I say it depends on the career you're going into. If you're going into networking, say they use Cisco Catalyst or something (many companies use Cisco) then having a cisco cert would be of more importance than the A+. It is, like you stated, a stepping stone but if you have the knowledge already and are going into something like adminstration/engineering for networking then A+ isn't really deemed to important and its best to focus on cisco or (*gasp*) MS certifications.
If you argue with an idiot he will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
I am not a fast writer.
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