CompTIA Security+ Certified

I recently passed the CompTIA Security+ Exam, and thought I’d share how I prepared… hopefully it might help others thinking about earning the certification.

Experience

CompTIA recommends at least 2 years experience in IT, plus having the CompTIA IT Fundamentals, A+, and Network+ certifications.

I had none of that.

You don’t NEED those things to book and sit the exam. They are only recommendations. I’m sure it may have helped, but it wasn’t mandatory.

Learning

First of all, even though I didn’t intend on sitting the CompTIA Network+ Exam, the contents of that course were an important foundation to Security+. So, I spent time watching the great Professor Messer Network+ videos on YouTube (link).

I like his course videos as they are really clear and easy to follow. Once I had watched those, and broadly understood the contents, I went on to watch his Security+ series. Again, this is a great free resource, and one I can’t recommend enough.

With that solid background in understanding of contents of the course, I went over the topics again by reading this great book:

I found this book to be very well written, and it helped me understand some of the more complex and/or technical aspects of the exam objectives.

Did I mention the exam objectives? 🧐

You can download them here. It’s basically a list, issued by CompTIA, to let you know the kinds of things which you’ll be expected to know.

I was feeling quietly confident. So, I booked the exam, and the rest, as they say, is history!

Exam

I found the exam quite challenging. Although I felt I knew the topic, the exam questions were structured in a way I wasn’t expecting.

For example, they won’t ask things like

“What does AES stand for?”

but instead, they’ll ask

“What is the BEST for encrypting data (if confidentiality is the priority) from the following list: MD5, 3DES, RSA, AES”.

Those kinds of questions can throw you if you didn’t account for being asked the difference between different technologies or standards. It’s not enough just to know what these things are, you need to understand what they do, and how they apply to other technology.

The one thing I loved about the exam was the instant feedback! I’m so used to having to wait weeks for results, it was a breath of fresh air to click submit and find out I passed straight away!

So, I’m not fully certified in CompTIA Security+, and I am now planning my next learning experience…

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