The ever-changing threats to our landscape and environments mean that the importance of securing our systems and networks increases exponentially. Organizations must focus on assessing their cybersecurity posture and designing a cyber-resilient IT infrastructure. More and more job roles are tasked with core cybersecurity readiness and response to address today’s threats.
IT pros must help identify cyberattacks and vulnerabilities to mitigate them before they infiltrate systems. That’s why systems administrators, or sysadmins, and similar types of IT jobs are so critical today.
If you’re looking to break into cybersecurity, you may be familiar with CompTIA Security+. CompTIA Security+ is a global certification that validates the baseline skills necessary to perform core security functions and pursue an IT security career. What you may not know, however, is what specific entry-level jobs you can get once you earn a CompTIA Security+ certification.
Let’s take a closer look at how IT professionals who have CompTIA Security+ are qualified for the following cybersecurity jobs:
- Systems administrator
- Security administrator
- Junior penetration tester
- Network administrator
- Cybersecurity specialist
What Cybersecurity Skills Does CompTIA Security+ Cover?
Let’s first take a look at how CompTIA Security+ prepares IT pros for these positions. Right off the bat, it’s important to note that CompTIA exams are developed through an intensive process where IT pros come together and discuss what knowledge, skills and abilities are required to perform certain job roles. So, you can be sure the topics covered by CompTIA Security+ match the knowledge, skills and abilities cybersecurity pros need today.
To be successful in any of the above listed cybersecurity jobs, an individual should be able to do the following:
- Assess the security posture of an enterprise environment and recommend and implement appropriate security solutions
- Monitor and secure hybrid environments, including cloud, mobile and internet of things (IoT) devices
- Operate with an awareness of applicable laws and policies, including principles of governance, risk and compliance
- Identify, analyze and respond to security events and incidents
It’s no coincidence that these skills are exactly what CompTIA Security+ covers. (Check out the exam objectives for yourself – download them for free!) Companies are looking to hire qualified IT pros who can confidently handle tasks aligned to organizational security assessments and incident response procedures, such as basic intrusion detection and reporting – and the median salaries for these position back that up.
5 Jobs You Could Get With CompTIA Security+
If you have a CompTIA Security+ certification, you may be interested in one of the following in-demand, cybersecurity jobs.
1. Systems Administrator
If you like to manage and maintain the information systems (IS) infrastructure and enterprise application systems while evaluating, recommending and implementing security improvements, then systems administrator may be the job for you.
A sysadmin can install, configure, upgrade or debug network and wireless technologies and enterprise applications through the following tasks:
- Analyzing, troubleshooting and resolving IS issues
- Installing operating system (OS) software, patches or upgrades
- Configuring, optimizing and monitoring performance
- Conducting server build deployments (hybrid and cloud)
CompTIA Security+ shows employers that you’re able to do these exact things in a secure manner.
For example, under the domain of Operations and Incident Response on the CompTIA Security+ exam objectives, candidates must know how to apply mitigation techniques or controls to secure an environment (4.4). For This includes knowing how to reconfigure endpoint security solutions through application allow lists or deny lists.
It’s no surprise that demand for systems administrators has increased over the past few years. And, you’ll be rewarded for your knowledge. According to CyberSeek, sysadmins performing incident response can earn an average annual wage of $85,000.
Read more about becoming a systems administrator.
2. Security Administrator
Security administrators focus on the security-related issues around developing secure systems to protect data and updating policies within an organization. They are solely focused on the cybersecurity resilience of a company by understanding its security needs and safeguarding and protecting from harmful security threats.
A security administrator may be responsible for the following:
- Integrating security requirements into systems
- Installing firewalls or other security tools
- Implementing security plans designed to fit the needs of the organization
- Conducting regular scans and performing regular security audits
- Monitoring network traffic and reacting to anomalies
CompTIA Security+ covers the skills needed to think like a security administrator and carry out these responsibilities in order to develop a strong defense system through the practice of installing, managing and troubleshooting security solutions.
For example, in the Implementation domain of the CompTIA Security+ exam objectives, candidates must know how to install and configure wireless security settings given a scenario (3.4).
As a security administrator, you might have installation considerations like site surveys, Wi-Fi analyzers, or wireless access point (WAP) placements to contend with. To support implementation tasks such as these, security administrators must know how to implement ideal security protocols in order to secure network designs.
