Cisco CyberOps vs CompTIA CSA+

I'm wondering if anyone out there has experience of both these and can make a comparison. They seem to cover similar ground, but I'm curious if that is actually the case.
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Comments

  • 9bits9bits Posts: 138Member
    It was my understanding that CSA+ was created to bridge the gap between Sec+ and CASP. Since you already have CASP, it seems CSA+ would be a waste of your time.

    If you can take the CyberOps for free under the scholarship program, that might be worthwhile. But if you have to pay the $600, it seems you already have enough good certifications that it probably won't do anything for you...unless you just have too many empty picture frames and are looking to fill them.
  • OctalDumpOctalDump Posts: 1,722Member
    CSA and CASP do cover different areas, I'd say. CASP is more Security Engineering, and CSA seems to be more specifically Security Analysis. It could be that there is an assumption about career progression, where Analysts are more entry level positions.

    But to add to my original question, I am starting the Cisco scholarship CyberOps at the end of this year, and they haven't yet released any books, so if CSA+ is substantially similar, I might look at that in advance to prepare (probably just watch some videos, maybe do some labbing with packet captures and the like).

    It's not so much about the paper, it's more about the knowledge.
    2017 Goals - Something Cisco, Something Linux, Agile PM
  • p@r0tuXus[email protected] Posts: 532Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    I would think getting the CSA+ and adding CompTIA Cybersecurity Expert certification (grouping of the 3 certs) to a resume would be nice.
    http://www.techexams.net/forums/other-comptia-certifications/125244-comptia-cybersecurity-expert-coming-soon.html
    Completed: ITIL-F, A+, S+, CCENT, CCNA R|S
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  • ErtazErtaz Posts: 924Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    OctalDump wrote: »
    CSA and CASP do cover different areas, I'd say. CASP is more Security Engineering, and CSA seems to be more specifically Security Analysis. It could be that there is an assumption about career progression, where Analysts are more entry level positions.

    But to add to my original question, I am starting the Cisco scholarship CyberOps at the end of this year, and they haven't yet released any books, so if CSA+ is substantially similar, I might look at that in advance to prepare (probably just watch some videos, maybe do some labbing with packet captures and the like).

    It's not so much about the paper, it's more about the knowledge.

    I passed the beta for CSA+ last year. If you've worked with any of the tools, then based on your other certifications, you can pass that test without studying. It's challenging without any dedicated study material, but it's a process of elimination and understanding outputs coupled with security principles. My SecOPS stuff starts in June, so I don't know what cert I'm going to work on in the mean time.
  • xagreusxagreus Posts: 81Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    This thread's a bit old, but still of interest.

    I've found only one in-depth comparison between the CSA+ and CCNA Cyber Ops, which was extremely enlightening as I prepare for the CCNA Cyber Ops exams. From a post in the CCNA Cyber Ops Facebook group on 10-25-17 (shared with permission of the post's author):

    When I post this, Facebook took my formatting away. Sorry for the long reading. If you can finish this, you can pass the exam! 1f642.png

    First and foremost, unlike CCNA that has two shorter exams, CSA+ exam is much longer! I had 75 questions. Before the exam I thought I could finish it like I did with the two Cisco exams in less than an hour. I was wrong. The official time for the 75 questions is about two and half hours and then there was tutorial and survey. I was sitting for around 3 hours altogether. I scheduled my exam at 11:30 so I went in without lunch. I was so hungry and tired at the end! Please keep this in mind when you schedule and/or take your exam.

    Next, which exam is harder. I think the answer depends on you and your background. I have a background in science and math and physics are easy for me. Also English is my second language so sometimes I have trouble remembering all the names for different tools. If you have trouble like me, I highly recommend you spend some quality time memorizing them. I found SECOPS easier and more fun than SECFND. Since CSA+ is one exam, it’s kind of a mixture of the two exams from CCNA . I don’t remember seeing any simple concept questions from CSA+ although you need to understand all the concepts well (know when and why to use certain tools) and then apply them to solve the problems.

    Thirdly, the format is slightly different. Most of CSA+ questions are multiple choices like CCNA, but I had three simulation questions at the very beginning. It took me over 15 minutes to figure out how to play with them. If you have never taken exams from CompTIA like me, spend some time read the tutorial. CCNA didn’t have any simulation questions for me although both exams have a lot of questions that ask you to analyze some logs or scanning results and things that nature. There were also more questions that had two choices in CSA+. CSA+ lets you flag questions that you want to come back and review, I missed one question that needs two answers and saw it when I was ready to review. But CCNA doesn’t allow you to do that, when you take CCNA, remember to slow down and double check your answer because you don’t get to come back and make changes. The scoring is also different. CCNA passing score is 825, perfect score is 1000. But CSA+ has a passing score of 750 and the perfect score is 900. CCNA uses CVSS version 3, but CSA+ uses version 2.

    Fourthly, both exams cover quite a bit common knowledge. I got the book more than a month after I passed CCNA. I took one practice exam online and scored enough to pass it before I started my study. So the study with Cisco really helped me, especially the lab part since I only had one paper book. But the real exam is not like the practice exam. And what you learned from Cisco program is not enough to pass CSA+ and vice versa. Although they cover some common ground, how deep or how wide they want you to know something is different. And they ask questions with different styles. For example, after some serious readying, I was playing and having fun when I was taking SECOPS exam and I knew I would pass before I saw the score. With CSA+, I stayed at my seat until time ran out, I used about an hour and half to review the questions at CSA+. I’m not sure whether it was because I was hungry and my brain was not working well, I had to think pretty hard on some questions. I have heard a lot of people complaining about the language usage on CCNA Cyber Ops exams, you don’t have to worry about that for CSA+.

