So, you've gained IT experience and your foundational certifications such as CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+, and you're trying to decide your next step in advancing your IT career. For most people following a cybersecurity career path CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) certification is the next logical step.
But what is CySA+ and why should you take it?
What is CySA+ Certification?
CySA+ is, in the words of CompTIA itself:
"an IT workforce certification that applies behavioral analytics to networks and devices to prevent, detect and combat cybersecurity threats."
Why should you consider taking this certification? The answer to that is decidedly dependent upon what you want to accomplish in the Information Technology/Security field, but foremost know that it is a very highly sought-after certification in the industry today. That equates to money.
A quick search on Indeed.com brings up 200 plus job vacancies in Maryland that require CySA+ certification. The salaries range from $50,000-$125,000 depending on experience and qualifications. These include positions in well known companies like Peraton in Beltsville, MD, CGI Group in Fort Meade, MD, and Edgewater Federal Solutions.
The higher the demand for something, the more it is worth. If you intend to make the IT field a career, this certification is a necessary stepping-stone in today's information-centric world. This is the fourth in the CompTIA series of courses designed to prepare students for real-world issues that you will need to be able to manage quickly and confidently if you are to succeed.
What is the CySA+ Exam Like?
This course is different from the previous three in that it requires you to know how to use many of the available tools to pass the exam. That means you need firsthand experience with these tools to understand what they do and how they do it.
Performance-based questions are more evidence in this exam than previous exams in the series, proving the exam-taker can perform needed steps to alter an outcome or discover a threat.
This exam indicates the turn to prove real-world abilities through the testing venue. Many other vendors have been doing this for some time. CompTIA sees the viability of this approach in this topic and indeed employs it in this exam. It has only been available for five years, so it is new to the industry. It was designed to fill that need for analytics mentioned above.
Take a look at our CySA+ training class and you’ll see all the specific areas the certification addresses, designed to enhance your abilities to discover Indicators of Compromise (IOCs). It will also answer exam length and time questions. Of interest in all exams is how much each section or objective is covered. The higher the percentage stated, the more questions you may see.
Is CySA+ Certification Worth It?
Taking this certification course and passing the exam highlights your abilities to prospective employers like no other. It indicates you know many of today's tools and tool sets that have been developed specifically for the cybersecurity arena.
This area of interest has grown significantly in the last few years because of the evolving expertise of hackers and the impact that expertise can have on your enterprise. Proving your ability to understand and find/prevent/highlight hacker activity is of utmost importance to today's organizations. That is one of the reasons this is such a highly sought-after certification.
Possessing this certification gives you something else very seldom mentioned but very necessary to succeed in this industry. Confidence. When you are confident in your abilities, you are more effective and productive. Having attained this level puts you at an intersection that provides several more specialized avenues to move forward. Penetration tester, Certified Ethical Hacker, Forensic Investigator are all paths forward from the CySA platform.
How Can CySA+ Diversify My Career Options?
Remember my initial comment about why take this cert? It depends where you want to go. You could also decide to move over to the infrastructure pathway if you have had enough of the cybersecurity pathway. If you want to manage an IT organization someday, having this important knowledge and experience will make you a much better manager than someone who has never done the job.
This certification is accredited by the American National Standards Institute, the ISO 17024 standard. The DOD also approves it for Directive 8140/8570.01.M. (The DoD directive specifies knowledge needed before you can work on government/military IT systems.) Being recognized by all these organizations is important because it validates the course and exam contents relative to real-world needs.
Adherence to Directive 8140 and 8570 are particularly important in Maryland, with many large military organizations headquartered in and around the Washington DC region. Many Maryland based employers such as Peraton, IPKeys Technologies, and Alesig Consulting, are looking for qualified staff to work on government contracts, so need applicants to conform to federal cybersecurity standards.
Take Advantage of the Cybersecurity Skills Gap
The last reason I want to state why you might be interested in taking this course and exam is that the industry has hundreds of thousands of open positions, and they cannot find qualified people to fill them. The need is there. The money is there, the only thing missing is you!
TrainACE has offered the CySA+ course since its' availability. Day, night, and weekend (Saturday) classes are available. I highly recommend that you investigate this amazing course and think about how completing this course and exam could position you and your future in the IT industry. If you have already completed the primary three, A+, Network+ and Security+, this course is the next logical step to take, and it can be of extreme value to your future.