How To Navigate the CompTIA Security+ Certification Path

Taylor Karl
How To Navigate the CompTIA Security+ Certification Path 2360 0

How To Navigate the CompTIA Security+ Certification Path

Cybersecurity skills are in high demand as they apply to almost every industry in today's networked world. Certifications like CompTIA Security+ verify professionals' experience and skills as part of career development.

What is CompTIA

CompTIA is a nonprofit global trade organization and the world’s largest vendor-neutral IT exam developer. CompTIA manages not only credential standards but also certification exams and the associated certification path for technology skills. Whether you are starting your cybersecurity career, currently working as an entry-level analyst or engineer, or advancing your career with roles of greater responsibility, CompTIA certifications enhance your professional standing.

What is a Cybersecurity Specialist

Before diving into the Security+ certification path, know what a cybersecurity specialist career pathway could be. CompTIA describes a cybersecurity specialist as someone who:

  • detects cyberthreats and implements protections against them,
  • is responsible for installing, administering, and troubleshooting security solutions, and
  • documenting security policies.

The technology infrastructure environment and the type of data within the system directly impacts what cybersecurity is needed to protect it. Cybersecurity professionals, including analyst or engineer jobs, are constantly learning and use industry certifications to keep skills current.

What is the CompTIA Security+ Certification Path

Cybersecurity is an exciting career in which different credential types and certifications, like those from CompTIA, demonstrate your expertise. CompTIA administers technology certifications in categories of:

  • Core
  • Infrastructure
  • Cybersecurity

Earn CompTIA certifications to enhance your cybersecurity credential status and enable your career growth. CompTIA cybersecurity certifications include:

  • Security+
  • PenTest+
  • CySA+
  • CASP+

Cybersecurity Career Pathway

Use a CompTIA pathway and certifications to start your cybersecurity career or to advance your existing career. With each earned certification, it is a good practice to update your resume and professional profiles accordingly.

Review CompTIA's credential guidance to map your work in earning certifications that support your current career and where you want your career to go next: CompTIA Cybersecurity Career Pathway.

What is CompTIA Security+ Certification

The CompTIA Security+ certification is designed for entry-level cybersecurity professionals. CompTIA Security+ certification is valid for three years. While training is not required to take the CompTIA certification exam, candidates are encouraged to use an authorized resource for training aligned to CompTIA Security+ exam objectives. The CompTIA Security+ exam assesses your experience in being able to:

  • monitor and secure hybrid environments,
  • operate with an awareness of applicable laws and policies,
  • identify, analyze, and respond to security events and incidents,
  • help assess the cybersecurity posture of an enterprise environment, and
  • recommend and implement appropriate security solutions

Where to Start Planning for CompTIA Security+ Certification

There is no requirement to have one CompTIA cybersecurity certification before another. Yet the credential path shows how the information assessed builds upon the preceding certifications.

If you are new to information technology (IT), start with the CompTIA A+ exam to validate your foundational knowledge. If you understand the content covered in A+ or have already earned A+ certification, it is suggested but not required that you earn Network+ before seeking the Security+ certification. A firm understanding of networking is essential to secure the Security+ certification; therefore, if you have achieved A+ and Network+, it will prepare you for Security+ exam questions. Any CompTIA credential validates your experience and skills.

What Are CompTIA Security+ Certification Exam Prerequisites

There are no CompTIA Security+ exam prerequisites. However, students are encouraged to have the following recommended skills/experience:

  • CompTIA Network+ certification
  • two years of experience in IT administration with a security focus

CompTIA eBook

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What Professional Experience is Required for the CompTIA Security+ Certification Exam

Candidates need a firm understanding of networking to succeed on the CompTIA Security+ exam—otherwise, the odds of earning a passing CompTIA Security+ exam score drop considerably.

Networking skills and understanding can be gained through on-the-job experience and high-quality training. Be sure your training meets the most current industry standards and is aligned to current CompTIA certifications! CompTIA certifications are regularly updated to ensure the closest fit to the current technology issues, products, standards, and real-world challenges in cybersecurity.

If you want to become a cybersecurity analyst but need experience to earn a passing exam score for CompTIA Security+ certification, consider volunteering for friends, family, or small organizations. If you pursue volunteering to gain experience, be clear about your cybersecurity experience level with those you are helping. As all cybersecurity professionals should do in any setting, whether volunteering for a local nonprofit or leading a global networking center, hold yourself to high standards and ethics.

What CompTIA Security+ Certification Covers

The CompTIA Security+ certification is a cornerstone of the cybersecurity pathway. The CompTIA Security+ exam objectives focus on the core cybersecurity skills required for security and network administrator roles, such as junior IT auditors, systems administrators, network administrators, and security administrators. With performance-based questions, passing the exam confirms you have the foundational knowledge to be an entry-level cybersecurity analyst.

How to Get CompTIA Security+ Certified

How do professionals earn their CompTIA Security+ certifications? They earn a passing score on credential exams! At first glance, earning a passing score for globally recognized cybersecurity certifications is easy compared to other industry certifications' complex prerequisites and applicant processes. And yet, the exams will challenge you and require experience and training to pass successfully.

How to Prepare for the CompTIA Security+ Certification Exam

The CompTIA Security+ exam questions assess your experience, skills, and understanding of cybersecurity, including:

  • securing applications, networks, and devices,
  • threat analysis and response, and
  • risk management.

To prepare for the CompTIA Security+ exam:

  • review all CompTIA Security+ labs a minimum of two times, and
  • know the CompTIA Security+ exam objectives and topics.

For CompTIA Security+ pathway certifications, a review of objectives helps ensure you succeed in gaining a certification the first time you take the corresponding exam.

What to Expect When Taking the CompTIA Security+ Exam

With up to 90 multiple-choice and performance-based questions to be completed in 90 minutes, the CompTIA Security+ exam is designed to verify your ".. knowledge and skills required to assess the security posture of an enterprise environment and recommend and implement appropriate security solutions; monitor and secure hybrid environments, including cloud, mobile, and IoT; operate with an awareness of applicable laws and policies, including principles of governance, risk, and compliance; identify, analyze, and respond to security events and incidents."

How a CompTIA Security+ Certification Helps Your Career

Some companies require CompTIA Security+ certification for specific roles. Regardless of job requirements, obtaining CompTIA certifications, like those within the CompTIA Security+ pathway, is a professional achievement.

Industry certifications like CompTIA Security+ enhance your career with expanded job opportunities in both private and government sectors with certification requirements. CompTIA shares that cybersecurity professionals have a strong career outlook with a beginning salary potential around $61,500 US and a variety of jobs.

Cybersecurity Professional Salary

Skills gained along the CompTIA Security+ certification path have strong salary potential according to CompTIA research:

CompTIA Professional Annual Salary

Cybersecurity Professional Roles

Example jobs that may require certifications depending on the company, include:

  • Analyst
  • System/s Administrator
  • Network Engineer
  • System/s Engineer


Experience as a network analyst or security engineer is beneficial but will only partially prepare you for CompTIA exam certifications. Professionals advancing their career use credentials like the CompTIA certifications and the CompTIA cybersecurity certification pathway to verify their knowledge.