Photo by freddie marriage on Unsplash
An Attitude of Gratitude and Exam Preparation
My mini take on gratitude and study resources/updates.
5 min read
I hope that I didn't keep you waiting for too long. The willingness to learn is strong, but life's demands have kept me occupied. But now I am here and ready to share some of my thoughts and progress. Something that I have adapted to earlier in the year is that I typically like to start off my days with gratitude. As a constant reminder, I'd like to bring it over here through my posts!
Having an attitude of gratitude continues to help shape any ordinary day into a brighter day, and I can attest to this. On days when I feel discouraged, being grateful regardless helps me to persevere and carry on without letting the false thoughts of unworthiness hinder me from pursuing my purpose in life. Although most of my future posts will relate to my personal reflections, learnings, and discoveries in Cybersecurity, I hope that gratitude will be one of your main takeaways.
This weekend, we celebrate a statutory holiday here in Canada, Victoria Day, and although we have gone on short road trips with the family in the past, I am glad that we took this long weekend to spend it locally and rest. Maybe not so much of a rest day but a day to catch up on some studying! I realized that my Security+ exam is a little over a month away and I am in the workaround of improving my study methods. A few have told me that I can accomplish this within a month but my self-doubt is over the edge right now. I will definitely check within the next two weeks to see where I'm at in terms of rescheduling the exam or not. (Yes, another reason why I started a blog is for accountability.) In this blog, I'll be sharing with you an overview of what CompTIA Security+ is, the resources I'm using to prepare for the exam, study methods that were recommended to me, and current updates.
CompTIA Security+ is a certification exam that covers the fundamentals of security in the IT field. It provides the core knowledge of security that is needed in any cybersecurity-related job and is also a great way to familiarize yourself with the language used in this field if you choose not to go for the exam. The goal is to score 750 out of 900 on the exam (but the true goal is to actually learn and become a subject matter expert). The following are the 5 domains covered in the SY0-601 version (also provided on the website):
- 1.0 Attacks, Threats, and Vulnerabilities - 24%
- 2.0 Architecture and Design - 21%
- 3.0 Implementation - 25%
- 4.0 Operations and Incident Response - 16%
- 5.0 Governance, Risk, and Compliance - 14%
Here are the current sources I'm using to help me study (some I use more than the others):
- Jason Dion's CompTIA Security+ (SY0-601) Complete Course & Exam -- main course I use
- Jason Dion's CompTIA Security+ (SY0-601) Practice Exams & Simulated PBQs -- I actually just started to use this today (definitely a great way to measure where you're at in your studying and what needs to be reviewed)
- Darril Gibson's CompTIA Security+ Get Certified Get Ahead SY0-601 Study Guide
- Professor Messer's Security+ Videos and Resources -- I use this along with Jason Dion's videos to help me understand concepts I find difficult to grasp
- CompTIA Security+ Exam Prep App -- I like using this during my commutes as it also provides explanations on the correct answer
- Dojo Lab -- great source to practice PBQs (Performance-Based Questions)
I am currently breaking the habit of passive learning, which I have adapted during college. It is the worst way to study and I have definitely learned it the hard way. Here are a few study method recommendations that were shared with me by a few industry experts that have taken the exam, which I'll be implementing. Although not all may work for everyone, I hope that sharing this at least gives you an idea on how to study for anything:
- Active Recall - using flashcards i.e. Anki or Quizlet
- Pomodoro Technique - to help maintain focus and make sure you take breaks (very important!)
- Have a study plan/schedule - to know which sections you'll be studying on specific days and how long
- Have a tidy environment - to remove any distractions
- Feynman Technique - they say that when you teach others, you're learning twice as much as when you were studying the material
- Take the practice exams over and over - to fill in those knowledge gaps
- Review the Objectives - Should have done this in the beginning
Study updates: So far, I have gone through 18 out of 33 sections in Jason Dion's Security+ course, done a few practice tests on the app, one practice exam from Jason Dion, and currently utilizing Darril Gibson's study guide to go over the objectives. I have been focusing so much on Section 1 of the objectives and it definitely showed when I took the JD's Practice Exam (51%). We're getting there! I'm re-adjusting my methods of studying and finding ways to be more efficient and effective (and also allocating more time for practice, practice, practice).
On top of the Security+ prep, I have been taking some time to complete some learning modules on TryHackMe, LetsDefend, and other free vendor e-learnings online, as well as getting involved in cybersecurity communities and building my mini homelab to practice my IT skills through KevTech IT tutorials.
I have a tendency to overload my schedule and be hard on myself but through experience and with the help of some accountability buddies, I'm learning to give myself grace, patience, and humility when it comes to learning new things. If there are any recommendations or feedback you would like to share, feel free to comment on this post. Other than that, I hope that this post provides value to you in some way, whether or not you are preparing for the same exam, or through implementing daily gratitude.
Take care, Eula