Today we‘re going to answer the question, what can a CompTIA Security+ certification do for your career?
This is a question I get a lot from various students that are in some of my classes. I teach all over the place, whether it‘s private sector, public sector, military: there‘s a lot of different types of students in my classes.
So, what can this do for your career?
Do Employers Require CompTIA Security+?
Now, some of things that I usually tell students is that the Security+ is a really good certification to get your foot in the door. Now does this mean that every employer is going to require that you have a Security+? No, absolutely not, but there are plenty of them out there that do.
Whether you‘re talking about a government position or if you‘re in the military —especially if you‘re in the military — there‘s a [Department of Defense (DoD)] requirement that states that if you work in certain fields of technology, you have to have a Security+. There is no if, and, or but about it.
This can certainly help you move up into your career, whether you‘re in the military or whether you work within the government; or if you even work in the private sector. Having a Security+ certification will do nothing but help your career.Why the Security+? Well, you can always start off with the CompTIA A+ and the CompTIA Network+ certification. If you happen to be working in a help desk-type position, some of those may come in handy.
What's on the CompTIA Security+ Exam?But as you want to further your career and maybe move into a network administrator position or into a systems administrator position, even from a help desk perspective, really a Security+ is still a very good idea to have, because in the Security+ certification we do talk about things like social engineering.
We talk about physical security. We talk about wireless security. We talk about how encryption works with some of our web-based transactions. All these things that everyday users use, we talk about in the Security+ classes.
The Security+ exam helps to actually validate some of these skills that you may already be using, or at one of the classes — such as the ones that I teach — may help you to learn different things that will help you in that new career.
One of the nice things about the Security+ certification is that it‘s not just a multiple-choice exam. It does have some performance-based questions on there to help show that you can actually do the job.
Whether it‘s looking at some log output or looking at some firewall rules, or whatever the case may be, it‘s helpful to show that you can really do the job. It‘s great to actually get your foot in the door, but employers want to see that once you get your foot in the door, that you can actually keep it in the door; that you can actually do the job that you‘ve applied for and the job that they‘ve hired you for.
The CompTIA Security+ exam is definitely a very good exam to kind of show those skills and be able to exhibit that you do have that knowledge to perform whatever job it is that they‘re hiring you for.
What Other Certifications Does CompTIA Offer?Now of course, CompTIA doesn‘t just stop at the A+, Network+ and Security+. They do have certifications beyond that, as well.
If you want to continue your cybersecurity career even further, of course there‘s certifications such as CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+). We‘ve also got the CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+), which is their mastery-level certification. I also teach both of those classes as well.
They also have the new CompTIA PenTest+ exam. I‘m looking forward to seeing that one here in the very near future as well, but there‘s a lot of different certification bodies out there.
Why Choose CompTIA?CompTIA is a very good one to start with. A lot of the other certifications are definitely kind of more mid-level, maybe even higher-level exams. Just like you wouldn‘t start with CASP+, the mastery-level exam, you probably don‘t also want to start with any of those either.
Starting off with a Security+ for a cybersecurity type career is definitely a very good first step. As well, CompTIA has been around for quite a while. Some of the numbers that I‘ve found show they‘ve issued over 2 million certifications. That‘s not a tiny little number.
They‘ve also been around for over 20 years. It‘s not like these guys are a newcomer to the IT world, either. CompTIA is definitely a very well-known name and has established itself as a market leader within the marketplace. So most people in IT know the name CompTIA.
How Often Do CompTIA Exams Change?Now of course one of the issues that you do see with some of the different exams that are out there is that once they create an exam, it doesn‘t really change over time. CompTIA, of course, does continue to update their exams, so if you think you‘re going to go find some of the questions out there from the actual exam and then just go take it, keep in mind that CompTIA does regularly review and update these exams, as well.
If you don‘t actually have the knowledge, you may actually want to consider taking a class, such as some of the ones that I teach, and make sure that you really know as much about cybersecurity as you possibly can before you go into this exam.
What Can CompTIA Security+ Do for Your Career?We said that we‘re going to talk about what can it do for your career here. Let‘s say that you go apply for a new job. Or you‘re looking for a promotion within your company.
When you have two candidates and one of them has a certification, one of them does not, everything else being equal, who do you think is going to get the job? This can certainly be a tie-breaker between you and someone else, so having a certification certainly will do nothing to hurt you. But it could certainly help advance your career to whatever level you want to go to.
We said that this could be a tie-breaker between you and someone else, as well. So what happens during that hiring process? Well, typically, the hiring manger sends a list of requirements to someone in HR. Someone in HR puts on the job posting and then, of course, they get all these resumes in.
How do they decide who they‘re going to send to that hiring manager for those interviews? Of course they‘re going to filter down through there and they‘re typically not someone that knows cybersecurity, so the more certifications that they see, the better your chance may be of actually landing that interview.
How to Prepare for CompTIA Security+Then of course you need to go in and impress that hiring manager with your knowledge and be able to show that you can actually do that job. While the Security+ exam is the lowest level on the rung of security certifications from CompTIA, it‘s certainly nothing to laugh at, either. It does actually require a bit of knowledge going into it. Even if you‘ve been working in IT for 5, 10 or 15 years, some of the topics on there may not necessarily be familiar topics to you.
You definitely want to make sure that you dive down into some of these objectives. The exam objectives are available on CompTIA‘s website. If you‘re looking for more information about the exam, I do have a video on my channel here about it. Or you can go directly to certification.comptia.org. You can download the exam objectives for yourself.
Be sure to check out the links in the description of this video. Kind of flip through there. You‘ll see the different encryption algorithms. You‘ll see the different types of security that they want you to be familiar with — the different types of wireless networking and ethernet networking that they want you to be familiar with. It‘s definitely not a bad idea to take a look at the objectives list before you go try and take the exam.
If you‘ve got any questions about the CompTIA Security+ exam, or any questions about how it might be able to help you further your career, I‘m happy to answer any questions that you‘ve got. Feel free to leave those down in the comments below.
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Ready to get started? Download the exam objectives for CompTIA Security+.