CompTIA : It Starts Here
Typically the IT career path begins with CompTIA. CompTIA is a vendor neutral organization that focuses primarily on fondation certifications. CompTIA issues vendor-neutral professional certifications in over 120 countries. The organization releases over 50 industry studies annually to track industry trends and changes. Over 2.2 million people have earned CompTIA certifications since the association was established.
- A+: earned accreditation from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in 2008. A+ certification represents entry-level competency as a computer technician and is a vendor neutral certification that covers various technologies and operating systems. By 2014, over one million people worldwide had earned A+ certification.Expires in 3 years. Certification prior to January 1, 2011, is considered good-for-life (GFL) and does not expire.
- Cloud+: released in October 2013 including both cloud computing and virtualization. Expires in 3 years.
- CySA+: Cybersecurity Analyst; released in February 2017. The certification focuses on cyber-threat detection tools and analysis to identify vulnerabilities and risks. CSA+ was accredited by ANSI. In January 2018, the certification was renamed from CSA+ to CySA+ due to trademark issues. Expires in 3 years.
- Network+: accredited by ANSI in 2008. The entry-level certification is used to measure skill as a network technician. Expires in 3 years. Certification prior to January 1, 2011, is considered good-for-life (GFL) and does not expire.
- PenTest+: intermediate-level certification focusing on penetration testing. Released July 31, 2018, the PenTest+ covers risk analysis, threat detection, and multiple hands-on penetration testing and ethical hacking tools. PenTest+ is ANSI and ISO 17024 accredited and currently aligns with the DOD 8570 standard. The certification expires in 3 years after the award date.
- Security+: also earned its ANSI accreditation in 2008. Security+ is an entry-level vendor-neutral security certification that builds off of the network security knowledge covered by the Network+ certification. Expires in 3 years. Certification prior to January 1, 2011, is considered good-for-life (GFL) and does not expire.
In January 2018, CompTIA released stackable certifications:
CompTIA Infrastructure Career Pathway
- CompTIA IT Operations Specialist (A+/Network+)
- CompTIA Systems Support Specialist (A+/Linux+)
- CompTIA Cloud Admin Professional (Network+/Cloud+)
- CompTIA Network Infrastructure Professional (Network+/Server+)
- CompTIA Linux Network Professional (Network+/Linux+)
CompTIA Cybersecurity Career Pathway
- CompTIA Secure Infrastructure Specialist (A+/Network+/Security+)
- CompTIA Secure Cloud Professional (Security+/Cloud+)
- CompTIA Security Analytics Professional (Security+/CySA+)
- CompTIA Network Vulnerability Assessment Professional (Security+/PenTest+)
- CompTIA Network Security Professional (Security+/PenTest+/CySA+)
- CompTIA Security Analytics Expert (Security+/CySA+/CASP)
- CompTIA Security Infrastructure Expert (Security+/CySA+/PenTest+/CASP)
Please note that starting salaries vary for these certifications ranging from $35,000 – $90,000 per year.