CompTIA has become one of the most recognized and respected names in IT certifications, from the first A+ back in the 1990s to today with over a dozen vendor-neutral certifications covering a variety of topics. At first glance, it may seem daunting trying to figure out which certifications you should pursue and what it takes to pass the exams. But do not fear! CompTIA has streamlined their certification process. Let this white paper be your guide along your CompTIA journey. We will explain the certifications, the order to take them, how to prepare for the exams and the details of the testing experience.
Core certifications: All IT professionals should have these
CompTIA currently has 13 different certifications broken into four certification levels: Core, Infrastructure, Cybersecurity and Additional Professional. These certifications are intentionally vendor-neutral. With so many of our businesses and networks mixing products from different vendors, it’s important that IT professionals are able to install, maintain, troubleshoot and secure these multi-vendor environments. To that end, all IT professionals should complete the four Core certifications. Achieving these certifications, along with your job experience, proves that you possess foundational IT knowledge that will benefit any organization, regardless of specialization. You should take the following exams in order:
- CompTIA IT Fundamentals+ (ITF+) was designed as a beginner certification for those considering a career in IT. Passing the exam proves that you have what it takes to venture further down this path. If you have already begun your IT career, you can probably skip this exam.
Related course: CompTIA IT Fundamentals Certification
- CompTIA A+ is for entry-level IT professionals, such as help desk technicians, field technicians and technical call center employees. This exam focuses on the installation, maintenance and troubleshooting of hardware, software and operating systems. It also includes topics related to networking, security and operational procedures. Passing the two A+ exams proves your knowledge and expertise related to workstations and other user endpoints.
Related course: CompTIA A+ Certification Prep
- CompTIA Network+ focuses on entry-level networking, including networking help desk technicians, infrastructure installers and junior network technicians. This exam covers the installation, maintenance and troubleshooting of networks, including Ethernet and Wireless. You are also tested on various protocols for both the LAN and WAN, and on the importance of network security. Passing this exam proves that you have foundational knowledge related to network infrastructure and network protocols.
Related course: CompTIA Network+ Certification Prep (N10-007)
- CompTIA Security+ is an intermediate-level exam, focusing on a wide array of foundational security topics, including data, application, host, network, physical and operational security. You are expected to understand encryption, access control, hardening and secure software development, among other things. Many organizations consider Security+ to be the minimum level of certification to be considered for all IT positions beyond entry-level, not just security-related jobs.
Related course: Security+ Certification Prep Course