Is Isc2 Certification Worth It? An In-Depth Guide

In today’s cybersecurity job market, certifications can give you a competitive edge. With hacking and data breaches on the rise, companies need qualified infosec professionals more than ever. If you’re considering getting an ISC2 certification, you probably want to know if it’s worth the time and money. In short, ISC2 certs are absolutely worthwhile for advancing your cybersecurity career.

This comprehensive guide will examine the value of ISC2 certifications. We’ll look at the pros and cons, costs, and return on investment. You’ll also find out how specific ISC2 certs like the CISSP and CCSP can boost your salary and job prospects. By the end, you’ll know whether ISC2 is right for your goals.

Overview of ISC2 Certifications

ISC2 (International Information System Security Certification Consortium) is a globally recognized organization that offers a range of certifications for professionals in the field of cybersecurity. These certifications are highly valued and respected in the industry, as they demonstrate a high level of knowledge and expertise. ISC2 certifications are designed to validate the skills and competence of professionals and provide them with the recognition they deserve.

Most Popular ISC2 Certifications

ISC2 offers several certifications, but some of the most popular ones include:

  • CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional): This certification is considered the gold standard in the field of cybersecurity. It covers a wide range of security topics and is highly sought after by employers.
  • CCSP (Certified Cloud Security Professional): As cloud computing becomes increasingly important, the CCSP certification validates professionals’ skills in designing, implementing, and managing cloud security solutions.
  • SSCP (Systems Security Certified Practitioner): This certification is ideal for those who are early in their careers and want to gain foundational knowledge in cybersecurity.

These certifications demonstrate a professional’s commitment to staying up-to-date with the latest industry standards and best practices. They can open doors to new job opportunities and help professionals advance their careers.

Requirements for Earning and Maintaining Certification

Earning an ISC2 certification requires meeting specific criteria, which typically include a combination of education, work experience, and passing a rigorous exam. The exact requirements vary depending on the certification, but ISC2 places a strong emphasis on practical experience and real-world knowledge.

Once certified, professionals must maintain their certification by fulfilling continuing professional education (CPE) requirements. This ensures that certified individuals stay current with the evolving landscape of cybersecurity and continue to enhance their skills and knowledge.

ISC2 certifications provide professionals with a competitive edge in the job market and demonstrate their commitment to excellence in the field of cybersecurity. They are recognized and respected by employers worldwide and can lead to increased job opportunities and higher salaries.

To learn more about ISC2 certifications and their benefits, you can visit the official ISC2 website at

Benefits of Getting ISC2 Certified

Higher Salaries

One of the major benefits of obtaining an ISC2 certification is the potential for higher salaries. According to a survey conducted by (ISC)2, professionals who hold their certifications tend to earn significantly more than their non-certified counterparts. In fact, the average salary for certified professionals is reported to be 15-25% higher than those without certifications. This is due to the fact that ISC2 certifications validate your expertise and demonstrate your commitment to the field of cybersecurity, making you a more valuable asset to employers.

More Job Opportunities

Another advantage of being ISC2 certified is the increased job opportunities that become available to you. As the demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals continues to rise, many employers now require or prefer candidates who hold industry-recognized certifications. Having an ISC2 certification can differentiate you from other applicants and give you a competitive edge in the job market. Furthermore, ISC2 certifications are recognized globally, opening doors to international job opportunities in various sectors.

Gain Valuable Cybersecurity Knowledge

Obtaining an ISC2 certification not only enhances your resume and job prospects, but it also equips you with valuable cybersecurity knowledge and skills. The certification programs offered by ISC2 are designed to cover a wide range of topics and domains, ensuring that certified professionals have a comprehensive understanding of the field. From risk management to incident response, these certifications provide in-depth knowledge that can be applied in real-world scenarios. Additionally, the continuing professional education (CPE) requirements for maintaining ISC2 certifications ensure that professionals stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices in the industry.

Drawbacks of ISC2 Certifications

High Costs

One of the major drawbacks of ISC2 certifications is the high cost associated with obtaining them. The registration fees for these certifications can be quite steep, especially for professionals who are self-funded or working in smaller organizations. Additionally, there may be additional costs for study materials, practice exams, and training courses, which can add up quickly. However, it is important to note that the value of the certification and the potential career opportunities it can open up may outweigh the initial investment.

Time Commitment for Studying and CPEs

ISC2 certifications require a significant time commitment both for studying and for maintaining the certification through Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits. The study materials and exams for these certifications are extensive and can take several months of dedicated studying to pass. Additionally, certified professionals are required to earn a certain number of CPE credits each year to maintain their certification. This means attending conferences, workshops, and completing relevant training courses, which can be time-consuming for professionals already juggling demanding work schedules.