It’s no surprise that demand for security administrators is rising. And, you’ll be rewarded for your skills. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, security administrators can earn a median annual wage of $83,510.
Read more about becoming a security administrator.
3. Junior Penetration Tester
If you like to be on the legal side of a hack, a junior penetration tester job may be the one for you. A junior pen tester is a cybersecurity pro who acts like the bad guys to identify weaknesses in a network.
A penetration tester tests physical controls and technical weaknesses within an organization in the following ways:
- Applying appropriate tools for penetration testing
- Performing social engineering tests and reviewing physical security where appropriate
- Keeping up to date with latest testing and hacking methods
- Collecting data and deploying testing methodology
- Locating, assessing and managing vulnerabilities
CompTIA Security+ covers the skills needed to understand the basics of penetration testing and red team skills – and your certification validates this knowledge.
For example, in the Threats, Attacks and Vulnerabilities domain of the CompTIA Security+ exam objectives, candidates must be able to explain the techniques used in penetration testing (1.8). Effectively scoping a pen test engagement involves the planning of passive and active reconnaissance to determine the different types of attacks that threat actors might emulate.
As cyber threats become more complex and their potential for damage increases, the demand for this type of position has grown. The average annual wage for a seasoned penetration tester is $104,000 according to CyberSeek. What’s more, this position is in demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment in information security will grow 31% by 2029 – much faster than the average for all occupations.
Read more about becoming a junior penetration tester.
4. Network Administrator
Network administrators are very similar to systems administrators in that they are both responsible for day-to-day operations of their organization’s networks. They plan, install and support an organization’s information systems, like their intranets, local area networks (LANs) or wide area networks (WANs).
Network administrators are typically responsible for the following:
- Maintaining network security
- Analyzing and optimizing network performance
- Implementing required upgrades and repairs to networks
- Managing users on a network and assigning security permissions
CompTIA Security+ not only covers the skills you need to think and act like an network administrator, but earning this certification shows employers you can keep your organization’s network operating and up to date.
For example, in the Architecture and Design domain of the CompTIA Security+ exam objectives, candidates are specifically asked to implement cybersecurity resilience on a network given a scenario (2.5). This includes understanding load balancers and network interface card (NIC) teaming.
The compensation and job outlook for this position is similar to that of a systems administrator. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, network administrators can earn a median annual wage of $83,510.
Read more about a becoming a network administrator.
5. Cybersecurity Specialist
Cybersecurity specialists continually analyze risks and develop strategies to prevent breaches by securing an organization’s information systems. Similar to the other jobs listed here, cybersecurity specialists monitor, detect, analyze and respond to security incidents or anomalies to protect against cyber threats. Ensuring a company’s network is operational and secure is imperative to the core business. This means that cybersecurity specialists skills are in demand and critical to operations.
Some day-to-day duties of a cybersecurity specialist include the following:
- Managing and monitoring unusual activity that may present as a cyberattack and threat
- Implementing security controls to close off vulnerabilities
- Building firewalls into network infrastructures
- Granting permissions and/or privileges to authorized users
- Suggesting security measures
- Evaluating and designing security strategies for cyber-resilience
For example, in the Governance, Risk and Compliance domain of the CompTIA Security+ exam objectives, candidates must be able to explain the importance of policies to organizational security (5.3). This includes third-party risk management – a necessity because vendors can introduce vulnerabilities onto your networks that would not exist otherwise. You must be prepared to manage these risks.
Some cybersecurity specialists assist cybersecurity architects in the research and development of security projects and may write procedures for services. These vast job skills make cybersecurity specialists highly sought after. According to CyberSeek, cybersecurity specialists performing scans to detect external intrusions or attacks can earn an average annual wage of $89,000.
Read more about a becoming a cybersecurity specialist.
As you can see, the necessity of employing systems and security administrators within an organization are imperative to the bottom line as they ensure the day-to-day operations run smoothly. These IT pros are focused on organizational security assessments and incident response procedures, such as detection and mitigation of incidents to ensure no network disruptions.
CompTIA Security+ ensures IT pros are qualified to identify and implement the best security protocols and encryption for a particular network/cloud design, mobile solution or even wireless setting.
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