The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), is a non-profit trade association, issuing professional certifications for the information technology (IT) industry. It is considered one of the IT industry's top trade associations. Based in Downers Grove, Illinois, CompTIA issues vendor-neutral professional certifications in over 120 countries. The organization releases over 50 industry studies annually to track industry trends and changes. Over 2.2 million people have earned CompTIA certifications since the association was established.
CompTIA was created in 1982 as the Association of Better Computer Dealers (ABCD). ABCD later changed its name to the Computing Technology Industry Association.
In 2010, CompTIA moved into its world headquarters in Downers Grove, Illinois. The building was designed to meet LEED CI Certification standards.
The CompTIA portal moved to a hybrid version of the open-access model in April 2014 with exclusive content for due-paying members. The move expanded the organization's reach to engage a broader, more diverse set of members and within a year, CompTIA's membership grew from 2,050 members to more than 50,000 in 2015. By the close of 2016, the organization boasted more than 100,000 members worldwide.
CompTIA launched the Dream IT program in 2014 to provide resources for girls and women in the United States interested in the IT industry. In October 2015, the program was expanded into the UK.
Skillsboost, CompTIA's online resource for schools, was launched in June 2015. It contained resources for students, parents and teachers to promote the importance of computer skills. CompTIA held its first annual ChannelCon Vendor Summit in 2015. The Vendor Summit is exclusive to people attending ChannelCon, the industry's premier conference for collaboration, education and networking. It addresses issues within the IT industry.
In January 2017, CompTIA launched an IT professional association built on its acquisition of the Association of Information Technology Professionals.
CompTIA administers its vendor-neutral certification exams through Pearson VUE testing centers.
The CompTIA "IT Fundamentals" certification covers foundational IT concepts, basic IT literacy, and terminology and concepts of the IT industry. It is considered the first step toward the A+ certification.
Professional level certifications
The CompTIA A+ Logo
The Network + Logo used for certified programs, repair shops, contractors, and technicians
A+: earned accreditation from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in 2008. A+ certification represents entry-level competency as a computer technician and is a vendor neutral certification that covers various technologies and operating systems. By 2014, over one million people worldwide had earned A+ certification. Expires in 3 years. Certification prior to January 1, 2011, is considered good-for-life (GFL) and does not expire.
Cloud+: released in October 2013 including both cloud computing and virtualization. Expires in 3 years.
CySA+: Cybersecurity Analyst; released in February 2017. The certification focuses on cyber-threat detection tools and analysis to identify vulnerabilities and risks. CSA+ was accredited by ANSI. In January 2018, the certification was renamed from CSA+ to CySA+ due to trademark issues. Expires in 3 years.
Linux+: CompTIA partnered with the Linux Professional Institute to create the Linux+ certification, which replaced CompTIA's original Linux+ certification in 2010. The certification covers Linux operating systems, from their installation and use to the basics of applicable free software and open sourcelicenses. It currently consists of two exams: the LXO-103 and LXO-104.
Network+: accredited by ANSI in 2008. The entry-level certification is used to measure skill as a network technician. Expires in 3 years. Certification prior to January 1, 2011, is considered good-for-life (GFL) and does not expire.
PenTest+: intermediate-level certification focusing on penetration testing. Released July 31, 2018, the PenTest+ covers risk analysis, threat detection, and penetration testing and ethical hacking tools and methodologies. PenTest+ is ANSI and ISO 17024 accredited and currently aligns with the DOD 8570 standard. Expires in 3 years.
Security+: also earned its ANSI accreditation in 2008. Security+ is an entry-level vendor-neutral security certification that builds off of the network security knowledge covered by the Network+ certification. Expires in 3 years. Certification prior to January 1, 2011, is considered good-for-life (GFL) and does not expire.
Project+: In 2001, CompTIA acquired the Project+project management certification program from the Gartner Group. The program, previously called "IT Project+", was updated in 2003.
Server+: focuses on server-specific hardware and operating systems, IT environments, disaster recovery and business continuity. It was developed in 2001, with updates released in 2005 and 2009.
Master level certification
"Advanced Security Practitioner certification" (CASP) is a certification intended to follow Security+. The CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner certification was accredited by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) on December 13, 2011. The CASP exam will certify that the successful candidate has the technical knowledge and skills required to conceptualize, design, and engineer secure solutions across complex enterprise environments. In March 2013, the Department of Defense approved the certification as a baseline certification accepted for Information Assurance Technical Level III, IS Manager Level II and IA Systems Architect and Engineer Levels I and II.
The "Certified Technical trainer" or "CTT+" certification is a vendor-neutral certification that is applicable to training professionals in all industries. Originally administered in 2001 through The Chauncey Institute, the CTT program was acquired by CompTIA and renamed as CTT+. It was created through a collaboration of the Information Technology Training Association, Inc. (ITTA) and the Computer Education Management Association (CedMA).
The CompTIA "Healthcare IT Technician" certificate focused on IT in the healthcare industry and was aimed at IT professionals who install and maintain electronic health record systems. It was retired in 2017.
In January 2018, CompTIA released stackable certifications:
CompTIA Infrastructure Career Pathway
CompTIA IT Operations Specialist (A+/Network+)
CompTIA Systems Support Specialist (A+/Linux+)
CompTIA Cloud Admin Professional (Network+/Cloud+)
CompTIA Network Infrastructure Professional (Network+/Server+)
CompTIA Linux Network Professional (Network+/Linux+)
The State & Local Government and Education (SLED) division of CompTIA is a consortium of executives from leading technology companies "focused on advancing the interests of the IT industry in the SLED market".
CompTIA established a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation called Creating IT Futures. In 2012, Creating IT Futures worked with the Wounded Warrior Project to provide 5,000 CompTIA certification testing vouchers to injured military veterans.
Previously, CompTIA marketed its flagship A+, Network+ and Security+ certifications as being valid for a lifetime. In January 2011, CompTIA changed the status of these certifications so that they would expire every three years. Under this proposal, certified individuals would have to re-certify for the exams or pay a yearly maintenance fee for a CEU (Continuing Education Units) system. CompTIA modified the guidelines so that only certificates received after January 1, 2011, would need to be renewed every three years; however, a certain amount of documented hours geared towards use of the certification will automatically renew the certification. The un-expirable certificates, issued before 2011, are officially called Good-for-Life, and getting a more updated (and expirable) certification does not replace the Good-for-Life one - the professional can have both.
^Shebli, Hessa Mohammed Zaher Al; Beheshti, Babak D. (2018). A study on penetration testing process and tools. 2018 IEEE Long Island Systems, Applications and Technology Conference (LISAT). pp. 1-7. doi:10.1109/LISAT.2018.8378035.
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