Exam Difficulty

The exams for ISC2 certifications are notoriously challenging. They are designed to thoroughly test an individual’s knowledge and understanding of the subject matter. Many professionals find the exams to be difficult and require extensive preparation. The passing rates for these exams are often lower than other certifications, which can be discouraging for individuals who are aiming to obtain the certification. However, with proper preparation, dedication, and support from study materials and training resources, success is achievable.

Despite these drawbacks, ISC2 certifications are still highly regarded in the industry and can greatly enhance a professional’s career prospects. It is important for individuals to carefully consider the costs, time commitment, and exam difficulty before pursuing these certifications. Conducting thorough research, seeking advice from industry professionals, and evaluating personal career goals will help determine if an ISC2 certification is worth it for an individual’s specific circumstances.

Return on Investment for ISC2 Certs

When considering whether ISC2 certification is worth it, one important factor to consider is the return on investment (ROI) that these certifications can provide. By obtaining an ISC2 certification, professionals can enhance their skills, expand their knowledge, and increase their earning potential in the cybersecurity industry.

Cost Comparison of Popular Certs

Before diving into the ROI, it’s crucial to compare the costs of various popular certifications. ISC2 certifications, such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP), do come with a higher price tag compared to other certifications like CompTIA Security+ or Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH).

However, it’s important to note that the investment in an ISC2 certification often pays off in the long run. These certifications are widely recognized and respected in the industry and can open doors to higher-level job opportunities and increased earning potential.

Salary Boost from Certification

Obtaining an ISC2 certification can lead to a significant salary boost. According to the 2020 IT Skills and Salary Report by Global Knowledge, professionals with CISSP certification earn an average salary of $131,030 per year, which is higher than the average salary for cybersecurity professionals without this certification.

Moreover, the report also highlights that ISC2 certifications consistently rank among the top-paying certifications in the industry. Employers value the expertise and knowledge that these certifications represent, and they are willing to compensate professionals accordingly.

Weighing Costs vs. ROI

When considering whether ISC2 certification is worth it, it’s essential to weigh the costs against the potential ROI. While there is an initial financial investment required to pursue these certifications, the long-term benefits can far outweigh the costs.

ISC2 certifications not only provide professionals with valuable knowledge and skills but also enhance their credibility and marketability in the cybersecurity field. This increased marketability can lead to better job prospects, career advancement opportunities, and higher salaries.

It’s important to note that the ROI will vary for each individual, depending on factors such as their experience level, job role, and the demand for cybersecurity professionals in their geographical location. However, overall, ISC2 certifications are highly regarded in the industry and can offer a significant return on investment for those who pursue them.

For more information on ISC2 certifications and their ROI, you can visit the official ISC2 website at

Alternatives to ISC2 Certifications

If you are considering pursuing a cybersecurity certification, but are unsure if ISC2 certifications are the right fit for you, there are several alternative options worth exploring. These alternatives can provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in the cybersecurity field, while offering different focuses and specializations.

CompTIA Certs

One popular alternative to ISC2 certifications is the CompTIA certification program. CompTIA offers a range of certifications, including the widely recognized Security+ certification. This certification covers essential cybersecurity concepts and skills, and is often a prerequisite for many entry-level cybersecurity positions. CompTIA certifications are known for their vendor-neutral approach, allowing professionals to apply their skills across a variety of technology platforms.



If you are interested in specializing in software security, the (ISC)2 Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP) certification may be a suitable alternative to consider. This certification focuses on best practices for developing, deploying, and maintaining secure software systems. With the increasing importance of software security in today’s digital landscape, obtaining the CSSLP certification can greatly enhance your career prospects.


GIAC Certifications

Another alternative to ISC2 certifications is the Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC) program. GIAC offers a wide range of certifications, each focusing on specific cybersecurity knowledge areas, such as incident response, penetration testing, and network defense. GIAC certifications are highly regarded in the industry and are known for their rigorous testing process, ensuring that certified professionals possess the necessary skills to tackle real-world cybersecurity challenges.


While ISC2 certifications are widely recognized and respected in the cybersecurity community, exploring alternative certification options can provide you with a broader skillset and specialization. Ultimately, the choice of certification should align with your career goals and the specific areas of cybersecurity that interest you the most.


ISC2 certifications require an investment of time and money. However, they offer excellent ROI by boosting your salary and job prospects. For cybersecurity roles, the CISSP reigns supreme. But certs like the CCSP and SSCP also carry weight. Before committing, weigh the costs against potential salary gains. For maximum career advancement, ISC2 certs are worth the effort for dedicated infosec professionals.

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