Security+: related certifications [updated 2021]
One of the most sought-after security certifications is CompTIA Security+. The vendor-neutral certification covers basic security concepts and is seen by professionals as the stepping stone into the world of information security. CompTIA, a non-profit headquartered in Downers Grove, Ill., near Chicago, introduced Security+ back in 2002, and over the years, it has become a critical measure of knowledge in the IT sector.
With that said, there are other certifications related to Security+ you might need to expand your knowledge based on your career aspiration or job title. These include CompTIA IT Fundamentals (ITF+), A+, Network+, PenTest+, CySA+ and CASP+. Most of these certifications are linked and provide compliance with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and the ISO17024 standard. Below is an overview of each certification and the relationship they share with Security+.
Exam code: FC0-U61
This certification is ideal for aspiring IT professionals with a basic understanding of computer functionality and familiarity with topics like basic networking, software installation, hardware basics and security risks and prevention. The CompTIA ITF+ certification ensures candidates are better prepared to grasp the building blocks of a computer network and helps them decide if a career in IT is the right choice for them. CompTIA introduced a new ITF+ exam in September 2018. This exam includes a maximum of 75 questions that test a candidate’s knowledge of database use, IT infrastructure, software development and basic network connectivity setup. The price for the exam is $126.
Exam code: 220-1001, 220-1002
CompTIA A+ certification illustrates that an individual has computer technician competency. It provides a ground-level understanding of varied IT technologies, including PC hardware, mobile devices, hardware troubleshooting problems, network connectivity and operating systems like macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS and Android. How does it relate to the Security+ exam? CompTIA recommends a person take the A+ exam before Network+, which serves as the basis for Security+. The A+ cert will give candidates the skills and knowledge required to troubleshoot networking issues. Candidates must pass two exams to earn their A+ certification. Both exams include a maximum of 90 questions in various categories, such as multiple-choice questions, drag-and-drop and performance-based. The price is $232 per exam attempt.
Exam code: N10-007
Although the A+ certification is recommended, those who have the experience and feel they don’t need the A+ credential can directly go for CompTIA Network+. The exam recommends candidates have a minimum of nine months of networking experience. They should have knowledge and skills in networking technologies, security, media, topologies, troubleshooting wireless and wired devices and configuration. Network+ relates to Security+ in the sense it gives you the foundational knowledge to pass the latter exam. Plus, employers may want to see more certifications besides Security+ before hiring you for a networking job. Companies like HP, Intel and Dell require or recommend Network+. CompTIA introduced Network+ in 1999 and has updated the exam every few years to address current networking technologies. Network+ is a single exam consisting of a maximum of 90 questions. CompTIA charges $338 for the Network+ exam.
Exam code: PT0-001
PenTest+ is an intermediate-level credential that tests a candidate’s skill in using penetration testing to detect and manage network vulnerabilities across various touchpoints. Whoever intends to acquire the certification is recommended to obtain the Security+ and Network+ certifications, along with two years of practical information security experience. It makes sense, as Security+ covers vital network security concepts that are essential to pentesting vulnerabilities effectively. CompTIA introduced PenTest+ in July 2018 to help candidates demonstrate that they have the expertise required to perform vulnerability scanning and pentesting, plan and scope an assessment, analyze data, effectively report and communicate results and understand legal and compliance requirements. The exam has a maximum of 85 questions and costs $370 to take.
Exam code: CS0-002
The CompTIA CySA+ certification is designed to validate a candidate’s ability to monitor network behavior and evaluate results and develop solutions to safeguard against intrusions, malware, advanced persistent threats (APTs) and similar threats. CySA+ holders are also well versed in leveraging data and behavioral analytics, as well as system threat-detection tools. According to CompTIA, CySA+ serves as a bridge certification between the advanced Advanced Security Practitioner Certification (CASP) credential, which recommends10 years of experience, and the Security+ credential, which recommends two years of experience. The CySA+ exam is composed of a maximum of 85 questions and those taking the exam are expected to hold at least Network+, Security+ or equivalent certifications, plus three to four years of information security experience. The pricing for the CySA+ exam is $370.
Exam code: CAS-003
Targeting IT professionals applying to jobs at enterprises, the CASP+ certification offers evidence that a candidate has an in-depth understanding of security areas and familiarity with the application of mobile security and extended network. The certification also validates an individual’s knowledge of how to use secure virtualization in an enterprise infrastructure when the technology is being applied. Although CompTIA doesn’t list any explicit prerequisites to pursue CASP+, candidates are recommended to earn Security+ and Network+ because these two certifications will strengthen their knowledge of computer networks. Additionally, they should possess a minimum of five years of hands-on technical security experience and 10 years of IT administration experience. CompTIA launched the CASP+ exam in April 2018 in English and Japanese. The exam has a maximum of 90 questions divided between performance-based and multiple-choice. CASP+ costs $466 and is the most expensive CompTIA certification.
Choose the best certifications for your career
CompTIA offers various types of training to help candidates prepare for their exams, including study materials, e-learning and classroom training. People interested can visit the CompTIA website or an authorized training partner like Infosec for additional information. Moreover, candidates can prepare for the certification exams via the self-study materials offered by CompTIA-affiliated third parties. There is a range of study materials that allow candidates to learn at their own pace, such as Mike Meyers popular on-demand training, which is available in Infosec Skills.
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