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CISSP Certification: Everything to Know

The CISSP stands for Certified Information Systems Security Professional.

For seasoned experts and leaders in the cyber security field, the (ISC) 2 CISSP certification is highly valued.

This guide will cover all you need to know about the CISSP, including how it fits your career and whether it’s useful to pursue.

What is CISSP?

The CISSP, managed by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC) 2, is a worldwide recognised certificate. It has been a standard in verifying an individual’s profound technical and managerial knowledge and experience in information security since its inception in 1994.

CISSP not only met the requirements of ANSI/ISO/IEC Standard 17024, but it was also the first to do so. It’s also an accepted baseline certification under the 8570 certification criteria of the US Department of Defense.

All exam-related knowledge in this guide is linked to the CISSP Computerised Adaptive Testing (CAT). All English-based CISSP exams use the CISSP CAT exam as a benchmark. The CISSP exam is also accessible in a linear, fixed-form format in the following countries:

  • German
  • French
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Brazilian Portuguese
  • Spanish-Modern
  • Simplified Chinese

What Are the Domains of the CISSP Exam?

The CISSP exam is based on the Common Body of Knowledge (CBK®) of (ISC) 2, which focuses on eight domains relating to information security.

The domains are:

  1. Security and Risk Management 15%.
  2. Security Architecture and Engineering 13%.
  3. Communication and Network Security 13%.
  4. Asset Security 10%.
  5. Identity and Access Management (IAM) 13%.
  6. Security Assessment and Testing 12%.
  7. Security Operations 13%.
  8. Software Development Security 11%.

How tough is the CISSP Exam?

The CISSP examination is regarded as one of the most challenging cyber security certification examinations available. As a result, even seasoned cyber specialists frequently fail on their first attempt.

Candidates for this certification must have prior expertise in cyber security, which comes in handy when answering the exam’s objective and performance-based questions. Besides, many questions are geared toward how a security or risk manager works rather than a technologist.

Years of executing technical information security activities can lead to inappropriate answers to topics that should be tackled from a process or managerial perspective. The most challenging part is retraining yourself to think about the test and how (ISC) 2 expects you to respond. So preparing for the exam by practising hands-on is essential and is relevant to the cyber security course syllabus.

Eligibility for the CISSP certification exam

You must have paid hands-on experience in cyber security as part of your CISSP assessment. You must show that you have worked full-time for four years. In addition, you’ll need the endorsement of an existing (ISC) 2 certificate holder to attest to your qualifications and character. Finally, CISSP holders must complete a 120-credit continuing professional education program over three years to keep their certification.

Reasons to pursue CISSP certification 

The CISSP is one of the most prominent information technology and security certifications globally. With more than 25 years, the CISSP certifies that you are at the pinnacle of your cyber security knowledge and experience.

According to various workforce studies, there are currently over 131,000 CISSPs in over 170 countries and regions worldwide, and the demand for CISSP workers is at an all-time high.

Here are seven reasons why you should pursue CISSP certification:

  1. Increased earning potential: A CISSP earns an average of $131,030 per year. This reflects various CISSP requirements, including comprehensive cyber security knowledge, hands-on cyber security experience of at least four years in the field, and a dedication to a strict code of ethics. Employers value and respect the CISSP certification, and as a result, you will be paid more. 
  2. Increased career potential: The demand for CISSP-certified employees outnumbers the number of credential holders by a large margin. With the (ISC) 2 Cyber security Labour Study suggesting a global cyber workforce shortfall of over 2.9 million men and women, there has never been a better time to get a CISSP. Furthermore, the CISSP concentrations (CISSP-ISSMP for Management, CISSP-ISSEP for Engineers, and CISSP-ISSAP for Architects) let you build on your CISSP, enhancing your career chances even further.
  3. Standing out among peers: The CISSP is a challenging certification to obtain. So, obtaining it is a proud accomplishment that shows the industry and your peers that you are a consummate industry professional with enough experience to give excellent cyber security leadership and direction for the company you work for. The CISSP is the most valuable credential among employers, according to the 2017 Cyber Security Trends Spotlight Report. 
  4. Understanding of the cyber security landscape: “A mile wide and an inch deep” is how the CISSP is typically described. The CISSP exam covers all aspects of cyber security, from security and risk management to communication and network security and security testing and operations. It guarantees that a certified professional is familiar with all areas of information security and how the aspects of the information security environment in which they work interact with the whole organizational ecosystem.
  5. Being the best of the best: The CISSP certification is useful because it results from years of effort and research. It is the first information security certificate to qualify for the ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024 standard’s stringent requirements. The CISSP meets the DoD 8570 IAM Level II/III, IAT Level III, and IASAE Level I/II requirements. The certification is also a requirement for the CISSP-ISSAP and CISSP-ISSEP concentrations, and even the Australian Government Information Security Registered Assessors Program requires the CISSP (IRAP).
  6. Becoming a member of the world’s largest association: Membership in (ISC) 2, the world’s biggest nonprofit association of cyber security experts, is an added advantage of CISSP certification. With over 140,000 members and growing, (ISC) 2 provides professional development cyber security courses through the Professional Development Institute (PDI). This helps professionals continue their education through industry events such as secure summits held worldwide, technical webinars on emerging cyber security trends, and Member Perks.


Year after year, the CISSP has received industry recognition. It has been recognized Best Professional Certification Program by SC Magazine on several occasions, and magazines including Certification Magazine, TechGig, and PC Magazine frequently rate it among the Top 10 information technology credentials to obtain. So undoubtedly, if you want to progress your cyber security career and have the said amount of experience, this certification can help you reach professional heights.



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