A Step by Step Guide on How to Get a CISSP Certification


Overview of the Certification

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is offered by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium, commonly abbreviated as (ISC)2. This certification is an independent security certification because any alliance between companies or industries does not offer it. This certification has wide recognition. As of May 2019, more than 130000 people around the world held CISSP certification.

CISSP certification was also accredited under the ANSI ISO/IEC Standard 17024:2003 making it one of the few certifications to have such accreditation. CISSP is also formally approved by the US DOD under three different training requirements for their 8570 certification requirements – Information Assurance Technical (IAT), Informational Assurance Managerial (IAM), and Information Assurance Systems Architect and Engineer (IASAE).

This certification proves cybersecurity expertise and experience. Getting a CISSP certification shows that you have the ability to design, execute, manage, and troubleshoot cybersecurity programs.

Is This Certification Right for You?

CISSP certification is intended for the more experienced cybersecurity personnel. While CIOs, CISOs are on the list, people like Security Managers, IT Security Auditors, Network and IT architects, and other people in similar positions of responsibility. Unlike other certifications such as CISM or CISA, CISSP is not for entry-level professionals.

What are the Eligibility Criteria for This Course?

The CISSP exam has a total of 8 domains within the field of cybersecurity. They are

  • Security and Risk Management
  • Security of IT Assets
  • Security Architecture and Engineering
  • Communication Processes and Network Security
  • Identity and Access Management (IAM)
  • Security Assessment and Testing
  • Security Operations
  • Software Development Security

To be qualified for attempting for this exam, candidates need at least five years of cumulative, paid, and relevant work experience in at least 2 domains out of the 8 listed above. If you don’t have the necessary experience by the time you apply for CISSP training, you’ll have 6 years after writing the exam to make up for it. So, within those six years, you’re expected to gain the necessary experience and then apply for certification with from (ISC)2.

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What is the CISSP Certification Process?

For this certification, you need to work for at least 35 hours a week to qualify for the minimum accrual per month if it is full-time work. If it is part-time work, it can’t be more than 34 hours a week nor less than 20 hours a week. For the purposes of these certifications, internships will also be acceptable. Those internships could be paid or unpaid. For internships, your company or your school must provide a letter on the official letterhead stating that you’re working with them as an intern.

However, if you have a four-year degree in the set of courses deigned or if you possess any credential that is approved by (ISC)2, you can knock a maximum of one year off the required 5 years of experience. So, if you qualify for the exceptions mentioned, you only need to show 4 years of work experience.

Once you complete all the pre-requisites, the only thing left is to enroll yourself for the exam. For appearing for the exam, you need a Pearson Vue account for validation.

Also Read:  Top Paying IT Certifications 

What is the CISSP Exam Cost?

The exam has a minimum of 100 questions and a maximum of 150 questions. (ISC)2 uses a method of testing called Computerized Adaptive Testing, or CAT. In this, questions could be based on a drag and drop where you have to drag from one end and put it on the other end. The other type is the hotspot where you’d be asked what part of a graph would a be component be on.

The exam costs $699 across all regions. Apart from this, there are other charges for scheduling, late cancellations, no-show, or other such events. All these will be mentioned on the Pearson Vue website. These are the standard fees that apply for taking any test on Pearson Vue.

If you don’t clear CISSP the first time, then you must wait for at least 30 days before retaking. You can take up to 3 times within a 12-month period. However, each attempt is chargeable.

How Long Does a CISSP Certification last?

For retaining your certification, you need to gain 120 Continuing Professional Educational Units (CPEs). Your certification lasts 3 years in total. However, as soon as your exam is done, you need to get your experience endorsed. This has to be done within 9 months from the date of your passing the exam. This endorsement has to be done by another (ISC)2 member verifying your professional experience. Until this is done, even though you passed the exam, you still haven’t been certified.

Of course, the alternative is to submit your work experience within 6 years of passing the exam. Even then, you have to get yourself endorsed by any current member to verify that your professional experience is genuine. Only after this is done are you a CISSP.

What are the Salaries and Job Opportunities for CISSP?

The salaries for Certified Information Systems Security Professional depend on what role they assume. With this certification, professionals can enter varied professions such as

  • Information Security Manager and Information Security Analyst
  • Consultant for Computing, Networking and Information Technology
  • Security Architect for IT
  • Senior Security Consultant
  • Information Security Specialist
  • Chief Information Security Officer

The average salary across all divisions varies depending on the number of years of experience a person has in the related field. The average salary, listwise, for an average experience of 7-9 years, ranges between 80000 USD and 200000 USD. This depends on what role you are in and what experience you have in that role

Where to Get Online Resources for Getting CISSP Certification

There are a lot of platforms that offer courses, practice guides, exam materials, testing sets, and other resource material required for the exam. For better preparation, you can always visit (ISC)2 website. Other than that, there are courses like Udemy, Simplilearn, and other websites that offer training for the exam.