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  1. Junior Member
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    #1

    Red face Hi. Passed Sec+. Here are my thoughts

    Hey everyone,

    Before I get into the post, I'd like to make a quick introduction. I'm a 27 year-old military contractor (electronics), currently living and working out of Japan. I've been a guest lurker for the past month or so, and have found the guidance from you all, incredibly insightful. I really just wanted to create an account to thank everyone.

    So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

    Now back to this post's topic.

    So, I recently passed my CompTIA Security+ exam (SY0-401). I passed it on September 4, 2015, and scored an 803 (in case you're interested).

    This was my first-ever CompTIA exam, and therefore, am pretty stoked I'm certified in something.

    I also just wanted to share what I ended up doing to pass, and hopefully, help other lurkers like my once-self join this great community. At the very least, I'd like to share my thoughts and pass on some encouragement.

    So a few things, I'm not a great test taker, nor did I even need to take the exam (not required for my job). I just wanted to start on something.

    I finished my BS in ISS (AMU/APUS) over a year ago, and well, noticed I was getting way too complacent at work.

    This is where the techexams community came through for me. I started Googling questions about career paths and master programs, and the people here just motivated the hell out of me. This community really just pushed me to go after something, anything...

    I chose Security+ as it was something I didn't feel I needed to study for. At work, I deal with the repair of electronics, but in doing so, end up working on several technologies, such as Linux (RHEL, CentOS), Microsoft Servers, and Networking. This all takes place in a secure building (Secret Clearance). Therefore, we're all pretty aware of best practices for security.

    However, because this cert was a personal endeavor, I ended up paying out of pocket. So, I ended up studying so I wouldn't risk the money. Spoiler - I'm so glad I did.

    I studied for about 3 weeks before taking the exam. I used a combination of Professor Messer Videos, CompTIA Security+ Study Guide by Dulaney and Easttom, and Get Certified Get Ahead by Gibson. I also made flash cards (hand written).

    Personally, going through the material was more of a refresher. However, I owe a lot of that due to the 8+ years I spent in the military, and of course, my current job. Oddly enough though, I would have probably failed if I had not studied - I truly believe that.

    This is what I wanted to chime in on. Don't worry, it won't get anywhere near the NDA realm.

    (SNIP)


    Anyway guys, I hope this helps. I also hope I'm not sharing too much of the exam. I don't think I am. If so, I apologize. For those of you with CompTIA certs, what do you think? Do they all have the same kind of vibe? I did take my ITIL V3 Foundations cert a while back, and felt that test to be way more straight-forward. No tricks.

    I'm not sure what cert I want to go after next. I'm really, really, interested in the CCENT/CCNA. However, buying the equipment is sort of a turn-off. It's not due to cost, but space. I sort of live in a very small studio (Japan can suck).

    I'm sort of thinking about Linux+ or Network+. I've been looking at certain jobs that I'd like to do and I think I'd like to get into networking. I'm sort of a hardware type of guy and really enjoy some of the stuff I get to do at work. However, because everything is in production, I can't really go around messing with things.

    What do you guys recommend?
    Last edited by Plantwiz; 09-08-2015 at 12:32 PM. Reason: Do not discuss the exam
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  3. Woohoo! It's over 1000!
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    #2
    Congrats!

    Good news about CCENT and CCNA is that you don't need the gear. You can get the skills you need using PacketTracer or other network simulator tool. Network+ is a good grounding if you haven't studied networking formally. There is some theoretical content not in the Cisco training, so it complements. It's a good starting point generally. If you passed Security+, then you'd be familiar with some of the content of Network+

    Linux+ is, well, it's good and bad. Because it tries to cover the breadth of Linux, you need to know a lot more than you would typically need in the real world. For example, you use RHEL, so you get familiar with yum and rpm. If you're using a recent version of RHEL, then networking and system daemons are a bit different. However, the test needs you to know about the other side, apt-get and dpkg etc.

