How to prepare for the CISSP

The CISSP is a valuable certification, but it takes a lot more than just your many years of experience to prepare for it. You will likely have to learn about a lot of technology and processes that you’ve never worked with, some of it not especially current and all of it a lot less vendor-specific than you’ve ever imagined.


You won’t have to unravel complicated commands or provide commands that work on some specific system. But you will have to walk into the exam with a fairly extensive amount of knowledge and some good test taking skills.

If you’re thinking of going after your CISSP, I think you should consider taking a prep course with someone who can not only help you digest the material but can give you a lot of perspective on the test. My class was offered by UTSA ( but was offered in Delaware, not Texas.

The CISSP changes slowly and covers a lot of technology that you may never encounter, but it also provides a lot of perspective on how security is managed and provided -- and from a number of perspectives. The exam will cost you something like $600, includes 250 questions that you have to answer in six hours and you have to earn 700 points out of 1,000 possible points. The questions don’t all count the same. In fact, some don’t count at all and you won’t know which they are. But preparing will give you a lot of background on what security is all about and passing might just open up some very promising career doors. The world needs more CISSPs running around and making things better. Maybe you’ll be one of them!

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