CSPA Core Exam™ Topics

The CSPA Core Exam™ covers seven high level topics. To maximize your composite score, you are expected be proficient in CORE, FE, BE, and at least ONE other topic. For details on how we score the exam, please read How Is the CSPA Scored.

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Algorithms, Data Structures, and Programming (CORE)

This topic covers foundational computer science knowledge. All great software engineers have a solid understanding in the following core principles.

Front end web (FE)

This topic examines your ability to create the client side of functional web applications. High scorers may be suitable for front end web or full stack web roles.

Back end web (BE)

This topic examines your ability to create the server side of functional web applications. High scorers may be suitable for back end web or full stack web roles.

Operating systems, networking, and tools (OPS)

This topic covers your ability to navigate and build single machines, as well as a network of machines. High scorers may be suitable for devops, technical operations, or systems administrator/IT roles.

Systems design, architecture, and infrastructure (ARCH)

This section tests your abilities to view complex machines holistically. Strong candidates are able to understand concepts at high levels, as well as meticulous details at low levels. High scorers may be suitable for systems architect and infrastructure roles.

Databases and storage systems (DB)

This section tests your knowledge and experience with various data storage systems. High scorers may be suitable for database administrator roles.

Security (SEC)

This section tests your ability and experience in defending applications and systems from malicious users. High scorers may be suitable for network and data security roles.

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