Is CompTIA Security+ SY0-701 Worth It? Choose the Best cert for your career.

I think the CompTIA Security+ is worth your time and investment! The CompTIA Security+ certification is a highly respected credential in the cybersecurity world. However, whether it’s the right certification for you depends entirely on your individual circumstances.

Your career goal, current role, and existing experience are all key factors that will influence the value of a Security+ certification for you. It’s also important to consider other factors, such as your budget and preferred learning style.

In this article, we’ll dive into each of these considerations to help you determine if Security+ is the best step for your career advancement. We’ll also explore some alternative certifications that may be more aligned with your specific goals.

Let’s get started on this journey to find the perfect certification to propel your cybersecurity career forward!

About CompTIA Security+ Certification

CompTIA Security+ SY0-701 Everything You Need to know

The CompTIA Security+ certification is a globally recognized credential that demonstrates your foundational skills and knowledge in cybersecurityBy earning this certification, you will understand the core skills needed to succeed in the field.

Once certified, you will be able to:
  • Assess and improve security: Evaluate an organization’s security posture and recommend the best solutions to protect their systems.
  • Secure modern environments: Handle the unique challenges of cloud computing, mobile devices, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
  • Follow the rules: Understand and comply with relevant laws and regulations, ensuring your work is ethical and legal.
  • Respond to incidents: Identify, analyze, and address security breaches or attacks to minimize damage.
What’s So Special About this Certification?
  • Widely recognized and vendor-neutral: Organizations worldwide respect this certification, making it a valuable asset for job seekers and career advancement. It is also vendor-neutral, meaning it applies to a wide range of technologies and solutions.
  • Essential skills: Security+ covers the core knowledge needed to protect against threats, analyze risks, and implement security measures.
  • Compliance: It meets international standards and government requirements, ensuring you’re up-to-date with the latest regulations and policies.
  • Perfect for beginners: CompTIA Security+ is an excellent entry point into the cybersecurity field, providing a strong foundation in essential concepts and practices without requiring prior experience.

In a nutshell, CompTIA Security+ is a globally recognized and vendor-neutral certification ideal for those who are planning to start their career in cybersecurity.

Should I Consider CompTIA Security+ Certification?

This certification is ideal for individuals starting out in IT security roles, including positions like junior IT auditor/penetration tester, systems administrator, network administrator, and security administrator. It’s a popular choice among top employers who often require or recommend this certification when hiring.

Here are some top reasons for you to pursue CompTIA Security+ certification:
  • Start a career in cybersecurity: It’s considered the industry standard for entry-level cybersecurity roles and is often a preferred qualification for early career professionals.
  • Validate your security knowledge: It proves that you have the fundamental skills and knowledge to perform core security functions, making you a more attractive candidate to potential employers.
  • Advance in your IT career: Even if you’re already working in IT, this certification can demonstrate your commitment to security and open doors to new opportunities within your organization or elsewhere.
  • Meet job requirements: Many companies and government agencies require or recommend Security+ for specific roles, such as systems, network, and security administrators.

Specifically, you should consider Security+ if you:

  • Have some experience in IT, even if it’s not directly security-related.
  • Are interested in protecting systems, networks, and data from threats.
  • Want to demonstrate your knowledge and commitment to cybersecurity to potential employers.
  • Are looking for a recognized and respected certification that will open doors to new career opportunities.
Who might not consider Security+:

While valuable for many, Security+ might not be the best fit for everyone.

  • Those focused on general IT support roles(e.g., help desk) may find the Security+ certification less relevant to their daily tasks.
  • Experienced IT professionals with advanced certifications may not gain significant new knowledge from the Security+ certification.
  • Those new to IT should first build a foundation with certifications like CompTIA Tech+ or A+ before pursuing Security+.
  • If your career aspirations don’t involve IT security, the Security+ certification may not be a priority.

Exam Details

CompTIA Security+ Passing Score-Exam Details

The CompTIA Security+ exam assesses your ability to secure enterprise environments, monitor hybrid environments (cloud, mobile, IoT), operate within legal and ethical guidelines, and respond to security incidents. It’s a comprehensive test of your cybersecurity knowledge and skills. Here’s what you can expect:

Question Format: The exam includes multiple-choice and performance-based questions, which may involve simulations or scenarios where you apply your knowledge to solve problems.

