Playing Both Sides of Cybersecurity: Introducing CompTIA PenTest+

by Patrick Lane | Jan 31, 2018

Logos of the four CompTIA cybersecurity certifications - Security+, Cybersecurity Analyst, PenTest+ and CASPIn cybersecurity, as in the military, sports and more, a solid defense is nothing without an equally strong offense. You can’t just sit back and wait – you need to take action. Cybersecurity professionals need to find system weaknesses before cyber-criminals do, and that’s where penetration testing comes in. Slated for release later this year, CompTIA PenTest+ validates the skills needed for penetration testing, or vulnerability assessment and management.

Similar to CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+), CompTIA PenTest+ is intended for intermediate-level cybersecurity professionals. While CySA+ focuses on defense through incident detection and response, PenTest+ focuses on offense through penetration testing and vulnerability assessment.

CompTIA PenTest+ involves launching attacks on systems, discovering the vulnerabilities and managing them. It’s intended for cybersecurity professionals tasked with identifying, exploiting, reporting and managing vulnerabilities on a network.

CompTIA PenTest+ Is Now Available!

Validate your red team skills with CompTIA PenTest+. Download the exam objectives to begin studying.
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Specifically, CompTIA PenTest+ covers the following technical areas:

  • Planning and scoping
  • Information gathering and vulnerability identification
  • Attacks and exploits
  • Penetration testing tools
  • Reporting and communication

The CompTIA Difference: Hands-On Performance-Based Testing and Teamwork

CompTIA PenTest+ is a performance certification, and the exam will include hands-on simulations as well as multiple choice questions, requiring test takers to perform penetration testing and vulnerability assessment job tasks during the exam.

Expanding the CompTIA Cybersecurity Career Pathway

CompTIA PenTest+ will join CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) at the intermediate-skills level of the CompTIA Cybersecurity Career Pathway. Depending on your course of study, PenTest+ and CySA+ can be taken in any order but typically follow the skills covered by CompTIA Security+. Although the two exams teach opposing skills, they are dependent on one another. The most qualified cybersecurity professionals have both offensive and defensive skills.

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CompTIA PenTest+ validates the knowledge, skills and abilities related to many cybersecurity roles, including the following:

Validate your red team skills with CompTIA PenTest+. Download the exam objectives to get started.


Patrick Lane, M.Ed., is a director of products for CompTIA. He manages IT workforce skills certifications, including CompTIA Security+, CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+), CompTIA PenTest+, CompTIA Advanced Security Professional (CASP) and CompTIA Server+. He is an Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) lifetime member, most recently assisting the Defense Information Security Agency (DISA) with scalable Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) techniques from the private sector. Patrick participated in the U.S. White House’s National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCSA) and worked directly with the Director of Cybersecurity Policy at the U.S. National Security Council (NSC) for the “Lock Down Your Login” campaign. He has implemented a wide variety of IT projects, including a network and help desk for 11,000 end users.

Jen Blackwell also contributed to this article. She is a products marketing manager at CompTIA and oversees the certifications along the CompTIA Cybersecurity Career Pathway.


  • Jack Senesap

    Friday, February 2, 2018

    Is the CySA+ the same as the CSA+?

  • Tuesday, February 6, 2018

    Hi, Jack! Yes, CSA+ is now CySA - same exam, same certification, even same full name. Just a new acronym.

  • GargantuanGargoyle

    Friday, February 16, 2018

    With the promulgation of new courses and certifications, are there specific progress trees or skillset specifications that are available to be associated with existing accreditations to assist in compiling a prospective career development strategy, or would this fall to the individual or organisation (the article mentions refining and clarifying specific roles and task suitability)? Does CompTIA have such a skills planning / recommendations platform or framework?

  • Monday, February 19, 2018

    Hello! It sounds like you're looking for the CompTIA Career Pathway, which can be found here. It maps out how the certifications build upon each other to help IT pros plan their next career move. Good luck!

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