What is the difference between CompTIA Security+ and Security+ CE?

A computer system with two layers of security

When it comes to IT security certifications, CompTIA Security+ and Security+ CE are two certifications that you might commonly come across. Though both certifications pertain to IT security, there are quite a few differences between the two that set them apart. In this article, we will take a closer look at each of these certifications and dissect their differences to help you understand which certification to pursue.

Understanding the basics of CompTIA Security+ and Security+ CE

CompTIA Security+ is a vendor-neutral certification that focuses on vital security-related knowledge, such as risk management, network architecture, and cryptography, to name a few. It is designed to test the skills of IT professionals who are just getting into the cybersecurity industry. On the other hand, Security+ CE is a version of the Security+ certification that is in compliance with the United States Department of Defense’s Directive 8570.01-M. It covers the same concepts as the standard Security+ certification but has additional regulations that must be met to become certified.

One of the additional regulations for Security+ CE certification is that candidates must have a certain level of experience in the cybersecurity field. This is to ensure that those who hold the certification have practical knowledge and skills in addition to passing the exam. Additionally, Security+ CE certification requires ongoing education and training to maintain the certification, as the cybersecurity industry is constantly evolving and new threats and technologies emerge.

The importance of IT security certifications in today’s job market

With a constant flux of cyber threats, demonstrating your expertise in IT security has become more essential than ever before. As a result, IT security certifications like CompTIA Security+ and Security+ CE have become a de-facto standard to display your competency in IT security and your willingness to learn and improve in this field.

What is CompTIA Security+ certification?

CompTIA Security+ is an entry-level certification that validates the fundamental skills that are required for an IT security professional. It covers a vast range of security topics, including network security, cryptography, identity management, risk mitigation, and compliance, to name a few.

One of the benefits of obtaining a CompTIA Security+ certification is that it is recognized globally. This means that it is a valuable asset for IT professionals who are looking to work in different countries or for multinational organizations. Additionally, the certification is vendor-neutral, which means that it is not tied to any specific technology or product. This makes it a versatile certification that can be applied to a wide range of IT security roles.

Another advantage of CompTIA Security+ certification is that it is a stepping stone to more advanced certifications. For example, it is a prerequisite for the CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) certification and the CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+) certification. These certifications build on the foundational knowledge and skills that are covered in the Security+ certification and are designed for IT professionals who are looking to advance their careers in cybersecurity.

What is Security+ CE certification?

Security+ CE certification is a version of the Security+ certification that is in compliance with the United States Department of Defense’s Directive 8570.01-M. To be certified, you need a specific number of hours of continuing education or equivalent experience to become certified. The certification covers the same topics as the standard Security+ certification, but it has additional requirements to remain compliant with the directive.

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One of the additional requirements for Security+ CE certification is that the certification must be renewed every three years. This renewal process requires the completion of 50 continuing education units (CEUs) or the passing of a higher-level certification exam. The CEUs can be earned through a variety of methods, such as attending training courses, participating in webinars, or publishing security-related articles. By requiring ongoing education and training, the Security+ CE certification ensures that certified professionals stay up-to-date with the latest security threats and best practices.

Key differences between CompTIA Security+ and Security+ CE

CompTIA Security+ and Security+ CE certifications are similar in content, but they differ in the prerequisites required to become certified. The standard Security+ certification doesn’t require any continuing education, whereas Security+ CE requires a specific number of continuing education hours or equivalent experience. Additionally, Security+ CE certification is more narrowly focused on the needs of the United States Department of Defense due to its compliance with Directive 8570.01-M.

Another key difference between CompTIA Security+ and Security+ CE is the validity period of the certification. The standard Security+ certification is valid for three years, after which the candidate must renew their certification by passing the latest version of the exam. On the other hand, Security+ CE certification is valid for only three years as well, but it requires the candidate to earn a certain number of continuing education units (CEUs) to maintain their certification.

It’s also worth noting that the Security+ CE certification is more advanced than the standard Security+ certification. The CE certification covers more advanced topics such as penetration testing, vulnerability assessment, and risk management, making it a more suitable certification for professionals who are looking to specialize in cybersecurity.

Benefits of earning a CompTIA Security+ certification

One of the most significant advantages of Security+ certification is that it is vendor-neutral, meaning it isn’t bound to any particular vendor’s products. This provides IT professionals with more flexibility to work with various organizations and a variety of security products. Security+ is also an excellent foundational certification that can serve as a stepping stone to more advanced certifications in cybersecurity.

Another benefit of earning a CompTIA Security+ certification is that it demonstrates a high level of knowledge and expertise in the field of cybersecurity. This certification covers a wide range of topics, including network security, cryptography, and risk management, among others. Employers value this certification as it shows that the individual has a comprehensive understanding of cybersecurity principles and practices.

Additionally, Security+ certification holders are in high demand in the job market. Many organizations require their IT professionals to have this certification, and it can lead to higher salaries and better job opportunities. With the increasing number of cyber threats and attacks, the need for skilled cybersecurity professionals is only going to grow, making Security+ certification a valuable asset for anyone looking to advance their career in this field.

