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Are you considering getting your Security+ certification?
If you’re still on the fence, it may help to better understand the types of jobs and career outlook you can expect.
What kind of jobs can you get with the Security+ Certification?
The CompTIA Security+ certification will help you break into the industry, but for most, it will only be the first step. This certification will get you in the door at companies, but higher-paying jobs will only be available as you add to your resume.
Nonetheless, let’s look at some of the common positions that you can land with this certification.
Enterprise Service Desk
In this role, you’ll work for a software company’s helpdesk, most likely answering their telephones. Customers will call with questions about applications, systems, subsystems and hardware. They will have questions covering topics like configuration, operation, customization, installation and how to properly use the product. Using your expertise, you’ll apply basic diagnostic techniques to figure out customers’ problems, identify the causes and come up with correct solutions to fix common problems. In some cases, you’ll escalate more complex problems to experts in your organization.
Working as a security analyst will have you installing software on user’s computers for companies. This would mainly be firewalls to protect networks but other forms of software may need your attention, too. You will also be helping to plan and execute security measures to protect your employer’s computer networks and systems. As the world of cyber security continues to evolve, your role as a security analyst will expand, as well.
Junior Network Administrator
At this job, you’ll work with users to make sure their computers are operating properly. This may mean reloading or rebuilding a system at times. You’ll often upgrade computer systems. Another responsibility would be maintaining a list of stocked items required for repairing computer systems and networks. You will be performing cleaning and doing teardowns of computers related to hardware like servers, workstations and printers. As a junior network administrator, you may also be called upon to help with developing backup procedures for workstations and servers.
IT Support Technician
You could work for a number of different types of companies in this role. This might involve working in-store for certain businesses or at corporate sites. You’ll be performing computer installations, repairs, upgrades and more. Your skills will also be called upon to do diagnostics of desktops and laptops. Aside from your technical abilities, you’ll also need to be good with people and customer service.
Application Support Analyst
While you’ll need application-specific experience to land this type of job, your Security+ certification will be vital. You’ll be providing end-user application support to customers over the phone or through email. Along with understanding the application you’ll be supporting, you’ll also need to understand the client’s perspective. At times, you will have to know when an incident is something that has to be escalated to internal development staff. Within your software support field, your resume must demonstrate a certain amount of knowledge about other relevant applications regarding practices, concepts and procedures. You will responsible for end users’ system requests by tracking, updating and capturing them.
Change and Configuration Agent
You’ll work on a team reviewing, categorizing, documenting, processing and working with stakeholders to provide clarity to change requests made for the configuration of various items. You’ll also coordinate with the company’s testing and release management team to manage change requests throughout the entire lifecycle. To make sure processing thresholds are achieved, you’ll be overseeing the change request queue to ensure processing goals are made.
IT Support Representative
At work, you’ll be offering frontline support on a day-to-day basis for numerous computer users. This support will be related to the use of software and/or hardware. Your skills will be used to troubleshoot your customers’ issues with desktops, laptops, smartphones and networks. This will be done over the phone or through a remote PC connection. You will also be interfacing with software and hardware vendors regularly, too. While much of your work will be done one-on-one with clients, there may also be times when you work alongside team members to reach the desired solution.
These are just a handful of examples of jobs you could pursue with a Security+ certification. As we pointed out with some of the job types above, you’ll most likely require some form of relevant experience, as well. This may mean either with a certain type of software or customer service. Your Security+ certification may also need to be accompanied by other credentials like security clearances or other certifications. Obviously, the longer you work in the industry, the better your prospects will be, as well.
What does the current job market look like for those certified?
To put it simply, the job market has never looked better for those who are certified in IT security. In fact, it would be hard to think of another industry that can offer the same type of job security to individuals.
All of IT is seeing an upward trend for very understandable reasons. We’re living in the digital age, which means companies are constantly looking to expand or improve their IT infrastructure; doing so often involves a direct impact on their ROI.
The great thing about the Security+ certification is that it’s not vendor-specific, which will give you a much better chance of landing entry-level jobs across the industry. It also helps that this certification is known all over the world with such a long history.
In 2016, almost 27,000 jobs required that applicants have a Security+ certification in 2016. As the need for better network security measures and risk management practices increases, you can expect that businesses and organizations will continue to look for applicants with this qualification.
According to a survey done last year by CompTIA, 93% of IT professionals reported that they had regularly worked with security and cyber security applications. Furthermore, according to another survey they did, 62% of managers in the U.S. who were hiring for IT positions indicated that security skills are a “must have” to be considered for a position.
The hands-on nature of Security+ makes it an especially important credential to have on your resume if you’re looking to earn one of these jobs in IT.
However, one major factor that needs to be brought up when it comes to your job outlook is where you live. Some cities simply have many more opportunities for those working in IT than others. That will also have an impact on how much you can expect to make.
