CompTIA Security+ is perhaps the most popular entry-level cybersecurity certification. According to CompTIA (The Computing Technology Industry Association), it is the “first security certification IT professionals should earn.”In this guide
However, the exam (SYO-601) replaced the SYO-501 in November 2020. Each new exam is updated every three years and is notoriously tougher than its predecessor. As such, attending a CompTIA Security+ bootcamp is one of the best ways to prepare for the latest exam update.
The CompTIA Security+ bootcamp is a comprehensive part-time or full-time program that prepares candidates for the Security+ exam. It provides students with an overview of information security theory reinforced with practical applications and hands-on experience.
Not only are cybersecurity bootcamps shorter and less expensive than typical degrees, but students who attend also leave with the most in-demand skills that can be applied immediately in the real world.
Besides becoming a member of CompTIA after earning the certificate, Security+ professionals are also paid more than their non-certified counterparts. In fact, the Security+ certificate is one of the top-paying certifications in North America.
Employers are increasingly relying on bootcamp graduates as a reliable source of talent.
Several coding and IT bootcamp providers, such as Hack Reactor, Flatiron School, and Grand Circus, report between 79 percent to 90 percent employment rate in six months. An Indeed study also showed that 99..8 percent of hiring managers who hired bootcamp graduates would do so again.
The CompTIA Security+ exam (SYO-601) aims to establish the core knowledge required for any information security role and is a springboard to intermediate and advanced-level cybersecurity jobs.
CompTIA Security+ is a crucial certification that complies with the Department of Defense Directive 8570.01-M requirements and the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). Therefore, passing the exam increases your employability in the private and government sectors.
For related info and for other popular bootcamps, check out the complete cybersecurity bootcamp guide.
CompTIA Security+ certificate bootcamp curriculum
CompTIA Security+ bootcamps have the same goal – to prepare students for the (SYO-601) exam. This means most Security+ bootcamps have similar curricula. The best bootcamps integrate the CompTIA Security+ exam domains into their curriculum to give students the best chance of success.
If you plan to register, remember that the Security+ bootcamp isn’t designed to make you an expert. Rather, it equips you with the required knowledge to pass the exam and have baseline experience to work in the real world.
CompTIA Security+ bootcamp course outline
Depending on the bootcamp provider, here is what you should expect from a CompTIA Security+ bootcamp curriculum:
Threats, attacks & vulnerabilities
- Social engineering techniques
- Types of attacks
- Application attacks
- Network attacks
- Threat actors
- The impact of specific vulnerabilities
- Security assessment techniques
- Pentesting concepts
Architecture and design
- Security concepts
- Cloud and virtualization
- Application development, deployment, and automation
- Authentication and authorization
- Implications of embedded systems
- Physical security
- Cryptography concepts
- Cryptographic algorithms
- Wireless security
- Secure protocols
- Host and application security controls
- Network architecture concepts
- Wireless security
- Mobile device security
- Cloud and virtualization solutions
- Identity and access management concepts
- Implement identity & access management controls
- Account management practices
Operations and incident response
- Network reconnaissance and discovery
- Following incident response procedures
- Disaster recovery and continuity of operation
- Sources for investigation
- Mitigation techniques
- Basic forensics concepts
Governance, risk, and compliance
- Security control types
- Regulations, standards, and frameworks
- Security policies, plans & procedures
- Data security & privacy best practices
- Risk management processes
You may also be taught the basic cryptographic principles, algorithms, and functions.
Upon completion, most bootcamps test students with a mock exam to familiarize them with potential exam questions. Some bootcamps provide unlimited practice tests. Each instructor-led provider may also request minimum hardware specifications for the bootcamp. This ensures every student keeps up with the class and no one is left behind due to slow devices.
Timeframe for CompTIA Security+ certification bootcamps
Generally, cybersecurity bootcamps are shorter than degrees because they provide an intensive and faster route to kickstarting your career. Most cybersecurity bootcamps last up to 6 weeks or more because it covers every aspect of the industry. The CompTIA Security+ domains are taught as a module in these bootcamps.
However, bootcamps tailored specifically to CompTIA Security+ certifications are shorter and last anywhere between 5 days to 2 weeks. The timeframe largely depends on the provider, student, and format, such as on-site or online.
In-person or on-site Security+ bootcamps are strictly timebound and not self-paced. Students will go through an immersive experience of theoretical principles and hands-on training. These bootcamps usually last 8 hours daily or more from 9 AM to 5 PM. Students are expected to follow the lengthy training with personal preparation.
For instance, the official CompTIA Security+ bootcamp is a 10-day hands-on instructor-led online training. Classes are held from Monday through Friday, and the timing varies.
On the other hand, virtual bootcamps, such as the Skillsoft CompTIA Security+ crash course bootcamp, last over 68 hours, but the completion depends on the student. For example, a student who dedicates at least 8 hours daily to the program could complete it in 8-9 days.
Other online Security+ bootcamp providers include We Connect the Dots, Oklahoma State University, and Udemy. Institutions such as InfoSec Institute, Training Camp, and Certification Academy provide online and in-person bootcamp formats.
