Is the CompTIA CySA+ Exam Worth it?

The new CompTIA CySA+ exam syllabus recently launched moving the exam code from CS0-002 to CS0-003 so now might be a good time to work out if it’s worth taking the exam still.

In case you aren’t familiar with it, the CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) certification is an intermediate-level cybersecurity certification that validates the skills and knowledge required to perform the duties of a cybersecurity analyst. It is one of the most popular cybersecurity certifications available and, according to CompTIA, it is highly sought-after by employers in the cybersecurity industry.

What is the CompTIA CySA+ Exam About?

The CompTIA CySA+ exam covers a wide range of topics, including:
  • Security monitoring and analysis
  • Incident response
  • Threat hunting
  • Security architecture and design
  • Risk management

The exam is performance-based, which means that you will be asked to apply your knowledge and skills to solve real-world cybersecurity problems. You can get the CySA+ exam syllabus from the CompTIA website if you trade it for some information and your email address of course.

Who is the CompTIA CySA+ Aimed At?

The CompTIA CySA+ is aimed at IT professionals who have 2-4 years of experience in cybersecurity. It is also a good choice for IT professionals who want to transition into a cybersecurity career.

If you have zero experience in cybersecurity you have to weigh up the benefits vs the time and money you would need to invest. The exam fee alone is $392 and around half of the exam takers require two attempts to pass. You might struggle to get a job matching the skills if you have no previous experience.

If you want to get a break into network security then the CompTIA Security+ may well be the way to go.

How Does the CompTIA CySA+ Exam Work?

The CompTIA CySA+ exam is a 165-minute exam that is delivered in a Pearson VUE testing center. The exam consists of a maximum of 85 multiple-choice and performance-based questions. PBQs are practical scenarios where you need to demonstrate your skills by fixing a network security issue. The entire 101 Labs – CompTIA CySA+ lab course is designed to prepare you for this of course.

You book the exam and then sit it online or at a testing center. You answer the questions, solve the problems and then get your score right there. It’s a pass or fail exam but you will see your score which isn’t recorded on your certificate.

What Sort of Jobs Can You Get with the CompTIA CySA+ Certification?

The CompTIA CySA+ certification can help you get a variety of cybersecurity jobs, including:

  • Cybersecurity analyst
  • Security engineer
  • Incident response specialist
  • Threat hunter
  • Security architect

Benefits of Getting the CompTIA CySA+ Certification

The downside of course is cost and effort but there are a number of upsides of passing this certification exam.

  • Increased earning potential: Cybersecurity professionals with the CySA+ certification can earn an average of 10% to 15% more than those without the certification.
  • Improved job prospects: The CySA+ is a highly sought-after certification by employers in the cybersecurity industry. Having the certification can make you more competitive in the job market.
  • Career advancement: The CySA+ can help you advance your career in cybersecurity. The certification can open doors to more senior-level positions and higher-paying jobs.
  • Increased credibility: The CySA+ is a globally recognized certification that validates your skills and knowledge in cybersecurity. Having the certification can make you more credible to potential employers and clients.

If you are considering getting the CompTIA CySA+ certification, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • The CySA+ is an intermediate-level certification, so you will need to have some prior experience in cybersecurity.
  • The CySA+ exam is difficult, so you will need to study hard to prepare for it.
  • The CySA+ is a valuable certification, but it is not the only certification that you will need to advance your career in cybersecurity.

Salary Expectations for CompTIA CySA+ Certified Professionals

A recent salary survey by Skillsoft said that the average salary for CompTIA CySA+ certified professional is $121,043 per year. However, salaries can vary depending on experience, location, and job title. Some are making more and others less.

Remember that most CySA+ certified individuals have multiple certifications AND experience in the industry.

CompTIA CySA+ Syllabus Topics

The CompTIA CySA+ exam covers the following syllabus topics:

  • Security Operations (33%)
  • Vulnerability Management (30%)
  • Incident Response Management (20%)
  • Reporting and Communication (17%)

The % indicate how the topics are represented in the exam so it’s around double for Security Ops vs Reporting and Comms.

How to Prepare for the CompTIA CySA+ Exam

There are a number of resources available to help you prepare for the CompTIA CySA+ exam, including:

  • Official CompTIA CySA+ Study Guide
  • CompTIA CySA+ practice exams
  • CompTIA CySA+ training courses

I’ll presume you are on a budget and that your job isn’t paying for you to attend personal coaching so you can get by with a study guide and practice exams. We have a full theory and lab training course for CySA+ on our sister website or there is a labs and practice exam course on this one.

Preparation follows our usual recommendation of a daily session of:

  • Theory reading or watching videos
  • Taking practice exams
  • Doing hands-on labs

Using the theory, make your own cram guide up consisting of the core information, facts and figures including IEEE standards and any ports and protocols you need to understand.


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