If you’re interested in a career in cybersecurity, then becoming certified in Security+ (SEC+) is a smart move. The certification offers a broad-based curriculum and demonstrates to employers that you have a solid foundation in IT security principles. However, before you decide to pursue this certification, you must first understand the certification process, its requirements, cost, exam format, key concepts covered, study resources, and recertification requirements. In this article, we will cover all those details so you can determine how long it will take to get SEC+ certification.
Understanding the SEC+ Certification Process
The Security+ (SEC+) certification is offered by CompTIA, which is a leading IT industry association that provides various IT certifications. To get the SEC+ certification, you must pass a multiple-choice, performance-based exam. The exam is designed to test your knowledge and skills regarding different security domains, such as threat management, cryptography, network security, access control, and more. The exam consists of up to 90 questions and has a time limit of 90 minutes. The passing score for the exam is 750 or higher on a scale of 100-900.
It is important to note that the SEC+ certification is recognized globally and is highly valued in the IT industry. It is a vendor-neutral certification, which means that it is not tied to any specific technology or product. This makes it a versatile certification that can be applied to various IT roles, such as network administrator, security analyst, and cybersecurity specialist. Additionally, the SEC+ certification is a prerequisite for many advanced security certifications, such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification.
Requirements for Obtaining SEC+ Certification
Before you can take the SEC+ exam, you must meet certain requirements. These requirements are minimal but necessary to demonstrate that you have the necessary background to understand the concepts that will be covered in the exam. The requirements for taking the SEC+ exam are:
- At least two years of experience in IT administration that deals with security problems, or
- A Security+ CE, Network+ CE, or A+ CE credential.
It is important to note that the SEC+ certification is highly valued in the IT industry and is recognized globally. The certification covers a wide range of security topics, including network security, cryptography, and risk management. It is designed to validate the skills and knowledge of IT professionals in the field of security and is often a requirement for many job positions in the industry. Obtaining the SEC+ certification can open up many career opportunities and can lead to higher salaries and job promotions.
How to Prepare for the SEC+ Exam
The best way to prepare for the SEC+ exam is by using a combination of study resources, such as training courses, review books, practice tests, and lab simulations. CompTIA offers an official study guide for the exam, which covers all the topics that will be covered in the exam. Besides, there are many online and in-person training courses that you can take to prepare for the exam. Practice tests and lab simulations will give you hands-on experience with the concepts you will need to know for the exam.
It is also important to create a study schedule and stick to it. Set aside dedicated time each day or week to study and review the material. This will help you stay on track and ensure that you cover all the necessary topics before the exam. Additionally, consider forming a study group with other individuals who are also preparing for the SEC+ exam. This can provide a supportive environment for learning and can help you stay motivated throughout the studying process.
Tips and Tricks for Passing the SEC+ Exam on the First Try
Passing the SEC+ exam on the first try requires dedication and hard work. Here are some tips and tricks that can help you prepare effectively for the exam:
- Create a study plan that covers all the topics that will be covered in the exam and stick to it.
- Use different study resources, such as books, videos, and practice tests, to reinforce your learning and gain a deeper understanding of the topics that will be covered in the exam.
- Practice your test-taking skills by taking multiple practice tests and simulating the test experience.
- Stay up-to-date with the latest security trends and technologies to have a context for the questions you might encounter on the exam.
- Manage your time effectively during the exam and answer the questions you know first, then come back to the more challenging questions.
Another important tip for passing the SEC+ exam on the first try is to join study groups or online forums where you can discuss the exam topics with other candidates. This can help you gain new insights and perspectives on the topics and also provide you with moral support and motivation.
It is also recommended to take breaks during your study sessions to avoid burnout and maintain your focus. You can use this time to engage in physical activities, such as going for a walk or doing some light exercises, to refresh your mind and body.
The Benefits of Obtaining SEC+ Certification
Earning the SEC+ certification has numerous benefits. Here are some of the benefits:
- It is a globally recognized certification that demonstrates to employers that you have a solid foundation in IT security.
- It helps you stand out from other candidates and increases your career opportunities in cybersecurity and IT security.
- It prepares you for advanced certifications, such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).
- It ensures that you have a broad-based understanding of IT security principles, which helps you to implement security measures effectively.
Moreover, obtaining the SEC+ certification can also lead to higher salaries. According to a survey conducted by CompTIA, individuals with the SEC+ certification earn an average salary of $85,000 per year. This is significantly higher than the average salary for individuals without the certification.
Career Opportunities Available with SEC+ Certification
Having an SEC+ certification opens up numerous career opportunities. Here are some of the job positions that you can apply for with the SEC+ certification:
- Security Administrator
- Security Consultant
- Security Specialist
- Network Administrator
- Systems Administrator
- IT Auditor
- Penetration Tester
- Security Analyst
- Cybersecurity Specialist
Moreover, the demand for cybersecurity professionals is on the rise, and having an SEC+ certification can give you an edge over other candidates. According to a recent survey, the average salary for an SEC+ certified professional is $85,000 per year. Additionally, many companies offer attractive benefits packages, including health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off.