Regardless of the bootcamp format, most CompTIA Security+ bootcamps include other perks to the program. Here are some additional services you can expect from these programs:
- CompTIA Official Security+ exam voucher
- CompTIA Official Security+ courseware
- Unlimited practice exam attempts
- Study guides
- Exam pass guarantee
- Free exam retakes
- Post-class review sessions with CompTIA authorized instructors
- Extended access to the videos and courseware
- Access to the provider’s other products
- Printed courseware
- Knowledge transfer guarantee
- On-site proctoring of the exam
While they are rare, some on-site Security+ bootcamps may provide meals, airfare, and hotel (or discounts), but they generally cost more overall.
Cost of CompTIA Security+ certification bootcamps
Like the timeframe, the CompTIA Security+ bootcamp cost varies depending on the training provider, delivery format, and the extra perks included in the package.
Most official training providers offer both on-site and e-learning programs. CompTIA has different training options, including a live online classroom-based bootcamp for students and on-site classroom training for organizations.
The 10-day instructor-led CompTIA Security+ bootcamp costs $2,499. The program includes CertMaster Practice (practice test) and CertMaster Labs (practical skills for deeper understanding). Students can pay for the virtual labs alone, and the costs range from $199 to $1,049, depending on the additional perks you want.
There is a monthly payment option with affirm for US residents, while students in the country with a valid student ID and a .edu email address can take advantage of the CompTIA student discounts.
For custom training for organizations, companies will have to contact CompTIA with company details to get their pricing.
There are other reputable CompTIA-authorized bootcamp providers. For example, InfoSec Institute’s CompTIA Security+ training bootcamp costs $2,799 with several additional perks, such as a free 8-inch tablet (a limited-time offer). Prices are the same for both online and on-site bootcamps.
Like CompTIA’s official bootcamp, there is a monthly payment option with “affirm,” while students can also get 1-year access to bootcamp video replays and materials, among others.
Training Camp’s CompTIA Security+ Certification bootcamp is less expensive at $2,295. It also includes additional perks, such as CPE/CEU post-class package and exam delivery support. Classes are delivered online or on-site, and the prices are the same. You may also be eligible for special offers and group discounts.
Even cheaper is the CyberKraft CompTIA Security+ bootcamp, which costs $1,980 and includes a $381 exam voucher. It is a 2-week live online training with additional perks such as a year’s access to the CompTIA Learn and Labs training environment and lifetime access to recorded bootcamp sessions.
Prices could go lower, like the Technology Training Center’s CompTIA Security+ 5-Day Hybrid bootcamp, which costs $1,895. The bootcamp can be taken online or in-person at the institution’s training facility in Columbia, MD.
Official providers, CompTIA, sell additional courseware in their marketplace to help amplify the effectiveness of bootcamps. Ultimately, your training costs will depend on the training provider and the additional study guides or courseware you buy.
What happens after the CompTIA Security+ bootcamp?
The CompTIA Security+ certification bootcamp’s purpose is to provide the necessary knowledge and skills to pass the SY0-601 exam. Although it is considered an entry-level exam, it is not an easy test.
CompTIA has not released the overall pass rate, but each training provider has pass rates. For example, Certification Academy claims to have a 98 percent pass rate, while Infosec Institute has a 95 percent success rate. It’s essential to confirm the pass rate of your preferred bootcamp provider before registration.
The newly-revised Security+ exam, released on November 12, 2020, is a multiple-choice and performance-based exam. There is a maximum of 90 questions, and the exam lasts 90 minutes, meaning you have an average of one minute per question. The CompTIA Security+ passing score is 750 (on a scale of 100-900), and the exam is in English, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Portuguese.
Each Security+ domain carries different weights that are spread as follows:
|Attacks, Threats, and Vulnerabilities||24 percent|
|Architecture and Design||21 percent|
|Operations and Incident Response||16 percent|
|Governance, Risk, and Compliance||14 percent|
The Security+ exam costs $381 in the USA, but prices vary depending on the country. The exam costs £226 in Great Britain, €344 in Europe, ¥ 43,469 in Japan, AU$515 in Australia, and R2,928 in South Africa. For other countries, the USD equivalent of their currencies may be used.
Although there are no exam prerequisites, CompTIA recommends at least two years of IT security experience and the CompTIA Network+ certification.
If you don’t pass the exam on your first attempt, there is no waiting period before the second attempt. However, if you fail on the second or other subsequent attempts, CompTIA requires that you wait fourteen calendar days from the date of your last attempt before retaking the exam.
After passing the exam, your CompTIA Security+ certificate is valid for three years. There are three ways to renew your certificate. This can be through:
You can renew your certification without taking an exam through the online CertMaster CE Security+ training. The process takes six hours or less.
- Certification and recertification exams
You can also renew your certification if you pass the latest CompTIA Security+ exam, qualify for higher IT-industry certifications, a higher CompTIA certification, or pass a recertification exam.
Lastly, you can complete qualifying activities, which will earn you continuing education units (CEUs). You’ll need to accumulate up to 50 CEUs to renew your CompTIA Security+ certificate.
Recertifying keeps you updated on the constantly-changing trends in the information security industry.