    Next, I’m going to go over on study material and objectives.

    A lot of people complained about how SECOPS tests something not covered by the scholarship material and you have to do a lot of extra reading on your own. Well, I don’t have a formal class material to fall on for CSA+. I got to pick a book and took the test for free with what Lee Marer offered me. I went on Amazon and picked the book written by Troy McMillan and published by Pearson. I picked it for two reasons. One person said he passed the exam by studying this book; the paper book offers a code for you to register online and get access the online free practice exams. Since this book covers the objectives of the exam pretty well, I didn’t even bother searching for the objective myself. The book was written in a very cool format and I loved the online exams. On days I didn’t feel like reading (there were a lot of them), I just click on the question and then checked the answers to read the explanation. But I didn’t see one real question from the hundreds of practice questions. I found a lot of typos from both the online and print material. The company is very good at responding to my suggestions. Then Jason Dion offered free course taught by him on Udemy. Of course, I signed up for that! I have to say that this free course helped me pass the exam! It is composed of 5 short practice exams. You can take them as many times as you want. If you ask a question, Jason gets back to you within 24 hours. I actually got 4 or 5 questions right on the exam because of this course. I’m not associated with Jason in any way. 1f60a.png

    How much time do you need to study? You won’t need too much time if you have passed CCNA Cyber Ops. I actually recommend you leave less than a month’s time between the two exams. I have very good short-term memory, so I started forgetting some names at the end of my study for CSA+ since I passed my SECOPS in July. But studying for CSA+ helps me understand some concepts better. I spent less than a good week to study plus reading here and there. When are you ready? Jason claims that if you get 90%+ on his 5 exams then you are ready. At the end, I did get over90% on his 5 exams (after taking them a couple of times) and I passed the practice exams offered by Pearson.

    Edit on January 10 of 2018. Now you can find some listing with both certifications. When I searched for jobs on Indeed, I found a few listings for CSA+ already, but nothing for CCNA Cyber Ops. I’m not sure how long it will take for the name to go out.

    Sorry for the long story and good luck to you!
  • ErtazErtaz Posts: 924Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    xagreus wrote: »
    This thread's a bit old, but still of interest.

    Thanks for bumping this. Now that I have both, I can give some feedback. I thought the CyberOPS was more challenging than the Beta CSA+, (The second exam, the first exam you could probably walk in and take with SEC+ level knowledge.) There were more specific questions around header formats in SECOPS vs being able to parse some info and reverse engineer it in the COMPTIA lab.
  • victor.s.andreivictor.s.andrei Posts: 70Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Ertaz wrote: »
    Thanks for bumping this. Now that I have both, I can give some feedback. I thought the CyberOPS was more challenging than the Beta CSA+, (The second exam, the first exam you could probably walk in and take with SEC+ level knowledge.) There were more specific questions around header formats in SECOPS vs being able to parse some info and reverse engineer it in the COMPTIA lab.

    I'm finishing SECOPS through the Cisco scholarship program right now, and I took (and passed!) the CSA+ beta exam last year.

    If I had to pick a particular certification, Cisco wins hands down. Maybe it's the training, but it feels like I'm actually learning something rather than just holding a mere piece of paper. I can't say the same about CSA+.
    Q4 '18 Certification Goals: Cisco ICND2; JNCIA-Junos; Linux+; Palo Alto ACE

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  • xagreusxagreus Posts: 81Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the insights, Ertaz and victor.s.andrei!
  • _Slick_Slick Posts: 1Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
    I realize this thread is older, but the posters here seem to have industry experience, so I wanted to ask kind of a long question:

    I just completed the CCNA Cyber Ops cert, (probably woulnd't have done this if it wasn't free) which is the first security related certification I've ever obtained, and I'm thinking it's possible I could intuitively understand security related topics, so I'm consdering a career shift. However, the cert says it prepares you to be a SOC analyst, but I'm hesitant to do that because who knows how long I'd spend at tier-1 just doing the same crap over and over again (i.e. receiving alerts, screening for false positives, scripting to reduce false positives, triaging everything else, rinse repeat.) That said, are there other types of infosec jobs this cert could land me if I've never had any documentable information security experience?

    A little background as it relates to obtaining this cert: (sorry, this sounds like a lame brag, but this may help an industry veteran give me some ideas) I held a CCNP R&S and CCDA before getting the CCNA Cyber Ops certification. In addition, I came into this with a strong networking, linux, and windows background, and already well knew some topics like regex in way more detail than what the exams covered. Also, I already understood, conceptually, how to do things like MitM with gratuitous arps, injecting staging code into an unchecked buffer, how sql injection works, etc. I passed both exams on the first attempt, only relying on the course material itself (I didn't do the SECOPS labs, would really have liked to as they all looked interesting, but I just couldn't make the time.) I really just did what was in the chapters, and then completed the end of chapter quizes to get the vouchers.

    Right now I'm making good money as a network engineer, but I'm not exactly happy with where I work. Perfect opportunity for a career shift.

    Thanks
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