CompTIA Security+ – Passed JK0-015 CompTIA Security+ (2008 Edition) today

Security+_CE

I passed CompTIA Security+ today.  This is not a difficult exam, and if you have some computer security experience, it isn’t too challenging.  The reason I took this, and maybe why you should as well, is that it is one of the required certifications for Federal Information Assurance employees, as recently required by DoDD 8570.  Who knows, maybe you’ll be a Federal employee (or contractor) someday…

Read more on what they were like and why you should take them…

Security+ is considered an entry level certification.    DoDD 8570 says: “The certification requirements of this Manual apply to DoD civilian employees, military personnel, [Local Nationals], and support contractors performing [Information Assurance] functions…”  When I used to work as a civilian Federal employee (GS-2210-13) at the United States Property and Fiscal Office for California, even though I was assigned as a system administrator, I was considered to have IA duties, and was therefore required to be certified as specified in this regulation.  Although I’m happy in my current role at Cal Poly, I like to keep my options open, and I might be a Federal employee (or contractor) again someday.  (If nothing else I’d like to contribute to the Thrift Savings Program again.  TSP rocks!)

As far as getting ready to take this, it was straightforward to prepare for.  One gotcha is to make sure that you get test prep materials for the version you plan on taking.  I took the “2008 Objectives”.  There are still a lot of preparation materials out there for the old versions of the test which are deprecated now.  CompTIA has announced the “2011 Objectives” but most test prep materials are not available for this, the latest one.

I used Darril Gibson’s “CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SYO-201 Study Guide”, ISBN-13: 978-1439236369.  This was a good refresher on basic computer security.  If you’ve been doing computer security for a while like I have, it’s a fast read.  I went through the whole book in a weekend.

I bought Kaplan SelfTest’s  SYO-201 Security+ 2008 Edition.   I took the practice exam at least once a day for a month or so, like 25 times.

selftest_scores_security+

Note that most people take SYO-201.  I work for an Education To Careers (E2C) member institution, so I took the E2C version, JKO-015.  Both of these are the same test, the E2C version number just indicates that you used an E2C voucher to pay for it.  (This is reflected in the “Test Details” column on the right side of the CompTIA Security+ page.)

The exam is 100 questions, and you get 90 minutes.  The actual questions are very much like the book, and very much like the practice exam.  There was perhaps a couple of questions I needed to think about, but in general I blasted through the exam as fast as I could click the answers.  Even with completely reviewing my work at least once, I completed the test in less than 30 minutes.

Next up:  NetApp NCDA and (ISC)2 CISSP.  I expect these to be a bit harder.

  1. This is a review for the CompTIA Security+ Study Guide 4th eidtion.I am a trainer/course developer for a technical school and am in charge of developing our new Security+ course to begin in 2011. I reviewed this and several other books (along with other study materials) to use in the course.This is a decent book, professionally written, and reads fairly well. There are questions on the disc, and more can be purchased if the reader wishes to do so. I like the structure of the book for the most part. Also, the book is in PDF format on the disc. Plus, the disc has flashcards, which many students like to use. The book has a good glossary and index. There are also some basic labs which is one of the things I want for the course I am designing.Here are some of the things that caused me to give this book 4 stars instead of 5:1. The first chapter is an introductory chapter of sorts, but it is so long and covers so many concepts that it could leave the reader a little bewildered.2. The book could do with more complete practice exams (especially in the print portion of the book where there are none)3. I found what I believe to be several factual errors that could cause the reader to get a question incorrect on the real exam.4. The questions are pretty good, but not the best I have seen from the various study guides I reviewed.5. The book isn’t too sturdy. It’s a soft cover book, and the binding on mine hasn’t held up very well. Also, the paper on my book leaves little bits of itself all over the place. could just be how this particular book’s paper was cut. This is a minor point, and doesn’t really play into the 4 star rating nearly as much as points 1-4.Because of these things I decided to use two other books for the course.I always recommend a second (and perhaps even a third) test preparation source. If you use this book, I would also recommend purchasing the additional optional practice exams, or better yet, go with another test provider such as Transcender or Pass4sure. A second study guide couldn’t hurt. It’s always good to get two viewpoints when studying for an exam.All in all, not a bad book. A decent study guide, but I would supplement it with secondary material.

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