5 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.

Taking the N10-006: 7 Things You Should Know

So you want to get certified in CompTIA Network+ but aren’t sure about everything it entails? There are a few things that aren’t always said upfront about the N10 so we are here to help you out! This article has seven things you should know if you plan on being one of the skilled workers with this amazing cert! Our guide on 7 things you should know before taking the N10-006 might make your journey a little bit easier.

If you wait too long, you might be taking a different test!

The current CompTIA Network+ exam was launched February 28th, 2015. Approximately every three years, they retire the current Network+ exam and then create a new one with a different title and expanded information. Sometimes the changes are minimal but if there has been a large change in the last 5-7 years in technology, the test may have huge modifications.

English isn’t the only way to get certified.

As one of the largest providers of certification, CompTIA is an internationally recognized certification provider. It’s often believed that those who are non-native English speakers just have to suck it up and learn English to get certified. IT professionals from around the world take CompTIA tests but many do so after arriving in an English speaking country. If English is not your first language, remember to check and see if there are easier language options. Some tests offer as many as seven language options while others unfortunately are only in English. One of the perks of CompTIA Network+ is that the N10-006 can be taken in Japanese and German as well as English.

If you get certified now, you don’t ever (Possibly) have to again.

Certifications used to last a lifetime or at minimum a decade before an IT professional needed to go back in and get a renewal. The certification is good for 3 years from the date it is passed. With continued education though, you can renew the certification with minimal hassle. So you won’t ever need to test again as long as you are taking the steps to satisfy them.

Networking jobs are hard, in high-demand, and get you into shape.

routing switching cables network

N10-006 will make you successful in one of the most challenging career fields out there. Stereotypically IT is a desk job but with routing and switching you may spend a large amount of time crawling through ceilings, installing cables, and troubleshooting networking. So much can go wrong with a network that it’s a daunting task to fix one. Not only are they hard to diagnose and fix, they often require a lot of physical labor to get up and running. It’s not uncommon to be hired into the IT department only to find the ENTIRE server rack was left unlabeled. This means you have to trace dozens of cords through server racks to ports. If you like a challenge and solving unique problems in IT, you will love this career path.

routing switching cables network

This isn’t a “Walk in and pass” test

CompTIA A+ and 9 months of networking experience is recommended before doing Network+. The exam builds on the foundation that A+ establishes. While there is little in terms of crossover when it comes to OS and Hardware configuration, A+ teaches numerous networking concepts at the start. By studying these concepts you not only gain an edge with the concepts found on the N10-006 exam, you also memorize some of the same information (Such as networking tier diagrams). While passing the exam doesn’t require the same information, most jobs that involve networking will still require a strong foundation in the same skills that A+ teaches. So before you take the N10, consider taking some time and working through the A+ curriculum. It’ll make you a better IT professional regardless due to its wide base of instruction. As for experience, Network+ teaches some really specific tasks involving WAN, DNS, and more. Just knowing how to do everything, practically use it as a skill, and memorize all the different ports and designations, requires a LOT of work. Prior experience helps immensely in making this a simple transition. If you don’t work in IT. Buy some networking equipment and set a lab up in your home or office for practice. Also load up some practice tests from a reputable site like certlibrary.com.

PBQs will catch you off guard if you don’t prep for them

Remember to train for Performance-Based Questions. PBQs are one of the best ways the tech industry is able to certify you understand and can apply technology concepts. Basically a simulated environment is created via special software or an emulator that runs technology in a similar way to what you encounter in real-life. For instance a windows PBQ may ask you to change very specific things in Windows using a specific pathway (Hot Keys or CMD prompt). Networking PBQs will push you to apply your knowledge during a test. They can suck up a lot of time as well if you are unsure or lack the knowledge to solve the problem. Remember to train for the reality of what you encounter in networking not just the philosophy.

Don’t learn well with books? Find a real live teacher!

Last on our list of 7 things you should know before taking the N10-006 exam is a little known teaching tool. CompTIA offers instructor led classroom training. Some students learn better with a physical instructor then by book format. If Network+ is challenging or impossible to study for, don’t despair! CompTIA offers classroom instruction through partner programs and affiliates all over. These localized classes are small in scope with just a few students and are worth the extra cost. After all, if you fail an exam, you still have to pay to retake it, and if you fail twice in a row, you have to wait before a 3rd time. In a classroom setting you have a chance to talk with someone who not only understands the curriculum, they can practice and show you how to excel in your chosen field. Consider looking for an instructor if you might need the extra help. Courses can be found on the CompTIA website.

Thanks for joining us!

We wish you luck as you pursue certification! Passing the N10-006 solidifies your entry into the networking world and helps you sharpen the career trajectory you our on. We hope you learned something new reading through these 7 things you should know when taking the N10-006 Exam. Certification is a lifelong process full of thrilling paths to financial success and fun amazing work. If this article helped you, please like and share it with people who might need to know a bit more about Network+ and keep checking back for more blogs about succeeding in the IT world!

