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5 Reasons to Take a CISSP Certification Course (and Tips to Pass the Exam)

Feb 2022 by MARIA FORSBERG

If you’re a cybersecurity professional looking to become more valuable in your industry, consider obtaining a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification.

 

 

This certification is considered the “gold standard” of cybersecurity certifications and will command a higher salary.

 

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What is CISSP certification?

CISSP certification was created by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, also known as (ISC)². Unlike some certifications that are created and managed by a vendor, this particular certification is neutral.

The CISSP certification process involves a test with multiple-choice questions (between 100-150 questions) that takes about three hours to complete. You’ll pass with a score of 70% or higher.

Of course, this isn’t an entry-level certification, so you’ll need to have some existing skills and experience to qualify. If you’re already a cybersecurity pro, here’s why you should pursue this certification, along with some tips for passing the exam.

 

1. You meet the qualifications

If you meet the qualifications to pursue CISSP certification, that’s a great reason to get started. It means you’re already in a good position to learn more and pass the exam.

CISSP qualifications

To take the exam, you’ll need to have at least five years of experience in a minimum of two (ISC)² domains. If you have a four-year college degree, that will count as one year of experience, in which case, you’d need four years of cumulative paid work experience in two of the domains listed below.

There are eight total domains, and each carries a different weight in the CISSP exam, noted in percentages below:

  • Security and Risk Management (15%)
  • Asset Security (10%)
  • Security Architecture and Engineering (13%)
  • Communications and Network Security (14%)
  • Identity and Access Management (13%)
  • Security Assessment and Testing (12%)
  • Security Operations (13%)
  • Software Development Security (10%)

All of these domains are covered in the CISSP certification process, but you only need experience in two.

You can take the CISSP exam before you have the qualifications, but passing will only make you an Associate of (ISC)². At that point, you’ll have six years to acquire the necessary five years of paid experience (or four years if you have a four-year college degree).

How work experience is calculated

If you’ve held a part-time job as a cybersecurity professional in any of the aforementioned domains, make sure your working hours align with the requirements. For instance, work experience must be at least 35 hours per week for a full-time job, or between 20-34 hours per week for a part-time job.

You can also use an internship – paid or unpaid – toward your work requirements.

In addition to work experience, you’ll need a relevant four-year college degree or an approved credential as determined by the (ISC)².

 

2. You want a job as a senior security engineer

Do you wish to become a chief security officer or a chief information security officer? If becoming a senior security engineer is your goal, CISSP certification will help make that dream a reality.

 

3. You want more respect in your field

Respect has to be earned, but it’s much easier when you have a powerful certification. Some certifications naturally command respect, including the CISSP certification.

This isn’t just some random certificate you earn online after paying a fee and guessing answers on a quick test. It’s a demonstration that you’ve taken your expertise to a higher level and you’re serious about cybersecurity.

With hackers constantly attacking small businesses and government agencies, you’ll be seen as someone who has dedicated their life to tackling a major problem that everyone can relate to on some level. You’ll be the solution to just about everyone’s problem and that is always worthy of respect.

 

4. You’d like to become a cybersecurity authority

Having respect is great, but being an authority is even better. Wouldn’t you like to be the person everyone comes to for advice? If you’re a natural problem solver and find quick solutions to cybersecurity issues, it’s imperative that your voice be heard.

When you’re an expert in your field, people want to hear what you have to say. They want to know what you know. They want answers and solutions to their problems that only you can provide.

Imagine being able to share your expertise with the world and be fully credited for what you share as a recognized expert? That’s a powerful reason to get certified.

 

5. You’ll make a difference wherever you work

There is a serious cybersecurity professional shortage in the world right now. Being CISSP certified will not only give you the leverage you need to get a high position and salary, but you’ll also be making a huge difference for people wherever you work.

When you sign on with a company, you’ll help transform their operations into a more secure set of systems and procedures. By helping to secure a company, you’ll save them tens of thousands of dollars along with endless frustration.

 

Consider these tips for passing the CISSP exam

1. Take practice exams

When security experts explain how they passed the CISSP exam, many say that the practice questions aren’t very close to the real questions. So, don’t count on the practice questions themselves to be on the test. Instead, use them as a guideline for the type of questions you’ll have to answer and study deeper.

Use your critical thinking skills to look deeper into the question rather than just looking for the right answer. Look for patterns and context. For instance, some questions might be presented as problem/solution.

The practice exam questions might be simple to solve, while the real exam might have questions that deal with deeper problems and solutions. The key here is to start thinking about problem solving rather than memorizing the answers to practice test questions.

2. Get a coach

The CISSP certification process is hard, so get a coach to help you study and pass the exam. A coach will identify your areas of weakness and will support you and guide you. They’ll be around to answer questions when you get stuck.

They’ll challenge you – they may even try to trick you to make sure you’re confident enough to pass the exam. Best of all, they’ll make sure you don’t spend too much time studying the wrong things.

 

Get CISSP certified and advance your cybersecurity career

Ready to get certified? Take our CISSP online certification course and start moving your career up to the next level. Our courses run on a schedule, so if you’ve missed the current one, you can always join the next one.

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