For anyone working in IT, or even considering IT as a career path, CompTIA is one of the most valuable brands to know. Many organizations have CompTIA qualifications as requirements for certain positions, while others invest in CompTIA training to upskill employees in different areas of IT.
But what is CompTIA, and what does it have to do with technology and best practices?
You may be surprised to learn that, unlike ITIL and Agile, CompTIA is not a framework. Rather, it is an organization: the Computing Technology Industry Association. CompTIA's goal is to promote industry growth through training, certifications, education, market research and philanthropy. While offering training in modern information technology, it also encourages innovation and creates opportunities by giving IT professionals what they need to succeed. The company's approach is independent, offering fully agnostic information that does not rely on knowledge of individual frameworks or tools.
The CompTIA certification track covers everything from cybersecurity and emerging technology to legislation and compliance. It also covers the spectrum of experience and seniority, providing training for total newcomers to IT along with high-level specialists in highly valuable areas. This has helped CompTIA become one of the most popular IT training organizations in the world, with many Fortune 500 companies regularly investing in CompTIA corporate training.
As an IT professional, what do you need to know about CompTIA? What has made it an authority in the world of IT? Let's take a look at exactly what CompTIA has to offer.
CompTIA's goal is to provide a holistic training pathway for IT professionals to gain the exact skills and knowledge they need to qualify for positions within IT. It "works" by offering a diverse certification pathway that covers multiple topics and levels of expertise and provides training opportunities for candidates regardless of their current qualifications and experience levels.
A key difference between CompTIA's certification roadmap and those of frameworks like ITIL 4 is the lack of strict requirements. If you look at the roadmap, you will see that all CompTIA students must start with CompTIA ITF+ before progressing incrementally. In fact, no CompTIA exam is locked in this way.
Does this mean that a beginner with CompTIA can immediately qualify as a CIO? Not necessarily. While there are no strict requirements, the exams do specify "Recommended Experience" for candidates. This usually specifies other CompTIA courses and years of practical experience.
For example, the CompTIA CySA+ CS0-002 exam recommends candidates have Network+, Security+ or equivalent knowledge, as well as a minimum of 4 years of practical experience in information security or related experience. That is, a candidate must have certification equivalent to Network+ and Security+ as well as four years of practical experience.
Knowledgeable and experienced IT professionals can still take their chosen exams without having to start from scratch. This not only makes it easier for candidates to obtain the qualifications they need, but also cheaper.
For IT beginners, CompTIA works by providing a clear training path to offer them an entry-level career in IT, before building their training to move on to more specialized subjects. For IT veterans, it helps them update and verify their skills. For both, CompTIA training courses are a great career opportunity!
Each CompTIA qualification has one or more associated exams. These usually contain a mix of multiple-choice and performance-based questions, with the intention of testing both the knowledge and skills of each candidate.
The exams can be taken offline at a dedicated CompTIA exam site or via a CompTIA online exam. For the latter option, candidates are advised to perform a system test to verify that their own setup matches the requirements of the exam.
Students are also advised to visit individual CompTIA course pages for information on specific certification exams.
As an organization, CompTIA is dedicated to advancing professional technology skills and insights. CompTIA training can help companies in a variety of ways:
Courses for CompTIA are suitable for any IT professional, whether private or business. According to your already acquired training and knowledge, you choose which CompTIA training you start with, or continue with. Do you need advice? Then we are at your service via phone, chat and e-mail.
For each online training course purchased, you have 1 year of access. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for up to 365 days. So you decide when and how long you learn for the training. Is the daytime not convenient? The evening and night are available to you. Even if you go on vacation for a few weeks, this is no problem and you simply pick it up again after your well-deserved vacation.
Designed to build on core competencies, CompTIA offers four core certifications:
In addition to the Network+ credentials, you will find three infrastructure certifications:
CompTIA offers three cybersecurity certifications:
Additional IT professional certifications
This category includes several certificates that do not correspond to previous CompTIA careers:
CompTIA IT Fundamentals+
CompTIA IT Basics+ is ideal for beginners with core knowledge of dealing with the technical issues in computer functionality and compatibility, hardware fundamentals, software installation, security risks and precautions, and core networking. It is also an excellent component for career development for beginners in IT or as a career switch. An exam is required to receive certification. CompTIA introduced a new IT Fundamentals+ exam (FC0-U61 exam) in September 2018.
This exam focuses on computing basics, database usage, development and IT infrastructure. The English version of the earlier exam (FC0-U510) is no longer available as of July 15, 2019.
The CompTIA A+ certification is known as the entry-level credential for IT technicians, and for good reason. This certification is designed for people who want a career as a support desk, maintenance, service center or network technician. It covers software installation, configuration of computers, computer and laptop hardware and mobile operating systems. A+ also tests candidates' knowledge related to core networking, troubleshooting and security, which acts as a stepping stone to CompTIA's networking or security certifications required by various IT organizations.