Benefits of earning a Security+ CE certification

Security+ CE certification can be viewed as more specialized than the standard Security+ certification due to its compliance requirements with Directive 8570.01-M. If you work for the United States Department of Defense or any organization that complies with the directive, having this certification will be very useful. Additionally, you can remain compliant with the directive by completing a specific number of continuing education hours, which can help you remain updated with the latest IT security trends and technologies.

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Another benefit of earning a Security+ CE certification is that it can increase your job opportunities and earning potential. Many employers in the IT industry require or prefer candidates with this certification, as it demonstrates a strong understanding of IT security principles and practices. In fact, according to CompTIA, individuals with a Security+ certification earn an average salary of $84,000 per year. This certification can also open up opportunities for career advancement, as it is a prerequisite for many higher-level security certifications.

Which certification is right for you: CompTIA Security+ or Security+ CE?

The choice between CompTIA Security+ and Security+ CE certification depends on the specific job you have or are planning to pursue. If you work, or plan to work, for the United States Department of Defense or any organization that complies with the directive, Security+ CE certification is the way to go. Otherwise, if you are looking for a vendor-neutral certification that covers a broad range of IT security topics, standard Security+ certification is a better fit.

It is important to note that Security+ CE certification requires individuals to renew their certification every three years, whereas standard Security+ certification does not have a renewal requirement. This means that if you are looking for a certification that you can obtain and maintain without the need for ongoing education and renewal, standard Security+ certification may be the better option.

On the other hand, if you are looking to specialize in a specific area of IT security, such as network security or cryptography, CompTIA offers additional certifications that can complement your Security+ certification. These include the CompTIA Network+ certification and the CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+) certification, among others.

Exam requirements and prerequisites for obtaining both certifications

To obtain both certifications, you must pass a multiple-choice question exam. The standard Security+ certification exam consists of 90 questions and lasts for ninety minutes, while the Security+ CE certification exam consists of 90 questions and lasts for 105 minutes. To take the Security+ CE exam, you must have a current, valid, and approved certificate to fulfill the certification’s continuing education requirements.

It is important to note that the Security+ certification exam covers a wide range of topics, including network security, cryptography, and access control. The Security+ CE certification exam, on the other hand, focuses on the latest trends and technologies in the field of cybersecurity, such as cloud security and mobile device security.

Before taking either exam, it is recommended that you have at least two years of experience in IT administration with a focus on security. Additionally, it is important to study and prepare thoroughly for the exam, as the passing score for both certifications is 750 out of 900.

Preparing for the CompTIA Security+ and Security+ CE exams: Tips and tricks

Preparing for the CompTIA Security+ and Security+ CE requires a lot of dedication and hard work. You should start by reviewing the official certification objectives published by CompTIA and investing in study materials like books, courses, and practice tests. Additionally, you should allocate enough time in your schedule to prepare for the exam adequately.

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Another important aspect of preparing for the CompTIA Security+ and Security+ CE exams is to gain practical experience in the field of cybersecurity. This can be achieved by participating in internships, volunteering for cybersecurity projects, or working on personal projects that involve implementing security measures. Practical experience will not only help you understand the concepts better but also give you an edge over other candidates during the exam.

It is also essential to stay updated with the latest trends and developments in the field of cybersecurity. You can do this by following industry experts on social media, attending cybersecurity conferences and webinars, and reading cybersecurity blogs and news articles. This will help you understand the current threats and challenges faced by organizations and prepare you to tackle them during the exam.

Resources to help you pass the exams: Books, courses, and practice tests

Some of the best study materials available for the CompTIA Security+ and Security+ CE certification exams include official CompTIA study guides, video courses, and practice tests. Additional useful resources include cybersecurity blogs, newsletters, and forums, where IT professionals share their knowledge and experience with each other.

Another great resource for exam preparation is online study groups and communities. These groups provide a platform for learners to interact with each other, ask questions, and share study materials. They also offer an opportunity to connect with other professionals in the field and build a network of contacts.

It is also important to note that hands-on experience is crucial for passing these exams. Consider seeking out internships, volunteering opportunities, or entry-level positions in the cybersecurity field to gain practical experience. This will not only help you pass the exams but also prepare you for a successful career in cybersecurity.

How often do you need to renew your CompTIA Security+ or Security+ CE certification?

CompTIA Security+ certification requires recertification every three years. You can renew by taking an updated version of the certification exam or obtaining additional CompTIA certifications in specialized security topics. Security+ CE certification requires recertification every three years and is subject to similar continuing education requirements to maintain compliance with Directive 8570.01-M.

Job prospects with a CompTIA Security+ or Security+ CE certification

Earning a Security+ or Security+ CE certification can significantly enhance your career in IT security. These certifications boost your resume, demonstrating your technical proficiency, and your willingness to improve your IT security knowledge and skills. Employers often value Security+ and Security+ CE certifications and may be more inclined to offer job opportunities to certified professionals.

In conclusion, both CompTIA Security+ and Security+ CE certifications carry their own unique advantages. Earning a certification can help you enter the IT security industry or advance your IT security career. It is essential to understand the differences between these certifications to know which one is right for you.

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