What do CCNA Security, CCNP Security, CEH, ISA, Infosec CISSP, Amazon AWS Certified Security and ISACA CRISC have in common? They are all part of the large grouping of cybersecurity certifications currently available.
Each of these certifications is valuable and serves a valid purpose. But what about the CompTIA Security+ certification? If you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.
CompTIA Security+ is a popular cybersecurity certification. More than 600,000 IT pros have earned it. But, is CompTIA Security+ worth it in 2021? That depends on your goals as an IT professional.
One of your IT career goals may be to get into the information security field without prior certification. Other goals may include getting a vendor-neutral cybersecurity certification or a DoD-approved cert. If you have any of these IT career goals, CompTIA Security+ is worth it for you.
What Is the CompTIA Security+ Certification?
The CompTIA Security+ certification is a vendor-neutral designation widely recognized by the IT industry. It equips individuals with the skills they need to get one of the many job roles in cybersecurity. Before earning any other cybersecurity certifications, technicians should get CompTIA Security+.
CompTIA Security+ offers critical foundational cybersecurity skills that IT professionals should have before pursuing higher-level certifications. This includes certifications that are vendor neutral as well as vendor specific. The IT skills CompTIA Security+ provides include:
- Identifying attacks and vulnerabilities to mitigate before they infiltrate IS
- Understanding secure virtualization, secure application deployment and automation concepts
- Identifying and implementing the best protocols and encryption
- Monitoring and securing hybrid environments, including cloud, mobile and IoT
- Installing and configuring identity and access services and management controls
- Installing, configuring and deploying network components while assessing and troubleshooting issues to support organizational security
- Implementing and summarizing risk management best practices and the business impact they have
- Installing and configuring wireless security settings and implementing public key infrastructure
- Understanding penetration testing and vulnerability scanning concepts and detecting compromise
- Understanding the importance of compliance
The CompTIA Security+ certification, which costs $370 USD, validates these baseline IT skills and core security functions. This designation proves to employers and recruiters that certified individuals are ready to work in a variety of security-focused IT job roles.
Also, CompTIA Security+ is approved by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to meet directive 8140/8570.01-M requirements. It is compliant with ISO 17024 standards.
Wondering what’s on the CompTIA Security+ exam? Find out here.
Is CompTIA Security+ Hard?
Unlike other cybersecurity certifications, CompTIA Security+ has no prerequisites. This is great news for IT professionals who want to jump right into information security without having to get multiple certifications.
The CompTIA Security+ certification can help you land an entry-level IT security position. Although this certification is entry-level for cybersecurity, the average person wouldn’t consider it easy. It covers cybersecurity concepts in depth and requires adequate preparation.
Some people grasp cybersecurity concepts fairly quickly. For others, these concepts are more of a challenge. Whichever type of learner you are, you will experience some degree of difficulty with CompTIA Security+. This is a good thing. After all, an easy cert probably wouldn’t provide you with sufficient knowledge to advance your IT career.
Although CompTIA Security+ is challenging, training tools put passing the certification exam well within your reach. Armed with the right attitude and training resources, even beginners can earn CompTIA Security+. Don’t forget to download your free CompTIA Security+ practice test.
Is CompTIA Security+ for Beginners?
Because CompTIA Security+ has no official prerequisites, it is appropriate for beginner cybersecurity professionals. This doesn’t mean that it isn’t helpful to earn certain IT certifications before pursuing CompTIA Security+, though. It is recommended that you get CompTIA A+ and CompTIA Network+ before earning CompTIA Security+.
CompTIA A+ offers foundational knowledge of all IT concepts. In a perfect world, every technician would start with this certification. CompTIA Network+ provides you with network security skills that will be very helpful as you establish your cybersecurity specialization.
CompTIA Security+ candidates should ideally have two years of experience in IT administration with a security focus. This isn’t a hard-and-fast prerequisite, but a recommendation.
Whether you are a seasoned IT pro or a beginner, you can pass the CompTIA Security+ certification exam. How? By studying for it using official CompTIA training tools, such as:
- eLearning solutions
- Interactive labs
- Online exam prep
- Books, eBooks and study guides
- Live online training
- Video training courses
Dave Kung, cybersecurity leader, IT operations leader and information security expert, used some of these tools to pass the certification exam.
“The study aids I used to prepare for the CompTIA Security+ exam included the Official CompTIA Security+ Study Guide, other exam preparation books and a self-paced online class,” Kung explained.
In How I Passed My IT Certification Exam, Kung said no singular source is sufficient to pass the exam, suggesting that learners use a variety of sources to ensure exam success.
In addition to the right training tools, IT pros need the right attitude to earn the CompTIA Security+ certification. Kung cites a dedication to your craft, to learning and to preparation as key characteristics successful test-takers possess.
Are you asking yourself, “How long is CompTIA Security+ good for?” The answer is: 3 years, and renewal is simple. Learn more.
Is CompTIA Security+ Enough to Get a Job? What About Earning Potential?
A key factor individuals consider before getting a cybersecurity certification is what type of salary it will yield. The truth is there is no definite salary CompTIA Security+ can promise. Beware of sources that promise a certification will result in a certain salary. An IT pro’s salary is directly related to the job role their cert (or certs) helped them get, not the certification itself.
A few cybersecurity jobs (and their median annual salaries) CompTIA Security+ can help you land include:
- Junior penetration tester: $70,000
- Systems administrator: $84,810*
- Network administrator: $84,810*
- Security administrator: $87,617
- Cybersecurity specialist: $111,052
With CompTIA Security+ alone, you could be in the running for one of these job roles. As you earn additional IT certifications and get more experience, you’ll be qualified for higher-level information security jobs, such as:
CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) and CompTIA PenTest+ are examples of intermediate cybersecurity certifications to pursue after CompTIA Security+. CompTIA Linux+ is another great option as Linux skills are critical to a cybersecurity professional’s success. If you want to work with specific equipment, consider a vendor-specific cert, such as Microsoft Certified Security Administrator Associate.
In many cases, CompTIA Security+ can be the key to getting an entry-level job in IT security. It can even be helpful in landing a help desk role. However, earning this cert is only the first step in starting a career in cybersecurity.
Once you get your foot in the door to the information security industry, keep learning and keep earning cybersecurity certifications. With a commitment to continuous learning and hard work, you can go as far in cybersecurity as you want.
Become an IT Security Professional with CompTIA Security+
Each second, 75 records go missing, and 30,000 websites are hacked each day. Obviously, cyber attacks are on the rise. The COVID-19 pandemic increased the rate of digital transformation, which has made organizations more vulnerable than ever to these attacks. This explains why cybersecurity is important in 2021, and why it will continue to grow in importance in the future.
Companies need security professionals who are well-trained to handle all types of incidents. Getting CompTIA Security+ is the first step to becoming an information security specialist who can help organizations fight and mitigate cybercrime.
Now that you understand the benefits of having CompTIA Security+, no doubt you agree this certification is worth it. You can start your journey to a job role in cybersecurity by earning CompTIA Security+. All you need are CompTIA training resources and dedication to your mission of passing the certification exam. Download the CompTIA Security+ exam objectives to get started.
*This salary figure was derived from the CompTIA U.S. IT Employment Snapshot (2021, Q1)