cism vs cissp

CISM vs CISSP: A Comprehensive Comparison

To advance in your IT security profession, you must seek out the ideal credentials that fit your objectives. Both CISM vs CISSP are popular among information security professionals, but they demand significant time and financial investment. As a result, determining which is best for you is crucial. IT Exams will analyze and contrast CISM vs […]

March 31, 2023

To advance in your IT security profession, you must seek out the ideal credentials that fit your objectives. Both CISM vs CISSP are popular among information security professionals, but they demand significant time and financial investment. As a result, determining which is best for you is crucial. IT Exams will analyze and contrast CISM vs CISSP in this post to help you decide which certification is better for your professional objectives.

What Are CISM vs CISSP?

cism vs cissp


The two most widely recognized certifications for information security experts are CISM and CISSP. Both confirm a professional’s qualifications to become a security manager. To retain certification, these certificates need five years of experience in information security management as well as completion of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits. Aside from these commonalities, there are a few key variances.

The ISACA’s Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certification addresses the company’s strategic security operations goals. The CISM certification confirms your ability to manage information security teams. It implies that you comprehend and are familiar with corporate objectives concerning data security. As a result, it is clearly aimed at people with security management duties.

Whereas, the Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP) certification from (ISC)² verifies your knowledge in designing, implementing, and managing a cybersecurity program. It has both a management and a technical scope. The CISSP certification addresses a company’s day-to-day security operations.

On this website, we offer hundreds of free CISSP practice exam questions to help you familiarize yourself with the test format. Try it now!

3 Reasons To Pursue Your CISM vs CISSP Certification

While determining which certification is best for you, you may be wondering whether training in this sector is useful. Here are a few reasons why you might consider this career path:

High Demand

When deciding what professional path to choose, one of the most crucial things you should ask is about the job forecast for the next several years. You do not want to spend thousands of dollars on education just to discover that there is no demand for the chosen sector or that there are too many others looking for the same job. Fortunately, when it comes to networking, there is a high demand but a limited supply. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job prospects in this industry are predicted to rise by 35% between 2012 and 2022, which is substantially faster than the national average.

cism vs cissp

With the increasing usage of mobile devices, cloud storage, social media, and other technical benefits in business, there is a rising demand for employees who can assist with networking and system management. These roles are available in every industry, including education, transportation, healthcare, technology, and government.

Not Just for Mathematicians

You may be thinking to yourself, “Working with networking and systems administration sounds really interesting, but I do not have the math know-how to excel.” Contrary to common assumptions, you do not need to be a math genius to learn the components required for success in this professional sector. You should be familiar with basic math, reading comprehension, and logical thinking, but a training program may help you better understand the information communications technology (ICT) profession through simulations and hands-on exercises.

If you do not have a background in mathematics or computers, you may need to put in a lot of effort and devotion to understand some of the more challenging ideas. To traverse the industry and become an expert, you will require a strong training program and a commitment to learning.

Global Requirements

Have you ever wanted to tour the world? Have you always wished to work in another country? Are you seeking the ideal job to help you do this? Networking may be the best solution for you.

Networking has a global standard, which means that the skills you learn and the certifications you get will be recognized everywhere. You can complete a program in the United States, and a corporation in Europe or Asia will understand exactly what it means and what you can accomplish for them. As a result, you may look for a job anywhere in the world, offering you the possibility to live and work abroad. To do this, you may use social media sites like LinkedIn to connect with people who are currently working in this sector.

What Are The Differences Between CISM vs CISSP Exam?

cism vs cissp

Concerning the distinctions between CISM vs CISSP, both are cybersecurity certifications that are well-regarded in the business. While the two qualifications have certain similarities, they also have numerous important distinctions. The following are the significant distinctions between the CISM vs CISSP exams:


To be certified, you must have at least five years of paid information security employment experience in at least two of the test’s eight domain areas and pass the CISSP exam. A personal background check will also be required, as well as a letter of recommendation from a current CISSP-certified expert. After passing the CISM exam, you must have at least five years of experience in information security, three of which must be in management.

Assume you pass one of the exams but lack the required experience to get certified. After passing the test, ISACA provides you with five years to complete the experience requirement. (ISC)² permits you to become an associate while they work with you to complete the task requirements for CISSP.

