Concise list of CompTIA certifications with summaries

Concise list of CompTIA certifications with summaries

Henry Dalziel | CompTIA, Information Security Careers | November 23, 2013

Quick Heads Up! This blog post was written a while back. Go ahead and check out our cybersecurity course directory here which is constantly updated. We receive many inquiries from students either through our blog or our live chat that are requests to further define the different CompTIA certifications and to explain the differences. So, to help folk with that particular inquiry we thought to publish the official 2013-2014 CompTIA certification list.

To make it more interesting we also thought to weave in particular Hacker Hotshots web shows that we have had that will give you more color on the IT subject that is applicable to the certification. Hearing and watching presentations from active professional IT experts will give you an indication of what to expect from becoming involved in that IT niche – from a security perspective.

Here’s the 2013-2014 list of CompTIA Certifications Let’s briefly start by discussing the CompTIA suite of courses. CompTIA has four main IT certification categories, each of which asses different subject matter. Like most other awarding bodies, like ISC2 and EC Council, CompTIA organize their courses by level, defined from ‘beginner, or entry’ through to ‘expert level’. The official titles for these levels are:

  • CompTIA Mastery Level
  • CompTIA Professional Level
  • CompTIA Specialty Level
  • CompTIA Basic Level

CompTIA Mastery Series of Certifications Just like ISC2 consider CISSP as their ‘gold standard’ so does CompTIA regard their Mastery Certification as their highest honor. A CompTIA mastery certification demonstrates advanced specialization within a specific IT discipline. Typically, a ‘mastery certification-level student’ must be able to blend several enterprise-level disciplines whilst deploying advanced skills. Mastery Certifications can either be taken as individual courses or as the accumulation of a specific certification career path. The CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) is golden and many professionals strive to reach this goal. This security certification covers the following subjects: enterprise security; risk management and forecasting; risk analysis; and the integration of all major IT disciplines. Key to this certification is the term ‘enterprise security’ since the holder will have proven skills to manage SME sized organizations and upwards. To get a grasp of the subject matter, we’d suggest that you take a look at some of our past Hacker Hotshot web shows. Many of our past presenters (and upcoming of course!) are enterprise-level – CISO/ CTO professionals that absolutely must – and do – know about organization-wide security. The point we are making here is that the CompTIA mastery level is a no-bull certification aimed at the security pro with ambition!

CompTIA Professional Series Next on our 2013-2014 list of CompTIA certs are the ‘professional series’. The professional series of certs, in our opinion, are CompTIA’s most in-demand and popular courses. Central to these particular certifications is the premise that upon successful completion the holder can demonstrate comprehensive technical skills and knowledge that are vital to their IT career. Here are the CompTIA Professional Series set of certifications: CompTIA A+: Developed in 1993 CompTIA A+ is a widely respected course and deemed by many to be a ‘starting course’ for a career. CompTIA A+ is essentially a course that illustrates competency as a computer technician. Officially. This certification covers many technologies and operating systems from such vendors as Novell, Microsoft, Apple, IBM etc as well as many Linux distributions. To understand Linux Distro’s especially the penetration testing/ hacking distro’s we suggest that you take a look here. CompTIA Cloud+: This cert covers standard methodologies that are required to securely implement and maintain cloud technologies. Cloud security is clearly a must-have requirement so a specialization in this regard has enormous benefit. Talks of interest include: “A Tale of Two Clouds: The One in Your Data Center and Your Pocket”, “Control Your Public and Private Clouds”, and “Mobility in the Cloud”. CompTIA Linux+: This course trains the individual to be able to efficiently administer and configure all aspects of Linux operating systems and servers. If you want a career in security then yes, you absolutely must know Linux inside and out. CompTIA Mobile App Security+: This is an awesome certification since it is within a booming space: App Security (Web Application Security). The CompTIA cert covers the skills that you need to securely create a native iOS or Android mobile application, while making certain that it will work within a secure way. We have had a lot of Hacker Hotshot web shows on this subject. Here are a few to get you started: “Don’t Let your Website Spread Malware – A New Approach to Web Application Security”, “OWASP Broken Web Applications VM”, “Looking For A Simple Tool To Test Web Apps?” and “Pentesting Smart Grid Web Apps”. CompTIA Mobility+: This is a brilliant certification – again, because it is within a niche and growing space: mobile and BYOD. The course facilitates knowledge and skills that are necessary to understand and the various capabilities of various mobile devices. From a security perspective this fits very nicely in to the entire (and ongoing) BYOD discussion. Useful Concise Courses past web shows include: “Legal Issues in Mobile Security Research”, and “How To Turn BYOD Risk Into Mobile Security Strength”. CompTIA Network+: This is a classic and popular CompTIA cert that instructs the student to manage, maintain and secure networking. Networking and the secure transmission is the ‘lifeblood’ of the security industry. Talks include: “Free Tools to Monitor and Secure Your Wi-Fi Network”, and “Opening the Treasure Chest: Attacking Network Attached Storage on a Pen Test”. CompTIA Project+: Risk management is an important concept within information security. This certification teaches how to better manage IT projects including initiation, planning and the execution. A past Hacker Hotshot talk that will be of interest would be: “SimpleRisk: Open Source Risk Management Tool”. CompTIA Security+: Frankly, we love this certification since it covers, in excellent details, all the important aspects of security. We offer Security+ as a very affordable self-study course. All our Hacker Hotshot web shows are applicable to this excellent certification. For more information on this cert, contact us! CompTIA Server+: This is an excellent niche certification which illustrates competency is subjects like RAID, SCSI and how to oversee and manage disaster recovery. CompTIA Storage+: Similar to Server+ this course will show that you have the necessary skills required to be able to correctly manage data storage as well as being able to protect the data. Database management is a requirement of this course so we’d suggest that you take a look at this web show: Hacking The Big 4 Databases. CompTIA PDI+: (Printing and Document Imaging or PDI+) is like CDIA+ (see below), which is a course that will show ability in understanding printer and document-imaging. CompTIA CDIA+: (Certified Document Imaging Architect) is a niche cert solely aimed at increasing a students knowledge and skills needed in the document imaging sales field and is similar to PDI+. CompTIA CTT+: This course is somewhat of an anomaly: Certified Technical Trainer (CTT+) trains the trainer to become a better instructor.

CompTIA Specialty Series The CompTIA specialty courses incorporate the business and technical skills that are required for specific IT verticals or niche sectors. Specialty certifications can be taken in tandem with other certs or can be taken on their own. CompTIA Cloud Essentials: This course is all about cloud and the implications the technology has with regards to being able to manage business in an effective manner. CompTIA Green IT: This is a growing skill to have and is certainly worth investigating if you work for a large organization as they will likely be seeking ways to enhance their green ‘credibility.’ CompTIA Healthcare IT Technician: This cert continues to be popular, not least because of the compliance which surrounds healthcare. If you work in healthcare then absolutely, you need this cert. CompTIA IT for Sales: Vital to the salesperson – this cert covers the professional competencies required to accomplish effective sales strategies. Social Media Security Professional: A very interesting certification that will teach the student how best to mitigate security risks within business when using social media.

In Summary We hope that the above has been useful. Let us know your thoughts! Do you intend on studying a CompTIA cert soon? Do you feel that they are worthwhile? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Again, if you have any questions regarding Security+ please get in contact with us!

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