How hard is Cissp compared to Security+?

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Cybersecurity is one of the most critical aspects of modern-day technology. It is more important than ever before to have a highly skilled workforce capable of maintaining secure information systems. In this context, certifications like Cissp and Security+ gain significance as they are an assurance of a candidate’s proficiency in cybersecurity. But which certification is more challenging and which one is best suited for you? In this article, we will explore the differences, similarities, pros, and cons of both Cissp and Security+ certifications to help you make an informed decision.

What is Cissp and Security+?

To put it simply, Cissp and Security+ are two of the most recognized cybersecurity certifications in the world. The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (Cissp) is a globally renowned certification program maintained by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium, also known as (ISC)². Security+ is a cybersecurity certification provided by CompTIA, a non-profit trade association providing training and credentialing programs for IT professionals.

Cissp and Security+ certifications are highly valued in the cybersecurity industry, as they demonstrate a professional’s knowledge and expertise in the field. These certifications cover a wide range of topics, including network security, cryptography, risk management, and security policies and procedures.

Obtaining a Cissp or Security+ certification requires passing a rigorous exam that tests a candidate’s knowledge and skills in cybersecurity. These exams are designed to ensure that certified professionals have a deep understanding of the latest cybersecurity threats and technologies, and are able to implement effective security measures to protect organizations from cyber attacks.

Differences between Cissp and Security+

Despite there being some similarities, there are some key differences between Cissp and Security+. The most significant difference is in terms of scope. Cissp is a higher-level cybersecurity certification that requires a broader and deeper understanding of various cybersecurity domains, while Security+ is an entry-level certification focused on the fundamentals of cybersecurity. Cissp covers more advanced topics, including cryptography, software development security, and security operations, whereas Security+ primarily covers the critical aspects of IT security and risk management.

Another difference between Cissp and Security+ is the level of experience required to obtain the certification. Cissp requires a minimum of five years of professional experience in the field of cybersecurity, while Security+ has no experience requirement. This makes Security+ a great starting point for individuals who are new to the field of cybersecurity and want to gain foundational knowledge and skills.

Additionally, the cost of obtaining these certifications is different. Cissp is a more expensive certification, with an exam fee of $699 and a yearly maintenance fee of $125. On the other hand, Security+ is a more affordable certification, with an exam fee of $349 and no yearly maintenance fee. This makes Security+ a more accessible option for individuals who may not have the financial resources to pursue a more expensive certification like Cissp.

Which certification is more challenging?

It is difficult to compare the difficulty level of Cissp with Security+ as both certifications are unique in terms of their content and focus. Cissp is intended for experienced cybersecurity professionals who already possess in-depth knowledge of IT security concepts and want to expand their expertise to advanced levels. Hence, it requires more extensive preparation, training, and a more substantial time investment, making it more challenging to obtain. Security+, on the other hand, is more accessible for beginners and entry-level professionals, making it comparatively simpler to achieve.

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However, it is important to note that the difficulty level of a certification also depends on the individual’s prior knowledge and experience in the field. For someone who has a strong foundation in IT security concepts, Cissp may not be as challenging as it would be for someone who is relatively new to the field. Similarly, Security+ may not be as easy for someone who has no prior knowledge of IT security concepts.

Another factor that can affect the difficulty level of a certification is the study materials and resources available. Some individuals may have access to better study materials and resources, which can make the certification process easier for them. On the other hand, those who have limited access to study materials and resources may find the certification process more challenging.

Cissp vs. Security+: Which certification is right for you?

Choosing which certification you should pursue mainly depends on your goals and professional experience. If you want to start your career in cybersecurity, Security+ is an excellent certification to begin with as it covers fundamentals and will equip you with the necessary knowledge. Still, if gaining a higher-level cybersecurity position is your goal, then Cissp is the way to go. It is essential to note that Cissp is a more expensive and time-consuming certification than the Security+ certification.

Another factor to consider when choosing between Cissp and Security+ is the level of difficulty. Cissp is known to be a more challenging certification, requiring a minimum of five years of professional experience in the cybersecurity field. On the other hand, Security+ is considered an entry-level certification, making it more accessible for those who are just starting in the industry.

It is also worth noting that Cissp is a globally recognized certification, while Security+ is more popular in the United States. If you plan to work internationally, Cissp may be the better choice as it is widely recognized and respected in the cybersecurity industry worldwide.

Understanding the Exam Structure of Cissp and Security+

The exams for both Cissp and Security+ are computer-based and test candidate’s knowledge of IT security concepts, management practices, and risk assessments. However, the exam formats differ significantly. Cissp consists of 250 multiple-choice and advanced innovative questions and is designed to test the candidate’s analytical ability. The exam duration is six hours long. In contrast, the Security+ exam comprises 90 multiple-choice questions and lasts for only 90 minutes, making it considerably shorter and more manageable.

It is important to note that both exams require a passing score of 750 out of 1000 points. Additionally, Cissp requires a minimum of five years of professional experience in the IT security field, while Security+ has no such requirement. However, Security+ is often seen as a stepping stone towards more advanced certifications, such as Cissp. It is recommended that candidates thoroughly prepare for both exams by studying the exam objectives and taking practice tests.

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How to prepare for Cissp and Security+ exams?

