CompTIA Security+ vs CySA+

CompTIA CySA+ vs Security+: Best Cert for Your Career

Okay, let’s get real about CompTIA CySA+ vs Security+. Honestly, these two certifications aren’t really comparable. Security+ is for beginners, and CySA+ is more advanced and suited for those with a few years of experience.

Should you climb the security career ladder with Security+ or dive deep with CySA+? This article will unpack what each certification offers, the experience level they target, and how they impact your career path. Considering both? We’ll delve into that, too!

We’ll cover who they’re for, what the exams are like, the boost they give your career, and reveal the ideal path for skyrocketing your cybersecurity career!

Table of Contents

Overview of Certifications: Security+ and CySA+

One of the most recognized certifications in the IT security world. Backed by the respected Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), they’ll give you the skills to protect organizations from today’s cyber threats.

Security+: If you’re new to cybersecurity, this is your starting line. It covers a ton of security basics, giving you the strong foundation you need to understand the bigger picture. Think of it as you r must-have toolkit for security jobs and handling incidents head-on.

CySA+: The CySA+ assumes you already have some experience under your belt. It goes deeper, focusing on cybersecurity analysis – digging into data, spotting threats others might miss, and stopping those attacks. If analyzing security data sounds exciting, this certification can level up your career.

What They Share:

  • Versatility: Both certifications don’t focus on specific brands, so your skills apply across different technologies – a big plus in the real world!
  • Real-World Prep:  They include hands-on exam questions that mimic the problems you’ll actually face on the job. Get ready for practical learning!

Key Difference:  Security+ gives you a wide view of cybersecurity, perfect for beginners. CySA+ helps you become a security analysis expert, ideal for those looking to specialize.

Target Audience and Prerequisites

Who Should Get Each Certification

  • Security+ is your starting point in cybersecurity. It’s great for IT pros who want a solid understanding of the big picture and a strong foundation in security practices. It’s perfect if you work with systems and networks, provide advice on security, or want to break into the field.
  • CySA+ is not just a certification; it’s a testament to your practical cybersecurity skills. It assumes you already have a solid grasp of the basics and some hands-on experience. With CySA+, you’ll master the art of analyzing security data, identifying hidden threats, and swiftly neutralizing them. It’s the logical next step for Security Analysts, Security Operations Center (SOC) professionals, and threat intelligence experts, equipping you with the skills to excel in your role.

What You Need to Get Started

  • Security+: There are no complex requirements, but CompTIA recommends a couple of years of experience managing IT systems with a focus on security. A background in networking (like you’d get with the CompTIA Network+ cert) is a significant plus.
  • CySA+: CompTIA expects you to have a stronger foundation. Aim to get the Network+ and/or Security+ certifications first, and have at least a few years of hands-on security experience under your belt. This helps ensure you’re ready to handle the advanced analysis skills CySA+ covers.

Important Note: Neither certification focuses on specific vendor, making your skills valuable across different jobs. The main difference is in the experience needed for each, which matches different career paths in cybersecurity.

Exam Breakdown

Both the Security+ and CySA+ exams are serious tests designed to make sure you don’t just know security concepts but can also apply them to real problems. Here’s what you need to know:

Feature Security+ CySA+
Target Audience New to cybersecurity, broad foundation Some experience, specialized analysis skills
Exam Code SY0-701 (Updated: November 7, 2023 ) CS0-003 (Updated June 2023)
Duration 90 minutes 165 minutes
Question Types Multiple-choice, hands-on simulations Multiple-choice, hands-on simulations
Max Questions 90 85
Content Domains
  1. Attacks, Threats, Vulnerabilities (24%)
  2. Architecture & Design (21%)
  3. Implementation (25%)
  4. Operations & Incident Response (16%)
  5. Governance, Risk, Compliance (14%)
  1. Security Operations (33%)
  2. Vulnerability Management (30%)
  3. Incident Response & Management (20%)
  4. Reporting & Communication (17%)
Passing Score 750 (on a scale of 100-900) 750 (on a scale of 100-900)

Taking the Test

  • Options: You can take both exams online (from the comfort of home) or at a Pearson testing center. Pick what feels best for you.
  • Prep: To ace these exams, it’s usually a combo of studying, taking courses, and getting real-world experience. CompTIA has study guides, videos, and practice exams to boost your chances.

Key Difference

Security+ is your entry-level cert if you’re new to cybersecurity. It covers a wide range of basics. CySA+ is more advanced, proving your analysis skills are sharp for specialized security jobs. It’s best if you already have some experience in the field.

