CISSP vs Security+: Which Cybersecurity Certification Should You Choose

Taylor Karl
CISSP vs Security+: Which Cybersecurity Certification Should You Choose 401 0

CISSP vs Security+: Which Cybersecurity Certification Should You Choose

Todays cybersecurity professional enjoys a career field packed with management opportunities plus salary growth. Whether you are breaking into the security industry, or a seasoned leader seeking to enhance your competitive advantage and professional network, a security certification helps you stand out from other candidates. Knowledge of both CISSP and CompTIA Security+ exam requirements helps you select the appropriate training to develop skills and achieve certification for your cybersecurity career.

What is CISSP Certification from (ISC)²

International Information System Security Certification Consortium, Inc. (ISC) is an international, nonprofit membership association for information security leaders. (ISC)² publishes the Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) to document best practices, skills, and techniques for security professionals and administers the associated credential, Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) exam. The CISSP certification is internationally recognized as the premier security professional credential.

What is CompTIA Security+ Certification

Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is a vendor-neutral, independent source of education and certification exam administration for the global tech workforce. CompTIA administers many technology skills certification exams, including CompTIA Security+. For the entry-level cybersecurity professional, the CompTIA Security+ certification "validates the baseline skills you need to perform core security functions and pursue an IT security career."

Training by job role for security

Cybersecurity Exam Certification: CISSP vs CompTIA Security+

Most technology roles have a promising career forecast, including network engineer and information management roles. As of 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts Information Security Analyst roles alone to hike by 33% by 2030. With that career potential comes increased competition among candidates and more certification requirements for security roles.

Cybersecurity professionals should develop skills and seek training to support earning the most impactful cybersecurity certifications, such as the CISSP or CompTIA Security+ certification. To engineer more cyber security career opportunities, candidates should pursue a broad professional network, knowledge of credential programs, relevant skills, work experience, and knowledge of security domains. All of that in turn enables candidates for the CISSP and CompTIA Security+ certifications to reach their goals faster.

Understanding Certification Choices: CISSP vs Security+ Exam

Certification exam choices do not need to be hard, and you are not limited to a CISSP vs CompTIA Security+ decision. Questions to help you decide which cybersecurity certification exam to pursue first include:

  • What type of cybersecurity work are you doing today, and what would you like to do in the future?
  • What are your immediate and long-term salary goals?
  • How much security work experience do you already have?
  • How broad is your professional network of security professionals?

Instead of thinking about cybersecurity certification as "CISSP vs CompTIA Security+," think of it as CISSP and CompTIA Security+ certification to advance your security career.

CISSP vs Security+: Exam and Requirements

The CISSP certification, sometimes referred to as (ISC)2 CISSP, is a more comprehensive security exam covering eight cybersecurity domains with a 5-year minimum security work requirement. The CISSP exam is:

In contrast, CompTIA's Security+ is positioned as "the 1st security certification IT professionals should earn" with a focus on entry-level knowledge and a 2-year minimum system administration work experience requirement. The Security+ exam is:

Those pursuing or already in cybersecurity management roles are better positioned to succeed at CISSP training and at achieving a passing score on the CISSP certification exam.

CISSP vs Security+: Exam Testing Center

(ISC)and CompTIA use the third-party testing provider, Pearson VUE, for CISSP and Security+ exam services.. Always check the exam location information for dates and locations as part of your certification planning.

In terms of exam centers, there is not a Security+ vs CISSP comparison as they use the same global testing administration service and locations. There will be differences in specific exam fees and exam schedules.

CISSP vs Security+: Salary

Many factors play into salary, from the size of a company to geography. Additionally, some companies may provide financial incentives for obtaining certifications in the form of a one-time bonus or a percentage of salary increase. As such, there is not a guaranteed correlation between CISSP and Security+ certification and salary.

In general, the CISSP certification is more typically earned by those holding positions of higher responsibility and management, thus the salary is higher for those individuals. Because CompTIA Security+ targets technicians and entry-level roles, those with only that certification have a lower salary.

CISSP vs Security+: Credential Career Opportunities

Although both certifications are grounded in the cybersecurity industry, they are not managed by the same professional body, therefore, one credential does not cancel out or preclude the other. Your credential choice is driven by your experience level and the job role you already have or are seeking to obtain. As stated previously, the Security+ credential is targeted to entry-level cybersecurity technician positions, whereas CISSP is targeted to those with more experience and in a management role. You do not need to hold the Security+ credential to obtain the CISSP credential.

Cybersecurity career opportunities are by no means limited by certification selection (it is hard to believe that any company would fault any employee for pursuing globally recognized certification in support of their work for that company). If you have a goal of management, such as breaking into cybersecurity management or advancing your current leadership role, the CISSP credential is preferred due to its increased rigor and longer work experience requirements.

CISSP vs Security+: Continuing Education Units

Both CISSP and Security+ credentials have continuing education unit (CEUs) requirements to maintain valid status. Get more specific information at:

For both CISSP and Security+, the continuing education units can be earned from attending training, writing articles, passing certification exams, and other approved activities. Review each credential’s requirements for how to earn CEUs and how to report CEUs. Failure to meet CEU requirements puts both CISSP and CompTIA Security+ certification status at risk for suspension or cancellation.

CISSP vs Security+: Key Differences

While both are a part of cybersecurity career growth and professional standing, the CISSP and Security+ certification and credentials fulfill a different purpose. CISSP is for management overseeing security for the organizations, while Security+ is for those implementing security measures. Due to the difference in scope of responsibility and required work experience, there are frequently salary differences among those with security credentials. Those having CISSP are often in roles with typically higher compensation.

CISSP vs Security+: Which is the Better Credential

Instead of the question, "Which credential is better?", a better question is, "Which security credential do you need for your career now?". A cybersecurity professional often starts with CompTIA Security+ and as their career progresses, they earn the more difficult CISSP certification. Both credentials have long-standing industry recognition and respect. Candidates for both information security credentials must have demonstrated knowledge of security domains, security work experience, and security network engineer skills.

CISSP vs CompTIA Security+ Conclusion

Credential candidates must have security work references, knowledge of security information domains, and network engineer experience to qualify for either the CISSP or CompTIA Security+ exam. The CompTIA Security+ exam and certification process is ideal for those with less security work experience and a smaller professional network who desire to formalize their security knowledge through certification. The CISSP exam and certification process is for those with more extensive security work experience, who are building out their professional network, and who have deep knowledge of the core security domains. Security is a competitive and growing career field; the experience gained on the job can make earning a certification easier. However, work experience does not replace formal security certification training and testing.

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