cism vs cissp

CISM vs CISSP: Which Certification Should I Take in 2024?

The CISM and CISSP certifications are widely popular among IT workers. Learn more information about CISM vs CISSP in this post to help you decide easier.

Updated at May 24, 2022

According to the Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary Survey 2020, the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification from (ISC)2 is the top paid qualification in Europe. ISACA’s Certified Information Systems Manager (CISM) credential is in the top ten most popular certificates.

The certifications CISM and CISSP are very similar. This makes choosing between the two difficult: how do you know which certification is best for your professional path?

This essay from Global Knowledge will assist you in making this decision. Learn how CISM vs CISSP complement each other and which certification is ideal for you.

What Exactly Is The CISSP Certification?

cism vs cissp

The (ISC)2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification validates your expertise in information security. During the exam, your security knowledge is assessed in eight domains. On this website, you may learn more about the eight domains and the CISSP certification.

CISSP, like CISM, is a certification that is often pursued by experienced security practitioners in management or executive roles, although it may also be pursued by experienced security analysts and engineers. When compared to other IT qualifications, CISSP-certified analysts are in great demand and well-compensated.

Several requirements must be met as part of the CISSP certification process: You must first pass a candidate background check. You must also have 5 years of security professional experience in two of the eight areas in the (ISC)2 Critical Body of Knowledge (CBK). These are the areas:

  • Security and risk management
  • Asset security
  • Security engineering
  • Communication and network security
  • Identity and access management
  • Security assessment and testing
  • Security operations
  • Software development security

The CISSP certification is required for several professions in IT security. Security specialists, managers, auditors, architects, developers, and analysts are some examples.

If you lack the required work experience, you can join as an Associate of (ISC)2, which needs a shorter test and qualifies you for continued training as a member of (ISC). This curriculum is an excellent first step in earning a complete CISSP.

If you have the necessary job experience, you must then pass a 250-question test within a 6-hour time restriction. (ISC)2 changed the test in April 2018, but not to the point that prior study resources are no longer valid. The test contains questions from all eight CBK domains.

After passing the exam, you must get the endorsement of a current (ISC)2 member in good standing. Hopefully, you know someone who is a current CISSP.

To keep your certification, you must maintain your membership with (ISC)2. Members must pay yearly membership costs and earn 120 CPEs every three years.

How To Get A CISSP?

For an authentic CISSP certification, at least five years of relevant work experience in two or more of the eight CISSP domains is required. In addition, you must pass the test and obtain a written endorsement from a current credentialed CISSP in good standing.

You may also take the test if you lack the needed job experience. After passing the exam, you will be designated as an associate CISSP. You’ll have another six years to achieve the required five years of job experience to become a CISSP.

A three-hour test is required for CISSP certification. This test covers eight categories and includes between 100 and 150 multiple-choice questions. You have three hours to complete this test and must answer correctly 70% of all questions in each domain to succeed.

What Exactly Is The CISM Certification?

cism vs cissp

ISACA offers the CISM certification, which verifies your knowledge and skills in leading enterprise information security teams. Obtaining CISM certification places you in high demand with employers all across the world who value the success and competence that CISM certification signifies. CISM demonstrates that you have comprehensive technical knowledge as well as an awareness of business objectives related to data security.

Obtaining CISM certification is a multi-step procedure. You must pass the CISM exam, which is a 200-question multiple-choice test covering the following topics:

  • Information security management
  • Information risk management and compliance
  • Information security program development and management
  • Information security incident management

As a Certified Information Systems Manager (CISM), you will be responsible for a wide range of activities. To begin, you will design and implement a security program. This curriculum includes risk analysis as well as designing and protecting an information security policy. It is the CISM’s obligation to ensure that the security program meets the demands of your company.

The CISM certification is ideal for experienced information security administrators as well as anybody involved in IT governance. You will learn about four types of information security domains. These are the realms of compliance, risk management, and security governance.

You must also have worked in information security for at least 5 years in the 10 years before your certification, with at least 3 of those 5 years in management. There are some suitable substitutes, such as CISSP certification, which counts as two years of experience.

Finally, there is a policy on ongoing education. To keep your certification, you must complete 20 CPE credits per year, 120 CPEs over three years, and agree to follow a Code of Professional Ethics.

On its website, the ISACA sells CISM test study resources and example questions. They also organize training sessions and test bootcamps all around the world.

How To Get CISM Certification?

After completing the training course, you can obtain certification by passing the test if you have five years of relevant work experience in two of the CISM areas.

The test comprises 150 multiple-choice questions in English. You have four hours to answer them all.