Exam Contents

To pass the CISM test, one must obtain at least a 450 total score. Furthermore, CISM covers the following four domains:

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

To pass the CISSP test, you must answer 70% of the questions correctly across all eight security domains. Among these domains are:

  • Management of Security and Risk
  • Asset Protection
  • Engineering and architecture for security
  • Security of communication and networks
  • Management of identification and access
  • Assessment and testing of security
  • Operational security
  • Security in software development

Exam Formats

The CISM exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions that must be finished in the allotted 4-hour time frame. Exam results might range from 200 to 800. The passing score is set at 450 points. However, this 450 figure is not a simple mathematical or percentage average.

The CISM test requires a monetary investment. It is not inexpensive, costing up to $760; however, ISACA members can get a reduced price of $575. Given that it is expected that only 50% – 60% of people pass the exam the first time, it makes it worthwhile to prepare well in advance to prevent having to pay the test price many times.

The (ISC)² provides two kinds of computer-based exams: linear and adaptive. The traditional linear exam lasts six hours; however, Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT) can result in a three-hour examination with as little as 100 questions, as opposed to the linear exam’s 250 questions.

The CISSP test includes both multiple-choice and advanced creative questions. A minimum passing score of 700 is required to pass. You only get a pass or fail grade. The CISSP exam is difficult, with just around 20% of first-time test takers passing. Given that the CISSP certification test costs $749 on average, proper preparation and tools are critical for exam success.

Read more >> CEH vs CISSP: Knowing The Differences

How To Keep Your CISM vs CISSP Certification Current?

To keep your CISM certification, you must earn 40 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits every year for a total of 120 CPEs over three years. You must also agree to observe a Code of Professional Ethics.

The CISSP certification is valid for three years before it must be renewed. To keep your CISSP certification, you must acquire at least 120 CPEs every three years and be a member of (ISC)².

CPE credits may be obtained by taking courses, attending conferences, and reading technical publications that will keep you up to date on the newest advancements in the field. Attending webinars on cybersecurity issues, attending local CISM or CISSP meetings, volunteering for cybersecurity activities, or being a mentor to other members are all ways to gain points.

What Jobs Can You Get with CISM vs CISSP?

Because it focuses on information risk management and security design difficulties, the CISM certification is intended for experienced information security managers and professionals working in IT governance. If you want to lead a security team and guide an organization’s security activities, the CISM certification is for you.

The CISSP certification has become mandatory for a variety of IT security job roles, including IT security engineer, security manager, security consultant, auditor, IT architect, information assurance analyst, security system administrator, information security risk officer, and IT Director/Manager, due to its emphasis on both technical and managerial skills.

Assume you work in information security but lack the required experience to obtain either certification. In that situation, it is advised that you initially pursue the CISSP certification, particularly if your ultimate aim is to become an InfoSec engineer. If you wish to be a chief information security officer (CISO) or chief information officer (CIO), you must also hold the CISM certification. Two years of CISM experience can be used for your CISSP certification.

Professionals in information security who have achieved one or both of these certificates have improved their responsibilities, promotions, and salary hikes. According to Simplilearn, CISSP-certified IT specialists earn an average yearly CISSP certification salary of $116,573, ranking them third among competent IT professionals worldwide.

According to ZipRecruiter, CISSP certification holders may expect to earn an average income of $125,470 per year in 2023, while CISM-certified professionals can expect to earn an average salary of $131,209 per year. However, before investing time and money in either certification, you should understand how they vary and select which best matches your abilities and professional aspirations.

Last but not least, you will need to explore job boards to see what possibilities are available for certified information security experts in the location where you live or plan to live. This will assist you in determining whether your desired certification is in high demand in your area.

How To Prepare For the CISM vs CISSP Exam?

cism vs cissp

Preparing for the CISM or CISSP test necessitates commitment and effort. Here are some things you can do to improve your chances of success:

Step 1: Learn About the Exam Format

Both the CISM and CISSP tests are computer-based and feature multiple-choice questions. The CISM test has 150 questions, but the CISSP exam contains 250 questions. Both tests are timed, with a four-hour restriction.

