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How to Prepare for CompTIA Security+ (and Pass)

Ongoing learning is an essential part of any job — especially in tech, where things are seemingly constantly changing. 

A career in cybersecurity is no exception, and a CompTIA Security+ certification is part of that!

Certifications look good on your resume and LinkedIn profile and tell hiring managers and recruiters that you know what you’re doing.

Hands-on jobs that require technical aptitude, like cybersecurity, are crucial in today’s ever-connected world. Still, it’s also imperative that candidates pass specialized tests to determine their suitability, especially for entry-level roles.

The great thing about a CompTIA Security+ certification is that it lets you do the work beforehand, so you can prove your knowledge and abilities without having to do a skills test as part of your interview (however, you may still have to).

In this article, we’ll go over what a CompTIA Security+ certification is, why you should consider becoming certified, and how you can guarantee success.

What is CompTIA Security+?

CompTIA is the Computing Technology Industry Association, a leader in advocacy for individuals in the tech industry. Not only do they offer training, education, and certification, but they also help cybersecurity professionals develop their skills and obtain the necessary credentials to open up more doors for opportunity.

CompTIA Security+ is a globally recognized certification and is the first type of cybersecurity certification you should obtain if you’re in the field. CompTIA Security+ proves you have the core knowledge and competencies needed for any cybersecurity role.

Plus, it can help you rise the ranks into more intermediate-level cybersecurity jobs.

The Benefits of a CompTIA Security+ Certification

One of the great things about a CompTIA Security+ certification is that it doesn’t have any prerequisites. This makes it an accessible way for newer cybersecurity graduates to demonstrate their knowledge and skills without necessarily having any prior experience as they look for their first job in the industry.

While CompTIA does recommend having a CompTIA Network+ certification and two years of experience in IT administration (focused on security), there are no prerequisites to take this exam. So, you can put your skills to the test straight away — or wait until you’ve got a bit of professional experience under your belt.

Here are some benefits of obtaining a CompTIA Security+ certification:

  • Globally recognized
  • Compliant with ISO 17024 standards
  • Allows you to stay diligent about new technologies
  • Valid for 3 years from the date of your exam (and easy to renew)

How to Prepare for CompTIA Security+ (5 Easy Ways)

As with any exam, studying and preparation are the keys to success. The CompTIA Security+ examination is a mixture of choice-based questions and performance-based items, so it’s important to brush up on both technical and application-based knowledge/skills.

To make it easier on you, we’ve put together five easy ways you can help prepare yourself for your CompTIA Security+ exam.

1. Enroll in Coding Dojo’s Cybersecurity Bootcamp

Cybersecurity bootcamps are a great way to learn industry fundamentals, gain hands-on experience, and accelerate your knowledge. No prior experience is needed.

You don’t need a degree to find a job. Launch your cybersecurity career in 24 weeks. Coding Dojo’s Cybersecurity Bootcamp prepares students for in-demand cyber roles and certification exams like CompTIA Security+. No prior experience is needed.

2. Prepare with a CompTIA Security+ Study Guide

CompTIA offers comprehensive study guides to help prepare you for your certification. They want you to succeed just as much as we do!

You’ll have a choice between a physical copy or eBook, and you can even get a free sample to see if the structure and learning style is for you. Regardless, this is a fantastic resource for anybody interested in becoming CompTIA Security+ certified.

3. Practice in Interactive CompTIA Labs for Security+

CertMaster Labs offers hands-on learning and skill development to help you prepare for your CompTIA Security+ exam. It is completely in line with the exam’s objectives and focuses on testing you with real-world scenarios that will make it easier to pass your certification test.

This package includes detailed, step-by-step instructions to help you learn and understand, which will give you a competitive advantage when it comes time to write your test. It also goes over the five exam domains noted below, so you’ll get your hands on an excellent learning tool.

The CertMaster Labs Standalone package is $199 USD (and can be paid using Affirm).

Learn more about CertMaster Labs for Security+.

4. Know the 5 CompTIA Security+ 601 Exam Domains

Knowing what to study (with or without a study guide) is really important; it helps you avoid under preparing – or overpreparing! Too much knowledge can make it difficult for you to remember the important stuff, and not enough can cause you to freeze up during your exam. 

When studying, be sure to focus on the five core domains that you’ll be tested on during the exam. We’ve also included a general make-up of how many questions you can expect to see represented from each domain.

