CYSA+: Getting Started

Preparing for the CYSA+ certification.

Anthony Isherwood

3 minute read

Certification Overview

The Content

The Cybersecurity Analyst+ content is centered around, you guessed it, knowledge used for cyber security analysts. This certification covers a wide variety of topics such as incident response, the forensic process, business continuity, tool usage, vulnerability management, and compliance. This content and exam is considered intermediate, which Comptia considers a step above entry level. Given that I’ve been an analyst on some level for several years now, I figured I’d give it a shot!

Study Resources

I’m currently most of the way through the CYSA+ book written by Troy McMillan. The book is pretty well written with only a couple typos. Given that I haven’t taken the exam, I can’t speak to how well the book prepares you for the exam, but it does come with a 10% off voucher for the exam as well as a couple practice tests. You can also buy additional practice tests on the Pearson site at a pretty steep discount.

All in all, I’ll just be reading through the book and taking all the practice tests I can get my hands on.

The Exam

In the exam, you’ll have 165 minutes to answer 85 multiple choice questions. The scoring is a bit odd, the passing score is a 750 on a scale of 100-900. I believe this equates to about an 81% passing score. They recommend 3-4 years of experience, however, I’d imagine anyone would be able to dive into this cert and learn its contents right after the Security+.

There’s a couple different pricing options. If you’re not 100% sure you’ll pass on the first time, I’d recommend getting the “Deluxe Bundle”, which includes a retake and access to Comptia’s CertMaster platform. I’ve heard CertMaster is pretty terrible helping you prepare for the exam, but any additional resources is a plus in my book. The cert retake alone is worth the 80 dollar up-charge in my opinion.

Side note: If you need any kind of DOD requirements, this cert fulfills 8570.01-M.

Thoughts So Far

The content is pretty decent so far. As I’m reading through the book, I’ve been able to reinforce what I already know and fill in gaps where I was a little shaky on information I haven’t learned on the job. There is a negative stigma around Comptia certs, mostly around the emphasis on theory and lack of practical application in their tests. While that is a valid critique, I do think testing on theory provides a very nice groundwork for new entries into the field.

I’m mostly taking this to renew my Security+, but I’m surprised at what I’ve been able to get out of the content so far. I plan on taking the cert around mid September 2018, and I’ll definitely be posting an update with my finished thoughts on the certification.