5 Great Jobs You Can Get with CompTIA Security+ Certification

CompTia certifications are some of the leading certs in the IT industry. But what type of job will the SY0-401 exam get you? In this article we show you five stellar jobs that you can snag by investing in some serious security training. Cybersecurity also known as Information Security (Infosec) is emerging as a critical field in both civilian and military organizations and job opportunities are emerging every single day. Certifications usually involve vague titles and that can make it hard to visualize an actual career path. Read on to learn about 5 great jobs you can get with Security+ certification!

Are these jobs actually any good?

Of course! They are challenging, exciting, and pay very well. Even entry-level security jobs can be worlds better than other entry-level work. These are just a few options as well as the overall Information Technology industry is just now beginning to understand the need for highly skilled security workers.

Systems Administrator

A Systems Administrator or Sysadmin is an IT professional with catch-all job. Basically the broad scope of a systems administrator is planning, implementing, and maintaining computer and server systems. This broad designation means that one Sysadmin might maintain a pre-set up school network while another might run a small business and be responsible for every single aspect of creating a network from the ground up. So specialized system administrators who run a network, server room, and keep a system free from malware and cyber attacks are becoming more commonplace. As a job you normally get great control in what you can and can’t do and the training in security is a great bargaining tool during interviews. Those with basic A+ struggle to compete against someone who can offer top-quality security! System admin jobs are quite unique depending on the place but will always need someone with security know-how.

cyber security certification against attacks threats viruses

Information Security Analyst

Security Analysts work in a range of security related job fields. From Data security to engineering new security systems, the work in this category is quite far reaching. A typical information security analyst may install firewalls and antivirus programs while testing and measuring the security of a network. This is a foundational role that you can build upon for years allowing you to springboard into careers such as a CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker). Requirements differ from job to job but a foundation in CompTia Security+ is the perfect start to getting your foot in the door for analyst jobs. As you get more advanced in Infosec Analyst roles, the different job titles get more specific and require unique training. These also can result in intriguing positions where you are do far more than monitor security with known tools, you create new ways to keep your clients safe and data secure. This is one of the best starting paths for someone who is serious about civilian security work.

Military or Industrial Infosec jobs (IT Specialist)

Infosec is ramping up to be the next big thing in warfare. While a specific title is hard to nail down for military and specialized security jobs (The vagueness alone of being called an IT Specialist helps increase security) there is a need emerging for trained IT Professionals that are able to work in sensitive environments. Demand increases steadily every year but we are looking at an exponential jump in the need for qualified candidates who can solve some of the biggest security problems of the future. From securing the servers at Lockheed Martin to operating as a civilian contractor on a top-secret military base, cybersecurity jobs are numerous and rewarding. Corporations, especially large-scale ones such as Boeing, need top-notch security for everything from financial data to technical design plans. A cursory look at usajobs.gov shows hundreds of opportunities to work in Infosec. One of the cool aspects of this career path is the need for Top Secret clearance, Q clearance, or other fancy titles. You are privy to the weight and responsibility of national or industrial secrets. It takes work and integrity but can pay six figures quickly into your career.

cyber attack proprietary information theft confidentiality

Penetration Tester

Penetration Testing or a Pen Test is an authorized attack on a network with the goal of finding and exploiting a security flaw. This is usually done to see if the ability to access features and data within a system is capable through a coordinated cyber attack. One of the most interesting career paths available in Information Security is Penetration Testing. A Pen Tester has a narrow focus of finding security flaws and exploiting them in order to see how stable and secure a system is. This is often confused with Ethical Hacking, an informal version of pen testing that includes more destructive possibilities and isn’t always authorized. Pen Testers are working through a company to constantly improve and work upon the systems that they have in place. SYO-401 gives the foundational knowledge to start basic Pen Testing and springboard into a career where you get paid to try and break things. Sounds fun, eh? Normally CompTIA certification is paired with some extra training such as CEH but you can get an entry-level position Pen Testing through basic certification and work your way up to the more unique roles.

Independant Contractor

There is a niche market for setting up security solutions for small business and individuals who distrust or don’t need a large scale corporation to help them with security issues. They may even want a professional on retainer during the event of a cyber attack. CompTia Security+ helps you learn the skills necessary for starting your own little security business and with the ease of social media marketing, it isn’t a stretch to think about that as the next career move. Places where those who tend to lack the skills that come from a digital education have a great need and you can accomplish moral good as well by helping them be safe from the threats that are out there.

Some jobs don’t even exist yet

As a growing industry, Infosec will continue to become one of the largest in-demand industries in the world. New technologies like AI and self-driving cars offer incredible benefits to society but security risks scarier than ever before. Your future job might not even exist yet but you can be sure, if you study cybersecurity, your skills will be in demand. Look for AI related roles in the future as that will probably be the largest area of growth.

