There are many ways to elevate your career and take it to new heights. If you work in the IT industry, you will come across a number of interesting career paths like that of cybersecurity. These days, cybersecurity is of utmost importance for organizations as data breaches and cyberattacks are increasing at an alarming rate. Many surveys have pointed out that companies will need more cybersecurity talent in the future, but currently, they are facing a skills shortage. So, if you have always wanted to enter the field of information security, now is the best time to get trained and save your company from any kind of cyber threat.
Is the CISM Exam Difficult?
The field of cybersecurity, fortunately, encompasses various industry-recognized certifications that allow professionals to benchmark their security skills. There are separate certifications for technical and managerial information security roles. If you are seeking a managerial position in this field, then look no further than the CISM certification. Introduced in 2003, CISM is a signature certification that relays a message to enterprise hiring managers that an individual is skilled in risk, governance, incident response, and the information security program.
Willing to know more about this popular cybersecurity certification? If yes, then this article is for you. It gives you a complete overview of the CISM certification and whether its associated exam is quite difficult for aspirants.
CISA Certification – An Introduction
Offered by ISACA, the Certified Information Security Manager or CISM certification validates your expertise in incident management, risk management, program development, and information security governance. The credential is accredited by ANSI ISO/IEC 17024:2012. Over 46000 professionals have achieved this certification and reap the various benefits associated with it. ISACA also highlights that the average salary of CISM certification holders is over $118K per year. As a matter of fact, those who switched into managerial roles with this certification saw a whopping 42% increase in their earning potential.
Those who have technical expertise and knowledge in IT security and control and willing to make a move from being a team player to a manager can pursue this credential. When you hold a CISM certification, you get the credibility and confidence to interact with regulators, peers, and internal and external stakeholders. Moreover, most of the certification holders have seen around 70% on-the-job performance improvement working as a cybersecurity professional.
Organizations that hire CISM-certified professionals as part of their security teams have witnessed 70% improved expertise and efficiency. The effectiveness of their teams is over 90% and those organizations retained 94% of the employees by investing in training.
The CISM exam is a 4 hours test consisting of 150 multiple-choice questions. It is based on the following work-related domains (along with the percentage of questions asked from each domain):
- Information security governance – 24%
- Information risk management – 30%
- Information security program development and management – 27%
- Information security incident management – 19%
One needs to have at least five years of work experience in information security management to be eligible for the CISM exam. Experience waiver is available for a maximum of two years.
CISM Exam Difficulty
There is no denying that CISM is a hard nut to crack even for security pros. IT or security professionals who are aiming to get into security management should understand that their success in the CISM exam has little to do with their technical expertise and a lot more to do with their knowledge of business and business decisions. They must know how business processes work and how upper management makes decisions regarding business, risk, and cybersecurity.
So, the key here is to learn on the job, read and grow your knowledge, expand your network, and learn from the experience of your information security peers and seniors. With smarter study and dedication, the exam will no longer be that difficult and you will be able to crack it. First off, you can chalk out a study plan and obtain the study materials from ISACA like the CISM Review Manual and other publications. Online and offline training programs are also offered by ISACA along with books, guides, and sample questions.
We would also advise you to join the CISM mailing lists and groups to connect with like-minded people and learn from their regular interactions. When you are thorough with your preparation and stick to your study plan, it’s time to take the mock tests. You will find a few reliable resources on the internet that offer CISM mock tests. Remember that your performance will be reported as a scaled score. ISACA uses and reports scores on a scale of 200 to 800. You need to achieve a score of 450 or higher to pass the CISM exam.
Now, suppose you are a working professional and can’t spare time for independent study. In that case, it is always recommended to take instructor-led online courses from reliable training providers. The trainers are often highly qualified and themselves certified, so you can be sure that you are learning from a seasoned information security manager. Moreover, you don’t have to arrange any study materials as everything will be provided to you upon enrolling. So, when are you taking charge of your career by getting CISM certified?