According to one report, 52% of employees want to learn new skills within the next year to advance their careers. If you're feeling stuck in your IT role, sharpening your current skills and developing new ones can help you find the momentum you want.
In this space, this often means pursuing advanced, job-specific certifications that can help you stand out. This includes the A+ Network+ Security+ Certification from CompTIA. What is this certification and could it be right for you?
Today, we're taking a closer look and sharing what you need to know before you get started.
What Is A+ Network+ or Security+ Certification?
The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is considered one of the top technology associations in the world. Founded in 1982, it sets certification standards for various IT support sectors, including hardware, devices, networks, and cybersecurity.
The CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+ sequence are known as stackable certifications. It covers the A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications students can take sequentially.
Benefits of A+ Network+ Security+ Certifications
This certification is recommended for IT personnel who want to build their careers in any of the following areas:
- Network security
- Computer support
- Computer networking
- Systems administration
Through the coursework required to obtain these certifications, you can learn the comprehensive knowledge and hands-on skills required to succeed in these IT roles. Each certification provides baseline skills that you need for each role. Here's a quick breakdown:
- CompTIA A+ 220-1101: Covers networking, mobile, and hardware
- CompTIA A+ 220-1102: Covers security and troubleshooting for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems
- CompTIA Network+ N10-008: Covers the basics of networking, infrastructure, cloud, and virtualization
- CompTIA Security+ SY0-601: Covers network security, business continuity, and risk mitigation
These can serve as a vital stepping stone in your IT career development. As you obtain each, you'll get closer to securing the job titles you want, from service desk analyst and junior IT auditor to network administrator.
Prerequisites for A+ Network+ Security+ Certification
Before you can take these CompTIA exams, there are a few prerequisites you'll need to complete first. Let's take a look at these so you know what to expect.
Technical Skills & Knowledge Requirements
You're much more likely to score well on these certification exams if you have baseline technical skills and knowledge. Much of this can be gained through hands-on work experience, especially skills required to perform the following actions:
- Mitigate threats
- Administer identity and access management
- Assess organizational security
In addition, you should also understand how cloud environments work and what steps you need to take when working in the cloud to ensure compliance with regulations.
Once those knowledge requirements are in place, it's time to consider the hardware and software requirements. We'll take a look at those in the next section.
You'll need a PC or Mac to take your A+ Network+ Security+ Certification exams. If you have a PC, the operating system should be Windows 10 or later, whereas macOS 10.6 or later is required for a Mac. Note that the A+ lesson on "Installing Windows" will require access to Windows 11.
In addition to these software requirements, you'll need the latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, access to Adobe Acrobat Reader, and a personal email account. All your software should be installed and fully operational before you begin each course. Check browser compatibility in advance to ensure there aren't any issues as you begin.
Other Preparations Needed Before Taking Exam
Before taking the A+ Network+ Security+ certification exam, being as prepared as possible is important. To get there, you can take an exam preparation program, such as our Official CompTIA A+ Core 1 and Core 2 Student Guide, which covers Exams 220-1101 and 220-1102 material.
As you learn this material, getting hands-on experience using online simulation resources and similar tools is also beneficial. These programs can help you prepare for the CompTIA exam and serve as a helpful stepping stone for your long-term career, especially if you plan to pursue graduate studies in cybersecurity!
Exam Details & Cost of Certification
Now that we've covered what to do before you start let's dive into the certification details. Before you sign up to take each exam, knowing what it will cover and cost is important. Here's the information to know.
Mobile Devices, Digital Book and Physical Books Options Available
When you're ready to start studying for the A+ Network+ Security+ certification, you can do so in multiple ways. These include:
- Mobile devices
- Digital books
- Physical books
You can access these online and use them to prepare for your exams. Think about the studying options that will fit into your schedule, and consider whether an online, in-person, or hybrid approach would work best for you. In addition to studying on your own, you can also consider taking a training course, such as our Official CompTIA Network+ Course, which teaches you the knowledge and skills you need to pass the exam.
Exam Cost and Access Control Overview
As you plan your certification budget, knowing the exam cost you can expect is helpful. Each exam has its own associated cost, and the price can fluctuate depending on the features you add to your exam bundle.
Here's a quick breakdown of the current for each exam without a bundle.
- CompTIA A+: $246
- CompTIA Network+: $358
- CompTIA™ Security+: $392
If you choose to get the more comprehensive certification package, other fees are required to cover those additional services. These may include:
- Exam voucher
- Required books
- eLearning resources
These certifications can be expensive, so many people seek help from third-party funding. Common third-party funding options include your current organization, designated grants, or military discounts.
To ensure access control for registration, you must create a test account with your testing center. Once you do so and schedule your testing appointment, you will receive an emailed exam confirmation. Print and bring that with you when you take your exam.
Business Days After Enrollment to Take the Exam
When you sign up to take your A+ Network+ Security+ certification exam, it helps to choose a date that isn't too far out. You want to ensure you retain all the information you just learned! However, you also shouldn't feel rushed.
Thankfully, there isn't a specific number of business days that you're required to wait before taking the exam. In fact, you can schedule yours immediately after enrollment!
Content Structure of the Exams
It's easier to study when you have a general breakdown of how each exam's content will be structured. Let's take a look at a general overview of topics to know.
Security Focus Topics Covered in Each Exam
Cybersecurity attacks are on the rise, with a 38% increase in global attacks from 2021 to 2022. While only one certification includes the word "Security," each exam has its own security focus topics. These include:
- CompTIA A +: Learn how to identify and protect against security vulnerabilities for devices and network connections
- CompTIA Network+: Learn higher security concepts and network attacks to safeguard networks against threats
- CompTIA Security+: Learn how to apply and deploy security techniques, threat hunting, and vulnerability scans
IT professionals should understand all of these topics if they hope to pursue a successful career in cybersecurity. Other key concepts include security information and event management (SIEM) functions, security orchestration automation and response (SOAR), and zero-day threat identification and mitigation.
Wide Range of Skills Tested on Each Exam
CompTIA tests students on various skills throughout the A+, Network+, and Security+ certification exams. As you prepare for each exam, you'll learn technical skills you can use in your career.
You'll expand your understanding of the IT space as you learn more about it and fulfill the knowledge requirements necessary to sit for your exam.
Core Concepts Tested on Each Exam
You wouldn't go into a classroom test without a general idea of what it might be about, would you? In the same way, we recommend brushing up on these core concepts!
Detailed Breakdown of What's Tested in Each Section
Here are the topics and sub-topics covered in each section of the A+ Network+ Security+ Certification exams.
- CompTIA A +: Basics for IT support roles, virtualization and cloud computing, troubleshooting
- CompTIA Network +: Fundamentals, troubleshooting, and tools for network administrators,
- CompTIA Security +: Identify and manage threats, complete risk management procedures, understand concepts of cryptography
Each exam includes its terminology, protocols, and access control procedures. These measures are in place to protect privacy, ensure data integrity, and support identity management.
Propel Your Career With These CompTIA Certifications
Are you tired of feeling stuck in your IT career? The A+ Network+ Security+ Certifications can help you learn new skills and perfect new concepts. You'll learn how to excel in your role and have the opportunity to demonstrate your proficiency to current and future employers.
At ProTech, we provide a range of enterprise IT training and consulting services. We'd love to help your team members take their next steps toward pursuing these CompTIA certifications. Browse our full course catalog today to learn more!