Congratulations to our member, Renee Osbourne (from Jamaica) who recently passed her CompTIA Security+ exam! We are truly proud of her! Renee passed her exam in December 2020.
We asked Renee to share her experience in preparing for and taking the Security+ exam. We hope you find this article useful and motivational towards taking the CompTIA Security+ exam.
Q: When did you pass and where did you sit the exam?
A: I passed the exam on December 18, 2020. I received a sponsored voucher from Women in InfoSec Caribbean (WISC) for an online proctored exam via PearsonVue, so I did the exam at home in an office area.
Q: What was the exam experience like?
A: This was my first time doing an online proctored exam and I would describe the experience as being intense but pleasant because at the end of the day I was still in my comfort zone (at home). Prior to the exam, I had downloaded the required software and run a system test on the laptop I intended to use. On the day of the exam day, for whatever reason, I was having connectivity issues; I did not have time to troubleshoot so I switched laptops and quickly went through the process again.
Next step was to take and upload pictures of myself, my government ID and the area I was working in. I did this with time to spare so I was able to settle down before the actual exam started. That calm lasted until I saw the first performance-based question which I readily skipped but they weren’t that bad in the end.
Q: What did you do to prepare?
A: Initially, I had taken part in online study sessions hosted by Gavin Dennis along with other members from WISC and CCST. We had used “CompTIA Security+ Study Guide” by Emmett Dulaney and Chuck Easttom along with practical exercises during the sessions. So, when the offer for the voucher was made with the condition to take the exam within 30 days I felt confident enough that I would be ready.
Within those 30 days, I used the book “CompTIA Security+ Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide” by Darril Gibson, listened to Professor Messer videos on my commute, watched videos on more difficult concepts and started the TryHackMe Advent of Christmas room which was good for cementing the concepts I was studying. I also used a practice question book and did questions I found online and used Asana to track my progress to ensure I was on schedule.
Q: What obstacles/challenges you ran into?
A: Balancing work with preparing for the exam was hard. I do a lot of driving for work which I normally don’t mind as I find it therapeutic but during this period it just felt like a major time-sink. I was always playing catch up. In the end, I was able to work from home exclusively in the week leading up to the exam and that helped a lot.
Q: What is your background?
A: I’ve been a store manager for a few years; however, I studied International Relations with a double minor in Management Studies and French.
Q: What advice do you have for someone looking to earn Security+?.
- Consistency is key. Make a plan and stick with it. No matter how tired I was I pushed to study/practise every day even if I had to take a nap first.
- Reddit is your friend. I found a lot of good resources from Reddit threads, including notes, question banks or just reading about the first-hand experience of others to know what to expect.
- Book the exam. You will never feel totally prepared to take the exam so booking it in advance will ensure that you actually get it done. Besides, what’s a better motivator than working towards a concrete goal?
- Go for it. It doesn’t matter what your background is if you really want to get into this field then you can, just be prepared to put in the work.
Renee Osbourne is from Jamaica and is a member of our Women in InfoSec Caribbean initiative which is a collaborative chat group on Discord with over 100+ Caribbean women and girls. You can learn more about Women in InfoSec Caribbean (WISC) by visiting wiscaribbean.org.
PS. If you’re a Caribbean woman or girl, interested in a career in Information Security (and Cyber Security), you should join our group. Please visit wiscaribbean.org and click “Join Now”