CISSP or SSCP: One of the Hardest Choices in Your IT Career Path with ISC2

It is a known fact that the demand for the certified and experienced security professionals has increased over the years because of the growing popularity of the cybersecurity domain. There are many well-known vendors that offer various credentials in the field of security and one of them is (ISC)². Author: Lavinia T  (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) is among the certifications offered by this organization. It is regarded as one of the most valuable but difficult certificates in the security sector. However, if you are an entry-level specialist in this field, SSCP (Systems Security Certified Practitioner) may be your perfect choice when CISSP is looking overwhelming.

In this article, we will take a closer look at both the badges, highlighting their pros and cons, the prerequisites for earning them, and their inherent career value. Let’s begin!

Overview of CISSP certification

CISSP is aimed at the experienced professionals in the field of cybersecurity. To obtain it, a candidate has to pass a 3-hour computer adaptive test made up of between 100 and 150 questions. Additionally, the applicants will be required to submit a verifiable proof of at least five years of work experience in two or more domains of CISSP. They include the following:

  • Author: Rhoda Y ;
  • Security & Risk Management;
  • Identity & Access Management;
  • Security Architecture & Engineering;
  • Security Assessment & Testing;
  • Communications & Network Security;
  • Security Operations;
  • Software Development Security.

As soon as the learners pass the exam, they also need to be approved by an active certificate holder in order to be Author: Ada U. The career potential you will get are worth the investment. For instance, the average salary of a CISSP professional is about $130,000.

Overview of SSCP certification

SSCP, on the order hand, is for the entry-level specialists. You only need to have one year of relevant cybersecurity work experience to be eligible for the credential. This one is quite different from Author: Rosina I  because it focuses more on the technical and practical areas of security. While CISSP focuses on the process and is designed for the senior leaders in IT, including the Consultants, auditors, and architects, SSCP is intended for the specialists in the administrative and engineering roles.

SSCP is comparable to the CompTIA Security+ badge, although it is not as popular as the second one. To earn it, you have to pass a 3-hour exam with 125 questions that evaluates your competence in the following security domains:

  • Access Control;
  • Risk Identification, Analysis, and Monitoring;
  • Cryptography;
  • Security Operations & Administration;
  • Network & Communication Security;
  • Incident Response & Recovery;
  • Author: Harriot O

SSCP also requires that the active holders endorse the candidates before the certification will be awarded.

Which one is better: CISSP or SSCP?

The question of which is better between these two may be an appropriate thing to ask. The reason is that both certificates are targeted at different audiences and occupy various positions within the framework of cybersecurity in terms of experience and skills. For the professionals in the early stage of their career in this realm, SSCP is a great way to start validating your credibility. On the other hand, those specialists who have some experience and want to take up the leadership roles should consider CISSP. It is also possible to obtain SSCP first and then go ahead to pursue CISSP after gaining the needed work experience in the security sector.

The individuals with the Author: Georgiana P can expect a bigger salary, which is $131,000. As for the SSCP certificate holders, the average annual salary is about $93,240. Beyond government positions, you can also take up the roles in the organizations and earn similar average salary.


In conclusion, we can say that both the CISSP and SSCP certifications are highly valuable. They are considered high-paying in the field of cybersecurity. So, it is up to you where to start and which path to follow. The only thing we can wish you for sure in your choice is good luck, reliable prep resources, useful practice tests, and a lot of time and strength during the preparation phase.

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