Certifications carry considerable weight within the information technology sector. An estimated 91 percent of recruiters consider these credentials when evaluating IT applicants, according to research from CompTIA. Consequently, many third-party organizations offer technology-based certification programs to meet market demand. However, few are as effective and respected as the International Information System Security Certification Consortium’s CISSP program.
In 2015, U.S. employers posted nearly 50,000 jobs requesting a CISSP. The number of CISSP holders was about 65,000 at the time.
The CISSP certification covers eight primary subjects: security operations, security and risk management, identity and access management, communication and networking security, security engineering, security assessment and testing, asset security, and software development security. This instructional bent makes the CISSP certification perfect for IT professionals with heavy data security workloads such as security architects and security systems engineers.
CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)
How do IT professionals obtain the credential? They must first meet experiential requirements. CISSP candidates must have at least five years of work experience, with demonstrable job duties pertaining to two or more of the subjects above. Those with four-year degrees focusing on these topics are able to waive one year of the required five. Professionals who meet these base conditions can then take the CISSP exam, which is administered online and features 250 multiple choice and “advanced innovative” questions. The latter employ drag and drop hotspot technology to simulate everyday IT practices. Test takers have six hours to complete the exam and must score 700 out of 1000 possible points to pass.
After passing the test, CISSP certification seekers must agree to the (ISC)2 and receive endorsement from a CISSP certified professional. The organization requires CISSP certification holders to renew their credentials every three years. This requires submission of 120 continuing education credits and payment of an $85 maintenance fee.
In the end, this is a small price to pay for a certification that has the potential to open up new IT career paths and simplify the job search process.