CySA+ versus CASP+: Is the CySA+ good enough for a career in cybersecurity? [updated 2022]
This is the right time to think about a profession in the IT security industry. As the job market grows, so are the number of job vacancies and opportunities for advancement in the field. Appropriate certifications can give an important boost to IT careers. Jobseekers or professionals looking to advance in a career in information security, particularly in technical or analysis-intensive roles, can look into the CySA+ and CASP+ certifications, which are in high demand worldwide; these credentials help technical specialists prove their skillset and hands-on cybersecurity knowledge.
Which CompTIA cert is right for you? A good place to start navigating options for your future is the CompTIA Cybersecurity Career Pathway that shows IT infrastructure and cybersecurity career paths from core certifications to intermediate and professional skills options.
Exam details of CySA+ and CASP+
Both CySA+ and CASP+ are offered by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). This renowned non-profit trade association issues professional vendor-neutral certifications around the globe that are built around job roles.
Let’s look at how the exam details of the two certifications differ:
- Exam code: CS0-002
- CySA+ launch date: April 21, 2020
- CySA+ exam description: The CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) certification verifies that successful candidates have the knowledge and skills required to leverage intelligence and threat detection techniques, analyze and interpret data, identify and address vulnerabilities, suggest preventive measures and effectively respond to and recover from incidents.
- Number of questions on the CySA+: Maximum of 85 questions
- Type of questions on the CySA+: Multiple choice and performance-based
- Length of test: 165 minutes
- CySA+ passing score: 750 (on a scale of 100-900)
- Recommended experience to take the CySA+: Network+, Security+ or equivalent knowledge. Minimum of four years of hands-on information security or related experience.
- Languages: English, Japanese, TBD – others
- Retirement: TBD – Usually three years after launch
- CysA+ testing provider: Pearson VUE
- CySA+ price: $370
- Exam codes: CAS-004
- CASP+ launch date: October 6, 2021
- CASP+ exam description: CASP+ covers the technical knowledge and skills required to architect, engineer, integrate and implement secure solutions across complex environments to support a resilient enterprise while considering the impact of governance, risk and compliance requirements.
- Number of questions on the CASP+ exam: Maximum of 90 questions
- Type of questions on the CASP+: Multiple-choice and performance-based
- Length of CASP+ test: 165 Minutes
- CASP+ passing score: This test has no scaled score; it’s pass/fail only.
- Recommended experience to take the CASP+: A minimum of 10 years of general hands-on IT experience, with at least five years of broad hands-on security experience.
- Languages: English, Japanese to follow
- CASP+ retirement: Usually three years after launch
- Testing provider: Pearson VUE
- CASP+ exam price: $466
Key facts to know:
- CySA+ is an intermediate level certification; CASP+ is advanced-level.
- Both the CySA+ certification and the CASP+ are good for three years from the exam date.
- Each CompTIA certification exam is provided by the global testing partner, Pearson VUE.
- CySA+ can be renewed with 60 CEUs; CASP+ can be renewed with 75 CEUs.
Exam objectives and domains of CySA+ and CASP+
The CySA+ Certification Exam Objectives 6.0 (Exam Number: CS0-002) will verify your knowledge in specific areas to include:
- Leveraging intelligence and threat detection techniques
- Analyzing and interpreting data
- Identifying and addressing vulnerabilities
- Suggesting preventative measures
- Effectively responding to and recovering from incidents
The CASP+ Certification Exam Objectives 5.0 (exam number: CAS-004) will verify your knowledge in areas to include:
- Implementing secure solutions across complex environments
- Proactively supporting ongoing security operations
- Applying security practices to cloud, on-premises, endpoint and mobile infrastructures
- Considering the impact of governance, risk and compliance requirements
The CompTIA CySA+ and CASP+ objectives are based on the domains measured by their examination and the extent to which they are represented:
CySA+ domains and weight of exam
- Threat and Vulnerability Management (22%)
- Software and Systems Security (18%)
- Security Operations and Monitoring (25%)
- Incident Response (22%)
- Compliance and Assessment (13%)
CASP+ domains and weight of exam
- Security Architecture (29%)
- Security Operations (30%)
- Security Engineering and Cryptography (26%)
- Governance, Risk, and Compliance (15%)
To prepare for these certifications, you can:
- Download the CySA+ or CASP+ exam objectives
- Go through the CySA+ or CASP+ practice questions
It’s also possible to get training, books and study guides for the CySA+ and CASP+ exams.
