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What is CISSP Certification and How Hard is the CISSP Exam? (2024 Updated)

Cybersecurity is gaining importance as organizations are going digital. Individuals are willing to pursue certification courses in cybersecurity and acquire the skillset. One such certification released in 2003 was the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) Certification. Today, the certification of CISSP is the premier credential awarded to individuals in IT security. This renowned credential is governed by International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC2).

What is CISSP Certification?

The CISSP Certification is the benchmark credential that ISC2 launched. Individuals pursuing this credential need vast experience in the cybersecurity field to obtain CISSP Certification. Professionals with this credential demonstrate their skills in designing, implementing, and managing a robust cybersecurity system. The credential is globally recognized, assisting professionals in furthering their IT security careers. Several organizations even consider CISSP as the benchmark for recruiting security professionals. In a recent survey, it was observed that only 147,000 CISSP Certification holders are present all over the world. Hence, no doubt holders of CISSP Certification are highly sought after.

Why do I need CISSP Certification?

Individuals pursuing CISSP Certification can look for career opportunities beyond the borders of their home country. Undergoing CISSP Certification Training assists candidates in gaining hands-on experience in developing a top-notch cybersecurity system. Among the community of cybersecurity professionals, CISSP-certified individuals gain credibility. The CISSP Certification is based on the latest practices followed in IT security. This entitles professionals to acquire updated knowledge of IT security concepts, terminologies, procedures, and techniques. Pursuing the certification enables individuals to become members of ISC2. This helps individuals network among their peers and exchange information about the latest trends in cybersecurity.

How Hard is the CISSP Exam?

How hard is the CISSP Exam, What is CISSP
How hard is the CISSP Exam

Before choosing CISSP Certification, individuals must determine whether pursuing this renowned credential is the right path for them. On making this decision, individuals can go through the topics covered in the CISSP Exam. The ISC2 has set a certain set of requirements that have to be fulfilled by aspirants to pursue the CISSP Certification. An individual must mandatorily have 5 years of experience in 2 or more cybersecurity domains. This showcases that the certification has a high entry barrier. The domains covered in the CISSP Certification are as follows:

  1. Security and Risk Management
  2. Asset Security
  3. Security Architecture and Engineering
  4. Communication and Network Security
  5. Identity and Access Management
  6. Security Assessment and Testing
  7. Security Operations
  8. Software Development Security

Each of these domains has different weights while attempting the CISSP Exam. The topic given utmost importance in the CISSP Exam is the Security and Risk Management domain. CISSP Exam consists of 250 questions that must be answered within 6 hours. As a result, the exam’s difficulty solely depends on the aspirants’ preparation process.

Some individuals may be well-versed in the field before taking up the exam. This may help them to clear it on the first attempt. On the other hand, a few individuals may commit a few common mistakes while taking up the exam. It is important to note that the CISSP Exam is difficult compared to other cybersecurity certifications. The whole purpose of the certification is to highlight an individual’s skills in implementing an IT Security system. Let us have a few tips that have helped individuals with the CISSP Exam.

Tips to clear CISSP Exam:

Tips to clear CISSP Exam
Tips to clear CISSP Exam
  • Know the exam format

The exam format plays a vital role in the preparation process of CISSP aspirants. Knowing the format of questions and the exam duration assists aspirants in preparing accordingly and managing their time.

  • Create a study plan

Having a study plan helps CISSP aspirants to equally give importance to all the topics that need to be covered for the CISSP Exam. This allows individuals to make ample time for taking practice exams and revise the topics well before the exam.

  • Enrol in CISSP Certification Training

Taking up the CISSP Certification Training course assists individuals in gaining practical knowledge of the domains. The training sessions are designed to offer individuals hands-on experience in IT Security.

  • Take up mock tests

Mock Tests play an important role in determining an individual’s level of preparation. Taking up practice tests helps individuals to understand how the questions would be presented. Practice Exams for CISSP can be availed from various websites.

  • Multiple study resources

The reference book suggested by ISC2 is the CISSP Common Body of Knowledge (CBK). However, individuals can refer to multiple resources while preparing for the CISSP Exam. Furthermore, individuals must ensure that these reference books cover all the domains mentioned in the CBK.


Summing up, individuals aspiring to further their careers in cybersecurity need to showcase dedication and commitment. The CISSP Exam cannot be termed as difficult or easy as it depends on the efforts put in by aspirants. Individuals passionate about being risk managers or security managers can acquire CISSP Certification and land their dream jobs in large enterprises. Furthermore, CISSP-certified professionals can grow in the field by engaging in various activities required to maintain the certification.

You may also be interested in reading CISSP vs CISA and CISSP vs CISM certification.

Posted in IT Governance

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