In this article, you will be learning about the preparation methods for the CompTIA Security+ certification exam. CompTIA Security+ certification is one of the most popular certification exams, which tests your skills in cybersecurity. Candidates planning to set up their career in IT security may take up this certification exam.
Cybersecurity attacks are increasingly becoming common. In 2020, the approximate cost of a data breach was around USD 3.86 million across the globe, while the United States accounted for USD 8.64 million.
What is a CompTIA security+ certification?
The CompTIA Security+ Certification unlocks a career in Cybersecurity. This is a global certification that authenticates the basic skills needed to perform the core security functions and build a promising career in IT Security.
When you are a CompTIA Security+ Certified professional, you become entitled to certain Job Roles and are proactive in protecting Cyberspace from a potential threat.
Since January 1, 2011, more than 2.3 million CompTIA ISO/ANSI accredited exams have been processed.
Moreover, Security+ is ISO 17024 standard compliant and has been approved by the US DoD to meet the requirements of the 8140/8570.01-M directive.
The following article involves all the details necessary to understand the certification, including,
- Why the certification should be opted,
- The objectives of the exam,
- The syllabus you need to cover,
- How to prepare for the certification,
- The job roles it offers
- The disparities between SY0-501 and SY0-601 Certifications
- What to do and what not to do during the exam,
- How the performance-based questions should be attempted and how are they different from a simulation environment,
- And the most important of all, ‘the valuable tips from a CompTIA Security+ certified professional’.
Let’s begin with an understanding of the core concept.
What is Cyber Security and Why is it important?
Cybersecurity is the implementation of the process to secure critical systems and sensitive data from digital attacks. Cyber Attacks involve the access, modification or destruction of the software, hardware and electronic data. Cybersecurity measures are implemented to fight against the threats faced by the networked systems and applications, be those threats arriving from the inside or outside of an organization.
Complex security systems, put in place by diverse technologies, falling short of the in-house expertise increased these costs. While, organisations governed by best practises, automated via advanced analytics, making use of an across the board strategy for Cybersecurity, machine learning, and Artificial Intelligence(AI), are able to fight Cyber Threats effectively and efficiently. This effectively reduced the lifecycle and effects of the breaches, while they occurred.
Hence, in the current scenario, most of the job roles are based on the core skills in security readiness and the response in addressing everyday emerging threats.
Organizations that placed their efforts in developing Security+
Netflix Inc., Splunk Inc., Target Corporation, General Dynamics Corporation, and more.
What makes Security+ Certifications so promising?
A CompTIA Security+ Certification certifies your knowledge on multiple Cybersecurity Roles and provides you with a launchpad to intermediate level Cyber Security Jobs. The certification focuses on the practical and Hands-on-capability of an individual in the identification and resolution of various Security Threats, Attacks, and Vulnerabilities. The multiple benefits offered by the CompTIA Security+ Certification includes:
- Validates your Hands-on-Skills: The CompTIA Security+ is the only Cybersecurity Certification that emphasizes practical knowledge including Hands-on-Experience, enabling a Security Professional to find solutions to their problems including present-day complex situations, in an efficient way,
- Multiple Jobs Roles: These Cybersecurity skills are applicable to most of the security Job Roles, that include securing systems, hardware, and software. Many of these job roles look forward to Security+ as an important add-on to the resources’ skills.
- Security+ Demand: A Security+ Certification is demanded by the top corporations and defense organizations to authenticate the baseline security skills and ensure compliance to the DoD 8570.
- Supports the latest trends: The CompTIA Security+ Certification enwraps the basic technical skills including incident response, security controls, forensics, hybrid and cloud operations, incident response, and the management and assessment of the risks involved, facilitating the individuals to perform well on job.
CompTIA Security+ Job Roles
The job roles that come under the umbrella of a CompTIA Security+ Certification have been arranged under the categories of Network and Computer System Administrators by the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics.
