Thursday, April 16, 2015

Comptia Security + testing

Yesterday I took the Comptia Security + test.  I passed the exam with a an 867 out of a possible 900 score.  I have been working on this for over a month of watching videos, reading books, and taking practice tests and I can tell you that if I hadn't had access to multiple reference sources there is no way I feel that I would have passed this test.

The test itself is very vaguely worded, misleading, and very challenging.  On occasions your left to guess what they are referring to and make a best guess with the info you have been provided at the possible answers.  I can say that the test prep materials will get you the basic information for the test, but you will be left to dig for the type of detail they are wanting on the test.  Some questions might look similar to what you might see on the test, but you really need to pound this material into your head and do a lot of internet searches to get enough detail to help pull enough of it together to get you through this test.

I will tell you I expected the test to look a lot like the practice exams that I had been taking and it really wasn't like that and it had me pretty worried.  It is a HARD test and I feel fortunate I could spend the time to study this so hard and get as much as I could in my head.

My advise to anyone wanting to take the test is to use as many sources of reference materials as you can get.  Of course ask around and look at online reviews of the best materials to get.  I used CBT Nuggets videos, Comptia Cert Guide for SY0-401 with practice exams, and I purchased some other practice exam test prep materials.  I spend a lot of time using Start Page to chase down the info I didn't understand or I thought the book and materials were wrong.  There are a lot of mistakes in the training materials and practice exams so double check it all for yourself.   They could cost you some test questions.

Is the Comptia Security + cert worth it?  Well I can say that if your interested in a security oriented job this is a good crash course start to get the overview of how the technology works.  Non-specific, non-vendor oriented.  If your foggy or unclear about how security in the digital world works this will help pull it together and clarify things for you.  This is a good foundation to start from.

If your just taking this exam for a cert and will forget it as soon as your done taking the test and won't be really working in security or technology implementations where you have a security focus then you may just be wasting your time.   I know many DOD and government contractors need this cert for the jobs as a requirement.  I think it is good to have security awareness however I know folks that as soon as they take this test they just dump it and don't worry about it until they have to recertify in 3 years.  I know it is required for those folks to have this cert, but there is a reason.  It really needs to be the foundation of how we handle our systems, networks, and data.  I don't however think this test is a good example of how to demonstrate that.  If I couldn't come up with a better test than this I am not sure I would have published this cert... Just saying. 

Now all that said... Security is hot, this is a good place to start.
 

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