Cybersecurity is the IT Job No. Cybersecurity is the number one IT job for most organizations. The demand for security professionals is never higher. There are many security certification bodies, but the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC2) is the most well-known.
Their most prominent security certification is the Certified Information Systems Security Professional, (CISSP), which is arguably one the most valuable and difficult security certifications.
Security professionals in their early stages of careers may find the CISSP intimidating and may look to the (ISC]2 Systems Security Certified Practitioners (SSCP) or another accreditation as a way to get certified.
Let’s dive deeper into these two (ISC2) certifications. Let’s take a closer look at these certifications, including their career value and the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’.
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Get certified as a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).
This certification is for cybersecurity professionals who are experienced — managers, technicians, and executives. Candidates must pass a three hour, 100- to 150 question computer adaptive testing exam in order to earn CISSP certification. They must also provide proof of five years of continuous employment or work experience in at least one of the eight CISSP security domains as defined by (ISC).
Security and Risk Management
Security Architecture and Engineering
Communications and Network Security
Management of Access and Identity
Security Assessment and Testing
But that’s not all. After passing the CISSP exam, the candidate must be endorsed and certified by an active (ISC2) credential holder before they can receive their CISSP certificate.
You should note that if you pass CISSP but don’t have the required years of domain experience, (ISC.2) will recognize you as a CISSP associate while you gain the required domain experience.
It’s encouraging to see that the current Guide to the CISSP2 states that the average salary for CISSP-certified professionals is over $130,000. According to the CyberSeek interactive cybersecurity demand/supply map of job postings, CISSP was the most in-demand security certification as of September 2019.
Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP).
CISSP is only for experienced professionals. The SSCP, which is an early-career certification by (ISC),2, requires only one year of relevant cybersecurity experience. The SSCP is different in that it focuses on practical, technical aspects of cybersecurity, while the CISSP focuses on process.
(ISC.2) SSCP is intended for engineers and administrators, whereas CISSP can be used for senior IT leaders, such as auditors, consultants, architects, and managers. The SSCP is similar to CompTIA’s Security+ certification, but it is not as well-known.
Candidates for SSCP must pass a three hour, 125-question test that tests their knowledge of the following security domains.
Security Operations and Administration
Monitoring and Analysis of Risks
Incident Response and Recovery
Network and Communications Security
Systems and Application Security
SSCP candidates must have a minimum of one year of work experience in one of the SSCP security domains. A degree in cybersecurity programs may allow you to be granted a waiver for the first year.
SSCP candidates must be endorsed, just like the CISSP credential.
CISSP vs. SSCP
It is not a matter of one cert being better than the other. They are different areas of cybersecurity expertise and experience.
If you are in a security position early in your career and want to establish credibility, then SSCP can be a good place to start.
Are you certain that you want to be an IT leader?