CISA vs CISSP – Which one is right for you?

Both the CISSP and CISA certifications can improve your security skills and help you land a job. Candidates with either CISSP or CISA certifications are highly valued due to the increasing number of cyberattacks. Both the CISSP (vendor-neutral) and CISA (computer information security administrator) are critical for validating your IT security credentials. Although there are some similarities, each cert has a different focus.
The difficulty of the exams is what makes the certifications so similar. We’ll be looking at both the CISSP and CISA to help you decide which one is right. You want to take the exam that’s most relevant to your daily operational duties. This post will also discuss who should receive which cert, the core differences, and their similarities.
The CISSP stands for Certified Information Systems Security Professional and is focused primarily upon information security. The CISA, on the other hand, is focused on auditing IT systems. CISA stands for Certified Information System Analyst. CISA is governed under ISACA. The CISSP is governed (ISC)2. CISA consists five domains, while CISSP focuses only on eight.
A CISA is a must if you are an IT auditor. The CISSP is a good choice if you are an IT cybersecurity professional. As with all things in life, choosing the right certification can be more complicated than that.
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Both certifications come with an annual fee. The CISA charges $45 per year, while the CISSP costs $125 per year. Both certificates are approved by the United States government. These certificates are the best for federal jobs.
The CISSP certification is generally the more difficult of the two. It is also significantly more expensive. Let’s take a deeper look at the CISSP and decide if it is right for us.
What is the CISSP?
The CISSP is arguably one of the most prestigious IT security certifications. This is not hyperbole. The CISSP cert is highly sought-after. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics cybersecurity jobs are increasing at an amazing rate of 31 percent through 2029. A candidate with a CISSP certification on their resume is a sure-fire way to get a job. The CISSP certification is a great one to have, but it may not be very useful for a junior developer or data analyst.
The CISSP is designed for IT security professionals and managers. It is a 100% requirement if your day-today activities even hint at security. A CISSP will increase your chances of getting a job or being promoted in your current company. The CISSP requires five years’ experience. If you are new to IT security, you might want to put off taking the exam. Now that we have a basic understanding of who the cert is, let’s get to the meat of the matter and discuss price and difficulty.
The CISSP exam is both prestigious and difficult. It takes approximately four hours to complete the exam (though you are given six hours). There are around 125 questions. The following eight domains are expected of a candidate taking the exam:
Security and Risk Management
Asset Security
Security Architecture and Engineering
Communication and Network Security
Management of Access and Identity
Security Assessment and Testing
Security Operations
Software Development Security

Candidates must not only pass the exam but also have at least five years experience in cyber security related fields. A (ISC)2 certificate holder must also be present.