CISSP vs Security Plus – Making the Right Certification Choice

The cybersecurity industry is one of the fastest-growing and most attractive sectors in IT, given that it has been accorded a 28% projected growth rate from 2016 to 2026. Given that it is extremely popular, there are a plethora of certifications that security professionals can add to their credentials. It can be one of the best ways to hasten their climb up the career ladder.

While there are numerous options for security credentials, selecting the correct credential for you is not something that has to be confusing. The aim of this article is to compare CISSP and Security+ to determine which certification is right for you and how these certifications can add value to your life. The certification you select is really dependent on certain answers you give to particular questions. 

For one, what kind of certification do you require? Is it an entry-level certification or do you already have years of experience? secondly, you have to be certain about the certifications, education, and skills you currently have. 

Do you have the required experience or skills to go for the particular certification you have in mind? Lastly, what form of resource investment such as money and time can you make during the training, continual education, experience, as well as ongoing maintenance? Typically, the lower level the certifications, the fewer requirements it has. The cost of the exams can also be less than the ones for more advanced certifications

CISSP or Certified Systems Security Professional credential

The CISSP, which is the acronym for Certified Information Systems Security Professional can be defined as the premier standard when it comes to security certifications. It is a globally recognized benchmark that all Infosecurity professionals are held to. Given that it is recognized so highly, it is clear that gaining a CISSP is something that requires a lot of effort and time.

 This can range from studying the Common Body of Knowledge to completing any other required training which will enable you to gain a sufficient amount of professional expertise. This effort then culminates in you passing the exam, an exam which numerous people have stated as the most difficult one they have had to take. 

The CISSP certification is a hugely advanced cybersecurity certification suitable for experienced professionals at the peak of their careers. Apart from the fact that CISSP credentials are recognized all across the world, there are substantial financial rewards to it. Research has shown that when it comes to earning potential, CISSP is the topmost certification. 

Who can earn the CISSP?

The CISSP is perfect for highly-experienced security managers, executives, and practitioners that are interested in showing their knowledge of a vast range of security principles and practices. CISSP is also a must-have for any individual interested in a security role.

It is also quite valuable for a large number of IT professionals, especially those that work in smaller firms with a broad range of responsibilities and duties. The majority of these companies tend not to have a specialized security role, so the responsibility for security tends to fall on IT generalists. The positions below are best suited to earning the CISSP:

A CISSP certified individual should be able to not only design and implement, but also manage solutions to cybersecurity issues. The CISSP requires a single exam alongside a mandatory Five years of work experience. a CISSP certificate has a validity period of 3 years and for an individual to keep the certification, they will have to gain 120 CPEs whilst paying a yearly maintenance fee of about $85.

Preparing for the CISSP

Most people tend to spend on average 5 months preparing for the CISSP exam. During this time, they tend to review training materials and study guides for the certification. Prepping for the exam can also include using additional resources such as watching CISSP related materials, and taking CISSP mock exams. 

This time period tends to be quite an intensive one. It can also help to venture into the security aspect of the work environment if possible as it enables you to leverage the understanding that studying for the CISSP offers in an actual work environment.

Once you are CISSP certified

You have to remain up to date with the latest cybersecurity trends. For you to maintain the CISSP, you have to gain CPE credits every year. What this means, is that you attend conferences, training courses, read CISSP related material, watch webinars, and much more. this not only enables you to maintain your CISSP certification, but it also enables you to remain in the look of the innovative cybersecurity trends. It is impossible to move forward unless you learn something.

What does having a CISSP certification do?

When you are CISSP certified, you gain credibility in your role as a security professional. This is helpful in the job market, in your daily work role, and any other teaching roles you may apply for. It shows that you have the knowledge and understand what you are talking about. 

Apart from gaining credibility with your CISSP certification, it can also prove very useful to your bank statement. A study has shown that having a Certified Information Systems Security Professional or CISSP certificate can give your salary a significant boost, valued at $21,000. This just goes to show how important having this certificate is in the IT industry.

CompTIA Security+

The Security+ certification from CompTIA tends to be one of the first credentials that numerous IT professionals earn.

For any individual interested in earning this entry-level, vendor-neutral certification, they have to first show basic comprehension of cybersecurity knowledge, as well as perform security tasks such as managing, troubleshooting, and configuring networks.

It is also vital that they are able to show that they possess the necessary skills required to detect intrusions, identify threats, and run penetration testing. 

They also have to show in-depth knowledge of risk mitigation and management. Typically, this cybersecurity credential is recommended to those that have over 2 years of security-focused experience in Information Technology administration and hold the Network+ certification.

How is the Security+ certification different?

The Security+ certification is the only one that is able to assess basic cybersecurity skills using performance-based problems in the exam. The CompTIA Security+ places an emphasis on practical skills, making sure the cybersecurity professional is better able to solve a vast array of problems.  The Security+ certification has a validity period of 3 years and comes with 50 continuing education or CE credits that are required for one to renew.

Why choose the Security+ certification?

The majority of industry professionals select the Security+ certification due to the fact that it falls in line with the DoD 8570 compliance. Security+ concentrates on the most innovative techniques and trends found in threat management, risk management,  intrusion detection, and risk mitigation. 

Given that this is the first cybersecurity credential that most IT professionals earn, it aims to establish the basic knowledge and skills that any role in cybersecurity requires, as well as providing a platform to intermediate cybersecurity jobs.

How can you apply your Security+ certification?

When you have a Security+ certification, you are able to do the following:

Attract a host of prospective employers given that your skills have been endorsed by a globally respected standard

Place yourself as a highly prized candidate when applying for cybersecurity positions

Give yourself a springboard with which you can launch your cybersecurity career.

Who is the Security+ certification suitable for?

The Security+ credential is perfect for Junior IT Auditors, Penetration Tester, as well as those individuals in roles such as Network Administrator, Security Administration and Systems Administration. Generally, the Security+ credential is suitable for those individuals that are just beginning their professional in cybersecurity.

There are quite a few roles that either benefits from having a CompTIA Security+ certificate or require one. Being able to plan for your entry into the cybersecurity industry, as well as working out the amount of effort you are willing to put into your career can be highlighted by the certifications you get. Below are a couple of job roles that require CompTIA Security+:

How can you benefit from having a Security+ certification?

The roles that require Security+ listed above are earmarked under the computer and network systems administrators grouping. This group has been earmarked by the US Bureau of Labour Statistics to grow more than 6% in 6 years. At the moment the average pay for a cybersecurity specialist with a Security+ certification is around $91,000.


CISSP can be labeled as an expert level certificate that concentrates on highly-experienced security experts currently working in cybersecurity leadership roles. Security+ on the other hand, concentrates on cybersecurity professionals just starting out their careers, as it offers a foundation for them to build upon.

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