Exam Fees for the CISM vs CISSP 

Both certification tests are lengthy, lasting three to four hours and covering 100 to 150 questions from as many as eight categories. While your work experience should have prepared you for the majority of the information included in the exam, it’s always a good idea to attend a preparation course to familiarize yourself with the structure and ensure that you get spun up in any weak areas. It’s also a solid investment: each exam attempt will cost you between $415 USD (CISM) and $699 USD (CISSP), and a month of exam study can cost as low as $59 USD.

How Does It Assist You to Advance Your IT Career?

This certification is for people who claim to have a thorough understanding of the basic networking abilities covered in the CISM vs CISSP certifications and have relevant experience. Aspirants are taught skills such as troubleshooting, configuring, and installing LAN and WAN in CISM versus CISSP training.

Because of the market needs and high expectations that they live up to, CISM vs CISSP certification holders is usually given first priority in the IT business. With more possibilities for employers in every field, every organization needs multi-tasking abilities, in particular, to get the most out of every resource. In such an environment, CISM vs CISSP certifications is regarded as the top technologies on the market due to the brand image and credentials that they bring to qualified people.

When it comes to networking, it is a vast realm full of chances, channels, and critical components that aid in organizational functions. Other causes include the increasing number of individuals who use different electronic modes of communication and carry out official and daily tasks. Nowadays, the Internet is the primary source utilized for getting work done from the comfort of one’s own home or office. As a result, we require good networking to carry out all of these operations. Networking is therefore an ever-popular job, and CISM vs CISSP Certification provides these individuals an advantage in invalidating their credentials.

CISSP or CISM Will Help You To Get A Higher Salary?

cism vs cissp

Salary ranges vary greatly depending on years of experience, job title, and region, so bear in mind that any values we provide here are only estimates. Having said that, it’s useful to have an idea of what each certification will achieve for your bottom line.

The CISSP certification is widely regarded as one of the most useful credentials an IT worker can have. Those with this certification earn an average of 9% more than their non-CISSP colleagues, and this can be up to 20% higher in some countries of the world. Professionals that get a CISM can earn up to 12% more than their rivals who do not possess this certification.

We want to be clear about what we are saying here: we are not suggesting there’s a clock ticking and you should put huge pressure on yourself to do this as soon as possible. The cybersecurity industry is just growing higher, and you have plenty of time to figure out which specialization is perfect for you. What we mean is that the more deliberately you approach your career, the more effectively you’ll knock out each prerequisite and continually expand on the foundation you’ve created, resulting in a steadily growing pay scale.

In terms of raw statistics, roughly 137,000 (ISC)2 members worldwide possess the CISSP certification, with more than 87,000 of those located in North America. The CISM certification is far more uncommon, with just 23,000 professionals globally possessing it.

This has less to do with the worth of difficulty of the certification and more to do with the specific concentration of each. Because the CISSP is intended for people involved in hands-on cybersecurity and the CISM is only focused on management, it stands to reason that there are six times as many CISSPs as CISMs.

CISSP vs CISM? Which Is The Best Option To Choose?

If you work in information security or want to work in information security, you should consider which one should you take, CISM or CISSP. Several factors influence which one you obtain first. Some folks receive both. Most individuals earn their CISSP first, then their CISM, although it doesn’t matter which sequence you acquire them in. Here are a few more considerations that may assist you in making your decision:

  • Salaries for the two qualifications are equivalent.
  • LinkedIn has 8,906 CISM job listings.
  • LinkedIn has 21,714 CISSP job listings.

To keep your CISM or CISSP certification, you must complete a specified amount of CPE credits. You may earn CPE credits in a variety of methods, including attending webinars on cybersecurity issues, attending conferences, or attending local CISSP or CISM meetings. You may also gain points by participating in cybersecurity activities and coaching other members. As part of your decision on which path to take, you should educate yourself on the CISM and CISSP guidelines and be ready to commit to maintaining your certification.

The most critical question to ask is, “What are your long-term professional goals?” Are you interested in becoming a CISO or an information security executive? You should investigate CISM. Do you intend to work as a security engineer for a long time? CISSP may be a better option. It is not unusual to obtain one certification and then complete the other.


Regardless of the certification you pick, you are doing yourself and your information security profession a great favor. Both alternatives provide opportunities for pay increases, new roles, and new professional challenges. Whether you begin with CISM vs CISSP certification, you may be certain that you’re making a wise career choice. So, hope that you will find the best choice for your future career and good luck to you!

Don’t forget to take our free CISSP practice test to get familiarized with the format as well as the questions of the actual exam to strengthen your knowledge and skills, as a result, enhancing your chance to pass the CISSP exam with a high score on your first attempt. Good luck to you!