Security+ certification - what you need to know

While there are many qualifications and training course options for people looking to kick-start a career in cyber security, one of the most widely-recognised and popular certifications is the Security+ qualification.

This can be a great starting point for those looking to enter the cyber security sector for the first time. So what is a Security+ certification and what are the benefits of having it?
What is Security+ certification?

Security+ is a vendor-neutral certification administered by trade association CompTIA. It's recognised worldwide and indicates that the holder has a solid grounding in the essential skills needed for a career in cyber security.

It emphasises hands-on, practical skills that will be highly relevant to a number of real-world roles, and establishes you have the core competencies employers demand. This qualification serves as proof that you have skills in areas such as:

  • Recognising threats, attacks and vulnerabilities
  • Implementing secure network architecture
  • Responding to security incidents
  • Conducting risk management activities
  • Compliance with regulations such as PCI-DSS, SOX, HIPAA, GDPR, NIST and CCPA

Why should you consider a Security+ qualification?

The Security+ qualification is an entry-level certification, which makes it ideal for individuals who are new to the field of cyber security, whether they are just starting out in their career or looking for a change of focus.

As one of the first certifications professionals earn in their cyber security career, it provides individuals with an excellent grounding in the essential skills they can expand on as they become more specialised or move towards more senior positions. 

For instance, it is a foundational part of the CompTIA Cybersecurity Career Pathway, which can set you on your way to roles in areas such as cloud security, penetration testing and other certifications that may be required for specific job roles.

CompTIA notes that 96 per cent of hiring managers use IT certifications as screening or hiring criteria during recruitment, and Security+ is one of the most widely recognised. 

The skills demonstrated by a Security+ qualification can be applied to a wide variety of roles. It is also recognised by organisations such as the US Department of Defense as meeting its cyber security standards.

What does a Security+ course involve?

As Security+ is an entry-level qualification, there are no direct requirements you must fulfil before taking the exam. However, CompTIA does recommend you have at least two years' experience in a relevant IT field before attempting it.

While there is nothing to stop you from taking the Security+ exam with no formal study, if you want to stand the best chance of success, enrolling on a Security+ training course is essential. 

There are a range of programmes to choose from in this area, including online and classroom-based learning. Many courses are intensive, short-term events that can be completed in a few days, or you can choose to study at your own pace.

When you're ready, you can take the Security+ exam. This can be completed at a wide range of testing centres and consists of up to 90 questions, including multiple-choice and performance-based questions. The exam lasts 90 minutes and you'll need to score a minimum of 750 out of 900 to pass and earn your Security+ certification. 

What jobs can I get with a Security+ certification?

Once you have a Security+ qualification, you'll be able to apply for a wide range of roles across multiple fields. Some of the key jobs that will often require a CompTIA Security+ certification include:

  • Security Administrator
  • Systems Administrator
  • Helpdesk Manager/Analyst
  • Network/Cloud Engineer
  • Security Engineer 
  • Security Analyst
  • DevOps/Software Developer
  • IT Auditor
  • IT Project Manager

 Given the wide range of roles you can apply for with a Security+ qualification, this may be one of the most valuable options for those looking to get into a cyber security career. 

If you'd like to aim for a Security+ certification, check out what training courses are available to help prepare you for this.