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CASP+ vs CISSP: Which Cybersecurity Certification Is Best for Your Career?

CASP+ vs CISSP: Which Cybersecurity Certification Is Best for Your Career?

In an age of increasing cyber threats, cybersecurity skills are in high demand. For IT professionals looking to get ahead, earning an advanced certification can give your resume a significant boost. Two of the most prestigious credentials in the field are the CASP+ and the CISSP. But which one is right for you and your career goals?

The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) credential has long been considered the gold standard in cybersecurity certifications. Offered by ISC2, the CISSP covers a very broad range of topics and is suited for senior-level professionals seeking management roles.

By contrast, the CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+) certification goes into greater technical depth while covering a narrower range of security disciplines. It’s aimed at hands-on security practitioners who implement solutions on a day-to-day basis.  

This blog post will compare and contrast the CASP+ and CISSP exams and certification processes. We’ll analyze the key differences between the two credentials. We’ll offer tips on which certification is likely to provide the biggest career boost depending on your current role and future aspirations in cybersecurity.

Understanding CASP+ and CISSP Certifications

Below, we discuss the key differences between CASP+ and CISSP certifications. The insights below clear up any confusion surrounding these two powerhouse credentials.

Definition and Overview

The CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+) certification validates advanced technical skills in security engineering, enterprise security operations, risk management, compliance, and threat management. CASP+ is vendor-neutral and requires passing one exam.

The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification covers security engineering, communications and network security, identity and access management, security assessment and testing, security operations, and software development security. CISSP is vendor-neutral and requires passing one exam and having 5 years of professional cybersecurity experience.

But both certifications carry clout and signal high competence. By and large, these credentials cater to different audiences.

Comparison of roles and responsibilities

Here is a comparison of the roles and responsibilities of CASP+ and CISSP certifications:

  • CASP+ focuses on technical skills like risk management, enterprise security, research and analysis, and integration of computing systems and technology. CISSP covers management and conceptual topics like security engineering, communications security, laws and regulations, and security operations.
  • CASP+ holders are more hands-on, focusing on the technical implementation and monitoring of security controls. CISSPs take a broader, conceptual, and managerial approach to infosec, developing programs, policies, and procedures.
  • CASP+ is a DoD-approved certification for technical cybersecurity roles in the government. CISSP meets the requirements for management cybersecurity positions in both public and private sectors.
  • Both require staying current on infosec trends and maintaining continuing education credits.
  • CISSP is valued more for executive and managerial roles, while CASP+ is preferred for engineers and analysts.
  • CASP+ tests hands-on technical skills, while CISSP is more conceptual.

CASP+ Vs CISSP: Comparison Table

Professionals looking to boost their cybersecurity careers often weigh up the pros and cons of these certifications to figure out which one will better set them up for success.

In the table below, we have broken down some of the key differences between CASP+ and CISSP across important criteria. This will allow cybersecurity professionals to size up how each certification stacks up in areas like exam content, work experience requirements, and career impact.

FeatureCASP+CISSP
Administered byCompTIA(ISC)2
FocusTechnical hands-on security skillsManagerial, conceptual infosec knowledge
Exam format90 multiple-choice, performance-based questions100-150 multiple choice questions
Exam length165 Minutes3 hours
Renewal3 years with 60 CEU credits3 years with 120 CPE credits
Work experience requiredMinimum of 10 years in IT admin or security roleMinimum of 5 years in 2 CISSP domains
PrerequisitesSecurity+ CE certificateNone
CoversRisk management, enterprise security operations, and architecture, research, and analysis, integration of computing/communications/business8 domains – security and risk management, asset security, security architecture, communication and network security, identity and access management, security assessment and testing, security operations, software development security

In summary:

  • CASP+ focuses more on technical, hands-on security skills, while CISSP covers broader managerial and conceptual infosec knowledge.  
  • CASP+ has a performance-based exam, while CISSP is multiple-choice questions.
  • CISSP requires more work experience, while CASP+ has a Security+ prerequisite.
  • CASP+ renews every 3 years with 75 CEU credits, while CISSP requires 120 CPE credits.

