All About CompTIA A+ Certifications (Set to Music!)

With over one million people being CompTIA A+ certified, it is a well-known certification. But did you know this?

CompTIA offers 13 certifications that can advance your career.

They fall into four series: Core, Infrastructure, Cybersecurity, and Additional Professional. Here are brief intros to all of them—with a little “musical” motivation to help you decide where you may be in the learning process and links to help you find your particular path. (Feel free to cue up your favorite background music source to accompany your search.)

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Core Series—cue “Start Me Up” (The Rolling Stones)

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“Start me up” is the call to action that drives people to get CompTIA A+ certified. Once started up, many of them never stop. Two additional core certifications that would logically follow CompTIA A+ certification are:

CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Security+.

If you are CompTIA A+ certified, you already have some network and security knowledge. The CompTIA Network+ training expands upon that base knowledge with in-depth knowledge about network concepts, troubleshooting, security, infrastructure, and operations.

Likewise, CompTIA Security+ training builds on existing knowledge with training on security tools, threats, attacks, vulnerabilities, identity and access management, and cryptography.

If you want to follow this path but have no technical training or experience, this will get you started:

CompTIA IT Fundamentals (ITF+)

It is also good training for non-technical professionals who want to get a basic understanding of information technology. Any job today requires the use of IT services, so the CompTIA ITF+ can help you even in non-technical roles.

Earning all three core certifications would be quite an accomplishment in itself. For those ambitious enough to learn more and earn more advanced certifications, there are two pathways you can follow next: infrastructure and cybersecurity.

Infrastructure Series—cue “Born to Run” (Bruce Springsteen)

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Your corporate network and data center were “born to run.” If you are responsible for keeping it running, then you may want to follow the infrastructure pathway, where you’ll find these certification possibilities:

CompTIA Linux+ covers multiple distributions, bringing the advantage of CompTIA’s vendor-neutral approach. It makes you valuable to employers whether they are looking for expertise in Ubuntu, Red Hat, Debian, or others. You will learn system configuration, command line interface, scripting basics, network settings, and system security.

CompTIA Server+ covers server technologies including operating systems, virtualization, security, network-attached storage, and troubleshooting.

CompTIA Cloud+ covers incorporating and managing cloud technologies as part of broader systems operations. You will gain expertise in configuration, deployment, security, maintenance, and troubleshooting of cloud-based systems.

Cybersecurity Series—cue “Safe and Sound” (Carly Simon)

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With a shortage of millions of cybersecurity professionals, companies need qualified security personnel. The security pathway provides you with options to attain that qualification. It will enable you to keep corporate resources safe and sound while also keeping your career safe and sound. Within the security pathway, you may choose to become a penetration tester, a cybersecurity analyst, or both.

CompTIA PenTest+ certification covers the skills required to plan and scope an assessment, understand legal and compliance requirements, perform vulnerability scanning and penetration testing, analyze data, and effectively report and communicate results.

CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst+ (CySA+) covers the skills required to configure and use threat detection tools, perform data analysis and interpret the results to identify vulnerabilities, threats, and risks to an organization, with the end goal of securing and protecting applications and systems within an organization.

Whether you certify as CompTIA PenTest+, CompTIA CySA+, or both, the next step is CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+), the key term being practitioner. CompTIA recommends five years of hands-on technical security experience before attempting this certification. It covers the skills required to conceptualize, engineer, integrate, and implement secure solutions across complex environments to support a resilient enterprise.

Additional Professional—cue “That Would Be Enough” (Lin-Manuel Miranda & Phillipa Soo)

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For those who are not on a technical career track, there is knowledge that you can acquire to become more valuable when it comes to IT projects. You don’t need technical expertise but any certification in the professional pathway provides knowledge that would be enough for non-technical roles in information technology. The additional professional pathway includes:

CompTIA Project+ certifies the knowledge and skills required to manage the project life cycle, ensure appropriate communication, manage resources, manage stakeholders, and maintain project documentation.

CompTIA Certified Technical Trainer (CTT+) certification validates that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to prepare, present, facilitate, and evaluate a training session.

CompTIA Cloud Essentials covers cloud services from a business perspective. The expertise validated includes the business value of cloud computing, cloud types, steps to successful adoption of the cloud, impact and changes on IT service management, as well as risks and consequences.

The Choice Is Yours—cue “Unwritten” (Natasha Bedingfield)

Whatever you’re doing today, the path ahead is still unwritten. The many paths to certification provided by CompTIA allow you to choose the best path for your career. Whether you choose to stay with the core series, advance to the infrastructure or cybersecurity pathway, or earn an additional professional certification, the CompTIA certifications you earn will be valuable assets, helping you succeed and advance in your career.

And, if you’re just beginning your CompTIA certification process and preparing for the CompTIA A+ test, check this out:

FREE test prep for the CompTIA A+ test

Prep for the newest version (the CompTIA A+ Core Series) is being added to this same website by section and will be complete soon!

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