Cybersecurity is a thriving field in the IT industry. It’s no wonder that so many people are interested in beginning a career in this specialized IT area. As threats and cyberattacks continue to increase, as well as the number of devices that are used today, businesses are looking for cybersecurity employees to help protect their digital assets and sensitive information from cyber criminals. They are seeking qualified and certified professionals to fill a deluge of open positions.
If you are interested in launching a career in cybersecurity, you’re going to need training and experience in IT, which includes obtaining IT certifications as you go. Many businesses require certain certifications as a qualification for employment, and companies from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, to government agencies look to CompTIA credentials as the gold standard.
Is a CompTIA A+ Certification Required for Cybersecurity Roles?
Before getting into what’s required for cybersecurity jobs, you first need to understand what the CompTIA A+ certification is. The A+ certification is an exam that validates your skills in core IT technologies including operating systems, data management, cloud management, as well as basic security skills like malware detection and removal, physical security, and privacy concerns.
If you have already been working in the IT industry, these may be areas that you are familiar with through experience. In that instance, you may not need to obtain the CompTIA A+ certification, instead moving on to other CompTIA certification exams that pertain to security. However, if you are just starting out in cybersecurity with little or no IT experience, it’s essential that you learn how computer systems work. You have to know how they work to understand how they might be hacked and how you can protect them. In that situation, starting with a CompTIA A+ certification is essential to build a deep understanding of computer systems, software, and operating systems.
Why Should You Earn a CompTIA Cybersecurity Certification?
Certifications, like the CompTIA A+ credential, are globally recognized and highly regarded. Having any CompTIA certification gives you a leg up on your counterparts who do not. There are some solid reasons to get into cybersecurity and to obtain certifications that validate your knowledge and skills. Some of those reasons include:
- Cybersecurity has a vast number of job openings. IT, in general, is a fast-growing industry jobwise, and cybersecurity is the IT field that is growing the fastest. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the number of cybersecurity analyst positions will go up by 32 percent by the year 2028. Additionally, right now there are over 500,000 open IT security-related jobs in the U.S. alone. This not only creates a significant shortage for businesses and organizations that need to protect their digital infrastructure and privacy, but it also creates a great amount of job security for cybersecurity professionals.
- Cybersecurity professionals are paid well. In the U.S., professionals in cybersecurity analyst roles typically average an annual salary of about $100,000. Salaries may be significantly higher in certain areas of the country, like the Washington D.C. metro area, where it is $125,316.
- Faster promotion and advancement. IT professionals who have certifications, especially those from CompTIA, are more likely to be promoted within their first year of work than noncertified employees. Additionally, CompTIA certification-holders are promoted nearly twice as often as noncertified professionals.
Another important benefit of the CompTIA A+ certification is that it is DoD (U.S. Department of Defense) compliant. That means that with the A+ certification, you will qualify to apply for government positions within the DoD. It’s an entry-level credential, but it’s a crucial one to have if you are looking for certain jobs at the DoD. Some of the potential job roles include IT Help Desk Tier l-lll, Desktop Support Analyst, IT Field Technician, IT Support Specialist, and others. While entry-level roles, they are critical to the protection of the DoD’s digital protection.
Final Thoughts about CompTIA A+ Certification
While there may be cybersecurity roles that you are eligible for that do not require the CompTIA A+ certification, there are many more that you can add to the list when you do have the credential. Becoming A+ certified is never a waste of time. It is evidence that you have the foundational knowledge that is required to secure an entry-level information security position.
As you continue on your cybersecurity career path, the A+ certification will serve as a springboard for further, more-specialized training and more advanced job positions. Having a CompTIA credential, of any kind, on your resume instantly makes you more appealing to hiring managers and recruiters of IT and cybersecurity professionals than those candidates who are not certified. Additionally, it will help you advance quicker and earn a healthy salary.