CompTIA Security+ 501 vs 601: What Does It Mean?

By : TechnoEdge Learning November 2, 2020

If you’ve been looking at getting your CompTIA Security+ certification, you may have noticed two different numbers floating around: 501 and 601. If you’re unfamiliar with the CompTIA Security+ certification then these two numbers might be causing you to panic. “Is one better than the other?” “Is my CompTIA Security+ training for 501 or 601?” There’s no need to worry. The numerical difference is not a cause for concern.

Updating the Certification

Whether it’s the CompTIA Security+ certification, the CompTIA CySA+ certification, or one of the many other IT certifications out there, it’s important that these certifications remain relevant in the industry. Part of keeping a certification relevant involves updating the exam to reflect the current state of the knowledge and skills the certification represents. CompTIA Security+ certification 601 is simply the newest version of the certification exam. This new version is set to come into effect as of November 2020.

What’s Changed

One of the biggest changes to the CompTIA Security+ certification exam is the categories, or domains, that are covered on the exam. Each domain holds a different amount of weight for the final scoring. The 501 exam covered the following domains (exam weight listed in brackets):

  • Threats, Attacks and Vulnerabilities (21%)
  • Technologies and Tools (22%)
  • Architecture and Design (15%)
  • Identity and Access Management (16%)
  • Risk Management (14%)
  • Cryptography and PKI (12%)

The 601 exam has the following domains and weights:

  • Attacks, Threats and Vulnerabilities (24%)
  • Architecture and Design (21%)
  • Implementation (25%)
  • Operations and Incident Response (16%)
  • Governance, Risk and Compliance (14%)

As you can see, several previous domains have been eliminated, replaced, or expanded upon, and now there are only 5 domains total. The 601 exam also has fewer exam objectives than the 501. 601 has 35 exam objectives, while 501 has 37, but the 601 exam objectives include more examples under each objective to better demonstrate what is expected of test-takers.

Why The Changes

The CompTIA Security+ certification exam is designed to reflect the current state of the industry. To determine what needs to be tested on the exam, CompTIA conducts rigorous research. For example, CompTIA observed that current business leaders feel their cybersecurity risks are increasing. This observation is part of why CompTIA has placed a higher weight on the “Attacks, Threats and Vulnerabilities” domain of the exam.

For a better understanding of what to expect on the exam, CompTIA has listed what skills the CompTIA Security+ certification 601 exam is looking for from its candidates:

  • “Assess the cybersecurity posture of an enterprise environment
  • Recommend and implement appropriate cybersecurity solutions
  • Monitor and secure hybrid environments
  • Operate with an awareness of applicable laws and policies
  • Identify, analyze and respond to cybersecurity events and incidents”

How to Prepare

Now that you know what the difference is between the 501 and the 601, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to prepare for the exam. TechnoEdge offers a comprehensive, CompTIA approved CompTIA Security+ training course. The course fully prepares students for the exam and ensures they have the knowledge and confidence they need to succeed. Register for the CompTIA Security + training course today and ensure success in your cybersecurity career.

For more advanced IT professionals, TechnoEdge offers a CompTIA CySA+ training course to prepare students for the CompTIA CySA+ certification exam. The course is CompTIA approved and just as thorough as the CompTIA Security+ training course. Certifications are one of the best ways to advance your career and a CompTIA CySA certification is the next step after earning your CompTIA Security+ certification. Register for either exam prep course and be prepared for the certification exam, regardless of whether it’s 501, 601, or something even newer.

Read our other blog: Understanding CompTIA Security+ and CompTIA CySA+

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