At times it can be dizzying to figure out which IT certification path to take. There are so many different paths one can take to become certified and build a tech career. Some individuals will work towards a career in hardware repair and become an expert at working on server hardware and more. For that person, the best path is probably to start with the CompTIA A+ certification track, then maybe on to Network+ and other hardware related certifications. As a security professional, the best place to start would be the CompTIA Security+ cert and then work towards other security related certifications such as Certified Ethical Hacker, CISSP and others.
With so many paths available, it can be easy to get lost and end up doing something you don’t love. Fortunately, CompTIA has created CompTIA Career Paths that you can align to your career aspirations in order to get on track to doing what you love. Let’s take a look at the different CompTIA Career Pathways, find the one that suits you, and learn more about it.
CompTIA Core Skills Pathway
The Core Skills career pathway will really give you a good head start in the IT industry. The certifications in this career pathway are some of the best foundational IT certifications in the industry. Here is a look at the list of certs in the Core Skills pathway:
- CompTIA IT Fundamentals+
- CompTIA A+
- CompTIA Network+
- CompTIA Security+
The Fundamentals+ certification is considered by CompTIA to be a “pre-career” certification that will help you gain an understanding of your competency in the foundational topics of IT. If you are just starting in IT, there is no better certification than the Fundamentals+ cert. The other certifications have been covered extensively by myself in the past on ClearanceJobs.com, the best certifications for your money are Network+ and A+. Many organizations teach these classes as a combined class and then take the exams at the end of the course. This is a great pathway for beginners in the IT industry to go ahead and get your foot in the door.
Potential Jobs with comptia core skills:
CompTIA Infrastructure Career Pathway
Solid IT infrastructure is crucial in order for any organization to succeed. It is almost a given that in order to have a successful business you need a successful IT infrastructure built behind it. The Infrastructure Career Pathway provides you with certifications that will put you on the path to a successful career in infrastructure. Here is a list of the certifications that make up the Infrastructure Pathway:
- CompTIA Server+
- CompTIA Linux+
- CompTIA Cloud+
It is easy to see how these certifications would prepare you for a career in infrastructure. Infrastructure engineers need to know how to manage and maintain servers from a group of diverse vendors. Aside from managing the hardware aspects of the servers, the operating system also needs to be installed, configured and maintained. Having a good knowledge of operating systems such as Windows and Linux, will go a long way in helping to manage a large IT infrastructure which will likely have each OS in the datacenter. Cloud+ will give you a foundational understanding of cloud technologies such as cloud hosting, security and multi-tenancy. Cloud+ is the only vendor-neutral performance based cloud certification.
CompTIA Cybersecurity Career Pathway
Lastly, but definitely not least, the cybersecurity pathway can help you prepare for a career in security. Cybersecurity has become a hot career path within the last five years. A quick look at CyberSeek’s Cybersecurity Supply/Demand Heat Map and you can see that just about every state in the US is in dire need of cybersecurity professionals. In fact, CyberSeek points out that there are currently 504,316 cybersecurity job openings across the U.S. The list below makes up certifications in the Cybersecurity Career Pathway:
- CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+)
- CompTIA PenTest+ (brand new!)
- CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP)
The cybersecurity job market will continue to heat up as the demand for well trained security professionals grows. If you are interested in cybersecurity and you want a good start, this career pathway will help you on your way.
Make sure YOU chose the path!
I’ve laid out the three CompTIA Career Pathways that will help you kick start your career in IT. While it might be confusing or difficult to decide on which path suits you best, make sure that you are the one choosing the path. You can’t let your employer influence your choice, unless of course they are paying for it all. Either way, you need to be happy with the path you choose and commit to it long term. Certifications don’t come cheap, the significant investment in time and money should help you to commit to the path of your choice. Hopefully this post helps you narrow down your decision, feel free to reach out if you need further advice in the comments area. Good luck!