As all facets of society rely more on technology, information security has become paramount. With information readily available online, businesses must do everything possible to prevent data breaches and cyberattacks while safeguarding critical systems and data.
With so much at risk, businesses need qualified people to manage their information systems. CISSP certification indicates professional excellence, assuring hiring managers that candidates have the in-demand career skills necessary to manage IT security.
We’ll explore what it takes to become a CISSP when navigating your career path in the IT industry.
CISSP stands for Certified Information Systems Security Professional. It’s a globally recognized certification offered by the International System Security Certification Consortium, also known as (ISC)². CISSP is considered one of the best infosec and cybersecurity certifications around.
Individuals seek CISSP certification to answer the call for experienced, highly capable IT professionals who can effectively manage an enterprise’s cybersecurity by applying IT security-related concepts and theories.
After passing the certification exam (which usually takes around six hours), CISSPs can take on various job titles, including the following:
No matter the job title, a CISSP always focuses on upholding a top-notch IT security system.
There are relatively few CISSPs in the industry, so those who pass the certification exam and meet the requirements are well-compensated.
Reports differ regarding how much CISSPs earn. For example, the Global Knowledge 2020 IT Skills and Salary Report said CISSPs are the third-highest earners in the IT industry worldwide while ranking fifth in the North America Region.
An (ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce study shows that the global average security manager’s salary is $92,639. Below are the figures for different regions based on the latest available information.
Average salary (in U.S. dollars)
Europe, Middle East, and Africa
On the other hand, according to the Certification Magazine-Salary Survey 75 report, average salaries are as follows:
Average salary (in U.S. dollars)
The average global salaries from (ISC)² and CertMag differ; CertMag’s values combined U.S. and non-U.S. salaries. Additionally, while CertMag’s values were based on a study of only 55 respondents, (ISC)²’s statistics are derived from an industry-wide study and may be more representative of actual averages.
Despite the increasing demand for CISSPs, the (ISC)² imposes strict qualifications to ensure that only the most capable and experienced professionals earn the title. The industry is lucrative, but the requirements CISSPs must fulfill are extensive.
First, CISSP applicants must have at least five years of valid working experience relevant to the IT security field. The (ISC)² requires that work experience falls under the eight domains of the (ISC)² CISSP CBK:
Additionally, to satisfy these domains, the (ISC)² requires experience in any of the following positions:
Work experience can come from full-time employment, part-time employment, or an internship. (Requirements may vary depending on your employment terms.)
The CISSP certification is considered an evergreen IT certification; it demonstrates excellent longevity, desirability, popularity, and compensation.
Work experience is only part of what you need to become a CISSP. To be certified, you’ll also need to prepare for and pass the CISSP exam, which costs $699 and requires a minimum score of 700 out of 1,000 points.
Besides passing the certification exam, you must also undergo an endorsement process to become a CISSP. You can do this by subscribing to the (ISC)² Code of Ethics. The endorsement form must be completed within nine months after passing the exam to fully certify your status as a CISSP.
Not everyone meets CISSP certification requirements – in fact, very few do. However, there are ways to bypass or fast-track your way into the industry.
One of the biggest challenges to becoming a CISSP is acquiring the relevant qualifying experience. However, you can remedy your lack of experience by applying for a job as an (ISC)² Associate.
Becoming an (ISC)² Associate helps you fast-track your cybersecurity career. Additionally, because you’ll work closely with the consortium, you can learn more about the industry and grow as a cybersecurity expert.
You can also jump-start your cybersecurity career by looking into certifications offered by CompTIA. CompTIA helps IT professionals acquire specific certifications to fortify their credentials. Some certifications you can apply for include the entry-level A+, Security+, and Network+ certifications.
Entry-level cybersecurity certifications can help jump-start your cybersecurity career by verifying your skills and knowledge and getting your resume noticed.
Another way to meet the required CISSP qualifications if you have relevant but insufficient work experience is to work on your credential as a Systems Security Certified Professional or SSCP, also under the (ISC)².
Following this path will help you prepare for CISSP certification. It’s like a walk-through toward fulfilling your primary goal with the added perk of gaining an extensive understanding and mastery of the job ahead of time.
Becoming a CISSP is challenging, and the necessary qualifications require extensive time and effort. However, compared to almost any other employment type – even in the IT sector – CISSP certification is profitable and affords many opportunities.
If you have what it takes to become a CISSP – drive, credentials, time, and money – and feel confident, you should consider taking the exam. The CISSP job market has high demand across all industries and organizations. Aside from its considerable earning opportunities, you can become an indispensable asset for any company because of your IT security expertise.