Get the Inside Scoop on CompTIA CySA+ from Three Beta Testers

Wondering what it’s like to take the new CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) exam? Hear firsthand from three beta testers about why they took it, how they prepared and what they thought.

04920 CySA ImageWondering what it’s like to take the new CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) exam? Hear firsthand from three beta testers about why they took it, how they prepared and what they thought.

Jack Haines

Jack owns Haines I.T. and consults with clients on a wide variety of technology challenges. He lives in Kansas City, Mo.

Why did you decide to take the CySA+ exam?

I love having certifications – I currently have 21 active IT certs – but I particularly love being one of the first people with a certification!

How did you prepare for the exam?

With some of the beta exams I've taken, there was no training material available, so I had to rely on my experience. With CompTIA CySA+, I was already planning to take CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP), so I just studied for CASP. Since the material overlapped, I took them both the same day (and thankfully, passed both).

Would you recommend CySA+ to others?

Yes, and I have, especially on the Reddit/r/CompTIA subreddit! I think it's a great add-on to CompTIA Security+ and certainly great for people looking to get CASP and/or Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certifications. Every certification you can add is one more thing that might set you apart from the countless other people who have applied. I think it's great to have a certification that goes past the general IT security of Security+ and focuses on the dangerous ocean of the internet!

Laura Malave

Laura Malave

Laura is the academic chair for the College of Computer and Information Technology at St. Petersburg College (SPC), Downtown/Midtown Campuses, in Tampa, Fla. She teaches and develops cybersecurity courses, co-leads the SPC Cybersecurity/Digital Forensics Lab and leads the College of Computer and Information Technology Club – Cybersecurity Student Meetups.

Why did you decide to take the CySA+ exam?

I have the CompTIA Security+ certification, and I’m interested in completing the CASP certification. I felt that CySA+ was a good stepping stone certification that would also validate hands-on/technical skills not covered in Security+.

How did you prepare for the exam?

I have been self-studying for CASP and EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker. I found that the study materials for these also prepared me for CySA+. My self-study consisted of prep books, information security-related podcasts, such as Security Now, and video training at ITPro.tv. Also, I am active in the local information security community and attend trainings and conferences.

Would you recommend CySA+ to others?

Yes. It is a great certification to take after Security+ and to use as a stepping stone for CASP and other advanced cybersecurity certifications. I am always interested in obtaining industry certifications, especially in cybersecurity. I am also very interested in keeping my skills up to date and learning new technologies. CySA+ has validated my hands-on and advanced skills in cybersecurity.

Nicholas Carrol

Nicholas Carrol

Nicholas is the systems administrator at the Florida State University (FSU) College of Medicine in Tallahassee and a lead adjunct applied cybersecurity instructor at Tallahassee Community College (TCC). By day he works on the infrastructure operations team at FSU, and by night he teaches two classes on applied cybersecurity in the workforce development program at TCC.

Why did you decide to take the CySA+ exam?

I hold Security+ and CASP, and I saw CySA+ being touted as a solid intermediary between those two certifications. I wanted to see for myself if it really was and if it was going to be relevant to real-world skills.

How did you prepare for the exam?

I think that teaching cybersecurity gives me a bit of an unfair advantage. My students all have an eye on passing certifications like Security+, or even something more advanced like CySA+, when they’ve completed their classes. Because of that, I have to make sure the fundamentals I’m teaching are strong and well ingrained into my own head so I can relay it well and the students leave with the knowledge and hands-on skills they need to be successful.

Since there weren’t any study guides to follow when I took the beta exam, I broke out my notes from CASP and EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker. I found the CySA+ exam to be a good challenge but one that could be conquered with appropriate study and experience.

Would you recommend CySA+ to others?

Absolutely. The real-world-scenario-style questions provide a great way for someone to demonstrate they have more than just the basic knowledge. It proves they have the critical thinking skills needed to apply that knowledge in the field.

This test is a great fit for someone who’s looking for a way to prove themselves as more capable than Security+ but who isn’t quite ready to tackle something as intense as CASP or Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP).

I didn’t see CySA+ as a direct way to further my career. I wanted to take it for the challenge and enjoyment found in verifying my own abilities. I actually wish this certification existed a few years ago, when I was looking for a way to show that I was ready to take on more responsibility in the field. I think it would have been a great stepping stone for my career then. After seeing the quality of the content for this exam and being able to contrast it with some of the other security exams I’ve taken, I really hope that the word spreads about CySA+.

Are you ready to try CySA+? Buy your exam today!

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