Before applying for the CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) certification exam, a candidate must confirm whether they are eligible or likely to meet the right requirements. The candidates who do not meet the CySA+ requirements are not allowed to apply for the CySA+ certification.
In this article, we will delve into the minimum requirements for obtaining the CySA+, CySA+ renewal requirements, the issue of knowing programming languages, why CySA+ requirements are necessary and how candidates can prepare for CySA+ exam.
What are the minimum requirements to apply for the CySA+?
CompTIA requires every candidate to fulfill a set of minimum requirements to apply for the CySA+ exam. The following sections will provide some insight into the details of these requirements.
To qualify for the CySA+ certification exam, a candidate must have a minimum of three to four years of hands-on experience at the level of Security+, Network+ or equivalent knowledge.
To become CySA+-certified, a student must obtain a score of 750 on a scale of 100-900. The timeframe to complete the exam is 165 minutes.
What are the renewal requirements of the CySA+?
Your CySA+ certification is valid for three years from the day of passing the examination. Thereafter, you must meet the CySA+ renewal requirements to maintain your certification for the next three years. Renewing prior to the expiration date is invaluable. Otherwise, CompTIA can (and will) revoke your certified status or cancel your certification.
Renewal requirements are necessary to keep yourself abreast of the modified CySA+ curriculum, which is revised every two to three years, according to CompTIA. With CySA+ revised content, you will be able to learn modern behavioral analytics skills to effectively tackle malware, APTs and various other cyberattacks.
CompTIA requires candidates to follow three steps to renew their CySA+ certification:
- Learning about the renewal process
- Choosing your renewal path
- Submitting your CEUs and renew
Renewal requirements cannot be completed unless you earn at least 60 Continuing Education Units (CEUs). CEUs can be earned by participating in various approved activities provided by the CompTIA Continuing Education (CE) program. Paying a fee is also necessary prior to the submission of CEUs. You will not pay your fees based on the calendar year; rather, it’s based on your CE renewal cycle. The annual fee for your CySA+ certification is $50, and a three-year fee is $150.
In the event of having more than one CompTIA certification or multiple certifications, you don’t need to renew each of your certifications separately. Instead, you are required to simply renew your highest-level certification, and your lowest-level certification will automatically be renewed.
Do I need to know a programming language for the CySA+ exam?
Knowing a programming language for a CySA+ exam depends on the job role which the CySA+ professional is performing. For example, if you are managing a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) program, you should have knowledge of eXtensible Markup Language (XML). According to CompTIA, AlienVault uses XML to customize SIEM and creates drivers in it.
Having knowledge of C and C++ is also a plus. This is because the primary role of the CySA+-certified is to find network vulnerabilities that resulted from poor programming in C and C++.
Why are CySA+ requirements necessary?
CySA+ requirements are necessary to boost your prestige and pay-scale in the cybersecurity realm. According to CompTIA, having prior experience ensures your expertise and reduces training time; that may empower your CV or increase your value to employers. Likewise, prior job experience also builds expectations and provides trust on the side of employers.
In addition, having a Security+, Network+ or equivalent experience indicates to employers that the CompTIA CySA+ is not your first certification. Instead, your showcase demonstrates multiple CompTIA certifications that make you eligible for higher-paying positions.
Continually maintaining your CySA+ certification also indicates to employers that you’re committed to your cybersecurity career, and that your skills and knowledge are current with a swiftly-evolving IT industry. In fact, new IT technologies (including hardware and software systems) are developing every day and bad guys are constantly inventing devastating new threats. Under such circumstances, staying current with cybersecurity skills and knowledge is crucial for every CySA+ professional.
What can I expect from the CySA+ exam?
The CySA+ exam contains hands-on evaluation. Both multiple-choice and performance-based questions are asked in the exam. According to CompTIA’s beta testers, answering the performance-based questions takes about one-third of the exam time. Thus, candidates must have a rigorous practice of performance-based questions before appearing for the real exam.
How do I prepare for the CySA+ exam?
Once you meet all CySA+ requirements, you need to prepare for the exam day. First and foremost, you need to understand what is expected of you. Not doing so is just like driving blindly into a snowstorm.
The first thing is to re-familiarize yourself with the CySA+ requirements that you have already known. Next, download the CySA+ exam objectives and judge what you already know and what you still need to learn.
In addition, you should also attempt to solve some CySA+ practice exams as they help you to feel better on the exam day. Practice tests or mock exams are also very helpful in this regard. They help you to identify your weak areas of study and provides you with a chance of improvement.
You also need to understand how you can bridge your personal knowledge gap. You can do this through self-study, classroom training or online training.
Hopefully, this article has helped you understand which concepts, experiences and programming languages may come in handy in studying for the CySA+ exam.
No single study guide will tell you everything you need to know, but hopefully this article has helped you understand better whether your current experience, background and knowledge base are sufficient to take the exam. If it is not, you should consider a lower-level exam/certification first and then move your way up to CySA+. Best of luck in your journey!