Purpose and Scope of Each Certification

The CASP+ certification focuses on advanced technical skills for cybersecurity professionals. It covers risk management, enterprise security, research and analysis, and integration of computing, communications, and business disciplines. CASP+ is vendor-neutral and administered by CompTIA.

The CISSP certification focuses on management practices for information security professionals. It covers security and risk management, asset security, security engineering, communications and network security, identity and access management, security assessment and testing, security operations, and software development security. CISSP is vendor-neutral and administered by ISC2.

The CASP+ has a more technical focus while the CISSP focuses more on management and conceptual knowledge. CASP+ may be better for hands-on security roles while CISSP suits executive/managerial roles. Both are valued globally and demonstrate expertise.

Job Opportunities

This section explores the diverse career paths CASP+ and CISSP open up. The certifications cater to different disciplines, but both promise bright job prospects. Read on to get the lowdown on how these certifications can serve as springboards to take your career to the next level.

CASP+

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The updated CASP+ certification demonstrates advanced knowledge and skills in cybersecurity. It covers topics like risk management, enterprise security, research and analysis, and integration of computing, communications, and business disciplines. CASP+ is recommended or required by many employers for roles like:

  • Security Architect: Designs and develops secure network architectures and systems to protect organizational assets and data. CASP+ shows skills in areas like cryptography, vulnerabilities, threat intelligence, and compliance.  
  • Security Engineer: Implements and monitors security controls and policies. Troubleshoots issues. CASP+ validates understanding of identity and access management, firewalls, endpoint security, etc.
  • Technical Lead Analyst: Leads cybersecurity operations and incident response. Analyzes threats and vulnerabilities. CASP+ proves proficiency in security monitoring, penetration testing, disaster recovery, and more.  
  • Application Security Engineer: Assesses and fortifies software application security. CASP+ demonstrates knowledge of app security concepts like input validation, access control, encryption, and DevSecOps.

Major organizations like the U.S. Army, Dell, Verizon, and Booz Allen Hamilton look for CASP+ certified professionals. Other employers recommending or requiring CASP+ include:

  • U.S. Navy
  • Network Solutions, LLC
  • One Source Technologies Inc.

The updated CASP+ certification validates advanced cybersecurity skills and knowledge for in-demand roles. Many public and private sector organizations recommend or require CASP+.

CISSP

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CISSPs excel in security management, consulting, and architecture. CISSPs adopt a broad perspective, shaping security strategies, overseeing programs, and steering architectures. 

The following are the most common jobs and titles held by CISSP holders:

  • Chief Information Security Officer (CISO): The CISO is the senior executive responsible for an organization’s information and data security. They establish security strategies, policies, and controls to mitigate cyber risks. CISOs oversee security operations and incident response. They ensure compliance with regulations.
  • Cybersecurity Engineer: Cybersecurity engineers design and implement security solutions. They assess systems to find vulnerabilities. Engineers select controls like firewalls and encryption to protect networks and data. They monitor systems for threats and respond to incidents.
  • Security Architect: Security architects design overall security blueprints for organizations. They recommend tools and processes to reduce risk. Architects define access controls and policies. They ensure security is built into software systems and new technologies.
  • Security Administrator: Security administrators configure and maintain security systems and policies. They grant employees access and monitor activity. Administrators watch for unauthorized access attempts. They run vulnerability scans and install patches. They generate reports for leadership on security posture.

Their expertise is valued in leadership positions, making them key assets in safeguarding organizational assets and information.

Eligibility Requirements & Exam Details

Here is an in-depth comparison of the CASP+ and CISSP eligibility requirements and exam details:

CASP+ Eligibility and Exam Overview

The CASP+ certification is intended for experienced cybersecurity professionals who have advanced-level skills and knowledge to architect, engineer, integrate, and implement secure solutions across complex enterprise environments.

