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CISSP Has Changed (Again): What it Means for Your Certification Prep

Sep. 17, 2019
James Michael Stewart


The CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) certification exam update in April 2018 included a modest revision of topics and a significant change to the testing process. Prepping for the CISSP exam has become more challenging. You will need to be knowledgeable in all eight domains of CISSP in order to pass. This white paper discusses the importance of the CISSP certification, identifies the changes in topics, reveals the complexity of the new testing format, and provides guidance for your preparations towards successfully passing the CISSP exam.



Many certification roadmaps include CISSP as an important security certification to consider in a career and education plan. One example of this is the CompTIA IT Certification Roadmap, which places CISSP in the “Expert” column of the Information Security pathway. The CompTIA roadmap of IT certifications is not alone in recognizing the importance and value of this certification.

CISSP is a widely desired indicator of knowledge, experience, and excellence on the resume of many IT professionals. CISSP is not just a recommendation by industry groups—it has achieved its respected position as an important IT certification through practical observation. The drive to achieve this notable certification is evidenced in its appearance on a significant number of job postings. Performing a job search in any moderate or larger metropolitan area reveals that an astounding number of IT and security positions request that the applicant be CISSP-certified.

A quick scan of resume posting sites also shows that a number of IT professionals who are either currently employed or are job seeking include CISSP on their resume and/or profile in order to attract the attention of top job brokers and HR managers.

(ISC)2 asserts there are over 125,000 CISSP-certified individuals worldwide, and that number is growing at a steady pace. Those who hold the CISSP certification are employed at Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, and many operate as independent contractors.

According to the Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary Report, CISSP-certified professionals have the third highest worldwide IT salaries ($116,573) and rank 10th in the United States ($123,815).

An October 2018 survey by Certification Magazine reveals even further insights into the demographics of those holding the CISSP certification.

  • Over 10% of certification holders are women
  • Most are aged 35 to 64
  • 41.8% have a master’s degree and an additional 33.2% hold a bachelor’s degree
  • 94.2% are employed full-time
  • CISSP holders are often senior specialists (42.7%), managers (16.4%), or directors (11.8%)
  • 70% have worked in cybersecurity for over a decade
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