CompTIA Security+ 601 vs. 701: What’s the Difference?

CompTIA Security+ ranks among the top 10 cybersecurity certifications in 2023. See how CompTIA Security+ (SY0-701) compares to SY0-601.

CompTIA Security+ 601 vs. 701 What’s the DifferenceIT certifications show employers that candidates have the knowledge and skills they need to do the job, and they help IT pros advance in their careers. As cybersecurity has become a critical function, cybersecurity certifications are among the most popular IT certifications globally.

More than 700,000 IT pros have earned CompTIA Security+, and the Skillsoft IT Skills and Salary Report puts CompTIA at #3 of the most widely held security, governance, compliance and/or privacy-related certifications. Plus, CompTIA Security+ is chosen by more employers than any other IT certification to prove hands-on core cybersecurity skills and fulfills U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) 8570 compliance.

CompTIA Security+ has recently been updated to reflect skills relevant to job roles tasked with baseline security readiness and response to address today’s threats, and to prepare candidates to be more proactive in preventing the next attack.

As the need to secure more systems, software and hardware grows, more IT job roles are now turning to CompTIA Security+ to supplement cybersecurity skills.

IT Jobs Related to CompTIA Security+

As cyberattacks continue to grow, more IT job roles are tasked with baseline security readiness and responding to address today’s cyber threats. Updates to CompTIA Security+ (SY0-701) reflect those skills and prepare you to be more proactive in preventing the next cyberattack.

The primary CompTIA Security+ job roles include:

But the following IT job roles can also benefit from CompTIA Security+:

Learn about the CompTIA Cybersecurity Career Pathway.

CompTIA Security+ 601 vs. 701

The new CompTIA Security+ (SY0-701) addresses the latest cybersecurity trends and techniques – covering the most core technical skills in risk assessment and management, incident response, forensics, enterprise networks, hybrid/cloud operations and security controls, ensuring high performance on the job. These skills include:

  • Assessing the security posture of an enterprise environment and recommend and implement appropriate security solutions.
  • Monitoring and securing hybrid environments, including cloud, mobile, Internet of Things (IoT) and operational technology (OT).
  • Operating with an awareness of applicable regulations and policies, including principles of governance, risk and compliance.
  • Identifying, analyzing and responding to security events and incidents.

And 20% of exam objectives were updated to include:

  • Current trends: The latest trends in threats, attacks, vulnerabilities, automation, zero trust, risk, IoT, OT and cloud environments are emphasized, as well as communication, reporting and teamwork.
  • Hybrid environments: The latest techniques for cybersecurity professionals working in hybrid environments that are located in the cloud and on premises; cybersecurity professionals should be familiar with both worlds.

Let’s take a look at the differences between the 601 and 701 exam domains:

CompTIA Security+ (SY0-601) Exam Domains

CompTIA Security+ (SY0-701) Exam Domains

  1. Attacks, Threats and Vulnerabilities (24%)
  2. Architecture and Design (21%)
  3. Implementation (25%)
  4. Operations and Incident Response (16%)
  5. Governance, Risk and Compliance (14%)
  1. General Security Concepts (12%)
  2. Threats, Vulnerabilities and Mitigations (22%)
  3. Security Architecture (18%)
  4. Security Operations (28%)
  5. Security Program Management and Oversight (20%)



SY0-701 has the same number of exam domains as SY0-601 but fewer objectives (28 vs. 35) due to a more focused job role in a maturing industry. Several of the exam domains and exam objectives were re-ordered and re-named to address instructional design improvements. Plus, CompTIA is constantly reviewing exam content and updating questions to ensure relevance and exam integrity.

How CompTIA Security+ Evolves With the Industry

In a field like cybersecurity, where the job is continually evolving, CompTIA exam domains need to reflect what’s happening in the industry. The following table explains why we updated the CompTIA Security+ exam domains and how they relate to job requirements.

Exam Domain


How It Applies to IT Jobs

General Security Concepts

Includes various types of security controls, fundamental security concepts, the importance of change management processes and using cryptographic solutions.

Understanding cybersecurity terminology and core concepts are essential to cybersecurity work and provides a common language of communication for cybersecurity industry workers.

Threats, Vulnerabilities and Mitigations

Includes threat actors and motivations, threat vectors and attack surfaces, types of vulnerabilities, mitigation techniques and indicators of malicious activity.

Cybersecurity professionals must be aware of the threats, attacks and vulnerabilities that may impact their networks in order to mitigate them (i.e., reduce the risk, lessen the harm).  

To prevent data breaches, malicious activity must be identified and analyzed, and mitigation techniques implemented to secure the enterprise. 

Security Architecture

Includes security implications of different architecture models, concepts and strategies to protect data, security principles to secure enterprise infrastructure and the importance of resilience and recovery in security architecture.

Cybersecurity professionals must be familiar with different types of security architectures because different techniques are needed to secure them, including on-premises, the cloud and hybrid (on-premises and cloud) networks.

 Security Operations Includes security techniques, security alerting and monitoring concepts and tools, vulnerability management activities, security implications of proper hardware, software and data asset management, identity and access management, as well as the importance of automation and orchestration and incident response activities.Security operations includes the important day-to-day work that cybersecurity professionals do, such as monitoring systems, finding vulnerabilities, hardening systems and incident response. Incident response is a key function of cybersecurity professionals; skilled employees are needed to implement an effective incident response plan.  
 Security Program Management and OversightIncludes elements of effective security governance, the risk management process (including third-party risk assessment and management), types and purposes of audits and assessments, security awareness practices and elements of effective security compliance. 

Cybersecurity professionals are responsible for reporting and communicating their activities, such as security incident information, the types of threats, attacks and vulnerabilities found, trends they have encountered, etc.

Cybersecurity professionals must learn the latest trends of effective security governance, including third-party risk management concepts, to help with security compliance for an organization.  

How To Train for CompTIA Security+

It may seem like CompTIA Security+ covers a lot of ground, but don’t worry, we’ve got you! CompTIA offers training solutions, including study guidesonline self-study tools and instructor-led courses that are designed to cover what you need to know for your CompTIA exam. No other content library covers all exam objectives for all certifications.

CompTIA training solutions help you prepare for your CompTIA certification exam with confidence. Whether you are just starting to prepare and need comprehensive training with CompTIA CertMaster Learn, want to apply your knowledge hands-on with CompTIA Labs, need a final review with CompTIA CertMaster Practice or need to renew your certification with CompTIA CertMaster CE, CompTIA's online training tools have you covered.

Ready to start studying? Writing out your plan will set you up for success. Download our free training plan worksheet to help get organized and make your dream a reality.

Looking for more about CompTIA Security+? Check out these articles:

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