    The other thing about Linux+, and it's some of the other Linux certs as well, is that the entry level exams cover a lot of stuff that you don't do day to day, but the advanced exams do. So, for example user creation and modification isn't something that you do much on servers, but it is part of Linux+. Yes, you do need to know how to create a user, but it's not something you do often. On the other hand, something like modifying Bind Zone files is 'advanced' but you might find yourself doing that fairly regularly, or working with Apache, or MySQL. So, it can actually be harder for people who are "Linux Admins" to pass lower level certs.

    Generally, it's good to have some network and some OS stuff as a base.

    Exams generally are something that you get better at as you learn how to do exams.
    2017 Goals - Something Cisco, Something Linux, Agile PM
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  4. Senior Member greg9891's Avatar
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    #3
    Congrats!
    Certs Gained 2017: 70-410, 70-411,74-409, MCSA Server 2012r2
    Upcoming: Security +, ITIL FOUNDATIONS, 70-345 Exchange Server 2016, Ccent

    “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” - 1 Thessalonians 5:11
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  5. What The?! Fulcrum45's Avatar
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    #4
    Congrats on the pass! I started studying for Sec+ and so I'm hoping to join you soon.
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    #5
    Thanks OctalDump,

    I did some research and there are two similar simulators used; PacketTracer and GNS3. Which would you recommend? Is there anything web-based out there? I'd love to try this at work on the computer. However, we're not allowed to install apps.

    I hear ya on the Linux+. I'd still get it, but you may be right. I should try to go after Network+ as I'm coming off my Security+. I hear a lot of people say it's usually the other way around in terms of which you get first. I may just go after the CCENT now and CCNA; The jobs I want seem to specifically ask for the CCNA, where as the Network+ is recommended but not required.

    Thanks for the response!
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    #6
    Greg9891, Thank you!

    Fulcrum45, Right on! Good luck and let us once you've passed!
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  8. Junior Member
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    #7
    Konnichiwa, Tomodachi! (sorry for the attempt at japanese, I really enjoy japanese culture, haha)

    Anyways, congratulations on the pass!!! Thank you so much for sharing your experience on the Security+ test! It always feels good to have another cert hammered down for sure. But be careful, it may turn into an addiction!

    I'm also pursuing the Security+ as well, I have a copy of Darril Gibson's book, very good stuff. You did an awesome job on your study plan. It looks like you really thoroughly research your stuff before you pursue something. That will take you a VERY long way indeed.

    I have the Network+ cert, I can attest that it really helped to lay down the foundation concepts that helped me to understand the ideas that CCENT/CCNA are trying to convey. Some will say that its a worthless cert and you should go straight to CCNA and some will say you should get it. Personally, I believe that if you know next to nothing about Networking and have the funds to spare, Get it. Then move on to the CCENT/CCNA. I went through the Cisco academy, and honestly you can pass the CCENT/CCNA without equipment. I was given packet tracer and it really helped me to understand many concepts thoroughly and I would've never passed the CCENT without it. I can't speak for GNS3, I've tried to use it and found it very awkward and weird to use, and I didn't really enjoy the fact that you have to add router and switch IOS images to the program in order to use the router/switch or whatever on there(I may be wrong but it was my experience).

    Anyways, to pass the CCENT/CCNA, Packet tracer is MORE than enough and it will help you understand many networking concepts just fine. I also suggest Wendell Odom's 100-101 and 200-101 books. I've also read the CCNA 1-4 books in the Cisco academy and while they were helpful, Odom's books just simply expounded and explained topics way better, I cannot recommend them enough.

    I'm also interested in Linux+ too, I have the Sybex Linux+ book and I hate the way the book is set up. So it kind of put my studying for the exam out of order. So what I've been doing to learn linux is by reading "The Linux Command Line" by William Shotts. That book is EXCELLENT! The format, and the way it's set up is far superior to the Sybex book. Short chapters, quick but relevant information about what you really need to know. My suggestion is if you're gonna learn Linux, LEARN THE COMMAND LINE FIRST! You can do everything from there and then the GUI will be easy pickings from there. My hope is that they'll improve the Linux+ objectives to have better work experience priorities.

