image of IT career progression with CompTIA stackable certifications

CompTIA Stackable Certifications: The “Avengers Assemble” of IT Career Advancement


In the epic conclusion of the Avengers film series, our beloved heroes, including Captain America, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch & others, made personal sacrifices for the benefit of others. 

Similarly, technology professionals sacrifice time, effort, and resources to advance their careers.

One thing about the IT industry is: this sector requires professionals to keep up with the latest technologies. 

Certifications are, to this end, crucial, as they increase job satisfaction and lead to higher earnings & job security.

Enter CompTIA stackable certifications – powerhouse qualifications that fuel exciting careers. 

These IT and Networking certifications act as building blocks, allowing you to assemble a robust skill set and gain specialised knowledge in any field of Information Technology. 

These certifications cover specialist disciplines, including networking, cyber security, and cloud computing – IT fields we will explore in-depth in this blog. 

Whether you are just starting or looking to enhance your skills, CompTIA stackable certifications offer a flexible and comprehensive pathway for professional development.

Continue reading as we explore the benefits of these certifications, how they work, and the two career pathways available to you. 

What are CompTIA certifications?

CompTIA certifications are industry-recognised credentials validating IT professionals’ skills and knowledge. 

Developed by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), these certifications cover various domains of IT, enabling you to showcase your knowledge, expertise, and experience, all while enhancing your career prospects.

CompTIA offers certifications in multiple tracks, including core certifications like:

CompTIA A+, which validates essential skills in hardware, software, networking, and security. 

Infrastructure certifications focus on specific aspects of IT infrastructure, such as CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Server+, and CompTIA Security+.

Cyber security certifications like CompTIA Security+ and speciality certifications for specific IT roles and technologies, such as CompTIA Linux+ and CompTIA Cloud+, can also be pursued.

Important: Each certification comprises exams assessing your knowledge and skills. These vendor-neutral exams (they are universally applicable) focus on fundamental concepts relevant across technologies and platforms.

CompTIA Certifications: Exploring Their Real-World Benefits. 

growing into an IT career by pursuing certifications

The best certifications offer tangible benefits you can see as you progress in your career. By earning these credentials you:

Enhance Employability: CompTIA certifications are globally recognised and respected. They get your foot in the door for job opportunities and promotions and demonstrate a commitment to professional development.

Gain Industry Recognition: Globally recognised, these are qualifications that establish credibility, differentiate professionals and gain industry recognition.

Expand Career Opportunities: How do endless opportunities for diverse IT roles sound? Employers consistently value the competence and proficiency of CompTIA certifications – this equals more career advancement opportunities for you.

Validate Your Skills: Practical and scenario-based training validates professionals’ ability to apply knowledge to real-world challenges.

Increase Your Professional Network: CompTIA certifications provide access to a vast network of IT professionals, fostering knowledge sharing, growth, and potential career opportunities.

Continuous Learning: These courses are meticulously updated, so you learn what’s current and stay updated on industry trends and best practices.

What Are Stackable Certifications? 

Stackable certifications in the IT industry refer to the concept of combining multiple certifications from the same vendor or organisation to build a cohesive and comprehensive skill set. 

Think of it like building a sports team: you have individual players with specific skills, but they form a strong and well-rounded team when they come together.

Similarly, CompTIA offers stackable certifications that allow IT professionals to gradually enhance their skills and expertise. 

Starting with foundational certifications like CompTIA A+, you can add specialised certifications such as CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Security+ to expand your knowledge.

Stacking these certifications creates a pathway for career growth and demonstrates proficiency in multiple areas of IT.

How Do CompTIA Stackable Certifications Work? – A Breakdown 

These certifications follow a step-by-step path that builds skills and knowledge on top of each other.

1. Start with a Foundation: The CompTIA A+ certification is the bedrock for an IT career. 

It covers essential hardware, software, networking, and troubleshooting concepts.

Sports analogy, anyone? CompTIA A+ is like learning the basics of a sport. Before moving forward, you must understand the rules, equipment, and fundamental skills.

2. Specialise with Intermediate Certifications: Once you have your foundation, it’s time to specialise. CompTIA offers intermediate certifications like CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, and CompTIA Cloud+.

3. Enhance with Advanced Certifications: CompTIA provides advanced certifications. For example, if you are interested in security, you could pursue CompTIA CySA+ (Cybersecurity Analyst) or CompTIA CASP+ (Advanced Security Practitioner).

4. Stack and Showcase Your Skills: As you earn multiple certifications, you can stack them together to demonstrate your comprehensive knowledge and skills to employers.

5. Plan Your Career Path: Thankfully, CompTIA provides a detailed roadmap on the recommended order to earn stackable certifications, making career progression as simple as following a laid-out path to your career goals. 