Number of Questions: There will be a maximum of 90 questions.

Exam Duration: You’ll have 90 minutes to complete the exam.

Recommended Experience: CompTIA Network+ certification and two years of experience in a security or systems administrator role are recommended, but you can still earn the Security+ certification without meeting these requirements.

Passing Score: 750 (on a scale of 100-900)

Main Topics (Domains): The exam covers five main areas:

  1. General Security Concepts (12%): Understanding different types of security controls, fundamental security principles (confidentiality, integrity, availability), change management, and cryptography.

  2. Threats, Vulnerabilities, and Mitigations (22%): Identifying common threats and vulnerabilities, analyzing indicators of malicious activity, and mitigating these risks.

  3. Security Architecture (18%): Different architecture models and applying security principles to protect enterprise infrastructure and data.

  4. Security Operations (28%): Securing computing resources, managing hardware and software assets, vulnerability management, incident response, and identity and access management (this is the most significant section, so give it extra attention).

  5. Security Program Management and Oversight (20%): Governance, risk management, compliance, and security awareness training.

In addition to these main topics, the exam includes a list of acronyms covering various security technologies, protocols, and concepts that you should be familiar with.

How Much Does CompTIA Security+ Exam Cost?

The CompTIA Security+ exam fee varies by region. In the United States, the exam costs USD 404. In Great Britain, candidates must pay GBP 240, while in emerging markets, the fee is USD 226.

Here is a table showing the price for the CompTIA Security+ exam in different regions:

Country Currency Price
Emerging Market USDe 226
Great Britain GBP 240
Japan JPY 47447
Australia AUD 545
South Africa ZAR 3108

Does CompTIA Security+ Require Prior Experience?

CompTIA Security+ Required Prior Experience

You don’t need any specific certifications or experience to take the CompTIA Security+ exam. However, CompTIA recommends having at least two years of IT administration experience with a security focus and earning the CompTIA Network+ certification before taking the exam.

If you’re not confident with the basics of IT and networking, you can still take the exam, but you might just need to put in a bit more study time. And remember, if your end goal is Security+, you can always brush up on your IT basics by studying for the A+ and Network+ exams, even if you don’t actually take them. Knowing where you stand will help you plan your studies and set yourself up for success.

Is CompTIA Security+ Hard?

The difficulty of the Security+ exam varies greatly depending on your background, experience, and preparation. Many exam takers struggle due to a lack of IT experience or ineffective study strategies. However, with the right resources, training materials, and practice exams, you can definitely manage it.

Keep in mind that the exam questions can sometimes be wordier and more complex than practice tests, so strong comprehension skills and thorough preparation are essential. My advice is to focus on understanding the material rather than just memorizing it. Practice with various prep exams, even ones that seem harder than the actual test, to get comfortable with the question style and format. This will help bridge any knowledge gaps and build your confidence. Here is a list of 70 questions from all five domains that you can use for self-assessment.

In short, while the Security+ exam is challenging, adequate preparation and a good understanding of the exam’s structure can make it much easier to pass. 

What Kind of Jobs Can You Get with Security+?

With a CompTIA Security+ certification, you can pursue various entry-level to mid-level cybersecurity roles:

  • Systems Administrator: Manage and maintain an organization’s IT systems, ensuring their security and smooth operation.
  • Network Administrator: Design, implement, and maintain network infrastructure, focusing on security configurations and protocols.
  • Security Administrator: Develop and implement security protocols to protect information systems from threats.
  • Security Analyst: Analyze security measures, identify vulnerabilities, and recommend improvements. Monitor networks for breaches and investigate incidents.
  • Security Engineer: Design and build secure systems, create strategies to enhance security for system architectures and networks.
  • Junior IT Auditor/Penetration Tester: Assess the security of systems and networks by simulating attacks to identify vulnerabilities.
  • Help Desk Analyst: Provide technical support to users, identify and escalate potential security issues.

These roles offer a starting point in cybersecurity, with opportunities for growth and specialization as you gain experience and further certifications.  To get more details on job roles that require CompTIA Security+, you can search LinkedIn to get a better idea.

