Illustration for article titled Earning the CISSP

CISSP stands for Certified Information Systems Security Specialist. To earn the credential, one must sit for a 6 hour, 250 scenario based question exam. Upon passing the exam, the individual must submit a resume showing a minimum of five years experience in the information security field, as well as obtain sponsorship from a current certification holder. CISSP is considered the premier information security or information assurance credential in the industry. (ISC)², the International Information Systems Security Certification is the governing body that awards the CISSP. The most recent statistics suggest there are 85,285 CISSP holders spread across 143 countries.


For a solid two weeks I lived and breathed the subject matter in preparation for the test. I read several text books, listened to audio books, and spent countless hours taking practice exams to assess my progress. As with many things, it was the uncertainty about the test itself that had me most concerned. That concern evaporated around 3 questions into my exam. The questions were not designed to trick anyone, and though my studying was useful, I was able to answer most of my questions based on my professional experience. All in all I spent approximately 2.5 hours testing. Luckily the results are given immediately upon submitting the exam. The test is given via Pearson Vue electronically. This is a change from the past, when the test was administered on paper and the results would take up to 6 weeks to receive. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to study and pass the exam, it has been on my list of desired credentials for some time now.

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