Wednesday, November 6, 2019

How to Prepare for the CompTIA Cybersecurity Career Pathway

CompTIA Cybersecurity Career Pathway

Are you considering pursuing a career in cybersecurity? With cybercrime on the rise, more businesses are hiring IT professionals with CompTIA cybersecurity certifications on their résumés. 

CompTIA (the Computing Technology Industry Association) is one of the IT industry's top trade associations. Its vendor-neutral certification program is one of the most highly recognized in the industry. Since CompTIA developed its first A+ credential in 1993, it has issued more than two million certifications to IT and business professionals. 

Here's your guide to the CompTIA cybersecurity career pathway and how CompTIA security certifications can enhance your career. 

Why Should You Earn a CompTIA Cybersecurity Certification? 

IT security is one of the fastest-growing fields in the job market. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, cybersecurity jobs are predicted to increase by 28% from 2016 to 2026. More than 715,000 workers were employed in cybersecurity-related jobs in the United States from September 2017 to August 2018, with over 310,000 positions unfilled, according to CyberSeek.

Salaries for careers in cybersecurity vary by position and location but generally average around $107,000 per year in the United States. In addition to earning high salaries in a booming job market, certified IT professionals demonstrate increased capability and lifetime value to their employers, according to an IDC white paper. Here are some of the benefits of getting certified:

  • Get a head start: Certified IT professionals are 50% more likely to get a promotion within one year of first being hired than non-certified employees.
  • Get promoted faster: CompTIA-certified IT professionals are promoted almost twice as often as non-certified professionals.
  • Get a leg-up on your coworkers: CompTIA-certified IT professionals consistently outperform non-certified IT professionals in most security-related activities and network administration activities.
  • Get noticed: Certified IT professionals have up to 30% greater influence overall than non-certified IT professionals with the same tenure.

The Complete Guide to CompTIA Cybersecurity Certifications 

Whether you’re just entering the field or want to get promoted to chief information security officer (CISO), CompTIA security certifications help you gain the expertise you need to get ahead in your career. Here’s everything you need to know about the CompTIA cybersecurity career pathway. 

CompTIA Security+

This qualification establishes baseline cybersecurity skills that are required for an entry-level role. It covers hands-on troubleshooting scenarios and prepares you to address security incidents, not just point them out. According to CompTIA, more than 500,000 individuals have earned the Security+ credential.

Recommended Training Course: CompTIA Security+ Certification

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify the fundamental concepts of computer security
  • Understand common security threats and vulnerabilities
  • Apply network security
  • Implement compliance, access control and account management security measures
  • Troubleshoot and manage security incidents
  • Plan for disaster recovery and business continuity

Suggested Prerequisites: To ensure you succeed in the CompTIA Security+ course, you should have a fundamental understanding of computer and networking concepts. CompTIA A+ and Network+ certifications (or equivalent knowledge), 6-9 months' networking experience and two years of IT administration experience are strongly recommended before taking the course. 

Take This Exam: SY0-501 - CompTIA Security+ 

Note: CompTIA Security+ Certifications issued in 2011 or later are valid for three years. To keep your certification current, you must complete Continuing Education Units. Learn more about CEUs here.

CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+)

The CySA+ is CompTIA’s intermediate cybersecurity certification that covers security analytics, intrusion detection and response. It focuses on advanced threats and teaches you the behavioral skills needed to identify and combat malware and advanced persistent threats (APTs). This qualification is geared toward cybersecurity analysts and related positions like vulnerability analysts, cybersecurity specialists, threat intelligence analysts and security engineers.

Recommended Training Course: CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) Certification

Once you complete this course, you will be able to:

  • Manage security risks and vulnerabilities
  • Configure common threat detection tools
  • Understand cybersecurity roles and responsibilities
  • Perform data analysis and interpret the results to identify areas of concern
  • Prevent and respond to security incidents
  • Understand security architecture, policies, and procedures

Suggested Prerequisites: While there is no required prerequisite, CySA+ is intended to follow the Security+ certification and has a technical, hands-on focus. You should have a minimum of 3-4 years of hands-on information security or related experience. 

