In your quest to ace your Security+ exam, you might need clarification on whether a Security+ reference book is better than another. Security+ exam preparation is a huge niche, so choosing from plenty of study guides can be overwhelming. How could you know which books are appropriate for you for the latest exam?
Fear not; we’ve got your back, and you no longer have to worry about buying the wrong books. We’ll cover the most popular CompTIA Security+ books for your Security+ self-study and compare their advantages and disadvantages. The links to the following titles apply to the Security+ certification exam code SY0-601.
When you’re ready, let’s begin with CompTIA’s official study guide, followed by other Security+ books. Due to Amazon’s dynamic pricing policy, the listed book prices are only accurate as of writing, and it’s always best to check the web pages yourself for the most recent price changes.
The Official CompTIA Security+ Certification Self-Paced Study Guide
James Pengelly, with contributions from Thomas Reilly, Katie Hoenicke, Evan Burns, James Chesterfield, Becky Mann, and Katherine Keyes
Most Security+ students don’t reach for this book immediately, but we should mention it because CompTIA created this study guide. It is a companion reference book to CompTIA’s online curriculum CertMaster.
The primary selling point for this paperback is that it’s “the only official CompTIA study guide for the CompTIA Security+ exam.” It “does not guarantee products purchased from Third Party sellers for quality, authenticity, or access to any online entitlements included with the product.”
Some buyers report that this book covered all their questions on their Security+ exam. Others report printing and typographical errors which make the book unworthy of the hefty price tag. A reviewer even said he ordered the SY0-601 study guide but got a copy of the study guide for the previous exam code SY0-501 instead.
$194 USD. Officially, CompTIA sells bundles of these books with practice tests and other exam preparation materials, which can be rather costly compared with the third-party titles below.
Mike Meyers’ CompTIA Security+ Certification Guide
- Mike Meyers is the founder of Total Seminars.
- Scott Jernigan is the editor-in-chief of Total Seminars.
This popular reference guide and CompTIA certification exam preparation book has now printed its third edition, covering the latest Security+ exam (SY0-601).
It covers official exam objectives. Mock exam questions at the end of book chapters reinforce the concepts you’ve learned. Moreover, it discusses the skills you need to anticipate and guard against security risks.
The accompanying online component includes:
- Over 200 practice exam questions in a customizable test engine
- At least one hour of video training from Mike Meyers
- Free lab simulations
- Mike’s toolbox of favorite network security-related freeware and shareware
As Total Seminars is a CompTIA industry partner, the book has a CompTIA voucher at the end. The main drawback is the disproportionate inclusion of material not covered in the Security+ syllabus. Consider this book an easy introduction to Security+, especially if the exam feels daunting.
Kindle: $23.99 USD
Paperback: $37.20 USD
CompTIA Security+ Get Certified Get Ahead
Darril Gibson spent 22 years in the Navy working with computers and electronics and has since authored, co-authored, or contributed to more than 40 books. He’s earned multiple certifications, including CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, and higher.
This volume presents in a practical and straightforward manner an extraordinarily exam-focused Security+ textbook, with many exam questions and the corresponding exam objectives. Each practice test question includes a detailed explanation to aid your understanding of each option provided. It covers crucial security topics.
Companion online resources include:
- Additional free practice test questions using an online testing engine via your browser
- Free online labs, including a lab to create a bootable Linux USB
- Downloadable free extras such as a Glossary, Acronyms list, Command Line basics, Log basics, and more
What’s unique about this book is that every topical chapter begins with 75 pre-test questions, which test your background knowledge for the chapter in question, and 75 post-test questions to help consolidate your understanding.
In case you’re apprehensive of heavily technical text such as the standard presentation of Security+ material, it should be a relief that this book’s reviewers almost universally appreciate the easy-to-follow writing.
Kindle: $9.99 USD
Hardcover: $41.35 USD
Paperback: $29.14 USD
CompTIA Security+ Certification Guide
Ian Neil is a Security+ trainer. He designed a Security+ course that catered to people from all backgrounds. He’s an A+, Network+, and Security+ practitioner.
This Security+ reference guide and exam preparation book has now printed its second edition, covering the latest Security+ exam (SY0-601). It comes with chapter review questions, realistic mock exams, and worked solutions, and it focuses on mastery of crucial concepts covered in the Security+ syllabus, such as identity and access management and public key infrastructure.
Supplementary online practice materials include:
- Performance-based questions,
- Practical labs,
- Mock exams,
- Key terms glossary, and
- Exam tips.
