CASP+ vs. CISSP: 4 Advantages of CompTIA’s Advanced Cybersecurity Certification

by Patrick Lane | Oct 17, 2018

The CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner LogoEmployers need IT professionals who have advanced, hands-on skills for cybersecurity jobs including security architect, application security engineer, technical lead analyst and security engineer. These in-demand IT job roles are expected to grow over the next 10 years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+), most recently updated in April 2018, is an advanced-level cybersecurity certification that includes both performance-based and multiple-choice questions. CASP+ assesses the hands-on skills of IT professionals who conceptualize, engineer, integrate and implement secure solutions across complex environments to support a resilient enterprise. Download the exam objectives to learn more.

CASP+ is often compared to (ISC)2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), and many IT pros ask themselves, “which certification is right for me?” Both exams assess advanced-level cybersecurity skills and are vendor neutral, but the similarities stop there.

4 Advantages of CASP+ Over CISSP

1. CASP+ is a performance exam.

Employers require hands-on cybersecurity skills, and CASP+ makes sure IT pros can “walk the walk” in addition to “talk the talk.” For example, two job roles shared by CASP+ and CISSP are security engineer and security architect, which require hands-on skills to build cybersecurity systems and programs. But only CASP includes simulations to test these skills on a network and various systems.

Passing the CASP+ exam and getting certified shows you have the proper skills right here, right now. Employer documentation is not required because you have proven you have the hands-on skills to perform the job.   

Why take an exam that includes only multiple-choice questions when employers need to know you have the performance skills certified by CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner?

CompTIA performance certifications validate the skills associated with a particular job or responsibility. To earn the certification, candidates must demonstrate their ability to perform related tasks through simulations and performance-based questions, proving they not only know what a job entails, but how to do it.

2. CASP+ provides cybersecurity managers with technical mastery.

In many cases, it becomes challenging to manage a cybersecurity team or program if you don’t understand how a given technology works. For example, if the board of directors asks you to ensure compliance to a specific government standard, the request may involve rolling out complex cybersecurity technologies and infrastructure requirements.

CASP+-certified professionals understand this standard and how to comply with it. They also have the advanced skills needed to lead, design and implement the technical solution.

CASP+ covers the hands-on skills needed by cybersecurity architects. According to Cyberseek, cybersecurity architects earn a median salary of $133,000 per year, and there are more than 5,000 job openings in the United States alone. CASP+ can show employers that you have the skills they are looking for.

3. CASP+ fills an industry skills gap for advanced, hands-on cybersecurity jobs.  

CASP+ was born out of an industry need for a hands-on, advanced-level cybersecurity assessment. Many cybersecurity pros with more than five years of experience want to remain at the keyboard and work directly with cybersecurity technologies and tools. They may not want to be managers, or they may simply enjoy the day-to-day challenge of solving complex architecture-level security problems. CASP+ is the answer for them.

For example, for years the U.S. Navy used CISSP to certify advanced cybersecurity pros, regardless of their job role. But they had no good way of assessing advanced hands-on cybersecurity skills for personnel who were not in management positions. That is why they mandated CASP+.

Corporate cybersecurity workforces around the world are experiencing the same skills gap. That is why ManTech, Northrup Grumman, SMS Data Products Group and Booz Allen Hamilton all request CASP+ in their job ads.

CASP+ meets the ISO/ANSI 17024 standard and is approved by U.S. Department of Defense to fulfill Directive 8570.01-M requirements. It complies with government regulations under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). Regulators and government rely on ISO/ANSI accreditation because it provides confidence and trust in the outputs of an accredited program. More than 1.3 million CompTIA ISO/ANSI-accredited exams have been delivered since January 1, 2011.

4. CASP+ costs less than CISSP.

CompTIA CASP+ costs USD $439 retail and includes both performance-based simulations and multiple-choice questions. CISSP costs USD $699 retail and only includes multiple-choice questions.

Why pay USD $699 for ​a multiple-choice exam when you can also assess your hands-on performance at USD $439 with CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner?

Cybersecurity Certifications to Meet Employer Demand

Advanced cybersecurity jobs are in demand, and employers need IT professionals with the skills that match their open jobs. Show employers you have the knowledge, skills and abilities they need with CASP+.

The latest version of CASP+ (CAS-003) is now available! Download the exam objectives to start preparing or purchase the Official CompTIA CASP+ Study Guide. Watch for other official CompTIA learning products coming soon!

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Patrick Lane is a director of product management for CompTIA. He manages IT workforce skills certifications, including CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+), CompTIA PenTest+ and CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+).

