CySA+: Why become certified and what to expect from certification

Daniel Brecht
October 4, 2023 by
Daniel Brecht

Although the complexity of cyberattacks continues to escalate, the human factor is still one of the most important elements in protecting information systems. It is also important in safeguarding the integrity of networks and in ensuring the defense of proprietary digital information and corporate data so that they do not fall into the hands of malicious hackers, cybercriminals or even foreign governments.

A new generation of cybersecurity analysts is already in the making to detect attacks and gather and analyze evidence. These professionals will be asked to keep up with ever-changing threats, as criminals diversify their methods and tactics. 

Earn your CySA+, guaranteed!

Earn your CySA+, guaranteed!

Get hands-on experience and live expert, instruction. Enroll now to claim your Exam Pass Guarantee!

Cybersecurity analysts (CSAs) can be an asset to any organization because they can design security integration solutions with analytics tools to aid detection and response to incidents. They utilize behavioral threat assessment tools to consider risks to their organizations' information systems while also ensuring business continuity and availability of data and services; what’s more, they identify patterns and expose anomalies that could indicate a cyberattack and then take action, proactively, against malicious events before they develop.  

With an expected substantial increase in the demand for these types of professionals, this is the right time to enter the field. So, how does an IT practitioner become a cybersecurity analyst? 

How to be a cybersecurity analyst 

Traditional degrees will always be important to form well-rounded professionals, but more and more practical skillfulness, hands-on training and continuous knowledge will be key to the success of one’s career. Many CSAs have computer science or cybersecurity degrees, but relevant background experience, training and the right certifications are often more important in securing a job in this growing field.  

CompTIA launched the first version of its Cybersecurity Analyst (CSA+) certification on February 15, 2017; the aim was to set the baseline standards for required knowledge and to aid in defining the duties and responsibilities of what was a fairly new figure. In 2018, the acronym was changed to CySA+ due to trademark infringement issues, and a second version was released on April 21, 2020.  

This vendor-neutral cybersecurity certification focuses on applying behavioral analytics to improve the overall state of IT security. Professionals are tested on proper configuration of threat detection tools and on performing data analysis and interpreting results to identify possible vulnerabilities, threats and risks to an organization, as well as compliance regulations. Basically, the CompTIA’s CySA+ certification sets the benchmarks for what a cybersecurity analyst must know to mitigate a threat's damage by implementing network monitoring tools, interpreting data and devising a response strategy. 

There are several reasons for choosing a CySA+ certification: 

  • CySA+ certified skills are in demand, as per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showing CySA+ as being one of the fastest-growing job categories in the U.S., with 35 percent overall growth expected by 2031.  

  • CySA+ is globally recognized and is ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024-accredited. It also meets the requirements of the US Department of Defense directive 8140/8570.01-M. 

  • CySA+ provides solid earnings potential. Certification Magazine’s 2023 Salary Survey reports an average base salary for U.S. professionals of $110,250 and $94,590 worldwide.  

  • CySA+ is industry-supported and its content is based on a combination of industry-wide survey feedback and contributions from subject-matter experts. Organizations that contributed to the development of the exam include the US Navy, DoD, AWS and Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.  

Getting CySA+-certified: Validation of knowledge, skills and experience 

While there is no required prerequisite, CySA+ is intended to follow CompTIA Network+, Security+ or build on equivalent experience. The CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) exam, in fact, has a technical, hands-on focus. Those who earn the certification will demonstrate understanding of specific security issues, including the ability to analyze results of network reconnaissance and to use cybersecurity tools and technologies for responses and countermeasures. In particular, as mentioned in the official website, the CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst+ certifies knowledge of a data-driven approach to information security and verifies that successful candidates do have the skills required to configure and use threat detection tools and processes to identify, contain, mitigate and remediate vulnerabilities.  

Those who prepare for the test can refresh/gain behavioral analytics skills for the purpose of performing vulnerability analysis and remediation across IT infrastructures and platforms to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA) in accordance with work centers’ information assurance and security policies, procedures and guidelines. 

The CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) certification is built to mirror the current job roles of security analyst professionals at the intermediate level. More than other certifications, it seems to be strictly linked to the job market and the new requirements created by advances in information security. 

What to expect from the CySA+ exam and how to prepare 

  • Exam code CS0-002 retires on December 5th, 2023Exam code CS0-003 is effective on June 6, 2023. 
  • This exam consists of a maximum of 85 multiple-choice and performance-based questions with 165 minutes to complete it. Topics include prevention, detection and opposing cybersecurity threats and, in particular, malware, and advanced persistent threats (APTs).  
  • Passing score: 750 (on a scale of 100-900).  
  • Price of exam: $392 USD.  
  • Prerequisites for exam: Network+, Security+ or equivalent knowledge. Minimum of four years of hands-on information security or related experience.  

Plenty of preparation resources are available online, including CompTIA’s study material, such as the exam prep to quickly assess what you already know and still need to learn; lab exercises that align real-world scenarios to the exam objectives. In addition, an available eBook — The Official CompTIA CySA+ Self-Paced Study Guide — is designed to be an effective training tool for self-study learners. 

When you're ready for the CySA+ exam, buy the test through the CompTIA Marketplace and then schedule to take the exam through Pearson VUE. To ensure you'll pass the test, consider CySA+ training from CompTIA partners like Infosec. Some boot camps, like Infosec's, also offer onsite exam proctoring.  

CySA+ salary and job outlook 

According to PayScale, a cybersecurity analyst earns an average annual salary of anywhere from $52,000 to $116,000. Of course, figures vary according to geographical location, industry and experience. Certified CySA+ pros might be offered higher salaries than non-certified counterparts or might be able to secure higher positions. 

Of the many skills these professionals have to demonstrate, those that have a direct impact on the pay include experience in security testing and auditing, strong familiarity with security policies and procedures as well as security intrusion detection.  

Earn your CySA+, guaranteed!

Earn your CySA+, guaranteed!

Get hands-on experience and live expert, instruction. Enroll now to claim your Exam Pass Guarantee!

CySA+ job credential holders can be important IT team members, being the first line of defense in diminishing cyber threats, and this certification is often a preferential title even for many entry- to intermediate-level positions. 


Given the highly competitive employment market for skilled IT security professionals, many reasons exist to get certified to ensure a better employment situation.  

Certifications like the CySA+ can make you more marketable to employers. They validate foundation-level knowledge and skills necessary to achieve cybersecurity mastery and grow in a highly demanding career. 

For more on CySA+, visit the Infosec CySA+ hub and watch our webinar, CompTIA CySA+ certification (CS0-003) changes: Everything you need to know.

Daniel Brecht
Daniel Brecht

Daniel Brecht has been writing for the Web since 2007. His interests include computers, mobile devices and cyber security standards. He has enjoyed writing on a variety of topics ranging from cloud computing to application development, web development and e-commerce. Brecht has several years of experience as an Information Technician in the military and as an education counselor. He holds a graduate Certificate in Information Assurance and a Master of Science in Information Technology.