The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), a non-profit trade association
Industry trade group
A trade association, also known as an industry trade group, business association or sector association, is an organization founded and funded by businesses that operate in a specific industry...

, was created in 1982 as the Association of Better Computer Dealers, Inc. (ABCD) by representatives of five microcomputer dealerships. Over the course of a decade, ABCD laid the groundwork for many of CompTIA’s initiatives and member benefits.

ABCD later changed its name to the Computing Technology Industry Association to reflect the association's evolving role in the computer industry
Computer industry
Computer industry is a collective term used to describe the whole range of businesses involved in developing computer software, designing computer hardware and computer networking infrastructures, the manufacture of computer components and the provision of information technology services.-See...

 and in the U.S. business landscape at large. The 1990s was a period of growth as the association broadened the scope of its activities to address the needs of the expanding computer industry. Its initiatives increased to include networking, UNIX
Unix is a multitasking, multi-user computer operating system originally developed in 1969 by a group of AT&T employees at Bell Labs, including Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, Brian Kernighan, Douglas McIlroy, and Joe Ossanna...

, imaging, mobile computing, and multimedia arenas. In an effort to monitor and take positions on public policy issues, the association added a full-time Director of Public Policy position.

CompTIA is known as a provider of professional certification
Professional certification
Professional certification, trade certification, or professional designation, often called simply certification or qualification, is a designation earned by a person to assure qualification to perform a job or task...

s for the information technology
Information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...

 (IT) industry. CompTIA chairs and manages the Initiative for Software Choice
Initiative for Software Choice
The Initiative for Software Choice is a group of companies founded in May 2002. The ISC website characterizes its membership as "committed to advancing the concept that multiple competing software markets should be allowed to develop and flourish unimpeded by government preference or...


Current certifications

CompTIA administers its certification exams through Pearson VUE
Pearson VUE
Pearson VUE is an electronic testing company owned by British media company Pearson PLC. Founded in 1994 by E. Clarke Porter as Virtual University Enterprises, the company now operates in 165 countries with more than 5,000 authorized test centres ....

 and Prometric
Prometric is a U.S. company in the test administration industry. Prometric operates a test center network composed of over 10,000 sites in 160 countries...

 testing centers. In addition to certification, CompTIA also provides corporate membership.

In April 2007, CompTIA's "A+", "Network+", and "Security+" certifications became accredited by the American National Standards Institute
American National Standards Institute
The American National Standards Institute is a private non-profit organization that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards for products, services, processes, systems, and personnel in the United States. The organization also coordinates U.S. standards with international...


In January 2010 these ANSI/ISO approved certifications fundamentally had their conditions changed from lifetime certifications to certifications that will expire every three years. Current certificate holders will still have valid certs for life, but any new certifications earned after December 31, 2010 will expire every three years.

A+ certification

The A+ certification demonstrates competency as a computer technician
Computer repair technician
A computer repair technician is a person who repairs and maintains computers and servers. The technician's responsibilities may extend to include building or configuring new hardware, installing and updating software packages, and creating and maintaining computer networks. Computer repair...

. Officially, CompTIA A+ certification is a vendor neutral certification that covers numerous technologies and operating systems from such vendors as Microsoft
Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

, Apple Inc., Novell
Novell, Inc. is a multinational software and services company. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Attachmate Group. It specializes in network operating systems, such as Novell NetWare; systems management solutions, such as Novell ZENworks; and collaboration solutions, such as Novell Groupwise...

 and some of the Linux
Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of any Linux system is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released October 5, 1991 by Linus Torvalds...

The A+ certification exam was developed in 1993. There have been four versions of the A+ exam, the 1993, 2003, 2006, and 2009 objectives, which are broken down into two separate exams. The 2003 objectives contained the A+ Core Hardware Exam and the A+ Core Operating System Technologies Exam, and were retired on June 30, 2007. The 2006 objectives require that a candidate successfully pass the A+ Essentials and one elective: IT technician, remote support technician, or depot technician. The 2009 certification requires passing two exams: Essentials and Practical Application.

The A+ exam is intended for information technology professionals who have the equivalent of 500 hours of hands on experience. The exams are computer based and composed of multiple choice questions, of which there may be more than one correct answer. Over 800,000 people have earned the A+ credential worldwide, to date.

Topics of the Essentials/Core examination include IRQs, direct memory access
Direct memory access
Direct memory access is a feature of modern computers that allows certain hardware subsystems within the computer to access system memory independently of the central processing unit ....

