The CompTIA Cybersecurity Pathway

The CompTIA Cybersecurity Pathway

A+ → Network+ → Security+ → CySA+ → CASP

IT professionals can enter the CompTIA career track at any point in their technological journey; IT experience, certifications they already hold, or a studies background. There are no required prerequisites for any CompTIA certification except being able to understand the course contents and pass the exams. If a candidate has two years of IT security experience or the equivalent knowledge, they can take the CompTIA Security+ exam to prove their proficiency. If they already have CompTIA Security+, they can jump in at CySA+ and so on.

A beginner that doesn’t have the CompTIA A+ nor the minimum six months of IT professional experience, can choose the CompTIA IT Fundamentals course and exam. This would be the beginning of their career pathway―from scratch. IT Fundamentals helps entry-level students acquire a broad understanding of IT as a profession.

Before taking on CompTIA Network+, an understanding of the most common software technologies and hardware used in networks is necessary. Professionals who support networks need to understand individual components just as much as the network as a whole. CompTIA A+ certification mirrors the skill-level of an IT professional with six months of work experience, it covers the necessary lessons to support IT infrastructures, and includes software, device hardware, networks and security principles, from an entry-level perspective.

CompTIA Network+ is an emphatically recommended prerequisite to the CompTIA Security+. For a network certification, understanding how the network functions is a central necessity. Without this important knowledge students learn baseless security skills and apply them to an empty entity called network. If you haven’t the understanding of the contents covered in CompTIA Network+, which is an approximate of nine-months’ experience in network settings, maintenance and management.

The next step for a certified CompTIA Security+ professional is the CySA+. It assesses the necessary skills to apply effective behavioral analytics to an IT security environment and improve the overall state of system security. Programs like packet sniffers, Security Information Event Managers (SIEM) and Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) and are some of the skills that pertain to this job role. These skills are now essential for most organizations.

Beyond earning a CompTIA Security+ certification IT professionals take CySA+.  CompTIA Security+ encompasses two years of IT security work experience and CompTIA CySA+ takes the equivalent to 3-4 years. CySA+ is a logical progression. After the CompTIA CySA+ certifications, IT professionals can further advance in specialization with a CompTIA CASP certification to validate mastery in the hands-on cybersecurity skills attained at the 5-10 year level of experience.

CompTIA CySA+ fills the skills and knowledge gap between CompTIA Security+ and the CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) syllabus. Before CySA+, most CompTIA Security+ certified professionals would let at least 5 years of IT security experience go by before taking the CASP exam. Another option was branching into vendor-specific certifications, such as Cisco, VMWare or Microsoft.

Several academic programs template their IT courses on CompTIA certifications, at different levels of higher education curricula: associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. CompTIA certifications are tailored after current real-world job roles in the IT profession, so it’s perfectly feasible to earn these certifications and gain the theoretical instruction and hands-on practice that’s most relevant in the workforce, regardless if you already have job experience or not.

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