Welcome to the first of my 2016 series of posts on Pluralsight learning paths. My aim is to complete a learning path every month and give you my take on what the best bits are and whether or not you should follow the learning path yourself. For January 2016 I have chosen CompTIA Security+.
There are a couple of reasons why I wanted to do this learning path first:
This learning path is 18 hours 32 minutes in length, making it slightly shorter than average for a Pluralsight learning path.
Someone I find inspiring is Steven Newman, the first man to walk around the world. One of the interesting things in his book is although he had done a lot of preparation for his adventure, he nearly gave up after the first few days. The initial excitement wore off, he started getting various pains, tiredness etc, and he knew he was only a few days in and had 3-4 years left to go. The mental side of the challenge was enormous.
Now I am not trying anything anywhere near as difficult as walking around the world, but it’s important to realize that 12 learning paths is still a long journey, one that’s never been accomplished before. So it was critical that I didn’t fail on my first month, that would have been a disaster! But I didn’t want to pick the easiest learning path because I don’t want to use up the easier ones and face progressively harder ones throughout the year.
Interesting and important topic
Security is both a fascinating and terrifying topic. The consensus of opinion is Internet security continues to get worse, mainly due to the increasing sophisticated arsenal of tools developed and used by cyber criminals, but also due to continuing poor practices by numerous IT companies around the world. So now is a good time to learn about security. If we hope to stem the tide of cyber attacks, we are going to need to hire more people as IT security professionals, and we need more people to learn security in depth.
What is CompTIA?
CompTIA is an IT industry trade association. You can find out much more at CompTIA. org
What is Security+
Security+ is one of several industry recognised certifications that you get. It’s an entry level qualification for IT security professionals. The content in the Pluralsight learning path is aimed at helping you to pass this exam.
I’ve seriously considered signing up for the exam as part of this months challenge, but decided against it for now. The main benefit for me is the knowledge I learn from it. I don’t need a certificate to tell me I have learned the topic. However if I was about to look for a job as an IT security professional, I might decide the time was right to get the qualification. So, when I give study time recommendations, these are for the purposes of absorbing the course content, but not necessarily for passing the exam.
The Learning Path
This learning path is composed of six courses, each covering a different area of security. Because of this, the order that you take the courses in do not matter very much. If you are short on time, you can pick a particular course of interest and watch only that one. However there are a few occasions when having seen the Network Security first may help, for example on WEP/WPA/WPA2.
Unusually for a learning path, all of the courses are taught by the same instructor, Chris Rees
Don Jones has more info on the Pluralsight blog
I began this learning path in December 2015 and completed 2 weeks later on 1st January 2016. I found it to be a good learning path to do. Although I have watched many other security courses, I learned a great deal from this learning path. It didn’t feel too easy or too difficult.
There is some repetition of material from course to course and sometimes within the same course. If you are doing the certification, hopefully this will help the information to sink in better for your exam. If not, I recommending speeding up the playback for those bits if you feel you already understand.
Other Security learning paths
Security+ is not the only IT security learning path available on Pluralsight.
There is Cisco CCNP, SSCP, and also an Ethical Hacking learning path, which I hope to complete before the end of 2016. There should be a total of 20 courses for the Ethical Hacking learning path when all courses have been published. About 12 of them are published so far.
For more information on all 4 security learning paths, plus the Microsoft MTA, see which security learning path?
Course Details with complementary activities and related courses