To sit for the CASP+ exam, CompTIA recommends having at least 10 years of IT administration experience, including at least 5 years of hands-on technical security experience. While this experience is recommended, it is not an official eligibility requirement. Candidates should also possess an in-depth understanding of risk management, enterprise security operations, research and analysis, and integration of computing, communications, and business disciplines.

The CASP+ exam is 90 minutes long, consisting of up to 90 performance-based and knowledge-based questions. The exam covers the following topics:

  • Enterprise Security: Designing, integrating, and implementing enterprise-wide security solutions across complex environments
  • Risk Management and Incident Response: Assessing organizational vulnerabilities and developing risk mitigation strategies. Responding to security incidents across architectures
  • Research and Analysis: Interpreting threat intelligence data to develop techniques for securing architectures
  • Integration of Computing, communications and business disciplines: Applying security practices across engineering disciplines

The exam uses drag-and-drop, hotspot, and multiple-choice question types to assess candidates’ skills. Candidates must pass with a score of 750 out of 900 to earn the certification.

CISSP Eligibility and Exam Overview

The CISSP certification validates advanced knowledge and experience in information security governance, risk management, compliance, security architecture and engineering, operations, cryptography, and other areas.

To be eligible for the CISSP, candidates must have at least 5 years of cumulative, paid, full-time work experience in two or more of the (ISC)2 CISSP Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) domains. A 4-year college degree can substitute for 1 year of experience.  

The CISSP exam is 4 hours long, consisting of 125-175 questions. The exam covers the 8 domains.

The exam uses multiple-choice and advanced innovative questions to assess candidates’ competence. A passing score is 700 out of 1000 points.

In summary, the CASP+ focuses more on technical skills while the CISSP emphasizes managerial expertise. Understanding the requirements and topics covered by each exam can help determine which certification best fits your career goals.

Average Salary

If you’re interested in CASP+ and CISSP certifications, you might be wondering how they compare in terms of average salary. Well, let’s break it down in easy words!

CASP+

As one of the premium cybersecurity certifications available today, CASP+ opens up lucrative career opportunities and commands impressive salaries.

According to Payscale, the average salary for CASP+ certified professionals in the United States ranges from $91K to $115K. However, this broad average does not tell the full story. The actual earning potential with CASP+ depends on several factors:

Job Role and Seniority Level

The job role and seniority level have a big impact on CASP+ salaries. Entry-level cybersecurity analysts may start around $65,000, while senior security architects and CISOs can earn well over $150,000. Mid-career security engineers and leads often make between $95,000 to $120,000. Higher positions and specialized roles like cloud security typically result in higher pay.

Industry

Cybersecurity professionals in industries like finance, aerospace, defense, and technology tend to earn the top salaries. For example, a CASP+ certified engineer at a cybersecurity vendor or tech firm may earn $110,000, while their counterpart in retail may make $85,000. The industry and size of the company greatly sway salaries.

Location

Where you work significantly influences how much you make. Large metropolitan tech hubs like Silicon Valley and New York pay handsomely, frequently over $100,000. In contrast, salaries in smaller cities and rural areas drop to $70,000 or lower. Even within the same region, pay scales vary widely between urban and suburban areas.

LocationSalary Range
San Antonio, TX$45,130-$86,476
Augusta, GA$55,000-$76,000
Norfolk, VA$74,369-$94,819
San Diego, CA$62,819-$123,126
Washington, D.C.$73,700-$122,829

Experience Level

More years in the field result in higher compensation. Entry-level CASP+ holders with 0-2 years of experience will start below $80,000. However, after 5+ years of hands-on work, professionals can expect to make six figures. The years of real-world experience raise both skill levels and salaries substantially.