6. Continuous Learning and Renewal: IT evolves and moves faster than a rat up a drainpipe. To stay relevant, you must continuously learn, renew your certifications periodically, and explore new certificates as they become available.

The CompTIA Stackable Certification Path

Obtaining CompTIA stackable certifications involves a well-defined roadmap for IT professionals to progress through. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Start with the Fundamentals: Begin your journey with CompTIA A+. This certification covers essential IT skills such as hardware, software, networking, and troubleshooting. 

It serves as the foundation for further specialisation.

Choose Your Specialisation: Select a specialisation track based on your career goals and interests.

Expand Your Expertise: Once you have obtained your first certification, continue building your skill set. 

Branch Out or Deepen Your Knowledge: Depending on your career path, you can either broaden your skills by exploring specialisations in different domains or deepen your expertise by pursuing advanced certifications.

Keep Growing: These qualifications empower continuous growth. Look for opportunities to acquire additional certifications based on emerging technologies or job requirements. 

CompTIA Stackable Certifications: The Two Career Pathways Available To You

Infrastructure Pathway: 

The CompTIA Infrastructure Pathway teaches the essential skills to excel at IT operations. 

Specialist – Early-career IT professionals with less than two years work experience

CompTIA IT Operations Specialist (A+/Network+)

This certification pathway focuses on essential IT operations skills. It combines CompTIA A+ and CompTIA Network+ certifications, covering various foundational knowledge areas:

  • CompTIA A+ covers hardware and software fundamentals.
  • CompTIA Network+ delves into networking concepts, protocols, and troubleshooting.

CompTIA Systems Support Specialist (A+/Linux+)

The Systems Support Specialist certification combines CompTIA A+ and Linux+:

  • CompTIA A+ provides a solid understanding of hardware and software troubleshooting.
  • CompTIA Linux+ focuses on Linux operating systems, command-line usage, scripting, and system administration.

Professional – Mid-level IT professionals with two – five years of work experience

CompTIA Cloud Admin Professional (Network+/Cloud+)

This certification pathway combines CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Cloud+:

  • CompTIA Network+ focuses on networking expertise. 
  • CompTIA Cloud+ focuses on cloud computing principles, virtualisation, and deployment models. 

Note: The Cloud Admin Professional certification prepares individuals for roles in cloud administration.

CompTIA Network Infrastructure Professional (Network+/Server+)

The Network Infrastructure Professional certification combines CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Server+:

  •  CompTIA Network+ provides a comprehensive understanding of networks, protocols, and security.
  • CompTIA Server+ focuses on server hardware, virtualisation, storage, and disaster recovery.

CompTIA Linux Network Professional (Network+/Linux+)

This certification pathway combines CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Linux+:

  • CompTIA Network+ covers network concepts, protocols, and troubleshooting.
  • CompTIA Linux+ focuses on Linux operating systems, command-line usage, scripting, and system administration. 

Note: The Linux Network Professional certification validates skills in Linux networking environments.

Cybersecurity Pathway: 

The CompTIA Cyber Security Pathway empowers IT professionals with the knowledge and skills to develop cybersecurity expertise.

Specialist – Early-career IT professionals with less than two years work experience

CompTIA Secure Infrastructure Specialist (A+/Network+/Security+)

This certification validates your expertise in building and managing secure infrastructure. 

It covers essential topics:

  • CompTIA A+ (hardware and software), 
  • CompTIA Network+ (networking fundamentals), 
  • CompTIA Security+ (security best practices).

Professional – Mid-level IT professionals with two – five years of work experience

CompTIA Secure Cloud Professional (Security+/Cloud+)

With a focus on cloud security, Secure Cloud Professional combines the knowledge of CompTIA Security+ (security foundations) and CompTIA Cloud+ (cloud infrastructure and security) to help you secure cloud environments effectively.

CompTIA Security Analytics Professional (Security+/CySA+)

Security analytics builds skills to analyse and respond to security threats. It encompasses the knowledge of CompTIA Security+ (security essentials) and CompTIA CySA+ (security analytics and response).

CompTIA Network Vulnerability Assessment Professional (Security+/PenTest+): 

Network Vulnerability Assessment Professional focuses on identifying and mitigating network vulnerabilities. It combines the expertise of CompTIA Security+ (network security) and CompTIA PenTest+ (penetration testing techniques).

CompTIA Network Security Professional (Security+/PenTest+/CySA+):

Network Security Professional encompasses a comprehensive set of skills in network security. 

It covers the domains of CompTIA Security+ (security fundamentals), CompTIA PenTest+ (penetration testing), and CompTIA CySA+ (security analytics).

Expert – Established IT professionals with more than five years of work experience.