Step 2: Review the Exam Content

Both the CISM and CISSP exams are based on industry-standard bodies of knowledge. It is critical to go through the test content and comprehend the concepts and subjects presented. Official study guides, practice exams, and online courses are among the many study tools accessible.

Step 3: Set a Study Plan

A study strategy is essential for passing the CISM or CISSP exam. A study timetable, as well as the study resources you will utilize, should be included in your study plan. Allow enough time to properly research the exam topic and take practice tests to assess your knowledge.

Step 4: Take Practice Tests

Practice tests are an important component of getting ready for the CISM or CISSP exam. They assist you in identifying areas for growth and provide an idea of the sorts of questions that will be on the test. Practice exams are included in many study books, and there are also internet options.

Step 5: Participate in a Study Group

Joining a study group might be advantageous since it allows you to discuss exam topics and study tactics with other candidates. Consider joining a study group in your area or an online forum.

Step 6: Maintain Concentration and Confidence

Passing the CISM or CISSP test requires being focused and confident. Take care of yourself by getting adequate rest, exercising, and eating nutritious foods. Maintain a good attitude and avoid being disheartened if you come across challenging topics or queries.

CISM vs CISSP: Which Certification To Choose?

cism vs cissp

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

  • Salaries are comparable between the two certifications
  • There are 8,906 CISM jobs listed on LinkedIn
  • There are 21,714 CISSP jobs listed on LinkedIn

To keep your CISM vs 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 vs CISSP guidelines and be ready to commit to maintaining your certification.

“What are your long-term career goals?” is perhaps the most crucial question you should ask. 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 or CISSP, you may be certain that you’re making a wise career choice.

Read more >> CISSP vs Security+: Which Certification Is Right for You?


cism vs cissp

Should I get both the CISM and CISSP?

In that situation, it is advised that you initially pursue the CISSP certification, particularly if your ultimate aim is to become an InfoSec engineer. If you wish to be a chief information security officer (CISO) or chief information officer (CIO), you must also hold the CISM certification.

How many people have CISSP vs CISM?

The CISM certification is primarily management-focused, whereas the CISSP certification is both technical and managerial in nature, and is intended for security executives who plan, engineer, implement, and manage an organization’s total security posture. With 136,428 CISSPs globally compared to 28,000 CISM, CISSP is more well-known than CISM.

What certification after CISSP and CISM?

EC-Council is committed to your continuing leadership development, which is why we encourage you to seek the CCISO once you complete the CISSP. After all, CCISO was founded by an Advisory Board comprised of CISSPs who saw the need for an executive-level training program to complement CISSP.

Is CISM harder than CISSP?

Regarding CISA vs CISSP, they are almost comparable in terms of difficulty. CISSP is a little more technical (not particularly in-depth, but principles are covered). CISM is also a management-focused program, but it is less technical. They complement each other nicely, and many materials overlap, thus it might be a CISSP AND CISM option.

Is CISM equivalent to Master?

(ISC)² has said that the CISSP certification is comparable to Master’s degree requirements. In reality, this confirms the abilities of innumerable certified CISSP specialists that work in a variety of businesses.

Can I have opportunities with CISSP certification in the DC Area?

There are several things to consider when determining which certification to pursue, but based merely on the number of job advertisements demanding CISSP or CISM, CISSP is clearly the victor.

In the Washington, DC region, around 25% of CISSP and CISM postings mention that either certification is acceptable. The remaining positions require CISSP.

Extending the data beyond Washington, DC, we find that there are more roles on the East Coast that would take either CISM or CISSP. However, for the vast majority of professions, the CISSP is still the primary qualification.

As acceptable, CISM may be added 25-40% of the time. However, there are relatively few positions that list CISM rather than CISSP.

Final Words

In conclusion, while deciding between CISM vs CISSP, it is critical to evaluate your professional goals and areas of interest. The CISM is concerned with information security management, whereas the CISSP is concerned with a broader variety of technical areas. Both credentials are well-regarded in the business and can lead to new possibilities. However, it is critical to adequately prepare for the test by studying the exam content, taking practice exams, and, if necessary, finding extra training and resources. Finally, either certification, CISM vs CISSP, can lead to a satisfying job in information security.