Average salary based on job title

Job TitleAverage Salary
Cyber Security Analyst$89,986
Information Security Manager$102,063
Systems Administrator$70,000
Information Security Engineer$98,730
Information Technology (IT) Manager$68,500
Information Assurance Analyst$95,928
Network Engineer$79,707
Software Engineer$74,514
Information Assurance Engineer$102,207
Information Assurance Manager$107,442
Senior Security Consultant$126,862
Project Manager, Information Technology (IT)$95,250
Information Systems (IS) Manager$86,000
Security Manager, IT$130,000
Security Consultant$126,862
Information Security Specialist$100,000
Security Architect, IT$102,829

Job Market Conditions

When skilled cybersecurity talent is scarce, salaries tend to rise. However, during economic downturns when unemployment grows, compensation may take a hit. The current cybersecurity skills gap is fueling high salaries, but market conditions always create fluctuations.

In summary, top CASP+ earners can make well over $120,000 in high-paying roles, geographies, and industries. However, new entrants or those in average conditions may start between $80,000 and $95,000. The key is gaining expertise and advancing your career over time to maximize earnings potential. The CASP+ certification provides an excellent foundation, but ongoing education and experience drive top cybersecurity salaries.

CISSP

The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is one of the most prestigious and sought-after certifications in the cybersecurity field. CISSP-certified professionals earn an average salary of $125,470 in the United States according to data from ZipRecruiter. However, salaries can vary significantly based on job title, years of experience, industry, and location.

Job Role and Seniority Level

The average salary for CISSP professionals in the USA is $125,470. However, salaries can vary significantly based on the specific job role and seniority level.

  • Information Security Managers have an average salary of $118,405. Entry-level managers with less than 1 year of experience earn around $84,000, while senior managers with over 20 years of experience can earn up to $127,000.
  • Information Security Analysts have a lower average salary of $73,135. Entry-level analysts start at approximately $60,000, while senior analysts with 20+ years of experience can earn up to $107,000.
  • Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) earn the highest average salary at $165,291. However, CISO salaries have a wide range based on experience. Entry-level CISOs earn around $106,000, while those with 20+ years earn up to $181,000.
  • Security Architects have an average salary of $125,841. Junior architects with less than 1 year of experience earn approximately $79,000, while senior architects can earn up to $138,000.
  • Information Security Officers earn around $93,244 on average. Entry-level officers start at $69,000, with senior officers earning up to $113,000.
  • Security Engineers and Information Security Engineers have similar average salaries of $94,774 and $93,898 respectively. Entry-level engineers start between $67,000 – $72,000, with senior engineers earning up to $121,000.

Industry

CISSP professionals in certain industries tend to earn higher salaries:

  • Banking/Finance: Average salary of $130,930
  • Healthcare: Average salary of $128,717
  • Technology: Average salary of $123,568
  • Government/Military: Average salary of $122,516
  • Education: Average salary of $121,998

Lower-paying industries include retail ($98,052 avg) and hospitality ($96,274 avg).

Location

Location also impacts CISSP salaries. The highest salaries are found in these metropolitan areas:

  • San Francisco, CA:  $149,736 avg
  • New York, NY: $147,028 avg 
  • Washington, DC: $144,222 avg
  • San Jose, CA: $143,968 avg
  • Seattle, WA: $142,963 avg

Some of the lowest CISSP salaries are found in:

  • Memphis, TN: $96,274 avg
  • Oklahoma City, OK: $98,052 avg
  • El Paso, TX: $99,223 avg

Experience Level

Not surprisingly, CISSP professionals with more experience tend to earn higher salaries.

  • 0-5 years experience: $83,276 avg
  • 5-10 years experience: $112,338 avg
  • 10-15 years experience: $128,916 avg
  • 15-20 years experience: $147,283 avg
  • 20+ years experience: $168,029 avg

Average salary based on job title

Job TitleAverage Salary
Information Security Analyst$73,135
Information Security Manager$118,405
Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)$165,291
Security Architect$125,841
Information Security Officer$93,244
Security Engineer$94,774
Information Security Engineer$93,898

Job Market Conditions

The CISSP job market is very strong at the moment. CISSPs are in high demand, with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting 31% growth in information security jobs between 2019-2029. The high salaries and job growth provide strong incentives for cybersecurity professionals to obtain the CISSP credential. However, the seniority level, industry, and geographic location can significantly impact salary levels. Those seeking the highest CISSP salaries may need to consider relocating to certain metro areas and industries such as tech or finance.

