Why Cybersecurity Certifications Matter: A Look at the CompTIA Security+ Certification

Why is the CompTIA Security+ Certification valuable?

If you’re changing careers into Cybersecurity, you may want to earn the CompTIA Security+ Certification. Here’s why it’s valuable to have.

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Are you considering a career change into the exciting and rapidly growing field of cybersecurity?

If so, you’re not alone.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 35% increase in cybersecurity employment opportunities from 2021 to 2031. This is far higher than the 5% average growth rate for all occupations. This surging demand for trained cyber talent has largely been driven by the acceleration of data breaches in both quantity and complexity over the years, the rapid expansion of data privacy laws, and society’s increasing reliance on unsecured systems and network infrastructure, among other factors. 

According to Cyberseek, an initiative funded by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), there are 755,743 unfilled cybersecurity job openings in the US as of April 2023. This represents a massive 140% increase from January 2019 when there were 314,000 unfilled openings. Of those 750K+ openings, 58% (441,972) request certifications, and 13.5% (101,725) specifically request the CompTIA Security+ certification. 

Why are certifications important in the cybersecurity field?

Let’s take a look at the value propositions of security certifications (like CompTIA’s Security+) and why they’re in such high demand.

First, certifications validate baseline skills and increase a candidate’s visibility in the job market. Some certifications serve as an endorsement of your competency in technologies and tools provided by a particular vendor. 

Next, pursuing certifications demonstrates a passion for continual learning and excellence in the field. Experienced cybersecurity professionals often seek certifications to add value to their teams, customers, and stakeholders. 

Lastly, certifications play an important role in career advancement and upskilling. If you’re looking for a promotion or to land more advanced roles, the appropriate certification, when combined with hands-on training, can significantly increase your chances. 

Certifications can also help meet basic requirements for cybersecurity and information assurance roles within the government, Department of Defense, and associated contractors. The CompTIA Security+ certification meets the DoD 8140/8570.01-M requirements for IAT-Level II, opening the door to a variety of exciting pathways.

So what makes the CompTIA Security+ certification so valuable?

According to CompTIA, the Security+ certification validates the core knowledge required of cybersecurity professionals and emphasizes vendor-neutral, hands-on practical skills. This ensures that security professionals are better prepared to problem-solve a wider variety of today’s complex issues. 

The certification prepares career changers for success in roles including Systems Administrator, Security Administrator, Security Analyst, and Security Engineer. Across the world, there are over 500,000 Security+ certified professionals. Among IT professionals that hold CompTIA certifications in North America, 62% hold a Security+

Certification vs. Hands-on Training

Are certifications everything? 

Simply put, no. Certifications are not an instant ticket to success in cybersecurity. In a research report, The Life and Times of Cybersecurity Professionals 2021, ESG and ISSA surveyed 489 cybersecurity professionals and found that “only 1% of respondents believe security certifications are more important than hands-on experience. Alternatively, 52% believe that hands-on experience is more important […] while 46% place equal value on hands-on experience and certification achievement. […] Based upon this data, aspiring and advancing cybersecurity professionals should take a balanced approach to skills development.”

At Flatiron School, our industry-leading Cybersecurity Engineering curriculum is aligned with domains covered by the Security+ certification while providing over 500 hours of class time and hands-on experience through lab-based training. By combining Flatiron School’s rigorous curriculum with the pursuit of certifications like Security+, our graduates are well-equipped to enter the job market with confidence.

In conclusion…

Certifications are a valuable addition to your professional tech identity in cybersecurity. They demonstrate a passion for continual learning, increase visibility in the job market, validate skills, and aid in career advancement. The CompTIA Security+ certification is valuable due to its emphasis on vendor-neutral, hands-on practical skills. Flatiron School’s immersive and balanced curriculum, when supplemented with the Security+, is the foundation for success in the cybersecurity field.

About the Author

Scott Bowman, the Senior Manager of Career Coaching for Cybersecurity at Flatiron School, is a top cybersecurity coach and advocate. In 2023, he was recognized as one of the Top 15 Coaches in Denver by Influence Digest for his dedication to bridging the talent gap in the tech industry. With a comprehensive background in career services and a Master’s degree in Higher Education Leadership, Scott has over 5 years of experience launching successful cybersecurity careers with SecureSet and Flatiron School. Scott leads a robust Career Coaching team, empowered by an immersive technical curriculum, that equips new career changers and upskillers with the tools and confidence to thrive in the cybersecurity industry. His dedication, knowledge, and unique perspective make him an invaluable leader in the field.


Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of May 25, 2023. Current policies, offerings, procedures, and programs may differ.

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