What Is CySA+?

What Is CySA+

CySA+ stands for CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst+. It is a globally recognized certification that validates a candidate’s skills in applying behavioral analytics to cybersecurity. The CySA+ credential is vendor-neutral and covers the most important foundations for building a successful career in cybersecurity.

The cybersecurity industry is rapidly evolving, and it can be difficult to keep up with the latest trends and technologies. The CySA+ certification is designed to help candidates stay ahead of the curve by teaching them how to use data-driven techniques to identify and mitigate cybersecurity threats.

In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the CySA+ exam, including what it covers, what skills you can expect to learn by preparing for it, and what the exam looks like.

About CySA+

The Cybersecurity Analyst+ (CySA+) certification is provided by CompTIA – the Computing Technology Industry Association. It is an intermediate-level credential that demonstrates a candidate’s ability to configure and use threat detection tools, perform data analysis, interpret results, and identify vulnerabilities, threats, and risks to an organization.

The CySA+ certification is intended for IT professionals who work in cybersecurity roles, such as security analysts, incident response specialists, or security engineers. It is also a good option for candidates who are looking to move into a cybersecurity role from another IT discipline.

The CySA+ credential is recognized by the Department of Defense (DoD) and meets the requirements of the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). This means that CySA+ certified professionals can work in government agencies and for contractors that handle sensitive information.

What does CySA+ cover?

The CySA+ exam covers a broad range of topics related to cybersecurity analysis.

Once again, we reiterate that these topics are vendor-neutral. What does that mean, exactly?

Unlike many other IT certifications, the CySA+ is not associated with any particular vendors or products. This means that the skills you learn while preparing for the exam will be applicable regardless of the tools and technologies you encounter in your day-to-day work.

Here are some key areas that are covered on the exam:

Threat and vulnerability management

The CompTIA CySA certification emphasizes the use of threat intelligence and vulnerability management tools to identify and mitigate cybersecurity threats. Candidates will learn how to support organizational security and risk mitigation strategies by conducting vulnerability assessments, analyzing threat data, and recommending remediation measures.

Security operations and monitoring

Analyzing data is only part of the equation – candidates will also need to know how to interpret and take action on the results of their analysis. This includes monitoring security events and implementing security controls.

Incident response

Responding to security incidents is a critical part of the cybersecurity analyst’s job. The CySA+ exam will test your knowledge of incident response processes and procedures, as well as your ability to use incident response tools.

Certification holders will be prepared to take on the role of incident responder in their organization, containing and mitigating the effects of security breaches, analyzing compromise indicators, and performing basic digital forensic processes.

Software and systems security

Learning how to apply security solutions to software and systems is another important focus of the CySA+ exam. Candidates will need to be able to select and implement the appropriate security controls for various types of technology, including cloud-based systems and mobile devices.

Software and hardware assurance best practices are also covered in this section of the exam.

Compliance and assessment

Finally, no cybersecurity certification would be complete without a focus on compliance. The CySA+ exam covers the basics of compliance and assessment.

Candidates will learn how to support an organization’s compliance program by conducting audits, assessing risks, and recommending remediation measures.

They will also need to be familiar with common compliance frameworks, procedures, policies, and controls. The importance of these, while seemingly trivial compared to more technical aspects of the job, cannot be overstated. After all, an organization’s compliance posture is often the deciding factor in whether or not it suffers financially from a security incident.

CySA+ version

Every CompTIA exam has old and new versions. The updated version of an exam is usually released every three years, with a grace period of six months to allow candidates to take the old version.

The main reason for this is to keep the exams up to date with the latest changes in technology. This is especially important in the fast-paced world of IT, where new tools and technologies are being developed all the time.

The current version of the CySA+ exam is CS0-002, which was released on April 21, 2020. The previous version of the exam, CS0-001, has been retired.

As we’re coming up on 2023, the next version (CS0-003) of the CySA+ exam is likely to be released sometime in the spring of 2023. If you are interested in taking the beta version of the new exam (meaning you’ll be one of the first to take it, and you’ll be able to do so at a discounted price), you can apply for the beta here.

Is the CySA+ exam multiple-choice?

The short answer is yes; the CySA+ certification exam has multiple-choice questions.

But that’s not the whole story.

The CySA+ exam is what’s known as a performance-based certification exam. This means that in addition to multiple-choice questions, the exam will also contain items that require you to perform tasks or solve problems using real-world tools and technologies.

For example, you might be asked to configure a security control in a simulated environment or to analyze data from a packet capture and identify malicious activity.

The performance-based items are designed to assess your practical skills and knowledge rather than your ability to memorize data.

While the majority of the exam is still multiple-choice, you can expect to see a significant number of performance-based questions and some drag-and-drop activities.

The maximum number of questions on all CySA+ exams is 85. Candidates have a total of 165 minutes to complete the exam.

What score do you need to pass CySA+?

The passing score for CySA+ is 750 on a scale of 100-900.

If a candidate fails the exam on their first attempt, they can immediately retake the exam. There is no waiting period required, and there is no limit to the number of times a candidate can take the exam.

However, if a candidate fails on their second try, they must wait 14 days before they are eligible to retake the exam. This applies to any subsequent failures as well.

CompTIA does not allow its candidates to retake exams using the same exam code, meaning that if you fail an exam, you must pay for it again before you can retake it. CompTIA typically does not offer discounts or free retakes on certification exams.

What are the requirements for CySA+?

We already mentioned how this exam is geared towards intermediate-level cyber security analysts.

But what does that really mean?

Well, the target candidate for CySA+ is someone who already has a few years of experience under their belt. To be more precise, CompTIA suggests at least 4 years of experience in an information security position (or a related one).

The ideal candidate for CySA+ should also already have their CompTIA Network+ and Security+ certifications. While these are not strictly required, they are highly recommended.

Unlike some other cybersecurity exams, CySA+ does not have any prerequisites in terms of knowledge or skills. However, because of the level of experience required, it is recommended that candidates for this exam have a solid understanding of cybersecurity concepts and principles.

How to prepare for CySA+?

Passing the CySA+ without any studying is certainly possible, but not likely.

The two main methods candidates use to prepare for this exam are self-study and attending a training course.

Which one is right for you?

Well, that depends on a few factors. First, think about your learning style. Do you learn best by yourself or in a group setting? If you’re the type of person who prefers to study on your own, self-study might be the way to go.

On the other hand, if you learn better with the help of an instructor, attending a training course could be a good option.

Second, think about your schedule. Are you flexible? Do you have the time to commit to attending a training course? If you’re tight on time, self-study might be a better option.

Regardless of which route you choose, we recommend using a combination of study materials, including practice exams. Practice exams can help you gauge your understanding of the material and identify any areas where you need to focus your studies.


If you are serious about a career in cybersecurity, the CySA+ certification is a great way to validate your skills and knowledge.

This exam is geared towards intermediate-level cyber security analysts and covers a wide range of topics, including threat management, incident response, and systems and software security.

Preparing for the exam can include self-study, attending a training course, or a combination of both.

With a passing score of 750 on a scale of 100-900, CySA+ is one of the more difficult exams offered by CompTIA. However, with proper preparation, passing is certainly within reach.

If you’d like some help preparing for the CySA+ exam, don’t hesitate to contact us at the CyberAgility Academy. We would be happy to help you get started on your journey to becoming a certified cybersecurity analyst.



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