- IT Auditors
- IT Project Manager
- DevOps and Software Developer
- Security Engineer
- Security Analyst
- Helpdesk Manager
- Helpdesk Analyst
- Network Engineer
- Cloud Engineer
- Systems Administrator
- Security Administrator
The number of jobs for CompTIA Security+ Certified is expected to see a surge of around 6% by 2026.
CompTIA Security+ SY0-601 Objectives
A CompTIA Security+ Certification enables you to counter the emerging attacks, and helps you with the:
- Comprehension of secure application deployment and virtualisation, and automation
- Understanding of the significance of Compliance
- Identification of attacks and weak points, and control them before they enter the IS
- Identification and Implementation of the best form of encryption and relevant protocols.
How are CompTIA Security+ Certification (SY0-501) and CompTIA Security+ Certification (SY0-601) different from each other?
SY0-501: The CompTIA Security+ SY0-501 will validate a successful candidate’s knowledge and skills on:
- Installation and Configuration of the systems to secure applications, devices and networks
- Threat analysis and response through suitable mitigation techniques
- Active participation in Risk Mitigation tasks
- Working with awareness and compliance of applicable laws, regulations, and policies.
- Performance of any assignment supporting the principles of Availability, Confidentiality and Integrity.
SY0-601: The CompTIA Security+ SY0-601 will certify a successful candidate’s knowledge and skills required to:
- Evaluate the security stance of an Enterprise Environment, suggest and implement necessary security solutions
- Monitor and Secure Hybrid Environments such as Cloud, IoT and Mobile
- Work with an understanding on the laws of risk, compliance and governance, and the applicable policies and laws, along with the principles of risk, compliance and governance
- Detect, analyse and respond to security incidents and events.
|Launched on||October 4, 2017||November 12,2020|
|Mode of Conduct||Online (Remotely Proctored)
Offline (at a nearby Test Centre)
|Online (Remotely Proctored)
Offline (at a nearby Test Centre)
|Total Questions||A maximum of 90||A maximum of 90|
|Question format||Multiple Choice and Performance based||Multiple Choice and Performance based|
|Duration of Exam||90 minutes||90 minutes|
|Pass Score||750(on a scale of 100-900)||750(on a scale of 100-900)|
|Certification Fees||USD 381||USD 381|
|Recommended Experience||CompTIA Network+ plus 2 years experience in IT administration with the focus being Security||CompTIA Network+ plus 2 years experience in IT administration with the focus being Security|
|Available in Languages||Japanese, Portuguese and simplified Chinese||English, Japanese, Portuguese, Thai and Vietnamese|
|Valid Until||First Quarter of 2022||November 2023, unless notified otherwise|
|Test Provider||Pearson VUE||Pearson VUE|
The SY0-501 Certification Exam has already expired for English as the chosen language on July 31, 2021.
What will you Learn or What comprises the CompTIA Security+ syllabus?
The certification would require you to learn a multitude of aspects related to the potential threats, their prevention and mitigation, and more.
- Threats, Attacks and Vulnerabilities: You will learn about everyday emerging threats, perceived attacks from multiple custom devices including the IoT and embedded devices, DDoS attacks, the social engineering attacks on the basis of recent events, and the ways to mitigate them.
- Operations and Incidents Response: You will learn to evaluate the organisation’s security and various processes to be used for resolving and responding to the emerging incidents. These may include detection of threats, risk mitigation techniques, Core digital forensics and security controls.
- Risk, Compliance and Governance: Details on supporting the organisation for risk management and ensuring the compliance to regulations including the HIPAA, GDPR, CCPA, NIST, FISMA, PCI-DSS, and more.
- Design and Architecture: This involves the study of the Enterprise Environment and their dependence and reliance on Cloud, which is expanding at a quick pace, with the organisations transitioning to Hybrid Networks.
- Implementation: This includes learning about the Identity Administration, core concepts of Cryptography, PKI, Access Management, wireless, and end-to-end security.
How will you prepare for the Comptia Security+ SY0-601 Certification?
