CompTIA Security+ is a globally recognized certification that validates the knowledge and skills of cybersecurity professionals. CompTIA is changing the exam from version 601 to version 701, which includes several changes compared to the previous version. Typically, certification vendors continue a version of an exam for two or three years, refresh it, and release a new version, sometimes completely different from the previous version. This is common, with official announcements and press releases highlighting the changes and potential differences between the exam and the last version. However, the changes in the Security+ were not announced in any emails or notifications but can only be seen on the Security+ website. Debates and discussions surround the new version, so let’s walk through the changes.
Table of Contents
- What is the CompTIA Security+ Exam?
- What’s New in the CompTIA Security+ Exam
- Which Roles Does it Apply to?
- CompTIA Security+ Exam Details
- Core Changes in the Exam
- Which one is relevant now?
- How to Pass the CompTIA Security+ Exam
- Use The Right Tools
- Get into a Structured Programme
- Have a Supportive Community
What is the CompTIA Security+ Exam?
Security+ is a foundational cybersecurity certification often required for individuals starting their journey in the military, US government, or government contractor roles. It introduces cyber security concepts and tools and is a good entry point for many people. It covers many topics, including network security, cryptography, identity management, and risk management. The latest version of the Security+ exam was released in November 2023, with vouchers valid until July 31st, 2024.
What’s New in the CompTIA Security+ Exam
The new top-tier Security+ SY0-701 covers the latest and greatest topics in cyber security, covering in-demand skills related to threat automation, zero trust, IoT risk, and more. Candidates will be able to assess the security posture of an enterprise environment and recommend and implement appropriate security measures.
The exam now covers general security concepts, which include critical cyber security terminology and concepts, threat vulnerabilities and mitigations, monitoring and securing hybrid environments, security architecture, security implications of different architecture models, principles of obtaining enterprise infrastructure, strategies to protect data security operations, and security program management and oversight.
Which Roles Does it Apply to?
The Security+ can apply to various roles, such as Tier 2 Tech Support, Support Manager, Business Analyst, Cyber Security Manager, Software Developer Assistant Administrator, and more. CompTIA has had some rebranding on its website, so things have changed slightly.
This is a baseline certification, not a full-time expert certification. Security+ is a fundamental certification requiring continuing education credits to stay current with industry trends. The DoDM 8570 or DoDM 8140 mandate requires a Security+ certification for government contractors and the military. This mandate became mandatory in January 2011 and has been a requirement for many years.
CompTIA Security+ Exam Details
The exam details are similar to the previous version, with a maximum of 90 questions. The CompTIA Security+ exam has a multiple choice and performance base, with a passing score of 750. The exam is designed to help candidates prepare for various job roles related to government risk management, compliance assessment, and security awareness.
CompTIA Security+ exam details show the same number of questions, time, type of questions, multiple choice questions, and performance-based experience. However, the 601 exam has a score of 750, while the 701 exam does not. This is interesting, as CompTIA typically uses a pass-fail exam model, which doesn’t have a passing score. The exam may restructure the passing capability or what candidates need to know to pass the Security Plus exam. How this will play out as the exam release approaches is still being determined.
Core Changes in the Exam
The CompTIA Security+ exam has undergone significant changes in terms and domains, with the 601 version focusing on attacks, threats, and vulnerabilities, architecture and design implementation, operations and incident response governance risk of compliance, and security program management oversight. In the new version, security operations have increased from 16% to 28%, while GRC (Governance, Risk, and Compliance) have been reduced from 14% to 20%.
In the new version, the first domain is General Security Concepts, which provides a baseline understanding of core concepts such as CIA Triad (Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability) and nonrepudiation. This is a crucial part of working in cyber security. The exam weight breakdown also shows differentiation between the domains, with the former being more focused on general concepts like CIA Triad or nonrepudiation.
The second domain is Security Architecture, which has been consolidated into one of the other domains instead of being spaced across multiple domains. Domain 4.0, which is security operations, has a similar title to the old version but is now better aligned with the industry. The older version focused on frameworks and policies, while the new version focused on program management oversight.
The Risk Management domain still has its policies and requirements, but it is essential to remember that it is a large domain in the exam. Knowing about risk management and how it applies to your organization is necessary. A few significant differences exist when comparing the terms in versions 601 and 701. The new version has removed more terms than added, which is essential for vendors to avoid making the exam larger. Some legacy information is no longer relevant to the current industry, but understanding and adapting to the changes is still essential.
Which one is relevant now?
So, with all the changes, which certification should you take now if you’re sitting for the exam sometime in the future? It is recommended to go for the latest CompTIA Security+ exam version. You can take the previous version until the drop-death date of the 601 version. As the exam version expires, it might not be the best use of time to start learning the newer version from scratch. However, there is plenty of time to go for the 601 version, so it is recommended to wait for some time before considering the 701 version. Real experts don’t typically look at the exam version but care about their certification.
How to Pass the CompTIA Security+ Exam
Before even starting to decide to take the certification exam, ask yourself three questions:
- Do I know this stuff?
- Do I have an interest in this stuff?
- Can I see myself doing this as a job?
If the answer is “Yes, ” look at your bank account to see if you can afford to take the exam. The CompTIA Security+ exam can be taken online or in person for $392 US dollars. The exam costs money but opens up opportunities for high-paying gigs once you get these certifications. Once you are sure about taking the certification, follow the below tips.
Use The Right Tools
To pass the CompTIA Security+ exam, use the right tools. There are three ways to get certified: alone, with mentorship and coaching, or a mixture of both. It’s best if you utilize YouTube resources because it is a platform that provides you with the most information for free. Also, use chatGPT, which can offer practice questions for various topics. Learn to use the correct prompts. Apart from these three methods, you can also consider using 591LAB exam proxy services, which guarantee a sure-shot pass at a fraction of the cost and time.
Get into a Structured Programme
Getting into a structured program that provides mentorship, skills, and certifications and guarantees your success is essential. With self-paced learning, you may get distracted easily. Also, you may get into an unnecessary learning trap if you need the right mentorship.
Have a Supportive Community
A tribe of people who are already doing what you want to do or have done it can help you go further faster. LinkedIn is a promising place to connect with people and companies that accomplish what you want.
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