The Security+ certification is one of the credentials that define the success in your career. It paves the IT professional’s way to endless opportunities. Being the industry standard for those wanting to gain experience in the cybersecurity field, it validates your knowledge and experience in network security, threats and vulnerabilities, cryptography, and many more. If you are one of them willing to make a better career in Network Security then CompTIA Security+ certification is what you need. In order to achieve this certification, you need to pass SY0-501 exam.

Let’s Define SY0-501

SY0-501 is focused on the practical skills as IT professionals need to identify and control cybersecurity attacks, threats, and vulnerabilities. It concentrates on practical understanding of subject matter through knowledge, comprehension, and application. The objectives and domains of this test are the following:

  • Network Security (20% of test)
  • Compliance and Operational Security (18%)
  • Threats and Vulnerabilities (20%)
  • Application, Data, and Host Security (15%)
  • Access Control and Identity Management (15%)
  • Cryptography (12%)

The exam is not considered to be easy, but a tough one, though having the required skills, you will be able to pass it at the first attempt.

Now, let’s focus on the study material for SY0-501 exam, which includes:

  • Programming and development concepts including basics like error handling and input validation as well as more advanced concepts such as stored procedures, normalization, dead code and obfuscation.
  • Command line tools including netstat, netcat, tracert, tcpdump, and nmap. Additionally, specific Linux commands such as ifconfig is included and other objectives make it possible to include many more Linux commands.
  • The mobile device coverage is considerably more extensive. It covers minor concepts, mobile device management, and complex ideas like sideloading, rooting, jailbreaking, USB OTG, and WiFi direct.
  • PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) framework incorporated in cryptography. PKI’s three main functions are digital signature, encryption and decryption, and key exchange, and works by using 2 different cryptographic keys (public and private).
  • The embedded systems objective explains the security implications of embedded systems with a list of systems.

The candidates are able to give the exam in four languages including Simplified Chinese, English, Japanese, and Portuguese.

How Should You Prepare for the SY0-501 Exam?

Though the SY0-501 is considered to be an entry-level exam, it’s not easy due to the high passing score and enormous number of topics covered. The knowledge required for the test is equal to two years of full-time work experience in the IT administration with a security focus. However, there are a few ways to prepare and enhance your preparation process before sitting the exam.

Study the Security+ Exam Domains

Create a list for each domain (listed above) and its subtopics. Collect study material for these subtopics and pay special attention to the areas you are weak in. Here your work experience will come in useful, as you won’t have to spend an excessive amount of time on things you already know. Consider taking online classes if you experience particular difficulties in any of the domains.

Create a Study Plan

As soon as you’ve identified what you need to study, you can decide how to study in a way that will fit your specific needs. It may be best to study the more complex concepts first and ensure that you have a thorough understanding of each, then you can spend less time on topics that are easier to grasp. Mastering each domain before moving on to the next will also be beneficial.

Get to Know the Exam

CompTIA website provides helpful information on the Security+ exam. This includes some free resources like exam objectives and practice questions. In addition, they provide links to official training providers, exam topics, practice questions, study material, and other useful information.

Take Practice Tests

Answering practice exams is a fantastic way to get familiar with the exam’s content, the difficulty, and general expectations. Checking your readiness for the exam will show you the topics you need to pay more attention to. In addition, most practice tests include the questions that you can meet at the exam. There are multiple sites that offer practice exams, including Prepaway, ExamCollection, Exam-Labs among the most reliable ones.

Join an Online Community

Talking to people who are taking or have taken the exam can be a great help. Here you’ll find candidates who share their own experience and even bounce ideas and questions off one another. If you’re just looking for general advice, you can simply turn to an online forum such as reddit.

Take an Exam Prep Course

If it’s difficult for you to grasp some of the concepts, it may be best to sign up for an exam prep course with the experienced IT professionals and let these instructors with knowledge on passing the exam show you the ropes.

Relax & Remember to Take a Break

While studying it’s important to take frequent breaks in order to retain information, but it’s recommended for you to be rested before taking the exam. Consider scheduling your exam in the morning and try to stay calm and confident once you take your sit.

What Does the Exam Entail?

The SY0-501 test is a compilation of 90 multiple choice and performance-based questions that should be completed in 90 minutes. The passing score is 750/900 points that is around 85%.

To register for an exam, you must create a Pearson VUE account and find your nearest test center via their website. To schedule the exam, you’ll need an exam voucher number, which you get after buying a voucher through CompTIA or the Pearson VUE website.

Once your exam date is scheduled, you’ll receive a confirmation e-mail with registration information and additional information. You should store this information in a safe place because you’ll need some of it for the testing center and signing into your account after passing the test.

What Can I do with This Certification?

SY0-501 is a validation of an array of vital skills required for cybersecurity positions:

  • Junior IT Auditor/Penetration Tester
  • Security Consultant
  • Security Administrator
  • Network Administrator
  • Systems Administrator

Thus, having Security+ certification, means that you have an impressive job opportunities and further career prospects.


In conclusion, if you’d like to expand your knowledge and unlock a wider range of job opportunities, you can take CompTIA’s CySA+ certification which offers validation on more intermediate level skills. With the Security+ certification the opportunities you receive are immense. Since the world of IT security is constantly expanding, new job titles may become available as threats evolve. Another option is to start your own business catering to the needs of individuals and pave your way in the IT field. Still, to follow the way that suits you most, you need to pass SY0-501 exam. Be well-prepared on the way to your better future.