How CompTIA Certifications Can Help You Change Your Career and Move to Cybersecurity

CompTIA certifications validate your cybersecurity expertise in the job responsibilities and technological advancements that encompass the modern IT workforce.

It offers a comprehensive platform for IT professionals with different skills and experience levels to secure a wide variety of IT jobs and is a pre-requisite for advanced level technology vendors like Cisco, IBM and Microsoft.

Organizations are becoming more concerned about the cybersecurity challenges that have dominated the online landscape, consequently creating various job roles that have Security+ training as a requirement.

Across the globe, the evolving tech labor market will continuously present challenges, with the demand for professionals with security+ certification outstripping supply. Based on different workforce studies, more organizations are continually thinking about their approaches, leading to questions around gaps in skill sets and the demand for more meaningful attention to cybersecurity professionals.

Without a doubt, the trends to watch for in the future would present overwhelming opportunities for experts with CompTIA security+ training if the iterations of previous studies are what to go by.

Nonetheless, having a CompTIA certification would equip you with cutting-edge knowledge in hardware, software, and network security.

Global recognition

When you earn your  Security+ training, you’ll join over one million other IT professionals who have built their careers and achieved huge milestones with this certification.

CompTIA accreditation is globally accepted and recognized to be one of the fundamental certifications in the field of cybersecurity.

Approved by ANSI and compliant with ISO 17024 standards as well as DoD 8570 standards, the CompTIA certification would demonstrate a thorough understanding of the security landscape.

Several companies like hp, Motorola, IBM, the U.S Navy and Marines attach immense weight to CompTIA training – which means you’ll have the edge over other applicants if you have this accreditation.

Increase your knowledge

Unsurprisingly, you may think you have what it takes to identify and seal cybersecurity vulnerabilities by simply knowing networks and computers, but it’s undoubtedly more than that.

Having the CompTIA certification will help you get much better at what you do by presenting an opportunity to learn and enhance your knowledge.

Before you achieve this certification, you’ll be expected to prepare for exams in a rigorous phase that would shape you to becoming a greater cybersecurity professional.

Besides helping you pass the exam, the skills and knowledge you’ll obtain will make it easy for you to renew your certifications and update your knowledge with different training options.

Flexibility to work anywhere in the world

One notable perk of CompTIA certifications is that they’re universally recognized, accepted, and respected across the globe.

Various corporate organizations and government agencies have the CompTIA certification as the preliminary hiring credential considering that it’s vendor-neutral and focuses on building your foundation of tech knowledge.

Additionally, if you desire to take up a government job, you can successfully work for any agency as long as you have the CompTIA Security+ certification. This is because this certification is compliant with ISO and DoD regulatory standards at various work levels: both technical and managerial positions.

A higher pay scale

According to CompTIA, over 95% of employers look for professionals with job-specific certifications before hiring. At the same time, CompTIA certifications rank top 20 in the highest paying certifications.

Without a doubt, CompTIA certifications make a huge difference in shaping your cybersecurity career path. While most organizations don’t use monetary value as a weighing scale for your performance, the amount you earn certainly motivates you to work more efficiently.

Additionally, besides motivating you to work well, you’ll have a better charge of your work-life balance.

No doubt, many careers involving CompTIA certifications come with manageable stress levels, a sense of accomplishment and opportunities to give your life new meaning.

Building your network

With a CompTIA certification, you’ll be part of a community where you’ll learn, interact with and ask for advice regarding various professional aspects.

Passing the CompTIA exam requires, in most cases, rigorous learning, training and effort. In other words, updating your knowledge and training options as you strive to stay on the path is enough evidence that you are committed and diligent enough to keep up with the latest developments in the industry.

Regardless of your expertise level, you’ll be able to grow your professional network to help you keep up with new developments that would build your career.


The benefits of having any CompTIA certification are overwhelming, but the most notable one is the ability to transition your skillset to a full cybersecurity career.

Various workforce studies like CyberSeek have shown that over half a million cybersecurity job roles are posted in North America. Unsurprisingly, transitioning to a cybersecurity career isn’t a huge stretch but requires a considerable investment and time.

With the increasing demand for cybersecurity professionals, pursuing a cybersecurity profession would undoubtedly work to your advantage.

Mental Wellness Tips for Working Students

Are you a working student? With our emphasis on Adult Education, many Ashton students are. It’s great if you can focus on your studies exclusively but that’s often not possible. If your responsibilities include caregiving for family or working full or part-time, than it can be a big struggle to find balance and succeed in all areas. This can leave you stressed or burnt-out. 

Here are three tips to help you maintain good mental health

      1.Be gentle with yourself

Sometimes we ask too much of ourselves. If you are a perfectionist or a high-achiever you might be pushing yourself too hard. It’s one thing to have a busy schedule and want excellence, but it’s another thing if you are unkind to yourself in the process. 