Will I be able to get a REAL job with just this certification?

Yes and no. Security+ is a very specific subset of training and covers everything you need to know in order to secure (And break into) most computer setups. That being said, an understanding of programming languages, advanced certifications, and specific knowledge of proprietary systems is required to fully be capable of securing a system to the standards of some career paths. Security+ gets you that entry-level qualification to apply and work any of the jobs listed and much more but it is really the first step in a lifelong pursuit of understanding cybersecurity. Tech changes all the time. Most employers expect you to know what this certification offers and understand every specific system and career path takes a bit more training and knowledge. You may need to broaden your computer system understanding by taking CompTIA A+ if you work at a small office and wear multiple hats, or you may need to learn C++ in order to understand the deep flaws in a system your company operates. You will never get to those careers though if you don’t start somewhere like Security+ and many companies will GLADLY take someone who is trained in security over someone who is not.

I’m still not sold on this cert…

That’s ok, we ask you try one thing before giving up on Security+ as a possible option. Take an online practice test! There is no better way to familiarize yourself with the content of an exam and also see if you even like what is covered. We have an awesome practice SY0-401 test for you right here that can give you a feel for what a career in infosec offers. Run through it once or twice before making your decision, it might change the direction of your whole life!

Thanks for reading!

Hopefully these five jobs have given you some epic ideas for a career path and helped you understand the importance of getting certified! Having a certification in any CompTia field opens up the floodgates for better wages, new career paths, and an exhilarating future! There is little to regret with the breadth of knowledge covered by Security+ and it will make you a more rounded IT professional no matter what field you eventually land in. If you got a stellar idea from this article, consider liking and sharing it with someone else who may be wondering the next step in their career as well. As always, thanks for reading and we hope you return to our blog again to learn more about the certification world!

Things to Know Before Taking the CompTIA A+ Exam

Getting certified. It’s a rite of passage in Information Technology and gives you the confidence and skills to solve the most complex IT problems out there. Taking the exam is a challenge most people even after intensive study and there are a few things that you can learn the hard way. We’ve made a guide of things to know before taking the CompTIA A+ Exam so you don’t have to look back with regret come exam day. In this article, we will show you some common mistakes people make when getting certified and help make the journey to certification a bit easier.

For many looking back at that time of preparing for the A+ comes with a mixture of nostalgia, regret, and joy. What should have been an easy straight-forward path to certification was undermined by stubbornness or a simple lack of knowledge. Many people have walked in confident only to fail the first exam. It isn’t usually intellect, or even passion for technology that gets them, they simply overestimate their own ability and underestimate the difficulty of the 200-901 and 200-902 exams.

Why do I want to get certified?

The first hurdle you face is simply deciding whether or not you should take the test to get certified. Your employer might offer to pay for it or you might be considering certification for perspective career choices. A+ gives you the foundational knowledge to be confident with an entry level IT job. These jobs though can pay on average over $50,000 a year making the time and financial investment required to get certified well worth it. CompTIA is an advantage over those without it and an excellent investment. You should heavily consider getting certified, especially if you are entering IT because it will help build a strong foundation for future success.

CompTIA A+ Exam Certification Information Technology

CompTIA A+ is well-respected but online they say some disparaging things

Many begin to be wary about taking CompTIA after doing all the initial research. On paper it seems like it teaches a killer skillset and you can get jobs that you’d LOVE to do. But with a cursory reading through message boards you’ll hear things like this,

“CompTIA mostly just means you know how to study for a test”

“A+ doesn’t teach you any real skills.”

“I never went to school and I’m in an exciting Tech career. Certs are a waste of time.”

The conflicting signals can make you hesitant to even pursue certification at all! But don’t listen to the naysayers! The training and studying it takes to pass the 220-901 and 220-902 exams is a mixture of practical hands on experience (Such as setting up a lab up in the garage for study) and USEFUL head knowledge. Many older IT professionals worked in the wildwest of Information Technology. Skills were rare, everything was self-taught, and education wasn’t through formal training. Times have changed though. There is so much value in a formal educational experience that teaches you professional terms, the history of technology, and why so many things do what they do. Without an intensive education it is easy to get stumped by networking hierarchy or the difference between a Printer port and a VGA port. While it feels laughable to mix those things up, it happens. When fixing a customers computer, you may walk into a set-up over 15 years old and be astounded by what you come across. A good grasp of tech history makes the situations you encounter manageable.

CompTIA certified Udemy course safety

You may have bad Tech habits you need to get rid of

On test day you might forget the answer to a staggeringly easy test question.

“What is the name of this object?”

