CompTIA is a nonprofit trade group with over 2,000 member organizations and 3,000 corporate partners near Chicago. Despite its focus on educating and certifying IT professionals, CompTIA is well-known for its philanthropy and public policy activism.
Overview of the CompTIA certification program
CompTIA is one of the most well-known vendor-neutral certification programs in the IT sector. CompTIA has issued more than two million A+ certificates since 1993.
CompTIA Infrastructure Career Pathway was launched in early 2018. While the familiar CompTIA certifications remain the foundation of the CompTIA certification portfolio, this new career pathway program better connects CompTIA certifications with the real-world skills that IT professionals need to succeed while managing and maintaining IT infrastructures.
CompTIA certifications are categorized according to skill sets. CompTIA certificates are divided into four categories: Core, Infrastructure, Cybersecurity, and Additional Professional.
Core Certifications: CompTIA offers four Core certifications: IT Fundamentals+ (a pre-career certificate focused on IT foundation framework), CompTIA A+ (focused on user support and device connectivity), CompTIA Network+ (targeting core system connections with endpoint devices), and CompTIA Security+ (targeting core system connections with endpoint devices) (focused on entry-level cybersecurity skills).
Infrastructure Certifications: CompTIA Server+ (focused on server support and administration), CompTIA Cloud+ (covering hybrid cloud, virtual system administration, and deploying network storage resources), and CompTIA Linux+ (covering hybrid cloud, virtual system administration, and deploying network storage resources) are three Infrastructure certifications that complement the Network+ credential (focused on Linux operating system administration and management).
Cybersecurity Certifications: CompTIA offers three cybersecurity credentials: CompTIA CySA+ (CySA stands for Cyber Security Analyst, and it is aimed at IT security behavioral analysts), CASP+ (CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner; it is aimed at professionals who design and implement security solutions), and CompTIA PenTest+ (it is aimed at professionals who design and implement security solutions) (Penetration testing, targets professionals who conduct penetration and vulnerability testing).
Additional Professional Certifications: CompTIA Project+, CompTIA CTT+, and CompTIA Cloud Essentials are among the qualifications in this category that don't fit well into any of the other CompTIA career pathways.
CompTIA IT Fundamentals+
Beginners with a basic awareness of PC operation and compatibility and experience with technology topics such as hardware basics, software installation, security risks and prevention, and basic networking will benefit from CompTIA IT Fundamentals+. It's also an excellent career planning or development tool for people starting in IT or those looking to shift careers. To obtain the certificate, you must pass a single exam.
For a good reason, the CompTIA A+ certification has been dubbed an "entry-level rite of passage for IT specialists." This credential is for people who want to work as a help desk, support, service center, or networking technician. It includes computer and laptop hardware, software installation, and computer and mobile operating system settings. A+ also assesses a candidate's knowledge of basic networking, troubleshooting, and security skills, which can be used to prepare for CompTIA networking or security certifications and other organizations' certifications.
CompTIA announced new "Core" examinations for the CompTIA A+ certification. These new exams place a greater emphasis on operating procedure competencies and security baseline subjects. The Core 1 (exam 220-1001) and Core 2 (exam 220-1002) tests must be passed by candidates. Virtualization, cloud computing, mobile devices, hardware, networking technology, and troubleshooting are all covered in the Core 1 test. The Core 2 tests include operating system installation and configuration, software troubleshooting, operational procedures, and security.
The A+ certification is an excellent place to start for many IT workers. While the A+ certification is encouraged, you can go ahead to the CompTIA Network+ certification if you have the necessary experience and don't feel the need for the A+. It's designed for people with at least nine months of networking experience. Networking technologies, media, topologies, security, installation and setup, and troubleshooting of common wired and wireless network devices must be familiar to the candidate.
Network security concepts, threats and vulnerabilities, access control, identity management, cryptography, and much more are covered in CompTIA Security+. Although there are no requirements, CompTIA recommended that cert candidates have the Network+ credential and at least two years of IT administration experience with a security focus. Candidates must pass the SY0-501 test to get the Security+ certification.
Linux network administrators with at least 12 months of Linux administration experience should pursue the CompTIA Linux+ Powered by LPI certification. Installation, package management, GNU and Unix commands, shells, scripting, security, and other skills should be included. The A+ and Network+ certifications are suggested but not required as a mandatory for this certification. To get this credential, candidates must pass two tests (LX0-103 and LX0-104). Candidates must take the tests in the order listed, and they must pass LX0-103 before moving on to LX0-104. New exams are usually released after beta exams, so interested candidates should monitor the Linux+ website for updates.
The CompTIA Cloud+ certification has been keeping up with the rapid expansion of the cloud computing business. IT professionals with two to three years of experience in storage, networking, or data center administration are eligible for this certification. CV0-002 is the only exam that is necessary. It assesses applicants' understanding of cloud technologies, hybrid and multi-cloud solutions, cloud marketplaces, and the integration of cloud-based technology into system operations.
The CompTIA Server+ certification is suggested for server administrators with 18 to 24 months of experience with server hardware and software technologies. Microsoft has also acknowledged it. You must pass only one exam to obtain this credential, the SK0-004.
CompTIA Cybersecurity Certifications
CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+)
As cybercrime becomes more prevalent, so will the demand for highly skilled information security experts. The Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) certification is one of the more recent additions to the CompTIA certification portfolio. The CySA+ accreditation was created to fulfill the ever-increasing demand for skilled and experienced information security analysts.
Holders of the CySA+ credential are well-versed in using system threat-detection tools and data and behavioral analytics to protect applications and systems against risks, threats, and other vulnerabilities. Holders of the CySA+ certification may monitor network behavior and evaluate the results and develop solutions to better protect against advanced persistent threats (APTs), intrusions, malware, and other risks.