Give yourself a personal mantra – a reminder to ease up with the pressure. Praise yourself instead of blaming yourself. A mantra or affirmation can help you relax and focus on what’s important. Here’s some I use when I catch self-critical thoughts and feelings sneaking in. 

  • Progress not Perfection
  • Imperfect Action
  • Baby Steps

You don’t need to be perfect. You don’t need to get it all done all the time. Your best right now might not be what you would like it to be, but so what? You have a lot on your plate. Be gentle with yourself. 

     2. Set boundaries

If you’ve taken on too much – at work, at home, at school – it’s time to set some boundaries. Set them with yourself first. Get clear about what is draining your energy the most and how you can adjust your workload or schedule.

Sit down with a notepad and assess your situation to determine where you are most struggling. Ask yourself where can I pull back in order to get more time or space or peace-of-mind?  

Your next step is to communicate with your work or school or family and communicate your challenges and discuss solutions. 

If you are a people pleaser, setting boundaries is a real lifesaver for you. The cost of not saying no is that you may burn yourself out pleasing others and not having the energy to complete your own studies and meet your goals. Slow down, step back, and take a look at whether you are doing too much. Set some boundaries with yourself and others. It’s better to identify early when you are reaching a point of overwhelm with your schedule and responsibilities. The longer you try and push past a punishing schedule, the worse the impacts on your mental health. 

Ultimately it takes strength and resilience to complete a post-secondary program especially when you are also working and/or care-giving at home. Don’t let your mental health run-to-failure, instead set boundaries to make sure you will have the stamina to complete the goals you have set out for yourself.  It’s critical not to overschedule yourself.

When I counseled working students about Ashton Admissions I would steer them toward the part-time online programs because of the flexibility and the workload. It’s a lot to ask of yourself if your schedule is already busy with work or family to then add a fulltime course load. 

Often people just want to graduate with their credentials sooner, but the risk to your mental health and the danger that you won’t be able to juggle everything successfully isn’t worth graduating a year sooner. It’s better to be realistic about what you can do and take your time getting there. 

You are playing a long game so don’t think like a sprinter, think like a marathon runner. Go slow, nourish yourself, take regular breaks and get proper sleep. 

       3. Ask for support

Think about what kind of support you need to succeed. Make a list of what your ideal support system looks like. It might include: Adjusted work schedule, extra help with studies (tutor, test-prep course, homework group), transfer to a part-time program, support with meal-prep, child-care, or housekeeping. 

If you are the type of person who others rely on for support, the go-to person in your family or friends circle, than you might try a role-reversal for a change and ask others to support you. It’s important that you know you too deserve to have your needs met. What would make your life easier and who can help you with that?

Go ahead and ask for support. Maybe you don’t realize how much support is available for you. Oftentimes, we don’t ask for the help we need. Maybe we feel embarrassed that we can’t do it all ourselves. Maybe we don’t think someone wants to help us or is able to help us. The truth is sometimes we are just making this up in our minds. Ask for what you need. You might be surprised by how easy it is to get it. Even if it doesn’t go well, at least you stood up for yourself and did your best.  

Keep breathing. Keep smiling. You can do this. Just don’t expect to do it perfectly. 

Do it slowly and imperfectly and be kind to yourself along the way. 

Three Tips to Boost your Exam Confidence

Exams are not just a test of knowledge but also a test of nerves. Some people do well under pressure in an exam setting. For others the pressure to perform and excel can actually interfere with a successful outcome. If exam anxiety is holding you back, here are three tips to help boost your exam confidence.

1. Set the stage for success

If anxiety affects your exam preparation and performance than consider how you can adjust your environment to increase your confidence.  The easier it is to follow through with your study and preparation the more likely you are to do well. 

Set up a beautiful space to study in. If your materials are disorganized or your books are not in an obvious place than it’s easier to procrastinate and reinforce negative messages that anxiety provokes like “I’m overwhelmed. I’m not ready for this.” 

Chip and Dan Heath’s book, “Switch” explores this technique of shaping the path in detail. They describe it as “making the right behaviors a little bit easier and the wrong behaviours a little bit harder.” Even small tweaks can make a big difference when you struggle with anxiety.  

Put your phone on airplane mode while you work, disable notifications on your laptop, or work at the library instead of at home to avoid distractions. Leave your study cue cards on your bedside table so you can glance at them before bed or review them while you drink your coffee in the morning. If you struggle with motivation, find a study buddy and book times to review your material together. This can help keep you accountable. The aim is to remove all the barriers you can from your path that increase your anxiety or get in the way of your exam preparation. 

2. Enhance your brainpower

What smells like success? A 2012 study shows that Rosemary does. It has been demonstrated to boost overall brain performance. Lavender has been shown to decrease stress, which can diminish your ability to focus during your exam. If you are not sleeping properly or your brain is on overdrive with worry it’s hard to do your best under pressure. 

