This is the second blog in a comprehensive series on the CompTIA Security+ certification. The first blog of provided an overview of what will be covered through this series. This article will start to dive into the details surrounding one of cybersecurity’s most sought-after certifications. We will discuss who is CompTIA, what is the Security+ Certification, and discuss the certification and exam cost. If you are an IT Professional looking to jumpstart your cyber-career, this article is a must read.
Who is CompTIA?
CompTIA is short for Computing Technology Industry Association. They are a globally recognized nonprofit trade association that plays a pivotal role in the IT industry. Established in 1982, CompTIA serves as a hub for technology professionals in IT and cybersecurity. They have developed a business model that caters to individuals seeking to advance their careers in these fields. Their primary focus is providing these professionals with industry-standard certifications, educational resources, and valuable networking opportunities.
With its mission to advance the IT industry, CompTIA has become a reliable and influential entity in the tech world. Their certifications are renowned worldwide for their credibility and relevance, covering a broad range of IT domains, including cybersecurity, networking, cloud computing, and more. Professionals who obtain CompTIA certifications demonstrate their commitment to staying current with industry best practices. As a result, holding a CompTIA certification significantly enhances a professional’s credentials and reputation in the IT and cybersecurity spheres.
What is the CompTIA Security+ Certification?
CompTIA Security+ is one of the top entry-level cybersecurity certifications in IT. This certification focuses on validating foundational cybersecurity skills and knowledge. Additionally, it serves as a benchmark for professionals looking to kick-start their careers in the cybersecurity field or enhance their existing expertise. As an industry-leading certification, CompTIA Security+ is also highly regarded by employers. It demonstrates that certified individuals possess the necessary skills to secure networks, detect threats, and protect data from potential breaches.
This certification verifies a professional’s understanding of core security functions. Being compliant with DoD 8570, it has become one of the top credentials chosen by organizations. With cybersecurity being such a broad industry, preparing for the Security+ certification exam will take you through learning key areas surrounding information security, including:
- Attacks, Threats and Vulnerabilities
- Architecture and Design
- Operations and Incident Response
- Governance, Risk and Compliance
Companies around the country strongly believe CompTIA Security+ should be one of the first certifications a professional should obtain. Not only does this cybersecurity certification become a genuine resume builder, but it also acts as a springboard for higher level certifications and jobs. As stated previously, it is approved by the United States Department of Defense as a baseline certification and is compliant with ISO 17024 standards. With all those incredible benefits, it’s easy to understand why the Security+ certification is regarded so highly by professionals.
What does the CompTIA Security+ Certification Cost?
There are two parts surrounding the cost of the CompTIA Security+. The first is the cost of the Security+ exam voucher, which retails at $392. There is a slight process in paying for, and scheduling, the exam. To start with, you must purchase the exam voucher from either CompTIA or a reputable training partner. You can often get a slight discount by going through one of CompTIA’s training partners, which may be something to research before purchasing.
Once you have the exam voucher, the next step is to schedule the exam. The email you receive after purchasing your exam voucher should have steps to scheduling your exam, but most are scheduled through Pearson VUE. There are in-person testing centers available, but most opt to take the remote proctoring option, which allows you to take it from your computer. It is a more convenient way to take the exam, but you must be aware of the requirements. Although some of them sound a tad intimidating, the process is relatively smooth. Here are a few of the more critical ones to keep in mind:
- You must be able to take the exam in a secluded area with a closed door. If the proctor hears anyone talking or sees you gesturing/talking with someone, the exam will be cancelled, you will receive a ‘Failed’ score, and you will have to purchase a new voucher.
- Your testing area must be free of pretty much everything but the computer. You can’t have any materials, paper, extra monitors, or really anything on or around your testing area.
- They will ask to see your cell phone to ensure it is too far away for you to reach during the exam.
- If they see you get up from your testing area, or move off camera, the exam will be cancelled, and you will receive a failing grade. And again, you will have to purchase a new exam voucher to retake the exam.
- You will need a laptop, and they will run tests to ensure the specs on the laptop and your home network speed are sufficient. They will also have software that ensures no other applications are running during the exam.
CompTIA Security+ Certification Preparation Cost
The other major cost you need to be aware of is exam preparation. This is really broken into two categories – self-study and trainer led. For self-study, you can find books at a very inexpensive cost on the CompTIA website. Outside of the book, there are several free training options on YouTube and many companies even offer video courses for purchase as well. Our training center does offer a self-guided option that includes e-book, hands-on labs, practice test and exam voucher $899. The goal for self-study programs is to find something that fully covers all the domains within the certification exam.
In terms of price, self-paced studying is the cheapest way to limit the Security+ certification cost. But in terms of effectiveness, and improving pass rates, trainer-led courses (also known as bootcamps) are more ideal. With the passing score for the CompTIA Security+ exam being 750 on a scale ranging from 100-900, it can be difficult to pass if you are not fully prepared. A training bootcamp is a more robust and extensive program that often leads to a much higher pass percentage. Being guided through the course materials by a certified expert, these programs dive deep into all the relative materials needed to pass your certification exam.
Because of the vigorous training style, this preparation approach tends to be more expensive. As of the writing of this article, most CompTIA Security+ bootcamps range anywhere from $1200 up to $2800 depending on the trainer and add-on materials. Though these programs are more expensive, the benefit of increasing your chances to pass the exam on the first attempt is often worth it. Through our training center, our bootcamp bundle includes all course materials, hands-on labs, study materials, and exam voucher for $2399. In an upcoming article, we will discuss the benefits of bootcamps in much more detail.
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