Hi there! With cybercrime damages projected to cost businesses a staggering $6 trillion annually by 2021, it‘s no wonder organizations are desperate for cybersecurity professionals with advanced skills to protect their systems and data. As an experienced IT pro, I‘m sure you‘ve noticed the soaring demand – and salaries! – for qualified security experts.
Let me introduce you to an certification that can launch your career to the next level: CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+). Achieving CASP+ certification validates that you have the specialized technical abilities to architect, engineer, integrate and implement security solutions across incredibly complex enterprise environments.
Sound appealing? In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll tell you everything you need to know about getting CASP+ certified, so you can determine if it‘s the right next step for you. Let‘s get started!
What Exactly is CASP+ Certification?
CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+) certification is the leading vendor-neutral certification for IT security professionals who apply advanced technical skills to design and implement cybersecurity solutions on an enterprise scale.
Specifically, attaining CASP+ certifies your expertise in:
- Architecting enterprise security operations and infrastructure
- Performing advanced enterprise risk and vulnerability analysis
- Researching, assessing and recommending security solutions
- Integrating security across enterprise-wide IT systems and networks
- Technical configuration and integration of complex security controls
Unlike foundational certs like Security+, CASP+ confirms you have the deep hands-on abilities and problem-solving skills to secure diverse, intricate enterprise environments.
With CASP+ after your name, companies will feel confident you can:
- Fully assess their organization‘s security gaps and risks
- Architect and integrate layered security controls tailored to their needs
- Adapt security programs to respond to a changing cyber landscape
- Align security initiatives with business goals and priorities
- Automate routine security tasks for efficiency
- Translate business requirements into effective technical solutions
- Lead projects and provide cybersecurity expertise
In short, CASP+ certifies you have the technical leadership skills to oversee enterprise cybersecurity strategy, architecture, engineering and management. It‘s ideal for security architects, lead engineers, cyber risk analysts and technical security directors.
What‘s on the CASP+ Exam?
Let‘s look at what you can expect on the actual CASP+ exam:
- Up to 90 questions during a 165 minute time limit
- Primarily multiple choice and performance-based questions
- Administered at Pearson VUE testing centers worldwide
- No scaled score – only pass/fail outcome
The performance-based questions are exciting. These present you with a hands-on cybersecurity scenario and you have to actually complete the task, not just answer a question about it. They evaluate your skills with things like configuring controls, analyzing outputs and logs, implementing security tools and more.
Content-wise, CompTIA breaks the CASP+ exam down into these topic areas:
- Enterprise Security (30%) – Architecture, techniques, analysis
- Risk Management (15%) – Mitigation strategies, compliance
- Research and Analysis (15%) – Industry trends, integration issues
- Computing/Communications/Business Integration (15%)
- Technical Integration of Enterprise Components (25%) – Tools, controls, automation
That covers the basics of the CASP+ exam structure and content blueprint. Next let‘s talk eligibility.
Meeting CASP+ Requirements and Prerequisites
Beyond just passing the CASP+ exam, CompTIA has strict hands-on experience requirements:
- 10 years cumulative IT administration experience
- At least 5 years cumulative hands-on security experience
CompTIA recommends the CASP+ for seasoned IT security professionals like security architects, lead engineers, technical project managers, and senior systems/network admins.
Due to its advanced technical nature, CASP+ is likely too challenging if you‘re newer to the cybersecurity field. CompTIA also suggests having Network+ and Security+ certs or comparable knowledge.
While there are no required certs, credentials like CISSP, CISM, and CCSP are great to have. But hands-on technical security experience is absolutely critical for CASP+.
Studying and Preparing for the CASP+
You‘ve probably heard CASP+ is one of the toughest CompTIA certs. Here are my tips to master the material:
1. Carefully Review Exam Objectives
Knowing the topics tested is critical. Download the objectives to shape your prep based on weak areas.
2. Take In-Depth Training Courses
Classroom or online training courses provide complete exam prep. Look for CompTIA authorized or well-reviewed options.
3. Study Books, Videos and Labs
Supplement courses with books, video content and hands-on labs focused on the exam objectives. Practice tests are extremely useful.
4. Join Online Study Groups
Connect with others studying for CASP+ on Reddit, Discord or Facebook for support, new ideas and to study.
5. Take Practice Exams
Mimic exam conditions with timed practice exams. Focus study on missed concepts and tech issues discovered.
6. Strengthen Technical Abilities
Many performance questions test hands-on technical skills. Hone them with labs, pen testing tools, forensics projects, etc.
7. Master Key Concepts and Terms
Know definitions and concepts like cryptography, risk management frameworks, SDLC phases, integration models, technical controls, common standards and regulatory acronyms.
8. Meet Experience Requirements
Have the needed 10 years IT and 5 years security experience before scheduling your exam. When ready, register ASAP before spots fill.
Helpful Exam Prep Resources
Here are some of my top CASP+ exam prep resources to consider:
CompTIA CASP+ Study Guide – $60 on Amazon. 700 pages covering all objective domains and concepts.
Skillset CASP+ Video Course – $99 for 75+ lessons. Highly engaging instructor and hands-on demos.
Infosec CASP+ Boot Camp – 5 day hands-on training by authorized instructors. Price varies by location.
Udemy Practice Exams – $12 for 600 practice questions and 4 mock exams. Great value!
Reddit CASP+ Community – Free advice and support from others preparing for CASP+.
My Best Tips for Exam Day Success
Here are my proven strategies to stay cool and pass the CASP+ on your first try:
- Arrive early, check in, get settled – avoid rushing.
- Carefully read every question AND possible answers before responding.
- Flag tricky questions to return to later so they don‘t eat up time.
- For performance questions, think through the steps methodically as if in a real scenario.
- Eliminate blatantly wrong choices first, then closely weigh remaining options.
- Pace yourself by not lingering too long on one section or question.
- Stay confident in your knowledge and experience! Trust your exam prep.
What‘s After CASP+ Certification?
Once you earn those 3 big letters after your name, an exciting new world of opportunities opens up!
You suddenly become a prime candidate for senior cybersecurity roles like security architect, lead engineer, incident response manager, and director-level leadership positions. CASP+ certifies you have the technical expertise to take charge of enterprise security!
To maintain your certification, you‘ll need to earn 75 continuing education units (CEUs) every 3 years through things like higher certs, courses, workshops, and training.
It‘s also crucial to continuously expand your skills and keep pace with new developments like cloud security, IoT, quantum computing impacts and more. But with your CASP+ certification, you‘ll have amazing career opportunities on this fast-moving field!
In closing, I hope this guide gave you a comprehensive overview of CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+) certification – from the exam breakdown to preparation tips and beyond.
Let me know if you have any other questions! I truly believe CASP+ can take your career to new heights by validating your advanced technical abilities to secure critical enterprise systems and data.
Wishing you the very best on your certification journey!