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How to Become CISSP Certified: A Guide for Information Security Experts

[fa icon="calendar"] Mar 29, 2024 4:35:57 PM / by Paul Ricketts

TrainACE CISSP training-1

In the rapidly evolving field of information security, earning a CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) certification is a significant milestone. It’s a testament to your expertise, dedication, and commitment to your cybersecurity career. If you’re an information security professional, such as a cybersecurity risk analyst, contemplating the next steps in your career, becoming CISSP certified could be the game-changer you’re looking for. Let’s dive into how you can achieve this esteemed certification, addressing critical aspects like experience requirements, the certification process, endorsements, and why it’s worth the effort.

What are the prerequisites for becoming CISSP certified?

Before embarking on your journey to becoming CISSP certified, it’s crucial to grasp the experience requirements. ISC², the organization behind CISSP, stipulates:

  • Work Requirements: You must have worked full-time for at least five years in at least two of the eight areas covered by the CISSP CBK (Common Body of Knowledge). The domains cover a wide range, including Security and Risk Management and Software Development Security.
  • Alternatives: If you lack the full five years, holding a four-year college degree, a recognized credential like CISM, CISA, or CSSP, or an additional year of experience in one of the CISSP domains can satisfy one year of the required experience.


How do I prepare for the CISSP exam?

The certification process is meticulous, designed to ensure that only the most capable professionals earn the title. Here’s what it entails:

  1. Prepare Thoroughly: Utilize official study materials, participate in study groups, and consider formal training courses. Understand the depth and breadth of the eight CISSP domains.
  2. Pass the Exam: The CISSP exam is rigorous. It features a blend of multiple-choice and advanced innovative questions over three hours, testing your knowledge across all CISSP domains.
  3. Subscribe to the (ISC)² Code of Ethics: Agreeing to uphold the high ethical standards set by (ISC)² is mandatory.
  4. Endorsement Process: After the exam, you must be endorsed by another (ISC)² certified professional who can attest to your professional experience and good character.
  5. Maintain Your Certification: Earning the CISSP certification is not the end. You must earn Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits and pay an annual subscription fee to keep your certification active.


How difficult is the CISSP exam, and what is its format?

The CISSP exam is known for its challenging nature. It is designed to test a candidate’s depth and breadth of knowledge across the eight domains. The exam format utilizes Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT) for English language exams. It consists of 100 to 150 questions with a time limit of 3 hours. The questions are a mix of multiple-choice and advanced innovative questions.


What is the endorsement process after passing the CISSP exam?

After passing your CISSP exam, the endorsement phase is critical. You have 90 days to complete this step, which verifies your professional experience and ethical standing in information security. It’s a peer review process, underscoring the community and integrity that comes with being CISSP certified. This process confirms that the candidate’s assertions regarding professional experience are true and that they are in good standing within the information security industry.


Why Become CISSP Certified? Is it Worth It?

In our experience, in the Washington DC region, the demand for CISSP skilled and certified professionals is rising in a world where information security threats are ever-present and evolving. Here’s why earning your CISSP is a worthwhile investment:

  • Recognition: CISSP is globally recognized as a gold standard in information security. It showcases your comprehensive knowledge and skillset, setting you apart in the industry.
  • Career Advancement: CISSP certification often leads to higher visibility, job opportunities, and better salaries. It’s not just a badge of honor; it’s a career accelerator.
  • Networking Opportunities: Joining the (ISC)² community connects you with other information security leaders, opening doors to knowledge sharing and professional growth.
  • A Commitment to Excellence: Holding a CISSP certification signifies a deep commitment to the field of information security and a continuous pursuit of excellence through lifelong learning and ethical practice.

How do I maintain my CISSP certification?

CISSP certification holders are required to complete and submit at least 40 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits annually and 120 CPE credits over a three-year certification cycle. Additionally, they must pay an annual maintenance fee (AMF) to keep their certification active and in good standing.


Is CISSP Worth It?

In conclusion, becoming CISSP certified is challenging yet immensely rewarding. It’s not just about fulfilling the experience requirements or passing an exam; it’s about committing to a standard of excellence in information security. Whether you’re a cybersecurity risk analyst, a CISM, a CISA, or a CSSP professional, the CISSP certification is a beacon of expertise, opening the door to unparalleled opportunities and career growth. If you’re dedicated to advancing in information security, the CISSP certification is your next big step.


Topics: CISSP, (ISC)2

Paul Ricketts

Written by Paul Ricketts

Originally from the UK, Paul Ricketts is the Director of Marketing at TrainACE in Greenbelt, MD. Having started out in the field of Geographic Information Systems, Paul has a wealth of experience in a wide variety of industries, focused on tech., graphics and data analysis. Having finally settled in the field of marketing, he has spent the last 8 years fine tuning his skills in the art of communication and persuasion.

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