    Good luck on your future pursuits!!!
    Last edited by DFTK13; 09-11-2015 at 05:24 AM.
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  9. Junior Member Стрелок's Avatar
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    #8
    I recommend you CISSP- ISSEP Information Systems Security Engineering Professional.
    Good luck on your future pursuits!
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  10. ProEthicalHacker.com fuz1on's Avatar
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    #9
    congrats! sec+ was my first comptia cert too! i'd go net+ then linux+ then ccent/ccna. that would give you a good path to keep on building on top of your newly gained skill-set(s).
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  11. Gaming Tech Expert Dakinggamer87's Avatar
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    #10
    Congrats on pass!!
    2017/2018 Certification Goals: MCSE (70-410,70-411,70-412,70-413)
    *Associate's of Applied Sciences degree in Information Technology-Network Systems Administration
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    Matthew 6:33 - "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."
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  12. Junior Member
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    #11
    DFTK13,

    That's some nice Japanese man! Keep it up! Oh, and thanks for the feedback. I think getting Network+ would be ideal as I'm sure it'll help with CCENT/CCNA. I recently tried GNS3, and I too felt it was a bit more work (loading images).

    I'll definitely look into Packet Tracer. Judging off the YouTube clips, the program looks a bit more simplistic. Thanks again and good luck on your Sec+
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    #12
    fuz1on,

    Thanks for the post. I think I may take your advice. Coming off of S+, N+ seems ideal. Unfortunately, I didn't really look into the CE program, as far as which certs end-up maintaining others.

    Do you know if taking N+ ends renewing S+? Or is vice-versa the only way?

    Since passing S+, I've been mainly studying Linux+. However, it seems they've just recently updated their exams. I may just wait until fresher study material comes available.

    Network+ seems to be the next one. I'm just really hesitant as I've probably screwed myself with the CE program. I had a co-worker tell me that I should have done A+, wait 2 years, do N+, wait 2 years, then do S+. I told him I'd be an idiot if I waited that long to jumpstart my career. The money I would have saved would not have been worth any stretch of time.

    Anyway, thanks man!
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  14. ProEthicalHacker.com fuz1on's Avatar
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    #13
    Quote Originally Posted by momolicious View Post
    Do you know if taking N+ ends renewing S+? Or is vice-versa the only way?
    NP momolicious! Only higher certs renew lower ones though(except for Cloud+/Mobility+).

    Renewing Multiple Certifications

    How to Renew Your CompTIA Certification
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  15. Member Mkroadrush's Avatar
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    #14
    What do you recommend for the exam? did you use all the time on the exam?
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  16. Senior Member
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    #15
    My first thought was go for CISSP.

    but seems you are just starting with certs and interested in networking.

    if so, I'd recommend network+ next for you.
    i wouldn't worry too much about comptia renewals.
    use the comptia for foundations and once you get a higher cert, non comptia, the comptia will not matter. However keep listing them as completed until you get the higher certs and always use to show professional growth. You don't lose either way.

    after network+ and you still like networking, go the ccna route.

    if you like system administration, decide on Linux or windows.

    good luck and congrats on your security+ pass!!!!!
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  17. Senior Member Armitron77's Avatar
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    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by momolicious View Post
    Greg9891, Thank you!

    Fulcrum45, Right on! Good luck and let us once you've passed!
    Does the Darril Gibson's book come with any CD or DVD of any kind? How many chapters does the book contain? I keep hearing that the book is a very good one and comes highly recommended. Please let me know. Thanks.
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  18. Member
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    #17
    I bought the Kindle version which doesn't come with any. It is really good.

    I finished the book in 10-11 days and read one chapter a day. There are 11 chapters, if I recall.
    Last edited by Plantwiz; 09-17-2015 at 11:56 AM.
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    #18
    Mkroadrush,

    Sorry I'm late. Just got back from a 30 day vacay. Anyway, to answer your questions.

    Yes, I did use all of the time. I recommend this even if you're done with the exam a bit early.