CompTIA Security+: Job Market Demand & Career Outlook (2024)

The CompTIA Security+ certification can be a valuable asset in your job search, but its effectiveness depends on various factors like your location, the specific job market, and your additional qualifications and experience. Security+ is globally recognized and can open doors to entry-level IT security positions, especially for employers seeking candidates with foundational cybersecurity knowledge, but it’s important to remember that the job market is competitive. Relying solely on Security+ without additional certifications, experience, or a college degree may not be enough for many IT roles, particularly more advanced positions.

To enhance your job prospects, consider gaining practical experience and potentially pursuing other certifications, such as Network+ or more advanced credentials. While Security+ can help you secure an initial IT job, continued learning and obtaining additional certifications are often necessary for career progression. Remember, demonstrating your skills effectively in interviews can significantly improve your chances of landing a job in cybersecurity.
In summary, the CompTIA Security+ is a valuable stepping stone into the cybersecurity job market, but it’s not a guarantee of employment. Consider combining the certification with other qualifications and experiences to maximise your employability and career advancement opportunities.

To help you understand the job demand for Network+, I have reviewed the most popular recruitment platforms and compiled data on open positions for Security+ as of May 26, 2024. Here is a table showing a side-by-side comparison with A+ and Network+:

Platform Network+ A+ Security+
LinkedIn 3,895 30,255 59,247
Indeed 5,207 7,319 4,000
SimplyHired 4,178 3,824 3,569

Disclaimer: The data in this table is a snapshot in time and may vary depending on your location, industry, and the current job market conditions.

CompTIA Security+ Salaries: What to Expect?

CompTIA Security+ Salary in USA

The average salary in the USA for jobs requiring or recommending CompTIA Security+ certification is $71,689 per year (As of May 02, 2024), according to ZipRecruiter, with a range of $21,500 to $127,000 per year. Actual salaries can vary depending on the specific job role, experience, location, employer, and additional skills. The Security+ certification serves as a strong foundation for a cybersecurity career, opening doors to various roles and opportunities for advancement with increasing earning potential.

One more thing to note: The salary range varies considerably, which means there’s plenty of room for growth as you gain experience and expertise.

CompTIA Security+ Average Salary in USA

Is CompTIA Security+ Worth It?

Yes, the CompTIA Security+ certification is worth it. However, that does not mean Sec+ will guarantee you a job. It’s crucial to supplement it with hands-on experience and knowledge of relevant tools to make yourself a competitive candidate. The value of the certification largely depends on your career goals and willingness to put in additional effort. Finally, building connections with cybersecurity professionals through online communities, conferences, or LinkedIn can be highly beneficial.

Reasons to Consider:
  • Demand for Cybersecurity Professionals Will Grow: According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the demand for cybersecurity professionals is experiencing huge growth and will continue to grow. The field faces a significant shortage of skilled workers, with an estimated 3.5 million unfilled positions by 2025. This high demand and the increasing cost of cybercrime make cybersecurity a promising and lucrative career path. Security+ can help you break into this industry.
  • Industry Recognition: Security+ is a well-respected and globally recognized certification in the IT industry. It’s vendor-neutral, meaning the knowledge gained applies to various technologies and solutions.
  • Opens Doors to Cybersecurity Careers: Security+ is often considered a baseline certification for many cybersecurity roles. It demonstrates to potential employers that you have a foundational understanding of cybersecurity concepts and practices.
  • DoD 8570 Compliance: The Security+ certification is compliant with DoD 8570, a mandate requiring specific certifications for those working on government information systems. This opens up numerous job opportunities within the Department of Defense and government contracting agencies.
  • Fulfills Job Requirements: Many cybersecurity job postings list Security+ as a preferred or required qualification. Having this certification on your resume can make you a more competitive candidate.
  • Broadens Knowledge Base: Security+ covers a wide range of topics, from network security and risk management to compliance and cryptography. This knowledge is essential for anyone looking to build a career in cybersecurity.
  • Sometimes, having a degree is not enough: Sometimes, employers value certifications more than a degree. Having a degree along with your certification boosts your resume.

Security+ is not a magic bullet, but it is a significant step towards a rewarding and fulfilling career in cybersecurity. Before you decide, remember that having a certification is better than having no certification.

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