, vendors, training providers, and end-customers such as Allstate and Disney, she said. The organization later expanded to include high schools, colleges and universities, said Alexander.

"I pulled in the first high schools. I pulled in the first colleges, the first tech training companies, to all build their programs around A+," she said. "I didn’t think of all the pieces alone, but I was the glue that made it happen. I was honored to work with that team of professionals–that challenged me on a regular basis."

Other members of the CompTIA A+ Originators include: James Brann (deceased); Richard Bulot; Dennis Cagan; Joe Ciulla; Julie Faster; Dave Garcia; Mark Hiltz; John Hlavac; Alan Hupp; Gus Kolias; Tim Kuhlman;Terry Morrison; Dennis O’Leary; Sara Parks; Marshall Toplansky; Aaron Woods; Tricia Wurts, and Bill York.

Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco, and Novell are among the companies that have made A+ part of their certification track. CompuCom and Ricoh have made the certification mandatory for their service technicians. To become certified, technicians must pass two exams: CompTIA A+ Essentials, which measures competencies of an entry-level IT professional with a recommended 500 hours of hands-on experience, and CompTIA A+ Practical Application, an extension of the Essentials test, with more a hands-on focus, according to the organization.