    I definitely recommend flagging what you don't know or aren't sure of. It may seem like you're flagging a lot of questions, but that second go-around definitely helped me out.
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    #19
    I had the ebook, so it didn't come with the disc. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the way things were explained in Gibson's book though.

    I think he did a good job covering the big and important stuff, while still briefly covering things that were probably not going to be on the test.

    He sort of explained that even though these outdated technologies and practices were less likely to be on the test, IT professionals still needed to know ABOUT them. So that they can distinguish the old from the new.

    Knowing just enough to distinguish them is key.
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  21. Member Mkroadrush's Avatar
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    #20
    Quote Originally Posted by momolicious View Post

    I studied for about 3 weeks before taking the exam. I used a combination of Professor Messer Videos, CompTIA Security+ Study Guide by Dulaney and Easttom, and Get Certified Get Ahead by Gibson. I also made flash cards (hand written).

    I find it hard to believe you study for 3 weeks, only 3 weeks and went in and passed without cheating the exam (online sources that provide the exam questions). So I'm putting an (*) asterisk on this.

    Maybe one day you will tell us for how long you REALLY study.
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    #21
    only 3 weeks of study? I studied for 2 months. There is too much material and the exam is difficult. CompTIA made it harder to cheat. when I enrolled at New Horizons I was warned not to use dumps because students were failing miserably on their first tries. So the students that failed had to pay $302 out their pockets for retakes.
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  23. Member Mkroadrush's Avatar
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    #22
    Quote Originally Posted by TallDude7 View Post
    only 3 weeks of study? I studied for 2 months. There is too much material and the exam is difficult. CompTIA made it harder to cheat. when I enrolled at New Horizons I was warned not to use dumps because students were failing miserably on their first tries.
    Yep, that's what I said.....
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  24. Junior Member
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    #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Mkroadrush View Post
    I find it hard to believe you study for 3 weeks, only 3 weeks and went in and passed without cheating the exam (online sources that provide the exam questions). So I'm putting an (*) asterisk on this.

    Maybe one day you will tell us for how long you REALLY study.
    Whoa. Honestly, ego aside or whatever, 3 weeks isn't a big deal. However, you should realize that I work in a secure environment, where much of what was on the test is what we practice.

    I also have a BS in IT Security. It isn't really worth mentioning on its own, but with regards to the security+ exam, made much of what I studied - more of a brush-up. I wasn't learning all of this from scratch or without experience.

    I'd also like to mention something. I'm not the smartest person I know, but I am super persistent. When I say I studied for 3 weeks, I mean I took 4-6 hours a day, studying. I ignore the gf, ignore the hobbies, ignore the beer nights, and make the exam my one and only priority.

    I've had co-workers say this is ridiculous. They go and pass their exams with very little effort. However, that's not me.

    So, my only recommendation is to assess where you're at. Everyone is a little bit different. You may have tons of experience. You may just need a 3 days. You may have no experience at all. You then may need a few months.
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  25. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Mkroadrush View Post
    I find it hard to believe you study for 3 weeks, only 3 weeks and went in and passed without cheating the exam (online sources that provide the exam questions). So I'm putting an (*) asterisk on this.

    Maybe one day you will tell us for how long you REALLY study.
    Wow. Sorry but everyone learns at their own pace. Everyone also has their own experience they bring to the table. Like momolicious, I've also worked in networking for years so the concepts and terminology are familiar to me. I'm currently studying for my Security+, and a first pass at a practice exam had me passing with 20+ points.

    Don't be so quick to judge others success. What you can accomplish and what others can accomplish are not always the same.
    Last edited by Renee Simons; 10-21-2015 at 05:32 PM.
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  26. ProEthicalHacker.com fuz1on's Avatar
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    #25
    I passed the exam 12 hours after I registered so anything can be done - I only studied for 6+ hours.

    I passed all my other CompTIA exams very quickly as well - some only a few days from each other. If you have experience, you can whiz by...

    It's cool not to accuse others - everyone has their own skill-set and test-taking ability.
    Last edited by fuz1on; 10-21-2015 at 07:22 PM.
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