Skills and Knowledge Areas

Security+ and CySA+ certify you have the right cybersecurity skills, but each focuses on different areas to match different career paths.


The Big Picture: This certification proves you understand the wide range of threats and how to protect against them.

Skills you’ll learn: Spotting different types of attacks and weak points

  • Managing risk by making systems and networks more secure
  • How to react quickly and effectively when security incidents happen
  • The basics of encryption to protect sensitive information
  • Laws and rules you must follow to keep data safe and private

Analysis Expert: This certification shows you can dig deep into security data, spotting and stopping even advanced threats.

Skills you’ll learn: 

  • Analyzing data to pinpoint odd behavior that might signal malware.
  • Understanding security logs to uncover potential attacks.
  • Advanced incident response – from finding the problem to fixing it and reporting what happened.
  • Finding and fixing system vulnerabilities (weak spots).
  • Proactively hunting for threats that slip past normal security tools.

Hands-on Skills

Both certifications include hands-on exam questions that mimic real-life security situations – you’ll have to solve problems, not just answer questions!

Is Security+ a Prerequisite for CySA+?

CompTIA Cybersecurity Career Pathway

No, Security+ is not a strict requirement for CySA+. While it gives you a great foundation, you can still succeed on the CySA+ exam with the right preparation, even if you haven’t taken Security+. However, the CompTIA CySA+ certification is designed to be a natural progression from CompTIA Security+ or equivalent experience. 

Things to Consider:

  • Extra Study: You might need to spend more time learning some of the security basics typically covered in Security+.
  • Your Experience: If you already have cybersecurity experience, you may find preparing for CySA+ easier, even without the Security+ certification.
  • Employer Requirements: Some jobs might prefer you have Security+, especially government positions. Always check the specific job listings.

Bottom Line: The decision is yours! If you’re comfortable with a bit of extra study or already have some security experience, feel free to tackle CySA+ directly.

Are There Added Benefits to Obtaining Both Security+ and CySA+ Certifications?

comptia cysa+ vs security+ Stackable Certifications

Yes, there are definitely advantages to getting both! Here’s why:

  • Strong Foundation: If you’re new to cybersecurity, Security+ gives you the essential basics. This makes learning the more advanced CySA+ material much easier.

  • Stackable Certifications: CompTIA rewards you for getting multiple certifications! Having both Security+ and CySA+ earns you the “CompTIA Security Analytics Professional” title. Add the CASP+ certification, and you become a “CompTIA Security Analytics Expert.”

  • Career Boost: These certifications combined prove you have a wide range of security knowledge – from broad protection skills to specialized threat analysis. This makes you a highly attractive candidate for many cybersecurity jobs.

Bottom Line: While you can succeed with just one, getting both Security+ and CySA+ offers a well-rounded skillset and demonstrates your commitment to professional development in cybersecurity.

CompTIA CySA+ vs Security+: Job Roles and Respective Salaries

Here’s a table displaying the job titles and their average salaries in the USA as of May 2024, according to, for CompTIA Security+ and CySA+ certification holders. Keep in mind that these figures may vary depending on where you live—for example, a Security Architect in large cities may earn more than those in smaller towns to compensate for the cost of living. Other factors that can influence your compensation include your education level and previous experience.

CompTIA Security+ Job Roles and Respective Salary
CompTIA CySA+ Job Roles and Respective Salary

CompTIA CySA+ vs. Security+: Exploring the Job Market Landscape

security+ jobs compared to cysa+ jobs

While CompTIA Security+ is an entry-level certification, often leading to a broader range of job opportunities. Conversely, CompTIA CySA+, a mid-level certification, may have a more specialized set of potential roles. It’s important to remember that the number of job openings alone shouldn’t dictate your certification choice. Consider your long-term career goals and which certification best aligns with them. 

Here’s a brief overview of current job demand (as of May 1st, 2024) for both certifications based on job postings in the United States.

Job Platform CySA+ Security+
LinkedIn 445 57,646 700+ 3,000+
SimplyHired 767 3,635

CySA+ vs Security+: Which Certification Wins?

Choose Security+ over CySA+ if you’re starting your cybersecurity career without prior experience. Security+ is globally recognized and versatile. It’s easier to pass and strengthens your resume regardless of whether you’re interested in offensive or defensive cybersecurity. If you plan on certificate stacking, start with Security+ before pursuing CySA+.

CySA+ is ideal for those looking to specialize in analytics, particularly if you already have Security+. It provides a strong foundation and essential knowledge for aspiring security analysts. However, Security+ is generally more versatile and broadly applicable to most professionals.

1 thought on “CompTIA CySA+ vs Security+: Best Cert for Your Career”

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