1. Go through the CompTIA Security+ SY)-601 Certification Study Guide
The study guide is available in Paperback printed book and Ebook patterns, published by CompTIA learning, in the medium of English. It is suitable for both Individual and self-paced learners. The official CompTIA Security+ Study Guide enables the learners to go through all the necessary information on the CompTIA Security+ SY0-601 Certification Exam.
To download a free sample of the content section visit the link https://www.comptia.org/training/books/security-sy0-601-study-guide.
2. You can also learn through the online Instructor-led-Training offered by CompTIA by following the link https://www.comptia.org/training/classroom-training/online-instructor-led-training.
The CompTIA Security+ training course includes live Hands-on-Instructions by qualified CompTIA instructors.
3. For an easy and better understanding of the content, go through the Video Courses and webinars conducted by Whizlabs, with the help of mentors and trainers having vast experience in the domain. For learning that includes flash cards and videos, you can also go through the CompTIA e-learning.
4. Any knowledge is incomplete unless put to practice. Hands-on-labs provide you a platform to test your skills, wherein you will be allowed to prepare for the certification by going through a simulation environment. The browser-based Virtual Lab Environments allows you to understand the impact of the changes you make to the system.
5. Go through the Practice Tests launched by Whizlabs, which includes multiple important questions covering various aspects of the Exam, put in place by Subject matter experts.
6. Learn from the feedback provided by the candidates, who have already passed the certification and carry some useful advice to help the learners going forward to attempt the exam.
What will you learn by going through the Study Guide?
The official CompTIA Security+ Study Guide has been put into place for candidates appearing for the CompTIA Certification. Its detailed assessment by the third-party subject matter expert certifies the rigorous coverage of the Security+ Exam objectives. The Study Guide will enable you in:
- Comprehension of the core difference between the Security Controls and Roles
- Recognition of Malware and Social Engineering
- Implementation of Security Assessments
- Outlining of the basic Cryptographic concepts
- Describing the Threat Intelligence and Actors
- Implementation of the PKI(Public Key Infrastructure)
- Implementation of the Security Network Designs
- Implementation of the Authentication Controls
- Implementation of the Identity and Account Management Controls
- Implementation of the Secure Network Protocols
- Implementation of the Host Security Solutions
- Outlining the Secure Application Concepts
- Implementation of the Secure Cloud Solutions
- Describing the Data Protection and Privacy concepts
- Performing Incident Response
- Describing the Digital Forensics
- Implementation of Cybersecurity Resilience
- Describing Physical Security, and more concepts.
What do you understand by Performance Based Questions(PBQs)?
PBQs are designed to assess candidates on their ability to solve problems in a real-world scenario and are basically delivered either as Simulations or within Virtual Environments.
- Simulations: Simulations are an approximation of various tools or an environment, which might include the operating system, firewall, terminal window, or a network diagram. The Simulations usually carry restricted system functionality but allow multiple possible responses and paths.
- Virtual Environments: These are Virtual Machines and Systems executing selective softwares and Operating Systems in a production environment. These are full versions of the technology being evaluated by the exam, it therefore allows for all kinds for incorrect steps or paths.
Tips for resolving the Performance Based Questions(PBQs) during the exam
- Identify whether it is a Simulation PBQ or a Virtual PBQ: Simulation PBQs have an option to reset via the reset button, while the Virtual PBQs do not contain any such option.
- Once you enter a Virtual PBQ, complete it at the same time: You will witness a warning on the screen before entering the Virtual Environment, which warns you that once starting with the Virtual PBQ, you cannot just skip and return to it later. So, the best you can do is complete the Virtual PBQ with the best of your knowledge, complete it, and then press the ‘Next’ button and go on with the rest of the exam.
- You can Skip the Simulation PBQ, but not a Virtual PBQ: If you feel that you are not able to resolve a current Simulation PBQ, you can always move on with the next question. This will save your work done on the current Simulation PBQ, and you can click the ‘Next’ button and proceed with other questions in the exam. Here, you will be allowed to return to that Simulation PBQ later and complete it. This is not possible with the Virtual PBQ.