For instance, let’s say the picture is an RJ-45 jack. You may think though, due to a bad habit of calling cords ethernet, that it’s an ethernet port. But… ethernet port isn’t even a possible answer. So then you guess. And miss a point. Bad habits alone cost may cost you several points on an exam.

If you learned your tech information informally through practical experience or working at a Mom and Pop shop, you probably have some terminology wrong. When you notice a bad habit in the months prior to test day, practice eliminating it as if you are taking a real test. Not only will this help you learn terms better, you won’t sound infantile when you are fixing someone’s computer and use a ridiculous term for something they know the name of. Many common day names for tech items are useful but wrong. This doesn’t mean you have to speak in another language but it’ll make a world of difference in your career too. Often professionals use layered terminology that is confounding to an everyday listener. Eliminating your weird bad tech habits makes you a far more professional worker.

No need to rush: You can schedule the CompTIA A+ exams on different days

CompTIA A+ has two exams but they do not need to be taken very close together. In fact they can be taken weeks or months apart. The amount of knowledge required between 901 and 902 can be intimidating. It’s easy to go in guns blazing and forget the names of things you use every day. Whether it’s knowing all the subsets of relevant Motherboard sockets, system requirements of an OS, or the proper names for cords, there is a ton of rote memorization. Don’t overestimate yourself. Focus on one exam at a time and give yourself at least a week, ideally a month, before the second part of the A+ exam. This insures that you can study up on things you forgot. While it is only 90 minutes, the amount of information involved can be staggering and it’s easier to study in chunks. This also gives you a chance to gauge whether or not to move onto the second part if you happened to fail the first exam.

You can learn and practice everything you need to know with free online exams

Online exams are a risk-free way to hone your craft and make sure you are ready on exam day. Online exam websites such as certlibrary.com are incredible resources that give you real life solutions and practical experience. You can find 901 and 902 tests here and here! It’s easy to assume that by reading through the source material, you’d EASILY pass the test. Nothing can compare with using online practice exams as a way to study. It just works. The repeat answering of tough questions helps you drill some key concepts into your head. After a few weeks it’ll click. All of a sudden you’ll remember new things because you were practicing with the information regularly. Those who fail exams often wish they had known the value in practice exams. It saves money, time, and frustration. There are even some courses you can purchase that have great simulations such as those offered by Mike Meyers.CompTIA A+ certification book study mateial

Instead of being over-confident try to learn new skills and become an expert in what you know

Nothing is worse than failing the first portion of certification while an employer is paying for it. If you think, “I build computers for a hobby. This will be easy.” It might be time for a reality check.

CompTIA is hard! Building computers is great but the A+ is comprehensive and covers everything from printers to the massive variety of ports you’ll encounter. That’s why when people say disparaging things about the A+ certification, you know they are wrong. It’s not easy. It’s not so challenging that you will lose your mind studying, but you need to know a lot of information. Information that isn’t learned just by being “Good at computers.”

You want to over study anyways. If you need to know this stuff for a career, its better to learn now then flop around and make mistakes later on. Instead of thinking, “Oh I can do this already,” strive to be an expert in your field. There is nothing wrong with knowing the information so well it is second-nature.

Take it seriously. It’s a tough test but you’ll do fine if you practice and read a bit everyday. Over confidence will cost you money and time but by studying instead you walk our with new skills and a better outlook.

You should know that getting certified will make working in tech a lot more enjoyable

One of the things you should know before taking the CompTIA A+ exam is that you will love getting certified. Really the test is designed to get you thinking like an IT professional and skilled enough to get some awesome high paying gigs. Employers love tech workers with demonstrable measurable skill.

Go study. Put your heart and soul into learning all the concepts and necessary parts of getting certified. It’ll be a lot of work. We recommend more than a month for most people. When its over you might even realize you should have done this so much earlier in your life. Every single day you encounter little things that A+ training can help you overcome. You may even have been encountering issues for years and stumbling through the dark. With training you can finally know how to diagnose issues and why those issues occur! You can even fix them! Work gets easier, more enjoyable, and in a few months you may even think about other certs. They are a gateway to success and numerous promotions. Life is far easier in the tech world when you have the skills and confidence of certification. So go do it!

Thanks for joining us and listening to our advice!

We hope you’ve learned some things about the exam and we wish you luck with continuing your education in IT. If this article has helped you, share it with some friends! And as always, keep coming back for more blogs on the IT Cert Industry. Studying for a certification can be intimidating but you have so many modern resources available today. It’s worth it and the path has never been more enjoyable! There are always things to know before taking the CompTIA A+ exam that you’ll look back on and think, “Oh I could’ve learned that!” but that’s whats so great about tech. You can always be learning, growing, and improving. A+ is a foundation for an incredible journey and we wish you luck as you pursue getting certified.