What jobs can you get with CySA+ and CASP+ certification?
What jobs can you get with CySA+ certification? According to CompTIA, this credential is the perfect addition to professionals interested in the following positions:
- Security operations center (SOC) analyst
- Vulnerability analyst
- Compliance analyst
- Application security analyst
- Threat intelligence analyst
- Security engineer
- Incident response or handler
- Threat hunter
CySA+ credential holders are normally well-versed in being able to “solve a wide variety of issues when securing and defending networks in today’s complicated business computing landscape,” CompTIA says.
CySA+ is also a valid option for DoD personnel (the certification is cited in the DoD 8570.01-M) in the following job categories:
- Cybersecurity Service Provider (CSSP) — analyst
- CSSP — incident responder
- CSSP — infrastructure support
- CSSP — auditor
- Information assurance technician (IAT) level II
What jobs can you get with CASP+ certification? According to CompTIA, this credential is a better option for the following positions:
- Security architect
- Security engineer
- Technical lead analyst
- Application security engineer
With the CASP+ credential, professionals gain the skills and knowledge to implement solutions within cybersecurity policies and frameworks, such as analyzing risk impacts and responding to security incidents.
CASP+ is also a DoD approved IA baseline certification in the following job categories:
- IA manager (IAM) level II
- IA technical (IAT) level III
- IA system architect and engineer (IASAE) level I
- IA system architect and engineer (IASAE) level II
Is CySA+ good enough for a cybersecurity career?
CySA+ is an intermediate-level credential geared towards analysts, covering security analytics, intrusion detection and response and advanced persistent threats.
CASP+ is geared towards the knowledge required not by managers and policy writers but by professionals entrusted with applying policies and frameworks to protect a company’s infrastructure. Then, it is suitable for practitioners with solid hands-on experience at an advanced level.
So, how much does CySA+ overlap with CASP? As CompTIA conveys, “about 25 to 30 percent of the content overlaps, mainly under the topics of intrusion detection and vulnerability management.”
Since the two credentials overlap on some points and can even lead to similar jobs, the question remains whether or not the CySA+ credential is good enough for a cybersecurity career. Is it? It sure is.
Certifications such as CySA+ can fill the gap between the entry-level Security+ credential and the master-level CASP+. While the latter is great for advanced practitioners who can deliver security integration solutions as masters in applying policies and frameworks, the former can be a great starting point for many successful security analyst careers.
CompTIA shows how the CySA+ plays a meaningful career progression in cybersecurity roles. Core certifications, like CompTIA Security+, lay the groundwork and help professionals acquire and prove baseline cybersecurity skills, hands-on abilities and updated knowledge in risk management, risk mitigation, threat management and intrusion detection.
It is possible to apply for a CASP+ credential directly. Still, a CySA+ (as a specialty certification) can represent a crucial stepping stone by guiding testers towards acquiring important analytical skills and knowledge that can be a great addition to their background once ready to tackle more senior master roles.
The CySA+ certification sets the benchmark for what a cybersecurity analyst needs to know. It is an excellent way to acquire specialized knowledge and understand topics that such a professional in the field should master. Most importantly, it can prove to employers that the certified individual has current, up-to-date skills and education. Preparing for such a challenging credential exam also gives IT security professionals a clear pathway towards improving and building their analytical skills.
Pursuing a CySA+ or CASP+ certification
Any IT professional who has now or desires expertise as a security analyst will find CySA+ worth considering. Even when ready for a higher-level exam like CASP+, acquiring CySA+ can enrich their knowledge. As mentioned on the official website, “CASP+ makes sure IT pros can ‘walk the walk’ in addition to ‘talk the talk,’” but the CySA+ is a good intermediate credential geared towards helping cybersecurity professionals feel steadier on their career path.
- CySA+, CompTIA
- CASP+, CompTIA
- The New CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+): Your Questions Answered, CompTIA
- The New CASP+: Your Questions Answered, CompTIA
- How Do I Get My CASP+ Certification?, CompTIA
- How Do I Get My CompTIA CySA+ Certification?, CompTIA
- CySA+ or CASP+ exam objectives, CompTIA
- CySA+ or CASP+ practice questions, CompTIA
- Your Next Move: Cybersecurity Analyst, CompTIA
- The CompTIA Cybersecurity Career Pathway (2021 Refresh): Employable Skills Found Here, CompTIA