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

15 Comments

  • DAVID E COOK

    Friday, October 26, 2018

    Great article. And I concur on all accounts. I am CASP certified, and I've always maintained that the CASP is technically superior to the CISSP. However... I just recently renewed my CASP through achieving the requisite CEUs for certification renewal. THE ONLY acceptable training courses were ALL CISSP specific. IMO, CompTIA is DRIVING PEOPLE AWAY from the CASP certification! If the only valid training options for CASP certified professionals is CISSP content, why shouldn't we just get the CISSP? CompTIA needs to develop Master's re-certification content for the CASP like they have for the A+ and Security+ credentials. (Otherwise, I'm just going to do the CISSP and drop the CASP).

  • N Quan

    Friday, October 26, 2018

    This is all well and good but recruiters rarely seek out CASP over CISSP. In the end most people are seeking return on investment for certifications. Instead of marketing to students, CompTIA should be pushing HR to start recognizing CASP the same way. Only then can you really justify picking it

  • Mohamed Hage

    Friday, October 26, 2018

    I passed CASP in a first step, then CISSP; as a result passing CISSP was very straightforward (even though CISSP required 6 hours of test exam, actually after four hours things were over for me). I found CASP more oriented towards practical issues and field experience. There is no grades in CASP exam, but I had only one remark related to one question in the report, and without practical experience CASP would have been difficult to deal with easily.

  • Nuwagira Allan Kampororo

    Friday, October 26, 2018

    Interested in knowing CompTIA's CASP course exam prep price and exam fees. Cordially, Allan

  • Alireza ghahrood

    Friday, October 26, 2018

    Thanks 4 share it

  • Aloke Paul

    Saturday, October 27, 2018

    I will try CASP but how I can get study materials.

  • Monday, October 29, 2018

    Hi, Allan! Thanks for your question. The CASP exam voucher costs $439 USD. As far as training, you have a wide variety of options. Please look at the CASP webpage to learn more: https://certification.comptia.org/certifications/comptia-advanced-security-practitioner

  • Tuesday, October 30, 2018

    Hi, N! Thank you for your comment. We are always striving to work with hiring managers and HR to educate on how our certifications fill cybersecurity gaps as the need for more hands-on skills increases.

  • Thursday, November 1, 2018

    Hi, David! Thanks for your comment. We wanted to respond to ensure that you were aware that there are other renewal options for CASP. Yes, you can renew your CompTIA certification by earning or renewing a qualifying non-CompTIA IT industry certification, like CISSP; however, there are other certifications that qualify. You can find the complete lists here: https://certification.comptia.org/continuing-education/renewothers/renewing-casp - Earn Full CEUs for CASP https://certification.comptia.org/continuing-education/renewothers/renewing-casp-multiple - Earn Partial CEUs for CASP Also, there are other Continuing Education (CE) activities you can complete to renew your certification, such as attending webinars, teaching a class, or even becoming a Subject Matter Expert (SME) with CompTIA! Learn more about all of your options to renew CASP here: https://certification.comptia.org/continuing-education/choose/renewal-options

  • Gavin

    Friday, March 22, 2019

    Problem with the CASP is the certification is not known in HR/recruiting circles. Even those working in security are not 100% familiar with the certification. Everyone I have spoken to in the midwest do not know what the CASP is and have blank replies. I have to educate them that the certification is equivalent to the CISSP, but more on the technical-side than management. If given the choice for CISSP or CASP to further career, choose the CISSP.

  • Friday, March 22, 2019

    Hi, Gavin! Thanks for your comment. There may always be times where a recruiter/hiring manager is not familiar with a certification. This gives you the opportunity to give examples of the hands-on skills the certification validates to show that you have what it takes to do the job. Good luck!

  • Jay

    Monday, May 20, 2019

    I heard great things about the CASP if you are working for the Govt (or looking to get into Govt). But working outside of the Govt, many people in IT and Info-Sec haven't heard of the cert. I think its a great cert as it is more technical then the CISSP BUT when looking at job postings, 97% of them mentioned the CISSP. Recruiters will often go back to the client when you tell them "What about the CASP?" and most likely the client will choose someone with the CISSP . Piece of advice is to explain the CASP in the interview and really express how it is more technical then the CISSP. I know many people with the CISSP and they are all talk and cant walk the walk unfortunately.

  • Monday, May 20, 2019

    Hi, Jay! Thanks for your comment. You make an excellent point that can be applied to any certification - the value is in being able to explain what it covers and how having it makes you the right person for the job. We've also broken down how CASP+ applies to the corporate sector here: https://certification.comptia.org/it-career-news/post/view/2019/01/28/casp-validating-cybersecurity-skills-for-government-and-corporate-teams?ht=comptia-advanced-security-practitioner

  • Trevor Colclasure

    Thursday, August 1, 2019

    I understand that CASP recertifies other certifications, but if you have only done the CASP exam are you certified on the other certifications i.e. sec + csa?

  • Thursday, August 1, 2019

    Hi, Trevor! Thanks for your question. No, it doesn't work in reverse. If you have CASP+ and want Security+, you would still need to pass the Security+ exam. Good luck!

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