, and practical computer repair, including the installation and repair of hard drives, modem
A modem is a device that modulates an analog carrier signal to encode digital information, and also demodulates such a carrier signal to decode the transmitted information. The goal is to produce a signal that can be transmitted easily and decoded to reproduce the original digital data...

s, network card
Network card
A network interface controller is a computer hardware component that connects a computer to a computer network....

s, CPUs, power supplies
Power supply
A power supply is a device that supplies electrical energy to one or more electric loads. The term is most commonly applied to devices that convert one form of electrical energy to another, though it may also refer to devices that convert another form of energy to electrical energy...

A PDA is most commonly a Personal digital assistant, also known as a Personal data assistant, a mobile electronic device.PDA may also refer to:In science, medicine and technology:...

s, and printers
Laser printer
A laser printer is a common type of computer printer that rapidly produces high quality text and graphics on plain paper. As with digital photocopiers and multifunction printers , laser printers employ a xerographic printing process, but differ from analog photocopiers in that the image is produced...

. The focus of the exam is not theory, but practice. Sometimes graphics are used in exam questions. Topics included in the Operating Systems Exam include memory management, configuration files, and historical operating environments rather than newer, cutting edge technologies.

In September 2006, the CompTIA A+ test was updated so that the test taker must take the CompTIA A+ Essentials (220-601) test along with one of three other tests (220-602, 220-603, or 220-604). Each of these elective exams offers candidates the opportunity to specialize their A+ certification to match their desired career path.

With the introduction of the 2006 A+ exam, candidates were offered a grace period whereby both the 2003 and 2006 versions were available. From June 2007, the 2003 version of exams was no longer available in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. In some countries, the grace period was extended to December 2007. The 2003 version was also extended in cases where the A+ certification exam was included in a course of study. Also, most legacy support questions have been excluded. The existing CompTIA A+ 600 series exams remain relevant and are in use by organizations and educational institutions throughout the world. The regular, non-academic English version of these exams retired in the U.S. and Canada on February 28, 2010. The educational versions of these exams (JK0-601, JK0-602, JK0-603 and JK0-604), as well as the German, Korean, Arabic, Chinese and Japanese translations of the 220-601 through 220-604 CompTIA A+ exams,remained in the market for use until August 31, 2010.

The A+ certification along with Network+ may be used to qualify as an elective for Microsoft's
Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

 MCSA and MCSE certification.

In order to receive CompTIA A+ certification a candidate must pass two exams. The first exam is CompTIA A+ Essentials, exam number 220-701. The CompTIA A+ Essentials examination measures necessary competencies for an entry-level IT professional with the equivalent knowledge of at least 500 hours of hands-on experience in the lab or field. Successful candidates will have the knowledge required to understand the fundamentals of computer technology, networking, and security, and will have the skills required to identify hardware, peripheral, networking, and security components. Successful candidates will understand the basic functionality of the operating system and basic troubleshooting methodology, practice proper safety procedures, and will effectively interact with customers and peers. CompTIA A+ is ISO 17024 Accredited (Personnel Certification Accreditation) and, as such, undergoes regular reviews and updates to the exam objectives. Also, a candidate must pass CompTIA A+ Practical Application, exam number 220-702. The CompTIA A+ Practical Application examination measures necessary competencies for an entry-level IT professional with a working knowledge of practical use of current software and Operating System interface and features.


See also, Network Plus Certification on Wikibooks.

Network+ is a certification that is used to measure skill as a network technician: understanding of network hardware, installation, and troubleshooting
Troubleshooting is a form of problem solving, often applied to repair failed products or processes. It is a logical, systematic search for the source of a problem so that it can be solved, and so the product or process can be made operational again. Troubleshooting is needed to develop and...

. Network+ was first launched in 1999, and exam updates followed in 2002, 2005, and 2009. The 2009 version will be retired on August 31 2012; new objectives (the "2012 objectives") will begin to be examined in Nov/Dec 2011.

Topics include network hardware, connections, software, the OSI Reference model, and different protocols used in local area network
Local area network
A local area network is a computer network that interconnects computers in a limited area such as a home, school, computer laboratory, or office building...

s (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs). CompTIA recommends the A+ certification and nine months networking experience before sitting for the exam, but this is not required. Network+ prepares one for continuing to Microsoft certifications
Microsoft Certified Professional
Microsoft Certified Professional is a program of Professional certifications awarded by Microsoft. Individual certifications are awarded upon passing of one or more exams. The MCP program itself is designed for both IT Professionals and developers. Beneath the MCP program is a variety of more...

 and Cisco certifications
Cisco Career Certifications
Cisco Career Certifications are IT Professional certifications for Cisco Systems products. The tests are administered by Pearson VUE. There are five levels of certification: Entry, Associate, Professional, Expert, and Architect, as well as seven different paths, Routing & Switching, Design, Network...

