What is CompTIA? Everything You Need to Know

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For anyone working in IT, or even considering IT as a career path, one of the most valuable brands worth knowing about is CompTIA. Many organizations have CompTIA qualifications as prerequisites for certain roles, while others invest in CompTIA training to upskill staff in various areas of IT.

But what is CompTIA, and what does it have to do with technology and best practices?

You may be surprised to hear that, unlike ITIL and Agile, CompTIA is not a framework or even an approach. Rather, it is an organization: the Computing Technology Industry Association. CompTIA’s goal is to promote industry growth via training, certifications, education, market research, and philanthropy. While offering training in modern information technology, it also encourages innovation and creates opportunities by giving candidates what they need to succeed. The company’s approach is also vendor-neutral and independent, offering entirely agnostic information that does not rely on knowledge of individual frameworks or tools.

The CompTIA certification path covers everything from cybersecurity and emerging technology to legislation and compliance. It also covers the spectrum of experience and seniority, offering courses for total newcomers to IT along with high-level specialists in highly valuable fields. This has helped CompTIA become one of the most popular IT training organizations on the planet, with many Fortune 500 companies investing in CompTIA corporate training on a regular basis.

So, as an IT professional, what do you need to know about CompTIA? What has made the organization an authority in the world of IT? Let’s take a look at exactly what CompTIA has to offer.

How Does CompTIA Work?

CompTIA’s purpose is to offer a holistic training path for professionals, ensuring they can gain the exact skills and knowledge they need to qualify for roles in IT. It ‘works’ by offering a diverse certification path covering multiple topics and levels of expertise and providing training opportunities for candidates regardless of their current qualifications and levels of experience.

A key difference between CompTIA’s certification path and those offered by frameworks like ITIL 4 is a lack of any strict prerequisites. Looking at the path, you may assume that all CompTIA students must begin with CompTIA ITF+ before continuing incrementally. In fact, not a single CompTIA exam is locked in this way.

Does this mean that a beginner can use CompTIA to immediately qualify as a CIO? Well, not exactly. While there are no strict requirements, the exams do note the ‘Recommended Experience’ for candidates. This usually specifies other CompTIA courses as well as years of practical experience.

For example, the CompTIA CySA+ CS0-002 exam recommends candidates have ‘Network+, Security+ or equivalent knowledge’ as well as a ‘minimum of 4 years of hands-on information security or related experience.’ That is to say, a candidate should have training equivalent to Network+ and Security+ and the equivalent of four years of practical experience.

This may seem like splitting hairs, but it actually makes CompTIA training a more viable option. Knowledgeable and experienced professionals can still take their chosen exams without having to start from the very beginning. This makes it not only easier for candidates to earn the qualifications they need, but cheaper as well.

So, for beginners, CompTIA works by providing a clear training path to let them unlock entry-level careers in IT before building their training to advance into more specialized areas. For veterans, it helps them update and verify their skills. For both, CompTIA training is a great career advancement opportunity!

Taking the CompTIA Exams

Each CompTIA qualification has one or more associated exams. These typically contain a mixture of multiple-choice and performance-based questions, with the intention being to test both the knowledge and skills of each candidate.

The exams can be taken offline at a Pearson Vue Testing Center or via a CompTIA online exam. For the latter option, candidates are advised to run a system test to check their setup matches the requirements of the exam.

Students are also advised to visit individual CompTIA course pages for information on specific certification exams.

How Can CompTIA Help My Business?

As an organization, CompTIA is dedicated to advancing professional technological skills and insight. CompTIA training has the potential to benefit businesses in a number of ways:

  • Upskilling – Entry-level or pre-career employees can benefit greatly from using CompTIA to find their feet in IT. These days, almost every role within an organization requires at least some basic knowledge of IT, and CompTIA training can be a great way to ensure candidates are qualified. This also extends to more senior positions, as a company may decide that all candidates in areas like cybersecurity must meet the standards set by high-level CompTIA qualifications.
  • Comprehensive expertise – CompTIA syllabuses offer top-level insight and knowledge to help practitioners optimize the reliability, value, and strategic orientation of IT. Investing in CompTIA training is an excellent way for companies to equip themselves with the expertise required to remain competitive in the highly demanding Digital Age. It can also help essential employees update their skills and knowledge as areas like cloud computing and cybersecurity continue to evolve.
  • Retaining expertise – When an employer offers training to staff, it demonstrates a commitment to helping them advance in their careers. This is absolutely key to retaining valuable employees, especially those with skills in particularly high demand. Practical expertise – CompTIA is specifically designed for working professionals. The exams do not merely test a candidate’s knowledge but also their practical skills. By training candidates in this way, CompTIA enables them to start applying their training and creating tangible value far more quickly.
  • Up to date expertise – CompTIA syllabuses are updated extremely frequently (to the extent that CompTIA specifies far in advance when exams will go out of date). By investing in CompTIA training, companies gain the latest comprehensive insight on crucial areas like cybersecurity, the cloud, server management, and more.

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