Sporting a backwards ballcap and a friendly smile, Robert Kosydar looks like your average 22-year-old, but check out his resume and you’ll see he’s advanced far beyond his status as a recent high school graduate. This government contracted server systems administrator earned — in just two short years — six CompTIA certifications.
“My father was the one who initially got me interested in the field of information technology,” Kosydar said. “He’s been a professional in the field for over 20 years and currently operates a small business called Mission First Inc.”
Despite being head and shoulders above most of his peers, six certifications weren’t enough. Kosydar is working on his seventh — CompTIA’s Advanced Security Practitioner — and plans to follow that up with CompTIA Mobility+.
Starting Down the CompTIA Path
Kosydar graduated high school in 2010 and landed a contracted position for the U.S. Department of Defense. His employer started him on the CompTIA path.
“When they hired me, I had very limited knowledge of IT and they suggested [that I] begin studying for CompTIA exams as a way to expand my skillset,” he said.
While most people start out with an introductory course, Kosydar jumped feet first into CompTIA Security+ so he’d be compliant with the DoD 8570 Directive. The U.S. Department of Defense recognizes CompTIA certifications in its technical and management tracks for information assurance technicians and managers under this directive.
“After studying for over a year, I came into test day feeling very confident,” Kosydar said. “When the exam report said that I had passed at the end, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment knowing that all of my hard work had finally paid off.”
Certifications Mean More Money, Motivation
Earning the CompTIA Security+ credential led to a significant raise, which motivated Kosydar to keep earning CompTIA certifications. Between August 2012 and May 2014, Kosydar earned certifications in CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, CompTIA Storage+, CompTIA Server+ and CompTIA Cloud+. He prepared for the exams in a variety of ways: boot camps, IT seminars, collegiate level courses, on-the-job training, practice tests and books.
CompTIA’s vendor-neutrality and the DoD Directive kept him coming back. “The exams are also structured very well and you’re allotted plenty of time to take them,” he said.
While most people start with CompTIA A+, that certification was his fifth. “I took the much more difficult path by attempting and passing the Security+, Server+, and Storage+ exams at first so that I could knock out the Network+ and A+ exams relatively easily,” he said. After CompTIA A+, he moved on to Cloud+ as a precursor to CASP.
“Just from working in the field of IT for roughly five years, I’ve found CompTIA certifications to be highly important, especially for young adults coming out of college who are seeking employment with a credible company,” Kosydar said.
Most companies are not only seeking individuals with degrees, but with certifications to accompany them, he said.
“CompTIA certifications have not only boosted my salary, but have allowed me to progressively advance in my career as an IT professional at a young age,” he said.
Michelle Peterson is a communications specialist for CompTIA.