Take This Exam: CS0-001 - CompTIA CySA+

CompTIA Penetration Tester+ (PenTest+)

If you like to poke holes in systems and uncover vulnerabilities that most people would never notice, the PenTest+ certification is for you. This credential is designed for IT professionals who want to perfect their penetration testing skills and learn how to plan, scope and manage security weaknesses. The PenTest+ covers the most current penetration testing techniques within mobile, cloud, desktop and server environments.

Recommended Training Course: CompTIA Penetration Tester+ (PenTest+) Certification

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Plan and scope penetration tests
  • Conduct passive and active reconnaissance
  • Perform non-technical tests to gather information
  • Analyze vulnerabilities and exploit host-based vulnerabilities
  • Penetrate networks and test applications
  • Analyze and report on penetration test results

Suggested Prerequisites: Before taking this course, you should have intermediate knowledge of information security concepts, including identity and access management (IAM), cryptographic concepts and implementations, computer networking concepts and common security technologies. You also need 3-4 years of hands-on information security or related experience. 

You can obtain this level of skills and knowledge by earning the CompTIA Security+ certification

Take This Exam: PT0-001 - CompTIA PenTest+

CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+)

As the most advanced CompTIA cybersecurity credential, the CASP+ certification validates competency in risk management, enterprise security operations, architecture, collaboration and integration. It’s designed for cybersecurity professionals who are responsible for securing complex enterprise environments. 

Recommended Training Course: CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+)

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Support IT governance and manage risk in the enterprise
  • Leverage collaboration tools and technology to support enterprise security
  • Use research and analysis to secure an enterprise environment
  • Integrate advanced authorization and authentication techniques
  • Implement security controls for hosts, mobile devices, network security and system security
  • Conduct security assessments

Suggested Prerequisites: A minimum of ten years of experience in IT administration, with at least five of those years in hands-on technical security, is recommended.

Take This Exam: CAS-003: CompTIA CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+)

Frequently Asked Questions About CompTIA Cybersecurity Certifications

1. Do I Need a College Degree to Get a Job in Cybersecurity?

Are you considering pursuing a CompTIA cybersecurity career pathway but aren’t formally educated in IT?  The good news is that a four-year or even two-year degree may not be necessary.  

Being certified in any form of information technology, especially attaining any CompTIA security certifications, opens up opportunities not only for traditional employment but for entrepreneurial and part-time positions.

2. Which Certification Should I Start With?

CompTIA Security+ forms the foundation required of any cybersecurity role. Starting with this certification is the best way to advance to intermediate-level cybersecurity jobs. If you are changing careers or have limited experience in IT, the CompTIA A+ is considered a prerequisite for entry-level IT employment. 

3. Do These Certifications Require IT or Cybersecurity Experience?

Ideally, you should have some level of experience in IT if you are pursuing a career in cybersecurity. The concepts presented in cybersecurity are quite complex, so some hands-on experience with computer and networking concepts is advantageous.

4. Should I Take All of These Certifications?

Depending on which position you’re pursuing, you may not need to take all of the certifications described in this blog. The logical progression of certifications and jobs in cybersecurity follow this general path, based on skill level and experience required to advance to the next certification:

  1. CompTIA Security+ 
  2. CompTIA CySA+ and/or CompTIA PenTest+ 
  3. CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+) 

5. Will I Be Able to Secure a Cybersecurity Job Once I Pass a CompTIA Certification?

While no one can guarantee employment, getting a certification is one of the first steps in securing a job in a cybersecurity-related role. With healthy job prospects in information technology and IT security, the likelihood of obtaining employment in this field is strong. 

Jumpstart Your CompTIA Cybersecurity Career With New Horizons

Ready to take the next step in your cybersecurity career? 

As the world’s largest IT training company, New Horizons offers up-to-date training for every CompTIA certification. CompTIA training at New Horizons covers breadth and depth across critical technology subject areas to help you advance your career in IT and ace the exam.

Whether you prefer training in person or online, New Horizons can help you on your CompTIA cybersecurity career pathway today.


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