. A combination A+/Network+, A+/Server+, or (just) Security+ certification can fulfill the elective exam requirement of the Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) certification.


See also, Security Plus Certification on Wikibooks.

Security+ is a certification dealing with computer security
Computer security
Computer security is a branch of computer technology known as information security as applied to computers and networks. The objective of computer security includes protection of information and property from theft, corruption, or natural disaster, while allowing the information and property to...

 topics such as cryptography
Cryptography is the practice and study of techniques for secure communication in the presence of third parties...

 and access control
Access control
Access control refers to exerting control over who can interact with a resource. Often but not always, this involves an authority, who does the controlling. The resource can be a given building, group of buildings, or computer-based information system...

, as well as business-related topics such as disaster recovery
Disaster recovery
Disaster recovery is the process, policies and procedures related to preparing for recovery or continuation of technology infrastructure critical to an organization after a natural or human-induced disaster. Disaster recovery is a subset of business continuity...

 and risk management
Risk management
Risk management is the identification, assessment, and prioritization of risks followed by coordinated and economical application of resources to minimize, monitor, and control the probability and/or impact of unfortunate events or to maximize the realization of opportunities...

. It was developed in 2002 to address the rise of security issues. A new and updated version was released in 2011 Currently and according to CompTIA, there are more than 45,000 people around the world who have earned this certification. It is recommended that candidates have two years of security-related work experience (although not a requirement) and pass the 100 question multiple choice exam.

The Security+ exam can be applied as an elective to the MCSA: Security and the MCSE: Security specializations from Microsoft. For United States Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

 employees, DoDD 8570, IAT Level II certification guidelines lists Security+ as one of four choices (the others being GIAC Security Essentials Certification (GSEC), Security Certified Network Professional (SCNP), and Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)).


CompTIA released the CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner certification on September 15, 2011. "The CASP certification is intended to follow CompTIA Security+."


Server+ is CompTIA's certification that focuses on server
Server (computing)
In the context of client-server architecture, a server is a computer program running to serve the requests of other programs, the "clients". Thus, the "server" performs some computational task on behalf of "clients"...

-specific hardware and operating system
Operating system
An operating system is a set of programs that manage computer hardware resources and provide common services for application software. The operating system is the most important type of system software in a computer system...

s, and certifies technical knowledge in areas such as RAID
RAID is a storage technology that combines multiple disk drive components into a logical unit...

Small Computer System Interface is a set of standards for physically connecting and transferring data between computers and peripheral devices. The SCSI standards define commands, protocols, and electrical and optical interfaces. SCSI is most commonly used for hard disks and tape drives, but it...

, and multiple CPUs, as well as capabilities with server issues, including disaster recovery. It was developed in 2001, with updates that followed in 2005 and 2009. The eight domains of the Server+ exam are General Server Hardware Knowledge, Installation, Configuration, Upgrading, Proactive Maintenance, Environment Troubleshooting and Problem Determination, and Disaster Recovery. A combination A+/Network+, A+/Server+ or Security+ certifications can fulfill the elective exam requirement for the Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA
MCSA may refer to:*Mountain Club of South Africa*Moscow, Camden and San Augustine Railroad*Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator...

) certification.


The Certified Technical Trainer or CTT+ certification is a vendor-neutral certification that is applicable to training professionals in all industries. It proves the mastery of core instructor skills, including preparation, presentation, communication, facilitation, and evaluation in a classroom environment. The challenging CTT+ exam consists of two parts: a computer-based exam (CBT) and a video-based exam (VBT).

CTT+ certification can be used as proof of instructional expertise for the following industry certifications: ACI (Adobe Certified Instructor
Adobe Certified Instructor
An ACI is an ACE who provides expert instruction on Adobe products. An ACI may operate independently or as an employee of a training organization...

), MCT (Microsoft Certified Trainer), and CNI (Certified Novell Instructor).


Certified Document Imaging Architect, or CDIA+, is a certification for competency in document imaging
Document imaging
Document imaging is an information technology category for systems capable of replicating documents commonly used in business. Document imaging systems can take many forms including microfilm, on demand printers, facsimile machines, copiers, multifunction printers, document scanners, computer...

