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CompTIA Security+ SYO-501 & SYO-601

CompTIA Security+ certification is a fundamental certification that validates the baseline skills and equips candidates with the core knowledge essential for any cybersecurity role. It is one of the most sought out credentials among IT professionals. The certification is compliant with ISO 17024 standards and approved by the US Department of Defense (DoD) to meet directive 8140/8570.01-M requirements. CompTIA updates the exam version every three years. The current Security+ SYO-501 is going to be retired in 2021. The new Security+  SYO-601 is going to release in November 2020.

In this section, we will explore the anticipatory distinction between CompTIA Security+ SYO-601 & SYO-501 exams.

Security+ SYO-501 certification

The CompTIA Security+ SYO-501 was launched in 2017. The certification helps candidates to identify various threats & vulnerabilities, learn security technologies, risk management, and implement security architecture within an organization. The Security+  SYO-501 validates the skills of the certification holder to:

  • Install secure applications, networks, and devices in the system.
  • Perform threat analysis & respond to security-related incidents.
  • Participate in risk mitigation.
  • Be aware of the policies, regulations, and laws.
  • To operate while staying adhere to the principles of confidentiality, integrity, and availability.
  • Cryptography and PKI.

Exam format

To earn the Security+ certification, candidates have to pass the SYO-501 exam. The certification focuses more on hands-on practical knowledge, which is tested through performance-based questions in the examination.

Candidates have to attempt 90 multiple-choice and performance-based questions (MCQs) in 90 minutes and score 750 to pass the CompTIA Security+ exam successfully.


There are no prerequisites required, but it is recommended to take the Network+ certification before having the CompTIA Security+ certification or training.

What’s new in the Security+ SYO-601 Exam?

The CompTIA is going to release the new Security + SYO-601 version in November 2020. It includes the trends and technologies that were not adopted by the industry back in 2017 when SYO-501 was released. The certification hones the core technical skills of candidates in assessing and managing risk, incident response, forensics, enterprise networks, security controls, and cloud operations. The Security+ SYO-601 exam validates a candidate’s skills on the following grounds:

  • It validates a candidate’s skills to analyze the security posture of an organization and establish necessary security measures.
  • It Showcases the ability of a candidate to monitor and protect hybrid environments such as cloud, mobile, and IoT (internet of things).
  • It approves the candidate’s knowledge of all the applicable laws, policies about governance, compliance, and risks.
  • It also validates that candidates can respond to events and incidents related to cybersecurity.

Nature of Modifications in exam content?

The recent years have noted a surge in the distributed denial of services (DDOS) attacks, ransomware, and various social engineering attacks. These attacks cost millions to organizations. The growing trend of modern technologies such as IoT (Internet of things) and the adoption of cloud-based services has raised security-related concerns. Organizations require cybersecurity professionals who are well-versed in identifying and mitigating these sophisticated cyber attacks. Keeping the current circumstances into consideration, CompTIA has added the following topics:

  • Implementing secure network architecture
  • Practices regarding risk management
  • Different types of threats, attacks & vulnerabilities
  • Identity & access management
  • Configuring wireless security settings and public key infrastructure (PKI)

Comparison of domains covered by Security+ SYO-501 & SYO-601 exam

The current CompTIA Security+ SYO-501 exam covers six domains, whereas the new SYO-601 exam covers only five domains focusing on skillsets required for the current industry roles.

Domains covered by CompTIA Security+ SYO-501

Exam domains covered by CompTIA Security+ SYO-601

1.     Threats, Attacks, and Vulnerabilities (21%)


1.     Attacks, Threats, and Vulnerabilities (24%)


2.     Technologies and Tools (22%)


2.     Architecture and Design (21%)


3.     Architecture and Design (15%)


3.     Implementation (25%)


4.     Identity and access management (16%) 4.     Operations and Incident Response (16%)


5.     Risk management (14%)


5.     Governance, risk, and  compliance (14%)


6.     Cryptography and PKI (12%)

Comparison of exam objectives of SYO-501 & SYO-601

The new CompTIA Security+ SYO-601 exam has fewer exam objectives (topics) than the SYO-501 exam. CompTIA Security+ SY0-501 covers 37 exam objectives under six domains. On the other hand, SY0-601 will cover 35 objectives under 5 domains. Moreover, the SY0-601 exam objectives include more examples under each objective. According to CompTIA, the number of examples is increased by about 25% in the objectives of the updated version (SYO-601). Examples are added to understand the concept behind each objective. It will further help the IT professional to prepare for the certification exam and for the job roles as well. 

What is expected to remain the same?

Job roles

Job roles using CompTIA Security+ will remain unchanged. After successfully earning the certification, the candidates can secure the following titles:

  • System Administrator
  • Security Administrator
  • Security Specialist
  • Security Engineer
  • Network Administrator
  • Security Consultant
  • Junior IT Auditor/ Penetration Tester

Which exam to take?

The CompTIA Security+ certification’s validity lasts for three years from the day a candidate passes the exam. If a candidate passes the exam a day before its date of retirement, certification still holds the validity for three years. Therefore, candidates need to choose the exam as per their convenience and availability.

If a candidate chooses the new Security+ SYO-601, he must ensure he is well prepared before sitting for the examination.

Earn the CompTIA+ certification with the Infosec Train?

Whether you have decided to earn the Security+ SYO-501 or SYO-601 certification, Infosec Train is delighted to help you get through the examination. We are the leading IT security training providers worldwide. Our certified and highly skilled instructors follow a comprehensive training methodology emphasizing more on practical and applied knowledge.

Join us today to get through the CompTIA Security+ certification in the first attempt and forge ahead a promising career in the cybersecurity domain.

Shubham Bhatt ( )
Infosec Train
Shubham Bhatt holds a bachelor's degree in computer science & engineering. He is passionate about information security and has been writing on it for the past three years. Currently, he is working as a Content Writer & Editor at Infosec Train.