CySA+ is a bridge certification between the Security+ credential (which takes two years of experience) and the master-level Advanced Security Practitioner Certification (CASP), which requires ten years of expertise, according to CompTIA. Candidates must pass a performance-based test to acquire a CySA+.
CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner+ (CASP+)
While CompTIA no longer uses the term "master," the highly coveted CASP+ certification is unquestionably a master-level degree. CASP is CompTIA's sole performance-based, hands-on certification currently offered, and it is aimed at practitioners. This certification is for experienced IT security professionals who plan, design, and implement security solutions in a business setting.
Although there are no specific prerequisites for this certification, earning the Network+ and Security+ certifications before taking the CASP test is good. You should also have five years of technical security experience (securing this certification's status as a "master" credential).
The CompTIA PenTest+ is the newest addition to the CompTIA certification family. PenTest+ is an intermediate-level certificate that is meant to complement the CySA+. While CySA+ is a defensive certification that focuses on threat detection and response, the PenTest+ credential is an offensive certificate that employs penetration testing to uncover and manage network vulnerabilities across many spectrums.
There are no essential requirements; however, Network+ and Security+ (or equivalent abilities) are highly recommended, and two years of experience in information security. Candidates interested in a career in cybersecurity can take the PenTest+ or CySA+ certificate in any order.
The exam was introduced in July 2018 and focuses on communicating and reporting results, analyzing data, penetration testing and scanning, and assessment planning. The exam also assesses a candidate's understanding of legal and compliance issues.
Additional Professional Certifications
CompTIA Cloud Essentials+
The CompTIA Cloud Essentials certification is designed for people who are familiar with the commercial elements of cloud computing and how to transition from on-premises to cloud storage. They should also be aware of implementing a cloud-based solution's implications, dangers, and outcomes. To obtain the certificate, you must pass a single exam.
Anyone interested in technical training can benefit from the CompTIA Certified Technical Trainer (CTT+) credential. It is vendor-neutral and covers instructor abilities such as preparation, presentation, communication, facilitation, and evaluation. CompTIA CTT+ Essentials (TK0-201) and either CTT+ Classroom Performance Trainer (TK0-202) or CTT+ Virtual Classroom Trainer (TK0-203) are necessary for the CTT+ credential (TK0-203).
CompTIA divides its certifications into numerous professional paths in addition to certification levels:
Web and mobile
Network and cloud technologies
Hardware, services and infrastructure
IT management and strategy
Choose a certification level or a career path, and CompTIA Certificates will return a selection of certifications to focus on. Network administration, for example, is one of the most common IT professional pathways. IT Fundamentals+, A+, and Network+ (Core certs), as well as Cloud+ and Linux+ (Infrastructure certs) and Cloud Essentials (Cloud Essentials), are all available through CompTIA's Network and Cloud Technologies career path.
The certifications in CompTIA's Information Security career path should be considered by those interested in network security (one of the fastest-growing sectors in IT). All four Core certificates (IT Fundamentals, A+, Network+, and Security+) are included, and all cybersecurity certifications (CySA+, PenTest+, and CASP+).
CompTIA certifications do not focus on a single skill (such as networking or virtualization); instead, CompTIA credential holders may find themselves in a range of career roles based on their experience, skill levels, and areas of interest. Here are a few examples of prospective occupations for CompTIA certificate holders:
Linux: Linux database administrators, network administrators, and web administrators are common jobs for Linux specialists.
A+: Support professions, including support administrators, support technicians, and support experts, are common for A+ certificate holders.
CASP+: Cybersecurity specialists, InfoSec specialists, information security professionals, and security architects are typical roles for CASP+ credential holders.
CySA+ Security Analyst: Security engineers, cybersecurity analysts or specialists, threat or vulnerability analysts, or analysts for security operations centers are common professions for professionals interested in cybersecurity, information security, and risk analysis (SOCs).
Security+: Network, system, and security administrators, security managers, specialists or administrators, and security consultants are all examples of security employment.
Project+: Project+ certificate holders often work as project managers, coordinators, directors, or team leaders in projects.
Server+: Storage and server administrators and server support or IT/server technicians are all roles for server professionals.
Network+: Network+ professionals are typically employed in network-related positions such as network analysts, administrators, or support specialists. Network engineers, field technicians, and network help desk technicians are all options for credential holders.
Cloud+/Cloud Essentials: Cloud+ professionals work as cloud specialists, developers, or system and network administrators. Professionals in the Cloud Essentials field are usually involved in cloud technical sales or business development.
While the examples above are by no means exhaustive, they give you an idea of the kind of jobs that are accessible. Only your hobbies, ingenuity, and commitment to attain your personal goals limit your employment options.
CompTIA offers a wide range of training alternatives, including classroom instruction, study materials, and online learning. GemRain Consulting is the CompTIA Authorized Training Provider Partners (CAPPs). Classroom and online/e-learning are available depending on the particular courses. Visit the GemRain Consulting page for more details.
What CompTIA certification should I pursue first?
Numerous IT professionals begin their careers with the A+ certification. While the A+ credential is suggested, if you have the necessary experience and do not feel the need for the A+, you can skip the A+ certification and go straight to the CompTIA Network+ certification. It is designed for professionals with nine months or more of networking experience.
Are there any expiry for CompTIA certifications?
They are valid for three years from the date of issue and can be renewed through CompTIA's continuing education (CE) program. CompTIA considers credentials active for the three-year term following a successful exam or when successfully renewed.
Should I go for CompTIA A+ before CompTIA Security+?
Although Security+ holders typically earn higher earnings than A+ holders, Security+ is still an entry-level certification. The A+ certification is not required to take Security+, however it is suggested so that you are familiar with the fundamentals of computing and security.