- There exists multiple ways to find the solution to a question or challenge faced by a PBQ. The different possible approaches to a question affect scoring.
- Partial Credit might be assigned to the Virtual PBQ, as for Simulation PBQ.
Tips and Tricks from a CompTIA Security+ Certified Professional
- Never depend on one source for learning, try multiple resources, as this will help relearning of the concepts.
- Write concise notes, if you do. Spend more time understanding the concepts, concise notes help you refer back to them at the time of revision. If you are learning via a paperback book, write in the space available, rather than making long notes.
- Attempt PBQs after answering the Multiple Choice Questions, as they consume a major part of your time, and make you miss out on the easy questions.
- With an exam like Security+, nobody ever feels fully prepared. But practice as many questions as you can, so that when the same question is rephrased, you know the answer to it.
- The key lies in understanding what you are being asked in the question. You might get confused in two options, while the correct answer is totally visible, so you need to read the question quickly, but carefully.
- Lastly, get an ample amount of rest and sleep well before the exam.
Well, these are more or less the suggestions, and every individual is different, so devise a strategy accordingly.
- How long does it take to prepare for a CompTIA Security+ Certification?
It depends on the pace of your learning, and the relevant knowledge and experience that you possess.
- Is CompTIA Security+ hard?
CompTIA Security+ is challenging, as it requires one to have a deep knowledge on Cybersecurity concepts, but with the right resources and training material, it is possible to pass the exam.
- How much does the CompTIA Security+ Exam cost?
The total cost for taking the CompTIA Security+ Certification is USD 381.
- Is a CompTIA Security+ Certification worth it?
Yes, a CompTIA Security+ is a widely popular Cybersecurity Certification that makes you eligible for multiple security job roles. It is a vendor-neutral designation embraced and recognised by the IT Industry.
- What is the duration of a CompTIA Security+ exam?
A candidate must complete the exam within a duration of 90 minutes.
- What is the process to take the CompTIA Security+ Certification exam?
The two essential steps include:
i) Purchasing the Voucher: A Voucher is a code that allows you to sign up for the exam.
ii) Scheduling the Exam: Take your exam at an approved location, or at a testing centre nearby you.
- Are the CompTIA Security+ exams secure?
The exams are proctored by Pearson VUE at a testing centre, in a highly secure environment.
- How much does a CompTIA Security+ Certified Professional make?
An IT professional’s salary is a direct proportion of the Job Role he is offered. The average salary is approximately around $87,000, for a Security Administrator.
- Is CompTIA Security+ Certification worth it for beginners?
Earning a CompTIA Security+ Certification falls under a great cybersecurity training for beginners, and could help them launch their career in Cybersecurity.
- What is the passing score for the CompTIA Security+ Certification?
The passing score for the CompTIA Security+ Certification is 750, assessed on a scale of 100-900.
- Do the CompTIA Security+ Certifications expire?
As of now, the CompTIA Certification is valid for a period of 3 years, starting from the day you have passed the exam. However, you are allowed to extend the period of your certification through training and multiple activities, that relate to the subject of your certification
- How can you provide the verification of your CompTIA Security+ Certification?
CompTIA does not offer a written verification of the certification. However, you can either Download a PDF Certificate or Create a Transcript, for this purpose.
- Can I take the CompTIA Security+ SY0-601 exam online?
Yes, it is totally possible to take the exam online via Online Proctored Mode. For more details, visit https://www.comptia.org/testing/testing-options/take-online-exam.
We have tried our best in helping you with all the information that is needed for the CompTIA Security+ Certification Exam. By learning the exam objectives and trying out practice tests, you can easily pass the actual SY0-601 certification exam.
Hope this article helps you in preparing for the CompTIA Security+ exam. Practice tests help you in identifying the skill gaps and by re-learning them, you can pass the exam on the first attempt itself. Also, Have a look into our CompTIA Security+ SY0-601 practice questions which are completely free.
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