CompTIA Security+ Made Easy
Cyber Security has been written about a bunch recently. As computers gain complexity,
so do the malicious attacks used to beat the security systems built to guard those systems.
Why Get Certified?
Government employees working in the Information Technology and Computer Security
fields, are being expected to complete the Security+ exam in order to stay compliant with
the DoD 8570 policy. Several non-government companies are also requesting their employees
to receive certification as part of their yearly training plan. Industry standard
certifications are a great way to make your resume shine.
Professionals seeking employment opportunities as a Security Specialist, Network Administrator,
or Network Technician may benefit from obtaining a Security+ certification. Getting Security+
certified can also be worth while for individuals who are already employed and hope to advance
their earning potential. The knowledge gained from preparing for and taking the exam is a good
justification for seeking the Security+ certification.
About the Exam
The exam contains 100 questions which need to be answered in 90 minutes or less. A
score of 750 or higher on a scale of 100-900 must be obtained to pass. CompTIA recommends
that you have former network and security experience, but it is not mandatory. The exam
codes for the current test are SY0-201 and JK0-015. The current pricing for 2011 in the
United States is $266 for non-members and $226 for member organizations.
The core objectives for the exam range from broad organizational topics to specifics
about various cryptography algorithms. Here's the topic breakdown:
o Systems Security - 21 percent
o Network Infrastructure - 20 percent
o Access Control - 17 percent
o Assessments and Audits - 15 percent
o Cryptography - 15 percent
o Organizational Security - 12 percent
It's easy to feel overwhelmed at first by reading the exam objectives, but don't sweat
it. Keep in mind that this exam does not demand a degree in Computer Science and with a
good study plan you too can have a good outcome. I'll give you some tips on how to
increase your chances for passing the exam on your first try later in this article. I
passed the exam on my first attempt with a score of 855 out of 900 and you can too!
Where to Take the Exam?
Pearson VUE or Prometric exam facilities both offer the Security+ exam. If you're a
government employee you should receive an exam voucher from your command to pay for the
exam cost. You will need to visit the Pearson or Prometric website to schedule your exam
date once you are ready to take the exam. Don't be overly anxious to schedule the exam! Be
sure you are ready to take the test before scheduling.
Preparing for Success
I did self-paced study for the Security+ exam for 2 weeks and passed on my first
attempt with a score of 855 out of 900. My primary job responsibility is not as a Network
Administrator or a Security Specialist, so my applicable work experience was minimal. I
have some book recommendations and a study strategy that will maximize your chance for
success on the first attempt. I highly suggest that you obtain a copy of
CompTIA Security+ Deluxe Study Guide: SY0-201
CompTIA Security+ Review Guide: SY0-201.
Begin by reading the study guide cover to cover, making sure to complete the end of chapter
practice exams. Then read the review guide cover to cover, making sure to take all of the
practice exams too.
Both books come with a CD full of practices questions and mock exams. When you can
consistently pass the end of chapter practice exams and the mock exams on the CDs with a
score of 80 percent or higher, then you should be ready for the real exam. Take your time, grasp
the knowledge, and most importantly have fun!