Career / Career Progression

CompTIA CySA+ Exam Walkthrough

by Team Nuggets
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Published on January 31, 2018

Cybersecurity analysts are in high demand in the corporate landscape as businesses seek to ensure their data stays safe. For IT professionals, getting the education and experience necessary to land a position in this field can be well worth it. The median salary for cybersecurity analysts is $90,000 in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In 2017, CompTIA introduced a new certification that bridges the skill gap between the foundational Security+ and expert-level CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) certifications.

CompTIA's new Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) certification equips IT security professionals with the credentials to land a position in this lucrative field, helping them incrementally move to the next level in their careers.

If you're an IT pro interested in taking the CompTIA CySA+ exam, here's what you need to know. 


Although there are no official prerequisites for the CySA+ exam, the certification is designed for those with hands-on cybersecurity experience. Professionals should have at least three to four years of experience in IT.

Looking at the certification pathway, the CySA+ exam falls after Network+, and the information on the exam builds on previous exams. Although experience can be substituted for previous certifications, IT professionals often find it easier to follow the path than skip certifications. 

Exam Topics

As with the other exams in the security series, the CySA+ exam is geared toward current industry trends, with a heavy emphasis on analytics and threat detection. The exam has 85 questions that are a combination of multiple-choice and performance questions. With performance-based questions, participants must complete tasks in simulated IT environments to test their knowledge in a real-world situation.

To receive a passing score, you will need to demonstrate an understanding of threat detection tools, including the ability to configure and use them. You'll also be tested on your data analysis skills and ability to use that information to identify threats to an organization accurately. The end goal of the CySA+ exam is to validate that you know what is necessary to keep a network safe from threats using today's popular tools.

How to Prepare for Exams

CompTIA provides prep materials to equip professionals with the information they need to succeed on the exam. Instructor-led training is available in some areas to give an in-person learning experience, with classes generally lasting five days for 35-40 hours. However, many students opt to study independently using the helpful training materials provided. These materials include online training, practice tests, and books. 

Real-World Application Tips

Once a professional achieves CySA+ certification, the credential is good for three years, with the option of recertifying every three years through additional training. Once the credential is part of your resume, you'll be able to capture the attention of IT recruiters and employers seeking security experts for their teams.

What sets CySA+ certification apart from other endorsements is its data analytics component, which helps meet the current market demand for IT professionals who can use the latest technology to monitor systems.

CySA+ certification is accredited and approved by the U.S. Department of Defense, adding additional value to the credential. Best of all, because it is a higher-level certification, those who have earned previous certifications in CompTIA's security certification path will automatically renew with CySA+ certification.

CySA+ certification can give an IT security professional the career boost necessary to reach the next level. With more businesses than ever seeking cybersecurity expertise, this certification puts professionals in a position of demand, allowing them to command top salaries and industry respect.


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