  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%)

5. Take a Practice CompTIA Security+ Exam (or 3)

“Practice makes perfect.” Cliche, isn’t it? Well, it does have its merits!

Practicing and applying your knowledge will help prepare you for your exam. Not only will you be faced with questions you may not have studied (which will then give you a good idea of what to brush up on), but you’ll also get a sense of how the exam is laid out.

Practice is key to nailing your exam, and with CompTIA’s free practice tests, you’ve got a great resource to help you succeed.

What are the CompTIA Security+ Exam Details?

Obtaining your CompTIA Security+ certification isn’t just a walk in the park; there is a lot of hard work and studying that will go into it, making it a pretty significant investment of both your time and money.

To give you a better idea of what you can expect on this test, take a look at the exam details below:

Questions: 90 questions

Exam Length: 90 minutes

Type of Questions: Multiple choice and performance-based

Passing Score: 750 (on a scale of 100-900)

Recommended Experience: CompTIA Network+ and two years of experience in IT Administration with a security focus

Exam Cost: $381 USD

Jobs You Can Get with CompTIA Security+ Certification

We’ve mentioned that a certification in CompTIA Security+ can open more doors for you. Now, you’re probably wondering what those doors are.

When you get CompTIA Security+ certified, you can expect to be qualified for these roles:

  • IT Auditor
  • IT Project Manager
  • Security Administrator
  • Systems Administrator
  • Helpdesk Manager/Analyst
  • Network/Cloud Engineer
  • Security Engineer/Analyst
  • DevOps/Software Developer

Learn Cyber Security at Coding Dojo

Cybersecurity jobs are rewarding, lucrative, and in high demand!

Coding Dojo’s Cybersecurity Bootcamp teaches students critical skills to identify, assess, report, and mitigate technology and information security risks.

This 24 week program provides the knowledge and experience needed to accelerate your career.

  • Gain real-world cybersecurity skills and experience
  • Train with cybersecurity experts and mission-critical tools
  • Gain extensive hands-on experience and graduate mission-ready
  • Learn critical strategies and tactics to identify and manage information system vulnerabilities
  • Learn how to deploy defensive and offensive tactics against attackers
  • Gain the skills needed to pass certification exams like CompTIA Security+
  • Access career services to help launch your career, change career paths, or advance in your current position

CompTIA Security+ Certification FAQ

Below, we’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about the CompTIA Security+ certification program.

Is CompTIA Security+ for Beginners?

In a way, yes. While CompTIA recommends that exam-takers have at least two years of IT administration experience, this certification is meant to demonstrate your base-level skills and knowledge surrounding cybersecurity, which is required for every single cybersecurity job out there.

While you may find it helpful to first take the CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA A+ certifications, it is certainly not required.

Is CompTIA Security+ Worth It?

Yes. As a globally recognized certification, CompTIA Security+ is worth having. It’s good for three years upon examination, can be easily renewed, and is widely recognized and respected within the community, according to CompTIA themselves.

Not only is this certification recognized around the world, but it’s also approved by the U.S. Department of Defense to meet specific requirements and standards.

What are the CompTIA Security+ Prerequisites?

There are no prerequisites to take the CompTIA Security+ examination. However, it is recommended that you have 2 years of IT administration experience (with a focus on security) and the CompTIA Network+ certification.

How Long to Study for CompTIA Security+?

Ultimately, everybody will take a different amount of time to study depending on their schedule, their experience level, how confident they feel, and how much time they dedicate to studying.

Most people spend 30 to 45 days preparing for their CompTIA Security+ test, and up to 60 days with no prior IT experience.

While this can be considered a guideline to follow, you should ultimately discern how much time you need depending on how well you know the material and your success on practice tests.

How Long is the CompTIA Security+ Exam?

When you commence your exam, you will have 90 minutes to answer 90 questions.

What Does the CompTIA Security+ Exam Cost?

The CompTIA Security+ certification exam is $381 USD for individuals, or as little as $35/month using Affirm.

There are also bundles available through CompTIA that include exam retakes, study guides, practice questions, and learning labs that range from $549 to $949 USD.

How Many Questions Are on the CompTIA Security+ Exam?

There are 90 questions on the CompTIA Security+ exam that include a mixture of multiple choice questions and live performance questions, which were designed to test your problem-solving abilities in the form of simulations and virtual environments.