Is the CompTIA Security+ certification worth it?
This is a question that I frequently get asked. After all, it’s quite the investment of time and money, especially if you’re paying for it out of pocket. Spending potentially months studying and then paying over $300 for an attempt that you may not pass (and then have to pay it again), is no joke.
The answer that I typically give is this:
It’s not about the paper certification, it’s about the journey to getting certified.
Let me explain…
Will it help me get a job?
People are always looking for a silver bullet. The one thing they can do that will guarantee they land a high-paying and fun job right after. Silver bullets don’t exist. Certifications are not silver bullets. If you’re simply getting the certification thinking that hiring managers will then line up begging for you to become their employee, I’m sorry but you are living in a fantasy.
With that said, certifications can help increase your odds in combination with other factors. For example, the Security+ is compliant with ISO 17024 standards and approved by the US DoD to meet directive 8140/8570.01-M requirements. CompTIA also says that “regulators and government rely on ANSI accreditation because it provides confidence and trust in the outputs of an accredited program.” All that to say: certain jobs in cybersec (especially government) will require that you have at least one IT certification, including ones like the Security+, CEH, etc…
So yes — cybersecurity certifications absolutely can help you land jobs that others would not be able to even apply for. This is a fact, regardless of what you think about certifications. But just because you have one or more of those certs does not mean your application will automatically get accepted. You have to have other qualifications as well.
In my 6+ years of helping people learn IT skills, I’ve only ever heard one hiring manager tell me that they refuse to hire someone with certifications. And frankly, they weren’t someone you’d want to work for anyway. The rest tell me that “it either helps a candidate stand out slightly, or not at all.”
This means that the certification will either give you a slight edge, or none at all. In either case, it won’t work against you. (The only time I’ve seen it work against someone is if they have too many certs. Some people have 10+ active certs which can give a bad signal to hiring managers)
Will it help me learn?
The second half of my answer says: “it’s about the journey to getting certified.” This is what I mean by that…if you don’t have a ton of experience in the field already or if you’re a complete beginner, then certifications can lead you on a learning journey. They force you into a learning path to follow by telling you exactly what you need to study for. That way, instead of being confused as to where you should start, or ending up all over the place, it gives you a narrow focus.
A lot of people need that kind of structure and framework. For them, certifications can be very helpful in that regard.
In all, while certifications can help you get job opportunities, if you get it primarily for the learning journey and you apply what you’re learning in visible ways that hiring managers can see (social media, projects, blog posts, etc), that’s ultimately what will help you land a job — not the piece of paper.
Sorry, there were no replies found.