CompTIA represents the international technology community in delivering education and certification opportunities to IT professionals.
The certifying organization aims to provide a unified voice, global advocacy, and leadership to advance industry growth through standards, professional competence, education, and business solutions.
CompTIA develops specialized initiatives and programs dedicated to major areas within the IT industry and continually updates exam curriculums to reflect the latest technological advances and efficiently serve the industry and its members.
This article looks at CompTIA, its most popular certifications, and what candidates need to know to choose the right certification path.
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What is CompTIA?
The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is a non-profit trade association known for its range of vendor-neutral IT professional certifications. Since 1982, the leading IT certifying institution has awarded more than 2.7 million certifications in networking, technical support, cybersecurity, and cloud computing.
Most Popular CompTIA Certifications
CompTIA, as a brand, has industry-wide recognition, making nearly every certification an attractive choice for students and professionals looking to extend or validate their IT credentials. This section looks at the three most popular series of certificates: Core, Infrastructure, and Cybersecurity.
- IT Fundamentals+
CompTIA IT Fundamentals+ (ITF+) is the organization’s initial certification covering a range of essential IT knowledge and skills for students and entry-level IT professionals.
Topics Covered: IT concepts and terminology, infrastructure, applications and software, software development, database fundamentals, and security.
CompTIA A+ was the organization’s first certification offered and continues to be an industry standard for entry-level IT professionals mastering technical support and endpoint management.
Recommended Experience: 9 to 12 months of lab or field experience.
Topics Covered: Hardware, operating systems, software troubleshooting, networking, hardware and network troubleshooting, security, mobile devices, virtualization and cloud computing, and operational procedures.
Potential Jobs: Service desk analyst, data support technician, help desk technician, technical support specialist, field service technician, and associate network engineer.
CompTIA Network+ offers entry-level IT professionals the technical skills certification for establishing, troubleshooting, and maintaining networks of any kind.
Recommended Experience: A+ certification and 9 to 12 months of lab or field experience.
Topics Covered: Networking fundamentals, network implementations, network operations, network security, and network troubleshooting.
Potential Jobs: Junior network administrator, network engineer, network operations center (NOC) technician, cable technician, data center support technician, and system administrator.
CompTIA Security+ is an entry-level cybersecurity certification validating baseline skills and knowledge of core security functions for hybrid IT infrastructure.
Recommended Experience: Network+ certification and 2 years of hands-on experience.
Topics Covered: Attacks, threats, and vulnerabilities; architecture and design; implementation; operations and incident response; and governance, risk, and compliance.
Potential Jobs: Security administrator, systems administrator, help desk manager, security engineer, IT auditor, cloud engineer, DevOps or software developer, and IT project manager.
Pricing of Core Certificate Series
Read more: Top Tech Job Opportunities You Should Know About | IT Business Edge
CompTIA Server+ is a certification validating an IT professional’s ability to install, manage, and troubleshoot servers for on-premises, hybrid, and data center environments.
Recommended Experience: A+ and 2 years of hands-on experience.
Topics Covered: Server hardware installation and management, server administration, security and disaster recovery, and troubleshooting.
Potential Jobs: Systems administrator, data center technician, server administrator, network administrator, field service technician, IT technician, and data center engineer.
CompTIA Cloud+ is a certification covering the skills needed to implement and maintain cloud-based infrastructure and the challenges posed by multi-cloud environments.
Recommended Experience: Network+, Server+, and 2 to 3 years of hands-on experience.
Topics Covered: Cloud architecture and design, cloud security, cloud deployment, operations and support, and troubleshooting.
Potential Jobs: Senior systems administrator, cloud engineer, senior network administrator, cloud specialist, and cloud project manager.
CompTIA Linux+ is one of the organization’s newest certifications and reflects the extensive use of Linux distributions for mobile, cloud, cybersecurity, and web applications.
Recommended Experience: A+, Network+, Server+, or 12 months of hands-on experience.
Topics Covered: Hardware and system configuration, system operation and maintenance, security, Linux troubleshooting and diagnostics, and automation and scripting.
Potential Jobs: Linux administrator, network administrator, technical support specialist, web administrator, and systems administrator.
Pricing of Infrastructure Certificate Series
Also read: CompTIA releases new Cloud+ certification | TechRepublic
CompTIA PenTest+ is a comprehensive certification for penetration testing and vulnerability management, including the latest attack techniques and attack surface management practices.
Recommended Experience: Network+, Security+, and 3 to 4 years of hands-on experience.
