CompTIA is a nonprofit organization offering dozens of widely-recognized IT certifications. There are certs for fundamental computer skills, then cybersecurity certifications, infrastructure certifications, for cloud computing, penetration testing, server maintenance, and more. When faced with such an overwhelming choice of certification training, it is only natural to be confused. You might ask yourself: which CompTIA certification should I get first? Where do I start?
Fortunately, by categorizing and grouping all of their certs, CompTIA makes it relatively easy to figure out where you should begin. Your first CompTIA training will primarily depend on your experience, current skill set, and what IT career path you’d like to pursue.
No Prior Experience
You might think you need at least basic knowledge of hardware and software to pass any CompTIA exam. But that is not the case. In fact, there are two CompTIA certs you can get without any experience in the IT field whatsoever!
- CompTIA IT Fundamentals+
If you’re not sure about the information technology industry as a whole, you might want to start with the IT Fundamentals+ certification. This one will help you determine whether you have what it takes to be an IT professional and whether you might enjoy that career choice in the long run.
This pre-career course covers IT basics such as operating systems, network connectivity, most common software applications, and security and web browsing best practices. The IT Fundamentals+ CompTIA exam is highly recommended if you have next to no experience. It won’t prepare you for employment, but it will introduce you to the world of computers and give you an idea of everything that information technology has to offer.
- CompTIA A+
If you’re confident that an IT career is right for you, but you have no work experience, then the A+ CompTIA certification is a great option. The A+ is an entry-level certification that over 2 million IT professionals hold. It goes more in-depth than Fundamentals+, covering everything from software, hardware, and operating systems, to visualization and cloud computing, networking and security basics, operational procedures, and more.
After completing the A+, you will be ready to seek work as a help desk technician, system support specialist, data support technician, service desk analyst, and similar. The A+ is an IT “rite of passage” and an industry standard for beginner certification exams.
Some IT Experience
If you already have at least nine months of experience in the IT field, maybe it’s time to upgrade your knowledge or choose a branch of IT to specialize in. The following CompTIA exams will help you narrow your scope of knowledge to an area you want to become an expert in.
- CompTIA Network+
The Network+ is meant for those who wish to work in IT infrastructure. It covers everything you need to know about networks, such as configuring, managing, and troubleshooting. It also has a section on network security standards and protocols that will prove useful.
With this certification, you will solve networking issues, manage enterprise networks, and troubleshoot network devices. It is an excellent foundation for those who want to work as administrators, systems analysts, network support engineers, and similar.
- CompTIA Security+
If you’re not enthused about networks and would instead work in cybersecurity, then Security+ is the obvious certification exam for you. This is an exam recognized by the US Department of Defense, meaning that you will have the necessary credential to work in cybersecurity once you pass it.
With this training course, you will learn how to identify and respond to security threats, assess an enterprise’s security protocols, and provide suggestions for improvement, monitor and secure environments, including cloud, mobile, and IoT, etc.. Essentially, your knowledge will be enough to land you a position as a security analyst, cybersecurity specialist, and possibly even security engineer.
Finally, CompTIA also provides a set of master-level certifications that only those with several years of working experience in IT should attempt to obtain. These exams are aimed at server administrators, specialists in operating systems, cybersecurity, and penetration testing.
- CompTIA Server+
The Server+ CompTIA certification exam enhances the skills necessary for advanced network and administration work. Server virtualization, security, and storage are the exam objectives here.
- CompTIA Linux+
Linux is an operating system used in all sorts of IT sectors, including but not limited to DevOps, cloud computing, cybersecurity, emerging tech, and more. The Linux+ CompTIA cert provides you with the skills necessary to master this versatile operating system.
- CompTIA Cloud+
Statistics suggest that more than 90% of companies have moved to some cloud storage for their vast amounts of data. Becoming an expert in cloud computing with the Cloud+ CompTIA certificate opens the doors for secure employment in the future, as this IT branch will only continue expanding.
- CompTIA CySA+
The CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst certification builds on your existing cybersecurity knowledge and prepares you to face advanced security threats. It is an excellent complimentary certification for the offensive skills you will gain from the CompTIA PenTest+ cert.
- CompTIA PenTest+
PenTest is short for penetration testing, a technique used by cybersecurity specialists to breach a system to discover its vulnerabilities. Penetration testers are also called white hackers or ethical hackers. This cybersecurity certification goes well with the CySA+ defensive skills exam.
- CompTIA CASP+
One of the final CompTIA certs is the CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner. With this training, you will gain specialized knowledge about blockchain technology, encryption, and mobile security, among others.
Which CompTIA credential you should get first is determined by your level of IT experience and knowledge, as well as what branch you want to specialize in. The good news is that CompTIA offers stackable certifications, meaning you can start from the most basic ones and work your way to the top until you become an expert in your field.
If you’d like more information on CompTIA exams and how to pass them, please contact MyComputerCareer. We can give you a free assessment of your skills and recommend a program that is might be right for you.