Tips for Passing Cisco CCNA Certification Exams

So you bit the bullet and want to get the coveted CCNA certification. Congrats on the decision! CCNA certified professionals are in demand worldwide and can work in a variety of high-paying career fields! So what’s next? We compiled a list of tips for passing Cisco CCNA certification exams because we know how hard they are! Just discerning the difference between the three exams can be a challenging question in and of itself. Read on to learn more about the CCNA testing process and how you can get certified!

CCNA Routing and Switching consists of three possible tests.

CCNA Routing Switching Cisco Networking Devices

For a CCNA professional there is one large exam consisting of material from two smaller exams, the 200-125 Exam also known as CCNAX or Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices: Accelerated. Then there is the 100-105 Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1, and 200-105 the Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 2. It can be a bit confusing. Basically you need to take one large test or two smaller tests to get certified. The tests contain roughly similar information.

The 200-125 is a composite test that contains the bulk of 100-105 and 200-105. It saves $5 from taking the ICND1 and ICND2 respectively. Really they are targeted towards two different audiences.

Accelerated is best for people who have intense networking experience, are confident in the knowledge they have, and wouldn’t mind an all day intensive testing session.

ICND1 and ICND2 are targeted toward individuals who want to split the test up into smaller more manageable chunks. Both will allow you to get your CCNA. It’s a matter of preference and what works best for you! Got it? Great.

Pick your test path and listen up, tips are coming.

woman working on network in lab server configuration

You need a lab. It’s near impossible otherwise.

CCNA certification is about practical hands on experience and important foundational head knowledge. Just grabbing a book or thinking you can walk in and pass is a sure way to lose a couple hundred dollars. It is not easy. You need to be able to practice networking fundamentals. The amount of technology covered by the exam is pretty vast but a router/switch, ISP, PC, RJ-45 cords, and a hub can easily be enough for starting to practice. You can work through WPS, WAN, DNS. You can build different network configurations. You can troubleshoot and learn everything required for basic networking. One useful exercise it to just build a network topography, set it up, tear it down, and rebuild it. Do this a couple times and you will start to understand the foundations of networking. Building a lab may be the most important part of passing a CCNA exam.

homemade lab voip testing phones network(A homemade lab set-up for testing VOIP phones)

Study until it is second nature or pay for the test a second time

If you can’t repeat back official networking terms with great accuracy, chances are you will struggle and likely fail your exam. Especially if you take the accelerated test. The CCNA tests are comprehensive and full of useful tidbits that many take for granted. Knowing terms is important but it is a lot of work. You need to memorize port numbers, internet speed designations, understand bitrate, and more. Study each day and commit every possible term to memory. You should know the name of every item you will encounter in a network. If it’s not on the test you will still encounter it at work someday! These certifications are valuable because they really do say something about your quality as an IT Specialist. This also helps you drop bad habits like calling a router a switch or mixing up odd hardware designations.

Use modern online tools such as Udemy and Practice Tests

The growth of certification training programs has been an incredible boon to those looking to get certified. Several courses on training sites like Coursera and Udemy cost less than $20 and offer incredible training that is relevant to CCNA. One of the advantages to using online tools is the fact that update them regularly as well. Try taking practice tests as well. They offer accurate real-life examples of what can be found on the test as well as help you condition yourself to know the answers by heart. Many courses and online test even offer sample simulation questions that are a bit more complex and test in-depth knowledge. We have 100-105 and 200-105 practice tests at CertLibrary.com. They are excellent for helping you get the basics of the difference between ICDN1 and ICDN2 as well as gain some practical knowledge. It’s a good baseline as well for seeing if you want to go ahead and risk taking the 200-125.

Go Old School Cool: Flashcards and Practice Drills

Some of those old studying methods from High School work great for CCNA. Take the questions you struggle with during studying and write the answer down on a flashcard. A few weeks of this and you might have a healthy stack of advanced questions that you need to know for testing. Then review those flash cards two times per day. Once in the morning and once in the evening. It might be boring and feel like overkill but eventually the answers will become second nature to you. If the answer involves a physical process (Such as, how do you change the DNS settings on a router) then take a few moments every two days and practice those processes on a computer until you can do them comfortably with no outside help. Not only does this drill concepts into your head, it prepare you for an actual career where management might ask a hard tech question and you need the answer immediately. down the answer on a flashcard.

Don’t rush to take the test, especially the composite test

Take more than a month to study for CCNA level exams. The tests themselves include networking problems that may seem or feel second nature but bad tech habits or just a lack of terms can easily cost you major points on an exam. It’s even more important to spread out the exams (By taking ICND1 and ICND2) if you are nervous. That way you can have some time between the exams to brush up on the information and gauge whether or not you really know whats involved. It’s ok to choose the less intensive route. It will save you a lot of money as well if you don’t fail the 200-125. These tests are designed to be tough and unanswerable if you haven’t actually studied.

Thanks for reading our guide!

We hope these simple tips for passing the CCNA certification exams have helped you a little bit. Networking is one of the best career paths in IT today and with certification you can have a winning career in routing and switching. If this guide has helped you, please take a moment like, comment, or share it with someone who might need it. And as always, check back regularly for more blogs on the incredible options you have for getting certified!