According to CompTIA, more than 1 million IT professionals are A+ certified. A+ is required for Dell, Intel and HP service technicians and is also recognized by the Department of Defense USA. CompTIA introduced a new core exam for the CompTIA A+ certification on Jan. 15, 2019. This exam provides additional focus on operational competency and critical security issues. Candidates must pass the Core 1 (220-1001) and Core 2 (220-1002) exams. The Core 1 exam focuses on cloud computing, virtualization, hardware, mobile devices, networking technologies and troubleshooting. The Core 2 exam focuses on operating system installation and configuration, software troubleshooting, operating procedures and system security.
Several IT professionals start with an A+ certification. Even though A+ is recommended, if you are experienced and don't need A+, you can move straight to the CompTIA Network+ certification. It is designed for IT professionals who have at least 9 months of networking experience. The candidate should be familiar with network technology, security, media, installation, topology, configuration and troubleshooting of common wireless and wired networking devices. The Network+ credential is required and highly recommended by Dell, HP and Intel. Network+ credentials comply with ISO 17024. An exam is required to earn the certificate.
The CompTIA Security+ certification covers concepts of threats and vulnerabilities, network security, access control, identity management, cryptography and more. Although CompTIA does not specify requirements, the organization recommends that certificate applicants obtain Network+ certification and have at least 2 years of security-focused IT management experience. To earn the Security + certificate, candidates must pass the SY0-501 exam.
The CompTIA Linux+ certification is for Linux network administrators with at least 12 months of experience in Linux. This experience should include installation, GNU and Unix commands, package management, shells, scripts, security and more. A+ and Network+ certifications are recommended as a stepping stone to this certification, but are not required. Candidates must pass 2 exams (LX0-103 and LX0-104) to earn this certification. The exams must be taken sequentially, and applicants must pass the LX0-103 exam before going for the LX0-104.
Because the cloud computing market is growing so rapidly, a candidate continues to pursue the CompTIA Cloud+ certification. This certification is designed for IT professionals with 2 to 3 years of experience in networking, storage or data center management. It requires the CV0-002 exam. It tests the candidate's knowledge of cloud technologies, hybrid and multi-cloud solutions, cloud markets and integration of cloud technology into system operations.
CompTIA Server+ is designed for server administrators with 18 to 24 months of experience with server hardware and software technologies and an A+ certificate is required. Server+ certifications are recommended and required for employment with HP, Intel, Microsoft and Lenovo as server technicians. Exam SK0-004 is required to obtain this certificate.
CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+)
As cybercrime increases, so will the demand for highly skilled information security analysts. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts 28% growth for information security analysts between 2016 and 2026, the fastest growth rate for all occupations. An addition to the CompTIA certification portfolio is the Cybersecurity Analyst certificate (CySA+). The CySA+ certificate is specifically designed to meet the growing demand for experienced and skilled information security analysts.
CySA+ certificate holders are adept at using systemic threat detection tools, as well as data and behavioral analytics to protect applications and systems from other risks, threats and vulnerabilities. CySA+ certificate holders can monitor network behavior, analyze results and create solutions for better protection against advanced persistent threats (APTs), malware, intrusions and more.
CompTIA describes CySA+ as a liaison certificate between Security+ (requires 2 years of experience) and the Master's Level Advanced Security Practitioner Certification (CASP), which requires 10 years of experience. To earn CySA+, candidates must pass a performance-based exam.
CompTIA+ Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+)
Although CompTIA does not use the term "master," the coveted CASP+ certificate is certainly a master-level certification. CASP is geared toward practitioners and is the only performance-based practical certificate currently offered by CompTIA. This certificate is designed for experienced IT security professionals who plan, design and implement security solutions in an enterprise environment.
Although there are no explicit prerequisites for this certificate, it is not a bad idea to obtain a Network+ and Security+ certificate before starting the CASP exam. In addition, you must have 10 years of IT administration experience and at least 5 years of technical security experience (this amounts to a "master" credential for this certificate).
CASP+ certification requires candidates to pass the CAS-003 exam, which consists of 90 results-oriented multiple-choice questions.
The newest part of the CompTIA roadmap is the CompTIA PenTest+. The Intermediate Certificate, PenTest+ is designed to complement CySA+. While CySA+ is defensive (focusing on threat detection and response), PenTest+'s credentials focus on using penetration testing to identify and manage network vulnerabilities across the spectrum.
There are no prerequisites, but Network+ and Security+ (or equivalent skills) are absolutely recommended, as well as at least 2 years of information security experience. Candidates pursuing a career in cybersecurity can receive a PenTest+ or CySA+ certificate, respectively.