, document management, and enterprise content management
Enterprise content management
Enterprise Content Management is a formalized means of organizing and storing an organization's documents, and other content, that relate to the organization's processes...

. It certifies that one has the skills necessary to develop a system for scanning, storing, and retrieving digital versions of documents and is currently the only industry recognized certification in this area.


Linux+ is a certification of knowledge of Linux
Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of any Linux system is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released October 5, 1991 by Linus Torvalds...

 operating systems, from their installation and use to the basics of applicable free software
Free software
Free software, software libre or libre software is software that can be used, studied, and modified without restriction, and which can be copied and redistributed in modified or unmodified form either without restriction, or with restrictions that only ensure that further recipients can also do...

 and open source
Open source
The term open source describes practices in production and development that promote access to the end product's source materials. Some consider open source a philosophy, others consider it a pragmatic methodology...


The Linux+ exam is intended for information technology professionals who have between six to twelve months of practical experience using Linux. The exam is broken down into several areas of Linux expertise: installation, management, configuration, security, documentation, and hardware.

The test is a computer-based multiple-choice exam, with a question followed by four possible answers, at least one (but possibly more) of which must be correct. Common subject matter for exam topics include installation methods, boot loader configuration, managing packages (Debian
dpkg is the software at the base of the Debian package management system. dpkg is used to install, remove, and provide information about .deb packages....

 and RPM
RPM Package Manager
RPM Package Manager is a package management system. The name RPM variously refers to the .rpm file format, files in this format, software packaged in such files, and the package manager itself...

 management systems are covered), navigating directories via the command line, using the bash shell, security considerations, network administration (including TCP/IP
Internet protocol suite
The Internet protocol suite is the set of communications protocols used for the Internet and other similar networks. It is commonly known as TCP/IP from its most important protocols: Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol , which were the first networking protocols defined in this...

 configuration), mounting file systems (such as NFS, SMB
Server Message Block
In computer networking, Server Message Block , also known as Common Internet File System operates as an application-layer network protocol mainly used to provide shared access to files, printers, serial ports, and miscellaneous communications between nodes on a network. It also provides an...

 or ext3
The ext3 or third extended filesystem is a journaled file system that is commonly used by the Linux kernel. It is the default file system for many popular Linux distributions, including Debian...

) and managing configuration files for the more common applications that Linux servers are expected to run. Although configuring and running the X Window system
X Window System
The X window system is a computer software system and network protocol that provides a basis for graphical user interfaces and rich input device capability for networked computers...

 is included in the formal exam objectives, there are rarely any questions pertaining to this as the exam focuses on Linux as a server and network operating system rather than for use as a desktop platform.

The Linux+ exam has undergone some criticism since its inception, due to the excessive amount of hardware-related questions that were on the exam initially, many of which were covered on the A+ exam. The newest version of the exam, available as of February 2005, does away with this problem.

CompTIA began the process of updating the Linux+ certification in July, 2008. The update process began with a Job Task Analysis (JTA), in which Linux subject matter experts evaluate the job roles and tasks for IT professionals who work with open source operating systems. The information is used to update the exam objectives and items. The exam is 90 minutes in duration and consists of 98 questions with a passing score of 675 out of 900.

The new LPI (Linux Professional Institute
Linux Professional Institute
The Linux Professional Institute Inc. is a non-profit organization that provides vendor-independent professional certification for Linux system administrators and programmers....

) powered Linux+ replaced the old CompTIA Linux+ on October 31, 2010, it consists of two exams (LX0-101, and LX0-102), 60 questions each. The exam is 90 minutes long, and requires a 500 on a scale of 200-800 to pass.


Project+ is a certification showing that one has the knowledge needed to manage projects
Project management
Project management is the discipline of planning, organizing, securing, and managing resources to achieve specific goals. A project is a temporary endeavor with a defined beginning and end , undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives, typically to bring about beneficial change or added value...

. CompTIA claims that Project+ is a globally recognized project management certification that provides validation of fundamental project management skills. Curriculum covers the entire project life cycle from initiation and planning through execution, acceptance, support and closure. The exam is 90 minutes in duration and consists of 100 questions with a passing score of 710 out of 900 according to the CompTIA website.

This certification was previously named IT Project+.


Radio Frequency Identification or RFID+ tests the knowledge and skills necessary for working with radio-frequency identification technology. The exam is 90 minutes in duration and consists of 81 questions with a passing score of 630 out of 900.