Salary Growth and Projections

Curious about how much money you can make in cybersecurity with CASP+ or CISSP? Let’s talk about it!

CASP+ Certification

The CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+) certification is becoming an increasingly valuable asset for cybersecurity professionals looking to level up their careers. By validating advanced skills, CASP+ certifies professionals for more specialized and higher-paying roles.

CASP+ certified professionals can expect strong salary growth and career advancement opportunities. According to the Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary Survey, IT professionals with a CASP+ certification reported an average salary increase of 20% after earning their credential. The pay jump reflects the value that employers place on the complex analytical and problem-solving abilities that CASP+ holders possess.

The certification opens doors to lucrative leadership positions like Security Architect, IT Director, and IT Project Manager. These roles commonly offer salaries exceeding $150,000 per year. Even for those already working in IT security, obtaining the CASP+ credential can boost earnings potential. It signals possession of the advanced technical knowledge and critical thinking skills needed to implement and manage robust enterprise-level security.

As cyber threats become more sophisticated, organizations are seeking to hire and promote security professionals with proven expertise in risk mitigation, threat intelligence, and systems integration. CASP+ certification holders are equipped with the comprehensive skillset needed to secure sensitive assets and outmaneuver cybercriminals. The certification demonstrates mastery of IT security on an enterprise scale, making CASP+ credential-holders invaluable assets to employers.

CISSP

For those pursuing a leadership career in information security, the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification is the gold standard. CISSP validates a broad and deep understanding of cybersecurity concepts, principles, and best practices. Earning the certification is a challenging feat, requiring passing an intense exam covering 8 domains of security expertise.

However, the hard work pays off. CISSPs earn an average salary exceeding $120,000 per year in North America. Given the rigor of the certification process, the lucrative salaries make sense. CISSPs are entrusted with securing some of the world’s most valuable information assets and infrastructure.

As holders gain experience, CISSP catapults careers to even greater heights. Those in senior security leadership can expect to earn upwards of $200,000 annually. The certification signals both technical competence and strategic management abilities on a global scale.

CISSPs have the right blend of technical knowledge and big-picture understanding to defend critical systems and data. By validating universal expertise, CISSP certification helps propel holders to the top levels of information security management and pay scales.

In summary, both CASP+ and CISSP offer strong salary growth potential. CASP+ is ideal for building an advanced technical skillset and qualifying for specialized security roles. CISSP provides broad validation of security knowledge for those pursuing senior strategic leadership positions. Earning either certification signals a commitment to career advancement and gives professionals a significant edge in earning higher salaries.

Choosing the Right Certification

Here is a detailed comparison of the CASP+ and CISSP certifications to help choose the right one based on your skills, experience, and career goals:

Assessing your skills and experience

If you have hands-on technical skills and experience, CASP+ is a better fit. If you have managerial experience leading teams, developing policies, and risk management, CISSP is more suitable.

Identifying your career goals

CASP+ is ideal for roles like security engineer, analyst, and architect. It develops technical skills to detect, analyze, and respond to cybersecurity threats.

CISSP is preferred for managerial roles like CISO, security manager, and auditor. It develops skills to design, manage, and govern organizational cybersecurity practices.

If you want to grow in technical cybersecurity roles, CASP+ is the better choice. For leadership roles in security strategy, and governance, CISSP is more relevant.

In summary:

  1. Analyze your current skills and background first.
  2. Then, identify your career goals and the job roles you want to pursue.
  3. Finally, choose either the technical, hands-on CASP+ certification or the managerial, policy-focused CISSP certification based on which one aligns better with your experience and future ambitions.