Launched in July 2018, the exam focuses on reporting and communicating results, data analysis, penetration testing and scanning, and planning assessment. The exam also tests the candidate's knowledge of legal and compliance requirements.
The CompTIA Project+ Certificate focuses on tasks exclusively related to project management and suits project managers who know the project life cycle, from planning to completion, and can complete projects on time and on budget. Project managers typically interested in this certification must have at least 1 year of project management experience overseeing small and medium-sized projects. For Project+ Credentials, candidates must take the PK0-004 multiple-choice exam.
CompTIA Cloud Essentials
The CompTIA Cloud Essentials certification is for those who understand the business aspects of cloud computing and have the know-how to move from in-house storage to cloud storage. In addition, they should be aware of the implications, risks and consequences of deploying cloud solutions. An exam is required to earn certification.
The CompTIA Certified Technical Trainer Certificate (CTT+) is ideal for anyone looking forward to technical training. It covers faculty skills, such as presentation, communication, preparation, moderation and assessment, on a sales-neutral basis. Adobe, IBM, Dell, Cisco, Ricoh and Microsoft recognize the CTT+ certification.
Two exams are required to test CTT+: CompTIA CTT+ Essentials (TK0-201) and CTT+ Classroom Performance Trainer (TK0-202) or CTT+ Virtual Classroom Trainer (TK0-203).
CTT+ Classroom Performance Trainer and CTT Virtual Classor are performance-based. When this occurs, you must send a video or recording of your class (or virtual class session) and complete a form documenting your preparation for training, delivery and student assessment.
CompTIA groups its certifications into different career paths, in addition to different levels of certification:
On the CompTIA Certifications page, you can select a certification level and career, then get lists of certifications you can focus on. For example, one of the most well-known career paths is in IT network management. The CompTIA Network and Cloud Technology Career Path enables several certifications that can help you in your network management career, such as IT Fundamentals+, A+ and Networking+ (core certificate) and Cloud+ and Linux+ (infrastructure certificate) and more.
Anyone interested in network security (one of the fastest growing areas in IT) should look for certification in a CompTIA Information Security career. This includes the 4 basic credentials (IT, A+, Network+ and Security+) and all cybersecurity certifications (CySA+, PenTest+ and CASP+).
CompTIA offers a comprehensive IT certification roadmap that includes the CompTIA certification and several other organizations, including Cisco, EC-Council, Microsoft (ISC) 2, ISACA, Mile2, and more. Because CompTIA does not focus solely on one skill (such as networking or virtualization), CompTIA candidates can end up in a variety of positions based on experience, skill level and area of expertise.
Some of the possible careers CompTIA professionals can pursue:
A+ certificate holders usually find employment in support positions such as maintenance managers, technicians or maintenance professionals.
Network+ experts work primarily in network-related roles, such as network analyst, administrator or maintenance professional. Certified individuals can also work as network technicians, field service technicians or network help desk technicians.
CompTIA CySA+ Security Analyzer
A common role for IT professionals looking forward to a career in cybersecurity is a security engineer, cybersecurity analyst or expert, threat or vulnerability analyst, or operations analyst.
Security+ includes various work positions such as network, system or security administrator, security manager, specialist or administrator, and security consultant.
Server+ professionals roles include storage and server administrators and support or IT/server technicians.
Linux+ experts often work in Linux database administrator, network administrator or webmaster roles.
CompTIA Cloud+/Cloud Essentials
Certificate holders in Cloud+ typically work as cloud professionals, developers, or system and network administrators. Cloud Essentials experts usually work in areas based on technical cloud sales or business development.
Common roles for CASP+ certificate holders are cybersecurity professional, InfoSec specialist, information security specialist and security architect.
Project+ certificate holders typically participate in project management roles, such as Project Manager, Coordinator and Team Leader.
While the examples shown above are far from all inclusive, they do provide an insight of some of the careers available in the cybersecurity industry. Your career choices are limited only to your personal preferences to make your own dreams in IT come true.
CompTIA was founded in 1982, at which time it was initially known as the Association of Better Computer Dealers (ABCD), which then changed and became the Computing Technology Industry Association. In 2015, CompTIA's membership grew from 2,000 members to more than 50,000 and through 2016, the organization reached more than 100,000 members worldwide. As of January 2017, CompTIA introduced an IT professional-based organization, which was established through the Association of Information Technology Professionals.
The Computing Technology Industry Association, better known as CompTIA, is an independent organization dedicated to building community and advancing professional knowledge in the global computer technology industry. CompTIA offers certification exams, organizes forums and summits around the world, leads global policy initiatives and offers memberships to IT companies in various disciplines.
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