Congratulations to Dwayne K. Smith from Jamaica who recently passed his CompTIA Security+ exam. We interviewed Dwayne about his experience taking the Security+ exam and his study tips for others who might also be interested in becoming certified.
When did you pass and where did you sit the exam?
I passed the exam on June 12, 2020, and sat the exam from home. The process involved installing software from Pearson Vue, taking and uploading photos of myself, official government ID and the area surrounding my desk. The software is used to allow the remote proctor to launch your exam and monitor you throughout the duration of the exam.
What was the exam experience like?
Though I was nervous, it was more comfortable because I was at home. The performance-based questions were quite challenging. I had to be familiar with the content. There wasn’t much room to guess my way through it.
What did you do to prepare?
I used the book “CompTIA Security+ Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide” by Darril Gibson, a video course on Lynda by Mike Chapple (with practice exam), and a video course on Udemy by Jason Dion (includes an end of course exam with 70 questions).
What obstacles/challenges you ran into?
Managing my time was difficult, especially during COVID. There was a point when I felt deflated as lockdowns started a month before I would have been ready to sit the exam. I reached out to CompTIA to inquire about remote testing, but they hadn’t implemented anything like that yet. It was uncertain when I would be able to sit the exam. CompTIA launched their remote testing solution several weeks later, and that lifted my spirits and launched me back into prep mode.
What is your background?
I’ve been in IT for 14 years and currently work as a Systems Administrator in the Hospitality sector.
What advice do you have for someone looking to earn Security+?
- You need to be determined and willing to learn.
- If you’re planning to take the self-study route and not go into a classroom, then you’ll need a method of accountability.
- I’m a member of the CCST mentorship program, that gave me the opportunity to outline some goals and identify a mentor. The mentorship program helped me to stay accountable because I had to provide periodic updates to the program and my mentor.
- I was also accountable to my wife, who constantly checked in and pushed me when she says I was distracted.
- Understand how you learn and find learning options that fit you.
- Use multiple sources for learning and research to identify errors as well as gain insight from other points of view.
I didn’t feel totally prepared going into the exam. Sometimes you might feel that you’re not fully prepared, but you won’t always/ever be fully prepared. I went in with the mindset that I will do my best despite how I felt.
Dwayne K. Smith is from Jamaica, works in IT and is a member of the CCST Discord group from the G5 Cyber Security Foundation Ltd. Learn more about CCST (Caribbean Cyber Support Team) by visiting caribbeancst.org. CCST is a collaborative group on the Discord platform for Caribbean people in IT, from beginners to experts.