Conclusion

In conclusion, both CASP+ and CISSP are highly valued and respected cybersecurity certifications that can boost your career. 

Choosing between them depends on your specific career goals and interests. CASP+ certification is ideal for those who want to work in technical cybersecurity roles like security engineer or analyst. CISSP certification suits management and leadership roles like CISO that require broad knowledge.

Whichever certification you pursue, be sure to use quality exam prep materials. CCS Learning Academy offers comprehensive online courses for both CASP+ and CISSP. Our expert instructors, hands-on labs, and adaptive learning technology ensure you’ll be fully prepared to pass your exam the first time. Visit CCS Learning Academy today to enroll and advance your cybersecurity career!

FAQs

Q1: What are CASP+ and CISSP certifications?

Answer: CASP+ (CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner) and CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) are advanced-level cybersecurity certifications. CASP+ focuses on technical skills and hands-on security knowledge, while CISSP is aimed at experienced security practitioners and focuses on managerial and strategic cybersecurity issues.

Q2: Who should pursue the CASP+ certification?

Answer: CASP+ is ideal for IT professionals with at least 5-10 years of experience in IT administration, with a focus on security. It suits those who wish to remain hands-on with technology rather than move into managerial roles.

Q3: What are the prerequisites for the CISSP certification?

Answer: To qualify for the CISSP, candidates must have a minimum of five years of cumulative, paid work experience in two or more of the eight domains of the CISSP CBK (Common Body of Knowledge). A one-year experience waiver is available for candidates with a four-year college degree or an approved credential.

Q4: How do the exam formats for CASP+ and CISSP differ?

Answer: The CASP+ exam includes both multiple-choice and performance-based questions, focusing on practical skills. The CISSP exam is primarily multiple-choice but is adaptive, meaning the difficulty adjusts based on the test-taker’s answers.

Q5: What career opportunities are available for CASP+ certified professionals?

Answer: CASP+ certification can lead to roles such as Security Architect, Technical Lead Analyst, Application Security Engineer, and Security Engineer. It is well-suited for technical, hands-on positions.

Q6: What type of roles does CISSP certification target?

Answer: CISSP is targeted towards experienced security professionals and often leads to roles like Chief Information Security Officer, IT Director/Manager, Security Systems Engineer, and Security Analyst. It is more aligned with managerial and strategic positions.

Q7: How does the focus of CASP+ compare to that of CISSP?

Answer: CASP+ is more technically oriented, focusing on implementing solutions and advanced security concepts. CISSP, on the other hand, has a broader focus, encompassing risk management, policy development, and overall security strategy.

Q8: What is the average salary for CASP+ vs CISSP certified professionals?

Answer: While salaries vary based on location, experience, and the specific role, generally, CISSP-certified professionals tend to have higher average salaries due to the certification’s alignment with senior and managerial roles.

Q9: How long are the CASP+ and CISSP certifications valid?

Answer: Both certifications require continuing education for renewal. CASP+ is valid for three years, while CISSP also requires renewal every three years, with ongoing requirements for professional education credits.

Q10: Can someone with CASP+ certification easily transition to a CISSP role?

Answer: While CASP+ provides a strong technical foundation, transitioning to a CISSP role may require additional experience in managerial and strategic areas of cybersecurity, as well as meeting CISSP’s work experience requirements.

Q11: Is it beneficial to hold both CASP+ and CISSP certifications?

Answer: Holding both certifications can be beneficial, as they complement each other. CASP+ demonstrates technical expertise, while CISSP showcases strategic and managerial skills, making a professional well-rounded in the cybersecurity field.

Q12: How should one choose between CASP+ and CISSP?

Answer: The choice depends on individual career goals. If you aim for a technical, hands-on role in cybersecurity, CASP+ may be more suitable. If you aspire to move into senior management or strategic positions, CISSP would be more appropriate.

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