CompTIA is retiring this certification on December 31, 2011.
From the CompTIA Customer Support Center:
The RFID market has been much slower to take off than the industry expected. Companies are still doing pilots, waiting to confirm return on investment. As a result, while there is still need for training and education in RFID, the need for certification has lagged the training need. The certification was launched 5 years ago, but there is not enough demand for RFID certification to justify of the cost of updating the exam. So it will be retired on December 31, 2011.


Convergence Technologies Professional or CTP+ replaces the Convergence+ exam.

CompTIA CTP+ is an international, vendor-neutral exam that validates the core knowledge and skills IT professionals need to sell and service convergent technologies. CompTIA offers this exam in conjunction with Certification Partners, LLC, who created the original CTP exam. CTP+ covers basic requirements analysis, implementation and management of basic data components and voice and multimedia applications, as well as basic problem analysis and resolution for convergent technologies.
Although not a prerequisite for CompTIA CTP+ certification, it is recommended that candidates are CompTIA Network+ certified or have equivalent knowledge, as well as roughly 24 months of work experience in areas that include data networking, telephony and convergence-related technologies.


Printing and Document Imaging or PDI+ is an entry-level, vendor-neutral certification proving competence in basic maintenance of printers, scanners, copiers and fax machines. The certification is recognized by several industry leaders, including Canon, Sharp and Xerox, as a benchmark certification for professionals that service and support document imaging devices.

PDI+ covers a technician's understanding of basic electromechanical components and tools, print engine and scan processes and components, color theory, connectivity and networking. The exam also covers soft skills such as customer service, professionalism, safety and environment. While there are no prerequisites for the CompTIA PDI+ certification exam, it is recommended that entry-level candidates have foundation-level knowledge or hands-on experience working with printing and document imaging devices. The PDI+ Beta Exam was available from July 24 through August 31, 2007. The live exam became available on January 7, 2008.


The DHTI+ was a vendor-neutral certification that demonstrated a technician's ability to configure, integrate, maintain, troubleshoot, and comprehend the basic design concepts of electronic and digital home systems. The DHTI+ was retired on December 31, 2009. No replacement certification has been announced.


The e-Biz+ certification covers basic knowledge about e-commerce. The e-Biz+ certification was discontinued in English on December 31, 2005, but it can still be taken in Japanese or Korean.


The HTI+ certification for home technology integrators was retired in 2007 and replaced by the CEA-CompTIA DHTI+ certification.


The i-Net+ certification deals with basic knowledge of Internet, intranet
An intranet is a computer network that uses Internet Protocol technology to securely share any part of an organization's information or network operating system within that organization. The term is used in contrast to internet, a network between organizations, and instead refers to a network...

, extranet
An extranet is a computer network that allows controlled access from the outside, for specific business or educational purposes. An extranet can be viewed as an extension of a company's intranet that is extended to users outside the company, usually partners, vendors, and suppliers...

, and electronic commerce
Electronic commerce
Electronic commerce, commonly known as e-commerce, eCommerce or e-comm, refers to the buying and selling of products or services over electronic systems such as the Internet and other computer networks. However, the term may refer to more than just buying and selling products online...

 technologies. Topics on the exam include distinguishing between server-side and client-side scripting, basic networking via command line, e-commerce, and e-business, security via digital signature
Digital signature
A digital signature or digital signature scheme is a mathematical scheme for demonstrating the authenticity of a digital message or document. A valid digital signature gives a recipient reason to believe that the message was created by a known sender, and that it was not altered in transit...

s, copyright
Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time...

 licenses (including the GPL
GNU General Public License
The GNU General Public License is the most widely used free software license, originally written by Richard Stallman for the GNU Project....

), and basic HTML
HyperText Markup Language is the predominant markup language for web pages. HTML elements are the basic building-blocks of webpages....

coding. The i-Net+ certification was retired on December 31, 2007. Those who currently have the i-Net+ certification continue to be certified.


The CTP+ certification replaces Convergence+ as CompTIA's convergent technologies exam. CompTIA Convergence+ was available through Oct. 31, 2010.


For over ten years, CompTIA marketed its flagship A+, Network+ and Security+ certifications as being valid for a lifetime. In January 2011, however, CompTIA changed the status of these certifications so that they would expire every three years. Under this proposal, certified individuals would have to re-sit for the exams or pay a yearly maintenance fee for a CEU (Continuing Education Units) system. Some certified members felt that this action breached the conditions of the original contract with CompTIA, and that the change effectively showed CompTIA reneging on a deal. Less than a month after making this announcement, CompTIA reversed its decision. Under the new policy, only certificates received after January 1, 2011 will expire after 3 years.

External links

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