Topics Covered: Planning and scoping, information gathering and vulnerability scanning, attacks and exploits, reporting and communication, and tools and code analysis.
Potential Jobs: Penetration tester, ethical hacker, security consultant, cloud penetration tester, web app penetration tester, cloud security specialist, and network and security specialist.
Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+)
CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) is the organization’s intermediate certification for cybersecurity professionals focusing on behavioral analytics, threat detection, and monitoring.
Recommended Experience: Network+, Security+, and 4 years of hands-on experience.
Topics Covered: Threat and vulnerability management, software and systems security, compliance and assessment, security operations and monitoring, and incident response.
Potential Jobs: Tier II SOC analyst, threat intelligence analyst, security engineer, application security analyst, incident responder, compliance analyst, and threat hunter.
Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+)
CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+) is the organization’s advanced certification for cybersecurity professionals covering a mix of engineering and security architecture.
Recommended Experience: 10 years of IT experience and 5 years of security experience.
Topics Covered: Security architecture; security operations; governance, risk, and compliance; and security engineering and cryptography.
Potential Jobs: Security architect, senior security engineer, SOC manager, and security analyst.
Pricing of Cybersecurity Certificate Series
Read more: 10 Top Cybersecurity Certifications | Datamation
Interested students considering a career in information technology can validate their current school status and sign up for a free CompTIA Student Membership.
Benefits: Up to 50% savings on exam vouchers, training, and bundles; scholarships and awards; access to workforce communities; career planning tool; careers hub; and IT skill hub.
For certification candidates making multiple purchases in a year, the CompTIA Store Club subscription at $49 includes discounts on training, exam vouchers, and bundles.
Benefits: 20% off all consumer products and bundles; one year IT Professional Membership
IT Professional Memberships
All candidates completing a certification receive a free CompTIA Professional Membership and access to additional career and certification resources.
Benefits: Up to 20% savings on exam vouchers, training, and bundles; professional chapters; access to industry workforce communities; CompTIA events; skills hub; and IT careers hub.
For organizations, the CompTIA Corporate Membership offers several benefits to help businesses and personnel learn, network, and grow as IT professionals.
Benefits: Access to industry insights, ecosystem connections, technology groups, communities, councils, and the Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (ISAO); events and training; business tools; certification discounts; standards and trustmarks; and public advocacy.
Corporate Memberships Annual Dues
|Membership Type||Corporate Only||Corporate + ISAO|
|Technology Solution Provider||$350||$850|
|Vendor or Distributor (<$5 million)||$675||$2,175|
|Vendor or Distributor ($5–$10 million)||$1,375||$4,750|
|Vendor or Distributor ($10–$50 million)||$2,750||$6,500|
|Vendor or Distributor (>$50 million)||$5,500||$10,000|
Also read: IT Certifications vs. Degree—What Should You Do? | CIO Insight
The organization’s online portal for purchases includes:
- Certification Vouchers: Register and take a certification exam
- Training: Find and use training solutions for getting certified
- Bundles: Buy both vouchers and training for a discount
- Continuing Education: Post-certification training for recertification
Alternatives to CompTIA
|AWS||Cloud Practitioner, Solutions Architect, SysOps Administrator, Developer, DevOps Engineer, Advanced Networking, Big Data, Security, Machine Learning|
|Axelos||Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)|
|Cisco||Internetwork Expert (CCIE), Network Professional (CCNP), Network Associate (CCNA), DevNet|
|EC-Council||Ethical Hacker (CEH), Cloud Security Engineer (CSE), Network Defender, Threat Intelligence Analyst, Penetration Testing, Application Security|
|ICCP||Data Professional (CDP), Cyber Security Professional (CSP)|
|ISACA||Information Security Manager (CISM), Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC), Data Privacy Solutions Engineer (CDPSE)|
|(ISC)²||Cloud Security Professional (CCSP), Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Authorized Professional (CAP), Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP), Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP)|
|Microsoft||Solution Architect, Administrator, Developer, AI Engineer, Data Scientist, DevOps Engineer, Functional Consultant|
|Oracle||MySQL Database Administration|
|Salesforce||Certified Development Lifecycle and Deployment Designer|
Read more: Huge List of IT and Computer Certifications | Webopedia
- CompTIA’s Long-Term Solution for the Cybersecurity Skills Gap | Channel Insider
- IT Certifications You Need Today | CIO Insight
- How to Get Started in a Cybersecurity Career | eSecurity Planet
- Cybersecurity Training Trends 2022 | Datamation
- Study to become a CompTIA security infrastructure expert | TechRepublic