Your diet also affects your brain performance. It can be tempting to load up on sugar or carbs to comfort yourself or fuel your weary brain but healthier food choices will better aid concentration and memory.

There are also proven techniques to enhance your memory including meditation and exercise. One technique that goes against the time honoured tradition of studying all night before an important exam, is to get more sleep. 

Researchers in one study had participants memorize illustrated cards. Afterward, they had a 40 minute break. One group napped and the other didn’t. The group that napped retained on average 85 percent of the patterns compared to 60 percent for those who remained awake. 

If you struggle with exam anxiety than the temptation to over-prepare can be powerful. If you are driven to study hard just don’t forget that your brain and body need to rest also and this may do more to enhance your results than depriving yourself of sleep in order to cram in more study time. Lack of sleep is a big factor in poor academic performance and cramming instead of sleeping increases stress levels which then negatively affects performance. 

3. Pace yourself

Create a series of little wins along the way instead of hyper-focusing on the exam itself. These success markers keep you motivated and lift your confidence grow in small increments before you head into an important exam. Plus learning that is spaced out over time is more effective for short-term recall and long-term retention.

Break your exam preparation plan down into small steps. When you are lacking confidence, you want to set yourself up to win again and again. Even if it is just checking a box off a list that says, “Study Chapter 1 of Textbook” these small feelings of competence and accomplishment send a powerful message to anxious brains over time. When you map out your study schedule make sure you make the steps small so that there are many opportunities to feel a sense of achievement. 

One way to prepare for your exam is through practice quizzes. Your instructor will likely provide these at regular intervals throughout your program, but when you have a really important or difficult exam, you may want extra support to give you a confidence and performance edge.

Ashton College offers Exam Prep Courses for some of their popular programs such as the RCIC Exam Prep Course for Immigration Consultants.  When you take the extra step of investing in an exam prep course you give yourself more time and practice and the benefit of guidance from an experienced instructor. 

After all your education and hard work, anything you do to give yourself a winning edge at the finish line is worth the effort and investment.

Back to School After 40


Benjamin Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” You don’t have to be a great inventor to believe this. If you’ve lived long enough you know the difference that knowledge makes in your personal and professional life. 

After 40, you may feel rich in experience and the valuable knowledge that has come with it. Many younger adults have already had a rich life as well, diverse in experience and sometimes hardship as well. This doesn’t mean you are rich in purpose, career fulfillment, or material wealth though. 

Many of us had one plan for our lives and our education and things just didn’t land where we thought they would. Sometimes we changed our minds or we just changed our course. Maybe we wanted to change directions. Maybe we had to change directions. 

One day you find yourself standing at a crossroads. Which way do I turn? Do I stay on this well-worn path I’m on. Or maybe that path isn’t even there anymore and it has dissolved behind you through relocation, divorce, or unemployment. What if both the paths before you are new and unfamiliar. 

If you are brave enough to believe in new beginnings than the path you choose may be higher education. No one is too old to become a college student all over again or for the first time. Higher education is a lifelong endeavor, not one reserved exclusively for fresh-faced high school graduates. 

A college certificate or diploma means even more to some older students. You often have made more sacrifices to be at school later in life because your home and work commitments are more established vs. a twenty-something student. Perhaps you had to wait years to get your chance to even go back to school. What comes easy isn’t valued as much as what was hard-won. 

Our brains and bodies might not be as fit when are older as well. The schedule and the schoolwork itself might seem a bit more of a struggle. Here’s what makes the difference, though – you have more depth of character and maturity with age. You have overcome in your life again and again with time. Returning to college and maybe feeling vulnerable or worrying if you can fit in or keep up or if it’s even the right choice are a small price to pay for the return. As an older student, you know that good things take time and might be harder than you imagined. You also know that it’s worth it to bet on yourself, to choose a new dream, and to sacrifice in the short-term for longer-term rewards. 

I have worked at Ashton College as an Admissions Advisor and some of the people I’ve been most moved by are older adults who are calling for advice and assistance in applying for one of our programs. One of our applicants for the Immigration Consultant Diploma Program was in her fifties and she had worked as an Administrative Assistant for many years in a law firm. 

Rose came to Canada from Hong Kong decades ago and she told me with tears in her eyes that she wanted to bring her sister here. That was her dream and her plan from the beginning – open her own business and be able to help her sister immigrate here. They could work side by side and help other people to come to Canada. She wasn’t sure she would be accepted into our program, but she was underestimating herself and when her English Proficiency scores came back they were really high. 

She called me when she got her loan approved and got into our program. I cried a little too because I could hear how much it meant to her. Rose enrolled in our online program so that she could keep working at the law firm. She will have to put in some long hours, but I expect she will be one of our top graduates. Rose is that kind of person. She works hard and she has a purpose and a goal. It doesn’t matter that she’s just starting her diploma now because she isn’t just starting at all. She has been preparing for this for a lifetime. 

Don’t shy away from new education and new beginnings later in life because it’s never too late for a happy ending.