The preparation process for both exams demands a rigorous study plan and practical exposure to IT security concepts. Several online training programs and books can help prepare for the tests. Additionally, taking practice exams, joining online study groups, and attending cybersecurity conferences can aid in increasing your chances of passing the certifications.

It is also important to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the field of cybersecurity. Following industry news and trends, and regularly reviewing the exam objectives can help you identify areas where you need to focus your studies. It is also recommended to seek guidance from experienced professionals in the field, who can provide valuable insights and advice on how to approach the exams.

What are the job opportunities with Cissp and Security+ certifications?

Both Cissp and Security+ certifications offer excellent job opportunities in cybersecurity. Cissp is widely recognized in the industry and is a prerequisite for many security-related positions, including security consultants, security analysts, and chief information security officers. The Security+ certification is a valuable addition to the resumes of IT professionals and can lead to jobs in network security, cybersecurity support, or systems administration.

Additionally, having both Cissp and Security+ certifications can open up even more job opportunities in the cybersecurity field. Employers often look for candidates with a combination of technical skills and industry knowledge, and having both certifications can demonstrate a well-rounded understanding of cybersecurity principles and practices. Some job titles that may require or prefer both certifications include security architects, information security managers, and cybersecurity engineers.

How much do Cissp and Security+ certifications cost?

Cissp is relatively more expensive than Security+. The cost of the Cissp exam is $699 for members and $799 for non-members. Security+, on the other hand, costs $349.

What are the renewal policies for Cissp and Security+ certifications?

Both Cissp and Security+ certifications are valid for three years and require renewal to maintain their validity. To renew Cissp, candidates need to earn Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits by attending seminars and training programs relevant to information security. Security+ requires candidates to reappear for the exam after three years to renew their certification, making it a more straightforward renewal process than Cissp.

Pros and Cons of obtaining a Cissp or Security+ certification.


  • Cissp is a globally recognized certification by industry professionals.
  • Security+ is a valuable entry-level certification that teaches fundamental IT security concepts.
  • Cissp and Security+ both offer a wide range of career opportunities in cybersecurity


  • Cissp is significantly more expensive than Security+
  • Cissp requires more extensive preparation and training to pass.
  • Security+ has a narrower focus than Cissp and is limited to entry-level cybersecurity positions.

The importance of obtaining professional cybersecurity certifications in today’s world.

Cybersecurity is a rapidly growing field and is crucial in today’s technology-driven world. Obtaining a cybersecurity certification can demonstrate your expertise, commitment, and interest in the field to potential employers and distinguish you from other job applicants. Additionally, cybersecurity certifications equip you with the skills and knowledge required to solve real-world cybersecurity challenges effectively.

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Which certification offers better career growth opportunities- Cissp or Security+?

Both Cissp and Security+ certifications offer excellent career growth opportunities in cybersecurity. Cissp is a more advanced cybersecurity certification and provides opportunities to work with senior-level IT security professionals and even lead cybersecurity teams. In contrast, Security+ offers a pathway to entry-level cybersecurity jobs and eventually builds up to more senior roles.

A comparison of the syllabus of Cissp and Security+.

The syllabus of Cissp and Security+ is different in terms of knowledge areas and depth of coverage. Cissp is divided into eight domains that touch on various aspects of IT security, including security operations, software development security, and identity, and access management. Security+ covers six domains, including system security, network security, and cryptography, but to a more basic level.

In-demand skills that are covered in both these certifications.

Both Cissp and Security+ cover in-demand IT skills and concepts, including access controls, security operations, and risk management. These skills are of utmost importance in cybersecurity and are highly sought after by employers.

The role of experience in obtaining a Cissp or Security+ certification.

One significant difference between Cissp and Security+ is the experience requirements. Cissp requires candidates to have a minimum of five years of paid work experience in two or more of the domains covered under the Cissp certification. In contrast, Security+ requires candidates to possess at least two years of experience in IT administration, with a focus on security.

How to demonstrate proficiency in cybersecurity with a certified credential.

By obtaining a cybersecurity certification, you can showcase your proficiency and knowledge of IT security concepts and practices to potential employers. Additionally, certifications like Cissp and Security+ demonstrate your dedication to your career and continuous learning, making you more attractive to employers.

The future scope of cybersecurity careers with a Cissp or security+ certification.

The cybersecurity field is continuously evolving, and demand for cybersecurity professionals is expected to continue growing in years to come. Certifications like Cissp and Security+ equip you with the skills and knowledge required to tackle the complex cybersecurity challenges of the future and offer excellent career growth opportunities.

Tips from experts on how to ace your Cissp or security+ exam.

The most successful candidates approach cybersecurity certification exams with a solid study plan that includes extensive study and practical experience. Experts recommend taking practice exams, attending boot camps, and joining study groups to help prepare for the tests.

Breaking down the barriers to entry with a cybersecurity certification.

Cybersecurity is a rapidly growing and evolving field with excellent career growth opportunities, particularly for candidates with professional certifications like Cissp and Security+. These certifications offer an avenue to demonstrate one’s proficiency in IT security concepts and practices and provide possible pathways to more senior positions in the industry. Obtaining a certification demonstrates your dedication to continuous learning and makes you a more attractive candidate to potential employers.

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