New course gets inside brains of computers

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Palo Alto course will give students intimate understanding of the inner workings of computers.

By Adriana F. De Leon

Students interested in learning how to disassemble a computer and reassemble the parts again can enroll in a new program at Palo Alto College.

Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) A+ Certification program will teach students about hardware and software.

Financial aid is available for qualified applicants.

Training consists of eight weeks, including four weeks students will spend learning how to work with hardware.

Students will experience extensive hands-on training.

“You pop parts out,” Tod Bruning, program manager for the corporate and community education division, said.

Students break apart the central processing unit, also known as the CPU, and learn how to repair circuits that are no longer good, he said.

Professor Ed Tillman said, “My students will break down at least two boxes (CPU) and put them back together again, and by breaking them down, I mean they’ll take them apart all the way to the cage, and as they’re putting them back together, they learn what each part does — its significance to the system as a whole and what it will do to the system as a whole if it doesn’t work.”

During the other four weeks, students will learn about software programs, including Microsoft Windows 2000, Microsoft XP operating system and Linux.

“They’ll strip a computer of all its programs. They’ll order a new operating system. They’ll update that operating system. They’ll load applications on that operating system. They’ll update those applications and they’ll run those applications,” he said.

Some jobs include computer support technician, desktop technician, bench technician and remote support technician or help desk support technician, Tillman said.

The program consists of two tests.

“The first test is A+Essentials and that is pretty much an overview of computers. Just the desktop is what we are talking about. Desktop or laptop,” he said.

The difference between each class is based on the information the class will cover, for example, the remote support technician class focuses on software and the depot class emphasizes hardware.

The goal of the program is to prepare students to pass the A+ test and apply the skills needed for today’s market in computers, Bruning said.

This class is an “advanced” entry level, meaning the individual must have some computer skills if they are deciding to take the course, he said.

People who are looking for a job in this field and have a résumé that states A+ certification are more valuable, Tillman said.

The qualified applicant applying for a position will have a better chance of getting the job, he said.

The students also will participate in a clinic for the Alamo Community College District.

Alamo Community College District employees and students can receive free computer troubleshooting and technical support from the students enrolled in the A+ certification class, he said.

This is a great opportunity for district faculty and students to get free technical support, including advice on virus protection, hardware troubleshooting and software updates, Bruning said.

The class started Oct.1, but students interested can call and register for classes in the spring.

Classes will begin Jan. 7. For more information, call Bruning at 921-5526.


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