If you are interested in a career as an information security professional, there is a good chance that you will become either a Certified Information Security Manager or Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).
Only a few people are able to do both. In this case, it is common to pursue a CISSP first followed by a CISM. However, one certification is not a foundation for another. Each certification has its own focus. Understanding the impact each certification will have on your career will help you choose the right one.
An overview of CISM vs CISSP
Both certifications require years of experience in certain fields and specializations. These prerequisites are important to ensure that you can focus on your career development while you wait for the exam.
CISSP requires a minimum five-year cumulative paid work experience in at least two of the eight domains covered. This can be satisfied by a minimum of one year of education achievements, such as a bachelor’s degree or one of the approved certifications.
CISM requires at least five years’ experience in information security and at least three years in management. This last requirement cannot be separated and must include at least three job practice analysis areas.
Few cybersecurity professionals start in security. Most of us begin our careers in other areas of IT and become experts in those areas before moving into security-focused areas. Don’t let a lack in security experience discourage your career. Take a look at where you want to go and then make a list of the steps that you need to get there.
Learn how to become a security expert with SPOTO’s Cybersecurity Training
Start trainingVolunteering for additional responsibilities that will expose you to security issues in the current position is a great way to get started. When you are looking for a job, show your interest in these areas. It will show that you are career-focused and goal-oriented.
Your Security Career: Choosing CISM/CISSP
The CISSP certification and CISM certification are not comparable. They’re complimentary. Each one is intended for a specific sector of cybersecurity professionals. Understanding the role each plays at advanced career stages will help you choose the best.
CISSP focuses on both technical and managerial aspects. It is usually a job for those with security director, IT manager, network architect, security analyst or security auditor backgrounds. The CISSP is a more suited program for those who want to continue working with the technical side of their careers. It has eight domains, compared to the four that CISM covers.
The management side of cybersecurity is covered by a CISM certification. It is open to information security managers and others with information security management responsibilities. Although a CISM requires a high level of technical expertise, it is intended to reflect leadership in security management and not someone who is a “wrench-turner” at the top. Each of the four CISM domains emphasize governance or administration.
You don’t need to take either certification as a binding commitment at an early stage of your career. You can still change directions if necessary. It is important to understand the differences between each certification so that you can make informed decisions about any changes.
Concentrate on the things that interest you most. You will discover more about that area.