This book helps you learn fundamental Security+ concepts. It’s suitable for someone without an IT background who wants to pass Security+ and personnel in the US Government and US Department of Defense seeking cybersecurity certification. If you have a technical background and you aim to become a qualified security professional, you may find it a handy reference.
Kindle: $23.99 USD
Paperback: $35.99 USD
CompTIA Security+ Certification Kit
- Mike Chapple, Ph.D., teaches at Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. He’s a bestselling author of over 30 books and provides cyber security certification resources on his website.
- David Seidl, Security+, CySA+, CISSP, GPEN, GCIH, is Vice President for Information Technology and CIO at Miami University.
This book focuses on getting readers ready for their Security+ exam. It includes Mike Chapple’s CompTIA Security+ Study Guide and David Seidl’s CompTIA Security+ Practice Tests. It comes with one year of access to the publisher’s website containing study tools, a question bank, and a collection of practice exams.
The Study Guide, now in its eighth edition, has been completely revised to align with the latest version of the exam objectives. The workbook of Practice Tests consists of full-length practice exams and hundreds of questions categorized by the five Security+ exam domains:
- Attacks, Threats and Vulnerabilities
- Architecture and Design Implementation
- Operations and Incident Response
- Governance, Risk and Compliance
The CertMike cyber security education programs by one of the authors, Mike Chapple, usually garner much praise in general. However, according to reviews we’ve read, although buyers find either or both books valuable, the major downside is the books may be difficult to understand.
CompTIA Security+ All-in-One Exam Guide
- Wm. Arthur Conklin, CompTIA Security+, CISSP, is an assistant professor in the Department of Information and Logistics Technology at the University of Houston.
- Gregory White, CompTIA Security+, CISSP, is an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
This study guide contains learning objectives at the beginning of each chapter, exam tips, practice exam questions, and in-depth explanations. Designed to help you easily pass the CompTIA Security+ exam, this definitive volume doubles as an on-the-job IT reference on security controls and security threats.
The supplementary online content includes:
- 250 practice exam questions, and
- A test engine that provides full-length practice exams and customizable quizzes by chapter or by exam domain
The main issue with this book is the writing could be clearer than readers would expect, and it alone is insufficient to help you pass Security+. Some readers say watching videos on Security+ clarified some concepts this book failed to explain. Although someone with an IT background wouldn’t complain, beginners may find understanding the book a huge problem.
Kindle: $35.99 USD
Paperback: $47.95 USD
CompTIA Security+ Exam Cram
Martin M. Weiss, CISSP, CISA, Security+, has years of experience in information security, risk management, and compliance. He holds a bachelor of science degree in computer studies and an MBA. He has authored and co-authored books on information technology.
This book is an all-inclusive study guide designed to help you pass the updated versions of the CompTIA Security+ exam. It covers every exam objective and topic, contains hundreds of realistic practice questions, and has a companion website featuring videos and practice tests.
This book contains quizzes, Exam Alerts, and a last-minute review Cram Sheet. Once you get this book, you can access extra practice materials, such as two full-length practice exams with real-time assessment and feedback, videos, challenges, and the Cram Sheet. It also contains detailed explanations of correct and incorrect answers.
As you can see, when it comes to acing your Security+ certification exam, you have a glut of information to absorb. You may celebrate your ability to take excellent notes, but having an appropriate study guide is invaluable.
If you want to learn more about Security+ and other cyber security certifications that may be suitable for you, check out our articles on this subject and our course offerings (included in our VIP Member Section) below:
Frequently Asked Questions
We don’t recommend doing so. The main disadvantage of relying on a single resource in Security+ to pass it is the lack of practice in the hands-on aspects of the course, which the simulation performance-based questions assess. It’s far preferable to select a suitable online study course and do as many practice tests as possible, such as the ones listed above.
Although the CompTIA Security+ certification has no hard-and-fast prerequisites, CompTIA recommends candidates to have “CompTIA Network+ and two years of experience in IT administration with a security focus or equivalent training who are starting or furthering a career in cyber security.” Read our article “What Is CompTIA Security+?” for more information.
We believe so because of the myriad job opportunities available to Security+ holders. Refer to our article of the same title.
You might spend around $590 USD to get your Security+ and an estimated total of $1000 USD over three years (including both exam and renewal costs), but the salaries of jobs you land are far greater. Refer to our article on CompTIA Security+ certification costs.
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