CompTIA Security Analytics Expert (Security+/CySA+/CASP+) 

This expert-level certification solidifies your proficiency in security analytics. It includes the knowledge of CompTIA Security+ (security foundations), CompTIA CySA+ (advanced security analytics), and CompTIA CASP+ (enterprise security solutions).

CompTIA Secure Infrastructure Expert (Security+/CySA+/PenTest+/CASP+): 

Secure Infrastructure Expert combines multiple domains of expertise. It encompasses the knowledge of CompTIA Security+ (security principles), CompTIA CySA+ (advanced security analytics), CompTIA PenTest+ (penetration testing), and CompTIA CASP+ (enterprise security solutions).

Remember: Each certification builds from the other, helping you build a well-rounded skill set that’s sought after in the industry.

Browse now: Accredited IT and Networking certifications. 

How To Know If It Is Worth Pursuing Multiple Stackable Certifications?

Pursuing multiple stackable certifications takes work and requires significant time and resources. 

Here are some indicators to help determine if it’s worth pursuing for you:

Career Advancement: Evaluate your career goals and assess if additional certifications align with your desired job roles. For instance, if you aim for leadership roles in cyber security, obtaining CompTIA Security+, CompTIA CySA+, and CompTIA CASP+ certifications would make more sense.

Industry Demand: Research the job market and identify high-demand certifications. 

Suppose you find specific skills and IT qualifications frequently listed as prerequisites for your desired role. In that case, it strongly indicates that pursuing them would be beneficial.

Skill Gaps: Assess your existing skill set and identify areas where you need to strengthen your knowledge. These qualifications in those domains can fill those gaps, making you a more well-rounded IT professional.

Personal Growth: Pursuing stackable certifications can fuel your passion and personal growth if you have a genuine interest in a specific area of IT. It allows you to delve deeper into a subject you enjoy and opens doors to exciting opportunities within that field.

Employer Support: Check if your current or prospective employer values and recognises these certifications. Some companies actively encourage employees to pursue ongoing professional development and offer incentives or promotions based on acquiring additional certifications.

Reminder: It is important to balance the value of the certifications and your circumstances. Consider your time commitment, financial resources, and the overall impact on your work-life balance. 

Pursuing this training should be a strategic decision that aligns with your career goals and enhances your professional growth.

Sacrifice Like an Avenger and Achieve IT Career Success 

We have covered a lot about CompTIA stackable certifications!

To recap, I would ask you to keep this in mind: 

In your pursuit of success in an IT career, sacrifices matter. 

Just like the Marvel Avengers heroes we witnessed sacrificing for a greater goal in the Marvel movies, IT professionals must be willing to make sacrifices to achieve their goals. 

Sacrifice to achieve career growth signifies dedication, hard work, and commitment. 

Similarly, CompTIA stackable certifications offer a direct path for practising professionals and people interested in Information Technology to build a solid foundation of skills, specialise in specific domains, and demonstrate their expertise.

These certifications are proof of your commitment to continuous learning and skills development. Traits required to succeed in IT. 

CompTIA Stackable Certifications: Frequently Asked Questions 

What is a stackable certification?

A stackable certification combines multiple certifications from the same vendor to build a comprehensive skill set.

Do CompTIA stackable certifications expire?

Yes, they expire three years after they are earned. They can be renewed through CompTIA’s continuing education (CE) programme. 

What stackable certification will you also receive if you earn the CompTIA CySA+ and CompTIA Security+ certifications?

If you earn the CompTIA CySA+ and CompTIA Security+ certifications, you will also receive the CompTIA Stackable Certificates: CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) and CompTIA Secure Infrastructure Specialist (Security+).

Which CompTIA certification should I start first?

Start with CompTIA A+ as it establishes a strong foundation for your IT career.

What is the CompTIA trifecta?

The CompTIA trifecta combines CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, and CompTIA Security+ certifications, forming a powerful trio of foundational IT knowledge.

What is stacking in education?

Stacking in education refers to accumulating certifications or qualifications to build expertise in a specific field.

Is CompTIA A+ or CompTIA Security+ easier?

The difficulty of A+ or Security+ depends on individual experience and knowledge. Both are beginner-friendly, but A+ covers a broader range of topics.

Can a beginner take CompTIA A+?

Yes, beginners can take CompTIA A+. It is an entry-level certification designed to validate foundational IT skills.

Is CompTIA Security+ entry-level?

Yes, CompTIA Security+ is considered an entry-level certification focusing on cybersecurity fundamentals.

Can I do CompTIA Security+ without CompTIA Network+?

While CompTIA Network+ is not a prerequisite for CompTIA Security+, it provides a solid understanding of networking concepts that can benefit CompTIA Security+ candidates.

What is the next step after CompTIA Security+?

After CompTIA Security+, the next step can be pursuing more advanced certifications such as CompTIA CySA+ or CompTIA CASP+ to specialise in specific IT domains.

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