The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification is among the most reputable certificates you can earn throughout your career in IT security.
It can drastically upgrade your career to a higher seniority level, allowing you to take on more responsibilities at work and even climb the ladder to managerial-level job positions.
Sounds intriguing? Let’s find out why the CISSP certification is important to your career and how you can maximize your potential by obtaining it.
What Is the CISSP Certification?
The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification is a prestigious security certificate offered by (ISC)², the leading certification body in the field of cybersecurity. It’s made for professionals who’ve worked in 2 or more of the 8 domains of CISSP (more on that later).
So, what makes a CISSP certificate that valuable? Well, for starters, the CISSP certification meets the requirements of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) 8570 IAM Level II/III, IAT Level III, and IASAE Level I/II. On top of that, it was the first cybersecurity certification to comply with the widely-recognized ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024 standard.
It’s also worth noting that the CISSP credential is your only ticket to pursuing DoD 8570 IASAE Level III accredited concentrations, like CISSP-ISSEP and CISSP-ISSAP. Additionally, the certificate is your gateway to the Australian Government Information Security Registered Assessors Program (IRAP).
Pursuing a high-profile certification like CISSP will definitely level up your game in both professional and financial aspects.
Benefits of CISSP
There are countless benefits of acquiring the CISSP certification. It’s an achievement that’ll set your foot into a whole new world of opportunities with a substantial amount of benefits that make the long preparation journey worthwhile. Here’s how the CISSP certification is essential to your career development:
Did you know that there’s a 2.9 million shortage of CISSP professionals? That’s right; earning a CISSP certificate is no walk in the park. You must really know what you’re doing if you want to secure a passing score in the exam, which explains why the demand far exceeds the number of credential holders.
By earning the CISSP certification, you’ll stand tall among your peers and be seen as an expert in your industry, allowing you to take on better job roles in high-profile corporations. You can even work independently as an IT security consultant, and the CISSP certification will provide your clients with the trust they need.
And while the CISSP certification itself isn’t a guarantee that you’ll be able to get a particular job, the statistics have clearly shown that the credential has helped many professionals enhance their career prospects.
According to CRN magazine’s list of the most valuable certifications in 2017, the CISSP claimed 4th place as one of the highest money-making certificates. Another recent survey has crowned CISSP as the most valuable IT security certification for 2021.
Based on the data collected by (ISC)² in its recent study, CISSP professionals earn an annual global average salary of $92,639. If we only took the mean salaries in North America, that number jumps to $120,552 per year.
In regions like Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, the mean salary of a CISSP holder is $81,568 per year, while in Latin America, CISSPs earn an annual salary of $22,014.
It’s worth noting that the fluctuations in salary averages are due to currency differences in different parts of the world. For example, the living expenses in Latin America are remarkably lower than in North America, which explains why there’s almost a $100,000 difference in the average salaries of the two regions.
According to glassdoor.com, a CISSP professional’s average salary in the United States is $123,231 per year, making it one of the country’s highest-paying certifications. That’s approximately equal to (ISC)²’s estimated salary average for North America. Payscale.com also estimates the national salary average for CISSPs to be $115,082 per year.
It’s worth mentioning that many factors can influence your base salary as a CISSP, like industry, company, years of experience, and skills.
Employers are fully aware that to become eligible for pursuing the CISSP certification, you need to have relevant work experience and education since your application will only be accepted if you meet (ISC)² strict criteria.
Not to mention, you must get an endorsement from a CISSP professional after passing the exam to earn the certificate. Having this credential listed down in your CV speaks volumes about your expertise in the industry.
Plus, with a failure rate of 80% in the CISSP exam, passing it will make you stand out from the crowd as an expert in the industry.
What’s more, the certification is recognized globally, meaning that you can use it to get an IT security job in any part of the world.
Developing Your Skills
Studying for the CISSP exam requires you to go through a wide variety of advanced security topics, giving you the chance to develop your skills and explore new concepts and methodologies that you can apply at work.
The certification follows a dual approach that combines management and on-site implementation into one. You’ll acquire the skills that qualify you to lead functional teams by planning out a thorough strategy and following up with your team on the progress.
Similarly, the certification provides you with the practical skills needed to tackle technical root causes that hinder your security strategy’s progress.
A CISSP professional would significantly contribute to the company they work at because they’re capable of planning out a security roadmap from brainstorming to development all the way to monitoring and improving.
Now, let’s discuss the learning outcomes of the CISSP’s certification training program in more detail by walking through the 8 domains that the CISSP certification exposes you to:
Security and Risk Management
In this domain, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the concepts of integrity, confidentiality, and availability, as well as how to apply them in your industry.
What’s more, you’ll be capable of assessing and applying the principles of security to ensure that the security function aligns with the organization’s strategic and operational goals. Additionally, you’ll learn about the most common security control frameworks used in the industry.
You’ll also understand risk management mechanics and the best practices of risk mitigation in the security domain.
Software Development Security
This chapter is dedicated to implementing security measures throughout the different Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) stages. It allows you to explore the application of security controls in various development environments. You’ll also learn how to evaluate how effective a software’s security system is and apply corrective actions if necessary.
In addition, you’ll learn all the ins and outs of secure coding standards and how to define them, providing you with the intuition needed to identify security vulnerabilities at the source-code level.
Communication and Network Security
In this domain, you’ll learn how to design secure network architectures, like wireless networks and TCP/IP models. You’ll also explore the components of a secure network, including transmission media, hardware operation, endpoint security, and Network Access Control (NAC) devices.
Security Architecture and Engineering
As its name implies, the security architecture and engineering domain focuses on applying secure design principles to engineering processes. You’ll get familiar with the core principles of security models and learn the standard methodologies used in selecting the best control measures according to security requirements.
Moreover, you’ll be able to gauge and mitigate the vulnerabilities in mobile, embedded, and web-based systems. You’ll also learn how to apply cryptography, one of the most critical skills an IT security professional must have in their arsenal.
Additionally, this module teaches you how to map out secure sites and facilities by applying secure design principles.
Security Assessment and Testing
Security assessment and testing is an integral part of an IT security professional’s knowledge base.
Throughout this chapter, you’ll learn how to design and validate audit and test strategies. You’ll also get familiar with security control testing by knowing how to carry out a wide variety of tests, such as vulnerability assessment, misuse case testing, interface testing, and penetration testing.
What’s more, the topic covers the foundational knowledge that you need to collect technical and administrative security process data. You’ll also learn all about identifying your security KPIs and disaster recovery.
The asset security part of the CISSP’s training program emphasizes the identification and classification of assets and information, as well as privacy protection and determining the appropriate data security controls. It also teaches you how to select the right standards based on different scenarios.
Identity and Access Management (IAM)
In the IAM domain, you’ll get clued up about setting up the physical and logical access controls, in addition to identifying and authenticating services, people, and devices. You’ll also understand how to implement identity by treating it as a third-party service.
Lastly, the security operations module discusses the requirements of different types of investigations, including civil, administrative, regulatory, and criminal investigations. You’ll also get familiar with the industry standards in security investigations. You’ll also get clued up about the whole process of investigating an incident, from collecting evidence and reporting all the way to use the appropriate investigation techniques.
There’s no denying that the CISSP certification can be a big step toward your career development and growth. Whether you want to get a promotion, switch jobs, or even launch your own IT security consultation agency, the CISSP would be an excellent addition to your achievements.
However, it’s essential to keep in mind that pursuing the CISSP certification is a long journey that requires a great deal of dedication and effort, and of course, money. That’s why you need to ensure that pursuing the CISSP certificate aligns with your career goals.