To get a CompTIA Security+ certification, candidates need to pass an exam consisting of both multiple-choice and performance-based questions about topics such as risk management, threat analysis, and response, as well as securing networks, applications, and devices.

In its most basic form, the exam is not unlike most other written tests. It uses various question types that verify the candidate’s knowledge in specific areas of information security. By being well-prepared, candidates stand the best chance of passing the test to be awarded the CompTIA Security+ certification.

CompTIA offers certifications for all of these segments and more. MyComputerCareer can guide you through them with ease. Reach out to us if you’re interested in getting CompTIA-certified and start your cybersecurity career.

More About the CompTIA Security+ Certification Exam

CompTIA Security+ is an Information Technology certification covering network security concepts, access control, cryptography, threats and vulnerabilities, identity management, and more. And while CompTIA doesn’t impose any prerequisites, it still recommends that certification candidates obtain the Network+ credential and/or have at least a couple of years of IT administration experience with a security focus.

CompTIA Security+ is the first cyber security-oriented certificate a candidate can earn. It helps establish the core security functions needed for security professionals, providing a springboard towards an intermediary-level cybersecurity role. Security+ incorporates the best practices in hands-on troubleshooting, making sure that candidates have the necessary practical security problem-solving skills needed to accomplish the following:

  • Assess the security posture of an enterprise environment as well as recommend and implement the appropriate security solutions.
  • Monitoring and securing hybrid environments, including mobile, cloud, and IoT.
  • Operate with the knowledge of all applicable laws, policies, and principles of governance, as well as risk and compliance.
  • Identifying, analyzing, and responding to various cybersecurity events and incidents.

The Security+ certification is compliant with the ISO 17024 standards. It’s also approved by the US DoD to meet the directive 8140/8570.01-M requirements. Usually, there’s a version update every three years, and for a while, there’s an overlap between the old and new versions, which candidates can choose from. 

In 2020, CompTIA updated its security certification exam. The new exam version, SY0-601, was released in November 2020, while the old version, the exam code SY0-501, will still be available until July 2021. Throughout this time, candidates can choose which version to take.

While it may not seem like a big deal, these two testing options can impact how candidates can prepare for their exams. As a general rule of thumb, studying for the older version, the SY0-501 exam option, in this case, is the better of the two.

For starters, the Security+ exam preparation material will likely be aligned to older exam objectives. Also, many prep courses and trainers may be more proficient and established in the newer version of the exam. 

Preparing For The CompTIA Security+ Exam

While there are differences in individual preferences in preparation for the test, there’s a general guideline to help candidates keep themselves organized during the exam preparation process.

By gaining a basic understanding of what’s to be expected from the exam, will prove to be of significant benefit. Spending some time learning more about the CompTIA Security+ certification and what it’s needed to pass the exam will go a long way.

The more details are known about the questions that need to be answered, the better it will be to judge what they already know and what needs further learning. To better understand what will be in the exam, candidates should download the exam objectives and practice test questions.

What You Already Know vs. What’s Expected

CompTIA Security+ offers an opportunity for many people, opening doors to a wide range of job roles in IT and cybersecurity. As mentioned, there are no prerequisites to taking this exam. However, it’s recommended to have at least two years of practical experience in IT administration, focusing on security. It’s also a good idea to earn the Network+ certification before this one.

The network and security experience earned beforehand will significantly impact the knowledge gap between what the candidate already knows and what’s expected. Regardless of experience, it’s a good idea to know the areas needing further study and focus on those areas.

Closing the Knowledge Gap

CompTIA offers a set of comprehensive learning resources and studies material to support candidates in gaining their certifications. These resources provide a variety of ways to acquire the background knowledge outlined in the exam objectives.

The self-study guide teaches candidates the fundamental principles of installing and configuring cybersecurity controls and participating in incident response and risk mitigation techniques. Downloading the multiple-choice questions mentioned above will also help in preparing for the exam. The CompTIA CertMaster contains an entire suite of products that allows exam candidates to learn the necessary skills needed for a cybersecurity career.

Another available option, aside from self-study, is to engage in-classroom training. CompTIA Security+ certification training is offered by various public academic institutions and professional training centers, such as MyComputerCareer. Instructor-led training can be an excellent option as it can significantly increase the chances of earning the certificate. Candidates will not end up second-guessing what they need to learn.

Passing The Security Exam

While it’s common for candidates to try and cram in as much study before the exam as possible, it’s advisable that they get a good night’s rest, enjoy a healthy meal, and arrive at the on-site or online testing center with enough time to prepare for the exam properly.

On exam day, candidates will need to follow a few steps before actually taking the test. This will include:

  • Showing two forms of ID.
  • Reviewing the testing policies and signing the CompTIA Candidate Agreement.
  • If the exam is taken in a physical testing center, candidates cannot take anything into the testing room. On the other hand, during an online testing session, candidates will have to take photos of the room to ensure that they don’t have access to books, pens, phones, computers, and other items hanging on nearby walls. 

Earning Security+ Continuing Education Units (CEUS)

Immediately upon submitting the test, the candidate will be informed whether or not they passed the exam. To maintain their credentials, candidates will have to earn and submit their continuing education units during a 3-year renewal cycle following the date the certification was achieved. If candidates fail to renew their certifications, the only way to regain them is by taking the exam all over again.

MyComputerCareer offers certification programs that include CompTIA exams as well. Reach out to us if you’re interested in getting CompTIA-certified and advancing your IT career. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have on this topic!