What Is CompTIA Security+? An Essential Guide (2024)

What Is CompTIA Security+ Don’t Miss This Essential Guide

CompTIA Security+ is a great certification and a popular entry point into cyber security. It shows employers that you’ve mastered the fundamental skills to perform essential cyber security functions and pursue a relevant career, such as a systems administrator or security consultant. Security+ demonstrates you know what it takes to be a good cyber security professional.

In this article, we’ll give you an overview answering the question, “What is CompTIA Security+?” By getting Security+ certified, you demonstrate your cyber security proficiency because the exam questions focus on the day-to-day real-world application of IT security knowledge.

Without further ado, let’s get a bird’s eye view of what CompTIA Security+ is.

What Is CompTIA Security+?

What Is CompTIA Security+

Let’s talk about CompTIA and the focus of this important cyber security certification.

Who Is CompTIA?

The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is an internationally-recognized organization for certifying, educating, and connecting people in IT. It helps people to navigate tech careers and organizations to train and hire IT professionals.

Primary Focus

CompTIA Security+ is an entry-level cyber security certification focusing primarily on up-to-date best practices for risk management and risk mitigation. It emphasizes the practical aspects of identifying and addressing security threats, attacks, and vulnerabilities.

Experience Level

According to CompTIA, the target audience of the Security+ certification is IT professionals who have two years of experience in IT administration with a cyber security focus or equivalent training and are starting or furthering a career in cyber security. 

Although Security+ has no hard-and-fast prerequisites, CompTIA recommends that candidates have “CompTIA Network+ and two years of experience in IT administration with a security focus.”

It’s a best practice to have gained networking knowledge, like that of Network+ or CCNA, before tackling Security+. Courses such as our suggestions in the conclusion can make up for the two years of work experience.

Primary Audience

The target audience of the Security+ certification is anyone with some foundation in networking who aspires to move into some aspect of cyber security. 

Primary Audience

Why Should I Pursue CompTIA Security+?

Being Security+ certified means you grasp the latest skills and concepts that act as the foundation of a career in cyber security. 

Security+ is a vendor-neutral certification, increasing your options as a cyber security professional as you’re not limited to particular systems, platforms, or hardware manufacturers. Your Security+ certification makes you a top candidate for employers and HR managers to see you as valuable to their organization.

CompTIA Security+ certification is a global certification exam that validates the baseline skills you need to perform core security functions and pursue an IT security career.” - CompTIA

Security+ prepares candidates particularly well for the following roles, mostly entry-level cyber security positions:

  • Systems Administrator
  • Network Administrator
  • Security Administrator
  • Junior IT Auditor/Penetration Tester
  • Security Specialist
  • Security Consultant
  • Security Engineer

Security+ opens doors to much higher pay: according to PayScale, CompTIA Security+ holders earn an average of $82k annually. As cyber security increasingly becomes important in various establishments, from businesses to public amenities such as schools and hospitals, you can only expect the demand for cyber security jobs to grow.

Being a popular requirement for cyber security professionals, Security+ gives you an advantage in job interviews, increasing the odds of landing your first cyber security position and aiding your negotiations for salary, benefits, and increased responsibility. Once you’ve got your foot in the door, it’s easier to follow your passions and specialize in various areas of cyber security.

What Does CompTIA Security+ Exam Cover?

You’ll need to answer at most 90 questions in this 90-minute examination and complete a survey after it ends. The passing score is 750 on a scale of 100–900.

The latest CompTIA Security+ exam code is SY0-601. The associated exam is available until July 2024. The Security+ exam domains are:

  • Attacks, Threats, and Vulnerabilities
  • Architecture and Design
  • Implementation
  • Operations and Incident Response
  • Governance, Risk, and Compliance

New topics within these core knowledge domains include supply chain management and the Internet of Things (IoT).

What Does CompTIA Security+ Exam Cover
CompTIA Security+ Domains (SY0-601)

The CompTIA Security+ exam includes two types of questions:

  • Multiple-choice questions, which may admit single or multiple answers, and
  • Performance-based questions (PBQs) which test your ability to solve problems in a simulated environment; these make CompTIA Security+ such a valuable certification, demonstrating one’s excellence in practical cyber security skills. Anywhere from two to six PBQs appear at the start of the Security+ exam.
CompTIA Security+ exams
Example PBQ

How Do I Become CompTIA Security+ Certified?

Pearson VUE administers this examination in two ways: in the comfort of your home using Pearson VUE’s online testing service or in person at a testing center. 

If taken from home, a proctor monitors you through a webcam and microphone. A closed-circuit television with an on-site proctor will watch you in the on-site exam, which can be preferable for various reasons. The Security+ exam is closed-book.

To register for CompTIA Security+, you can purchase an exam voucher via the CompTIA website. If you’re in a pinch, CompTIA offers voucher discounts.

When you register for the exam at Pearson VUE, you may pay by credit card or voucher. Select “voucher” and type in the voucher number you purchased. The listed price of this exam is $392 USD.

Pearson VUE will provide you with available exam time slots. Feel free to reschedule your exam within 24 hours of your original time slot if you need more time; you won’t be charged anything for rescheduling.

Once you’ve passed your Security+ exam, congratulations! However, the certification is only valid for three years. Your next step is to keep up with the changing trends in the IT industry to remain an in-demand cyber security expert. You have two ways to renew your certification:

  • With multiple activities: Collect at least 50 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) through CompTIA-approved activities, including gaining more advanced certifications, work experience, publishing, and participating in industry events. To renew Security+, you should upload sufficient proof of participation to your certification account and pay a renewal fee.
  • With a single activity: Some certifications will completely renew Security+, including more advanced CompTIA certifications such as CySA+, PenTest+, and CASP+. You can also complete CompTIA’s online, self-paced continuing education course CertMaster CE; as of writing, this method only applies to A+, Network+, and Security+. 


We hope you become well-prepared for this important entry-level certification after reading this article on what CompTIA Security+ is. For more information on the CompTIA Security+ exam, check out our CompTIA Security+ cheat sheet and course offerings below. Last but not least, if you plan to take the Security+ exam soon, we wish you success.

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  • Cassandra Lee

    Cassandra is a writer, artist, musician, and technologist who makes connections across disciplines: cyber security, writing/journalism, art/design, music, mathematics, technology, education, psychology, and more. She's been a vocal advocate for girls and women in STEM since the 2010s, having written for Huffington Post, International Mathematical Olympiad 2016, and Ada Lovelace Day, and she's honored to join StationX. You can find Cassandra on LinkedIn and Linktree.