I had a little extra time at home lately, particularly because I was diagnosed with Covid-19. Don’t worry, although I did get a little sick for a day, it really wasn’t very bad. Actually, it turned out to be a pretty nice two week vacation. I’m one of those people that wants to do something constructive with my time, and am not very good at just sitting around at home. That’s why I decided to re-up my Security+ certificate from CompTIA.

Technically, I could have waited about another 6 months before even considering taking care of this, as I had about 9 months left before it expired. But, like I said, I had the time, and I wanted to try out using their CertMaster Continuing Education program, rather than just taking the test again. From online reviews and from their sales propaganda, it looked very promising and pretty easy.

It wasn’t exactly what I expected.

Ultimately, it was a good way to renew this certification, because it was a low stress method with a guaranteed result. If you purchase the CE course, you will pass, because it will not let you finish the course until you do. However, the course said that this would take about 4-6 hours depending on your skill level, and would be relatively easy to learn the new material because they present it all to you. This was not quite the case.

Don’t get me wrong, it still is the best way to renew these certs, but my experience was a bit different. When you open the course, you are presented with a learning plan, which you can go through and read each article about each subject. After each section is read, there is a test, ranging from 9 to 63 questions. The passing score for the test is 100%, anything less is a failure, and you can reset the test and take it again as many times as needed until you pass with flying colors.

What made this interesting was two things.

#1. 92% is not a passing score. There were several sections that I received high marks, but couldn’t quite make it over the threshold of 100%. This lead to me reviewing material and taking several tests as many as 6 or more times until I could finally get 100% on the test.

#2. While everything is “there” in the course, a lot of the material is right there in article form for you to read, but some of the material is links to further reading. I think the idea was, “If you know this material, we will not make you read it, but if you don’t know this material, you should follow these links to read more.” The problem with the links, is they typically go to websites for that subject, and then you have to weed through that website and read all about that program or method or thing, but it usually isn’t presented in a course like material. So when some of the questions are based off of using said program or method or thing, you had no guidance on what you were supposed to learn about it prior to the test, if that makes sense.

One interesting plus side to taking the CE course from CompTIA was that it didn’t reset my time for my certificates to be valid. Instead it just added onto my current certificates times, and for all of my CE certificates, such as A+, Net+, and Sec+. Of course it had no affect on one time certificates like Linux+ or Server+. But I thought that interesting, since my certificate was to expire in August, and I did this in April, that it didn’t change my date to April, but rather left it in August, plus the three extra years. That by itself makes this method of renewal worth it. In that past, I believe when I take the test, my certificate is from that date for three years. I’ll have to look further into that on CompTIA’s website.

Again, taking the CE course was definitely worth it, as it was a low stress method of renewing my certification, since I couldn’t fail. No more lost time and money on failing a test. However, if you are looking for the quick and easy method, this may take a little longer than you thought. I think I spent about 12 hours going through this course. That’s double what was recommended. Perhaps I really just don’t know the material as well as I thought, but when you score 92% on the test, I feel that is a good sign of being proficient.

Linux – keep it simple.

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