Here are the top cities to work in IT at the moment, including the best cities in each one:
- Alexandria, Virginia
- Anaheim, California
- Arlington, Texas
- Arlington, Virginia
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Chicago, Illinois
- Dallas, Texas
- Elgin, Illinois
- Hayward, California
- Jersey City, New Jersey
- Long Beach, California
- Los Angeles, California
- Naperville, Illinois
- New York City, New York
- Oakland, California
- San Francisco, California
- San Jose, California
- Seattle, Washington
There are also remote positions you may be able to apply for in some of these cities that would not require you to relocate.
How should the Security+ Certification be highlighted in a resume?
When you apply for a job in IT, your resume will most likely get “read” by a technology solution before an actual person even sees it. Therefore, it’s important to include your Security+ certification on your resume along with your degree and any other important requirements that were listed in the job post.
While most people who review your resume will immediately understand what the Security+ certification entails, it’s not a bad idea to take a line or two to explain it, as well. Doing this will ensure there is no room for error on the part of the person reviewing your resume (sometimes, an HR person is doing initial reviewing for vetting purposes and may not be as familiar with the industry).
Don’t forget about the other credentials or types of experience that were mentioned in the job post. Having Security+ certification may not be sufficient to land the role on its own.
If you don’t have a certain requirement, it might still be worth applying. Always use the line, “I know I don’t have the right experience, but…” and explain why you’re still worth the company’s consideration.
Another magic term is “transferrable skills.” Use this as a header in your resume to draw attention to credentials you have that were not necessarily asked for in the job post but would still benefit their company. Obviously, you have to be careful not to overreach here. If you can’t make the case that your “transferrable skills” are actually relevant, you’ll look like you don’t actually understand the role.
Furthermore, this gives you a great opportunity to include some of those keywords their software may be looking for. You can make the most out of this opportunity by considering the position you’re applying for and then highlighting the most relevant features of your Security+ certification training.
Sec+ Training – Resources (InfoSec)
Interview Tips for Certification Holders
Once your resume has been reviewed and you are called for an interview, half the battle is over. A number of other candidates may have also been tapped for an interview, but, like most people, they’re going to be nervous and, if they prepare poorly, you’ll have a significant opportunity.
The first thing you need to do to impress during your interview is to set yourself up for success. This means dressing well and showing up on time. Make sure you know where the interview is going to be and rehearse getting there the day before. Then leave nice and early so no unforeseen delay will be enough to impede your punctuality.
Dressing well is important, too. If you make a good first impression by showing up on time and looking like you’re taking this opportunity very seriously, that initial feeling will stay with the interviewers, even if you make a couple of mistakes afterwards.
As far as the questions go, you should expect the obvious. Prepare for old standbys like:
- Why do you want this job?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- What’s a weakness you could improve?
- What did you do in your last position?
However, you also need to expect questions specific to the position. Don’t just assume that they’ll take for granted that your Security+ certification means you’re competent enough to do the job well. Even if they’re familiar with the certification, they won’t want to take any chances, especially if they have a large talent pool to choose from.
Therefore, you should consider common scenarios people in the position you’re applying for would face on a regular basis and even some less common ones.
Let’s say you’re applying to be a network security professional at a large corporation, for example. The person interviewing you might ask something like, “What would you do if you wanted to filter a packet before it traverses the network?”
“What would you do to encrypt email transmissions?” would be another question you could probably safely assume is coming.
It will really help if you take some time to learn about the company, as well. With enough research, you’ll be able to anticipate how your skills may be able to help them (something that should go into in your cover letter) and, thus, what kinds of questions they may ask you during the interview.
If you know anyone in similar roles, ask them what kinds of interview questions they were asked. This is a great way to prepare and will also give you some insights into the role that you can bring up during the interview and potentially impress the hiring manager.
Everyone wants a rewarding career with good job security and a decent paycheck that will also be personally rewarding. Working in IT security ticks all these boxes. Not only will you be making a real difference in a challenging field, but there’s also no reason to think your skills will ever become obsolete.
If this sounds like a good fit for you, the InfoSec Institute Boot Camp will prepare you for this exciting career.
Recent Security+ Job Outlook and Opportunities Articles and Updates
- Security+ Job Outlook and Opportunities
- An Introduction to CompTIA Security+
- Average Security+ Salary 2017
- What Is a SIEM?
- LibreSSL: The Secure OpenSSL Alternative
- How to Prevent Web Scraping
- Encryption in the Corporate Cloud
- Security+ Study Guide: Domain 1.0 - Network Security
- Security+ Mini-Course
- CompTIA Security+ SY0-401 vs. SY0-301 Changes
- How to become a network security engineer
- The CISSP CBK Domains: Information and Updates