What to Expect from the SEC+ Exam
When taking the SEC+ exam, you can expect to encounter multiple-choice and performance-based questions that test your knowledge of IT security concepts and principles. You will have 90 minutes to complete the exam and must score 750 or higher on the scale of 100-900 to pass. The exam covers different security domains, such as threat management, cryptography, network security, access control, and more. Be sure to review each domain carefully and take practice exams to ensure that you are comfortable with the exam format.
It is important to note that the SEC+ exam is constantly updated to reflect the latest trends and developments in the field of IT security. Therefore, it is essential to stay up-to-date with the latest industry news and trends to ensure that you are well-prepared for the exam. Additionally, it is recommended that you have at least two years of experience in IT security before taking the exam to ensure that you have a solid foundation of knowledge and skills.
Key Concepts Covered in the SEC+ Certification Exam
The SEC+ certification exam covers various key concepts that are essential for IT security professionals. These concepts include:
- Threats, vulnerabilities, and attacks
- Cryptography and PKI
- Identity and access management
- Wireless security
- Network security
- Security best practices and risk management
- Disaster recovery and business continuity planning
- Social engineering and other attacks
In addition to these key concepts, the SEC+ certification exam also covers emerging technologies and trends in the field of IT security. This includes topics such as cloud security, Internet of Things (IoT) security, and mobile device security. As technology continues to evolve, it is important for IT security professionals to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and threats in order to effectively protect their organizations.
Study Resources for Preparing for the SEC+ Exam
When preparing for the SEC+ exam, there are various study resources that you can use. Some of the best study resources include:
- Official CompTIA study guide for SEC+ exam
- Online and in-person training courses
- Practice tests and simulated exams
- Review books and publications
- Exam cram study materials
- Study groups and forums
One of the most effective study resources for the SEC+ exam is the official CompTIA study guide. This guide provides comprehensive coverage of all the exam objectives and includes practice questions and exercises to help you prepare for the exam. Additionally, the guide is regularly updated to reflect the latest changes in the exam content and format.
Another useful study resource for the SEC+ exam is online and in-person training courses. These courses are designed to provide you with a structured learning experience that covers all the exam objectives. They also offer the opportunity to interact with instructors and other students, which can be helpful in clarifying difficult concepts and sharing study tips.
How Much Does It Cost to Get SEC+ Certified?
The cost of getting SEC+ certified varies depending on the study resources you use and the amount of time you spend preparing. Here’s a breakdown of the costs:
- CompTIA Security+ exam voucher: $370
- Official CompTIA study guide: $35-60
- Training courses: $1,000-3,000
- Practice tests and lab simulations: $100-500
It’s important to note that some employers may cover the cost of certification for their employees. Additionally, there are often discounts available for military personnel and students. It’s also worth considering the long-term benefits of becoming SEC+ certified, such as increased job opportunities and higher salaries in the cybersecurity field.
Differences Between Security+ and Other Similar Certifications
The SEC+ certification is similar in some ways to other IT security certifications such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA). However, the SEC+ certification is more entry-level than these certifications, making it a great starting point for those new to the field of IT security. Also, unlike the CISSP certification, the SEC+ certification doesn’t require the same level of professional experience to obtain, but it doesn’t carry as much weight as the CISSP in the job market.
Exam Format and Structure of the SEC+ Certification Test
The SEC+ exam is a multiple-choice and performance-based exam that consists of up to 90 questions. You will have 90 minutes to complete the exam and must score 750 or higher on the scale of 100-900 to pass. The exam covers different security domains, such as threat management, cryptography, network security, access control, and more. The performance-based questions simulate real-world scenarios, and you must demonstrate your ability to solve practical problems related to IT security.
How Long is the Validity of a Security+ Certification?
The validity of a Security+ certification is three years from the time you pass the exam. After that, you must recertify to maintain the certification’s validity.
Recertification Requirements and Process for Security+ Certification
To maintain the validity of your Security+ certification, you must recertify every three years. There are various options for recertification, including:
- Earning a higher-level certification such as the CISSP or Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP).
- Earning Continuing Education Units (CEUs) by attending IT security training, conferences, and other activities related to IT security.
- Retaking the Security+ exam.
Now that you understand the SEC+ certification process, its requirements, cost, exam format, key concepts covered, study resources, and recertification requirements, you should be able to determine how long it will take to get SEC+ certified. Depending on your current skill level and work experience, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to prepare adequately for the exam. However, being certified in SEC+ offers many benefits, such as expanding your knowledge of IT security and providing you with more career opportunities in the IT security field.