Home > Blogs > CompTIA Branches Up (or Out?)

Once upon a time, the Computer Trade Industries Association aka CompTIA, focused more or less exclusively on entry-level and specialist certifications. But recently, the organization has begun to move up the food chain, and out into more technical areas than ever before.

A quick look at the CompTIA Certifications page, in fact, shows the organization now divides its credentials up into four areas:

  • Mastery: these are described as covering "the advanced practice of a specific discipline." Right now that means only the CompTIA Advanded Security Practitioner (CASP).
  • Professional: this is where the bulk of CompTIA's efforts are currently situated, and what corresponds to entry- to intermediate level credentials. Included here are A+CDIA+CTP+CTT+Linux+Network+PDI+
    Project+Security+Server+, and Storage+.
  • Specialty: newer credentials that "cover the business and technical knowledge needed for specific vertical or niche markets." This includes CompTIA Cloud EssentialsCompTIA Green ITCompTIA Healthcare IT Technician, and CompTIA IT for Sales.
  • Basic: These are certs that cover what CompTIA calls "foundational topics," developed and delivered in a relationship with MS Office cert program company Certiport. Currently this category embraces only one credentials: Strata IT Fundamentals. More are reportedly in development.

Here's a screen snippet that shows this terminology in use, called "certification series":

I'm not sure I understand why niche credentials like the CDIA+ (a document imaging certification that is probably CompTIA's oldest and longest-standing program) or PDI+ (printer and document imaging stuff) and perhaps even CTT+ (training certification) or CTP+ (voice and data networks) aren't considered specialty credentials. Ditto, I'm not sure I fully get the reason why Cloud, Green IT, Healthcare IT Technicians, and IT for Sales are considered vertical or niche markets, either.

Be that as it may, this new organization does represent a flowering of the CompTIA certification hierarchy, and an elaboration of their prior charter. I think it's interesting that the IT market has obviously matured sufficiently that CompTIA's various offerings must also span a range of levels for skills and knowledge. In that way, it's now more like other large-scale programs like those from Microsoft, Cisco, and even Novell.

And it will certainly be interesting to see how new credentials get categorized, and also, which new Basic Series credentials will arrive to keep company with the lone Strata IT Fundamentals offering that currently occupies that heading. Ditto for the Mastery Series, where the CASP is also a singleton category.