Advance Your Cybersecurity Career with CISA Certification

The Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certification from ISACA is an asset for career advancement in the IT industry. Professionals in the field of information systems auditing, control, and security can validate their skills and knowledge in managing and auditing IT and business systems and gain a competitive advantage in the job market with a cybersecurity certification.

Léa Goichon

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Léa Goichon
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Published
June 6, 2024
Updated
June 6, 2024
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CISA certification - advance your cybersecurity career

ISACA and CISA certification: the basics

 

The Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certification is issued by ISACA, a nonprofit, independent association that provides credentials and training to professionals involved in information security, assurance, risk management, and governance. CISA certification demonstrates an individual's expertise in information systems auditing, control, and security. It is highly valued by companies around the world as proof of the holder's knowledge and experience in assessing vulnerabilities, reporting on compliance, and instituting controls within an enterprise.

 

The CISA certification was introduced in 1978 by ISACA, formerly known as the Information Systems Audit and Control Association. Today, ISACA is present in more than 180 countries and has certified over 200,000 professionals, reflecting its importance and global reach in the industry. According to ANAB, the ANSI National Accreditation Board, 22% of CISA-certified professionals reported a pay boost. And the same study states that 70% experienced on-the-job improvement.

 

Since the CISA certification was introduced, demand for the certification has continued to grow, becoming one of the most sought-after certifications in the field of information security. ISACA developed the certification in response to the increasing demand for professionals who could effectively audit, control, and monitor an organization's information technology and business systems. The CISA certification is continually updated to keep pace with the rapid changes in technology, best practices and industry standards.

 

What are the advantages of CISA certification?

The Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certification offers numerous advantages for professionals in the field of information security and auditing. Earning a CISA certification will enhance your professional credibility and provide opportunities for career growth and development.

Job transition with CISA

For individuals looking to shift their career focus toward information systems auditing and security, the CISA certification is a solid foundation. A bootcamp or training course can provide a professional with the essential knowledge and skills required to pass the CISA certification and transition into a new role within their organization or to change jobs.

Career advancement

Professional certifications demonstrate to managers and HR an employee’s commitment to continued education and their expertise. This can lead to promotions and salary increases. For senior positions, employers often look for CISA-certified professionals, recognizing the advanced level of competence and knowledge that the certification signifies.

Competitive advantage

CISA credentials set you apart from other candidates. A CISA certification shows prospective employers that you have knowledge of industry standards and possess a deep understanding of information systems auditing, control, and security. This competitive edge can be crucial when applying for jobs or negotiating salaries. Anecdotal reports from recruiters have stated that auditors with CISA certification can command a salary between 10 and 20% higher than auditors without CISA certification.

Validate your skills

The CISA certification is a formal validation of your skills and knowledge in the field of information systems auditing. The US Department of Defense Manual 8140.03 Cyberspace Workforce Qualification and Management Program states that CISA certification is among the approved list of certifications for those who work in cyberspace roles for the department. This is a strong endorsement for ISACA and the program. It assures employers and clients that you have undergone extensive training and have passed an internationally recognized exam, proving your ability to handle complex audit and security challenges.

Access to network of professional resources

Becoming CISA-certified connects you to a global network of professionals and resources through ISACA. This includes access to continuing education, professional development opportunities, conferences, and forums where you can exchange knowledge and stay updated on industry trends. Networking with other CISA-certified professionals can also lead to new career opportunities and collaborations.

 

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a computer and information systems manager is about $170,000. And job growth for computer and information systems managers is expected to be 15%. This is 12% higher than average job growth in the US. The median salary for an auditor in the US is about $80,000.

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What are the five CISA domains?

The CISA certification exam is structured around five key domains that encompass the critical areas of knowledge necessary for information systems auditing, control, and security. These domains are designed to evaluate a candidate’s proficiency and understanding of the essential aspects of information systems audit.

 

1. Information System Auditing Process

This domain focuses on the planning and execution information systems auditing.

 

  • Understanding audit standards and guidelines
  • Developing and implementing risk-based audit strategies
  • Implementing business processes
  • How to report findings and recommendations to management
  • Quality assurance techniques and how to improve processes

 

2. Governance and Management of IT

This domain focuses on the skills necessary to identify critical issues and support IT governance and management practices.

 

  • Understanding IT frameworks and maturity models
  • Evaluating IT organizational structure and enterprise architecture
  • Assessing IT strategy and alignment with business goals
  • Laws, standards, and regulations for compliance
  • Ensuring effective IT resource management and performance monitoring

 

3. Information Systems Acquisition, Development, and Implementation

This domain focuses on the key processes and methodologies used by organizations when creating and modifying systems and infrastructure components.

 

  • Assessing the relevance of a use case for achieving business objectives
  • Evaluating system development life cycle (SDLC) processes
  • Reviewing business case development and feasibility studies
  • Ensuring proper testing and quality assurance practices
  • Assessing post-implementation review and system maintenance processes

 

4. Information Systems Operations, Maintenance, and Service Management

This domain focuses on IT controls and how controls affect business performance and resilience.

 

  • Managing incidents
  • Assessing system performance, availability, and capacity management
  • Developing business continuity plans, disaster recovery plans and performing business impact analysis

 

5. Protection of Information Assets

This domain broadly addresses all information systems roles and the best practices necessary to protect information assets.

 

  • Assessing information security policies, standards, and procedures
  • Evaluating access controls and authentication mechanisms
  • Reviewing data classification and protection practices
  • Ensuring effective security monitoring and incident response
  • Collecting evidence and IT forensics

 

These five domains are each tested in the CISA certification exam with a different weighting for each domain. ISACA reviews the weighting for each domain on a regular basis and changes them according to industry demand and best practices. Beginning in August 2024, the exam weightings will be updated; and starting in May 2024, the exam prep materials for the new weighting will be available.

 

Professional training courses for certification

CISA exam preparation and bootcamps

The best way to prepare for the CISA exam is to follow a professional training course. There are many ways to achieve your goal. The method you choose will, of course, depend on your budget and time constraints.

 

There are training organizations around the globe that provide intensive courses to prepare candidates to pass the exam in a matter of days with a guarantee of passing the exam or the re-take is free. There are four- and five-day bootcamps that are held in-person or online with access to study materials, application assistance and support after the course. One major benefit of this method is a quick turnaround for certification. The high cost of these courses can be a disadvantage for.

 

ISACA provides self-study courses directly from their website. They offer printed review manuals in multiple languages and practice questions and answers. There is also an online review course. Candidates who follow the online review will earn 28 CPE for completing the course. It is also the most up-to-date.

 

MOOCs such as LinkedIn Learning and Coursera provide video training courses that help candidates prepare to pass the exam. A major advantage for this approach is that the cost barrier is much lower. However, the content may not as up to date as the ISACA self-study course or for the more expensive bootcamps.

 

Complementary training courses for risk auditors and managers

For IT and IS risk auditors, continuous learning and professional development are crucial to staying ahead in the ever-evolving field of information security. One highly valuable training course that complements the CISA certification is Cyber Risk Quantification (CRQ).

 

Cyber Risk Quantification (CRQ) Training

Cyber Risk Quantification training is a major asset for IT and IS risk auditors. This specialized training course offered by C-Risk provides auditors and risk managers with advanced skills in assessing and quantifying cyber risks. The training is based on the Factor Analysis of Information Risk (FAIR) framework, a widely recognized standard for quantifying cyber risk. The C-Risk CRQ training course prepares cyber professionals to pass the Open FAIR 2 Foundation certification.

 

Earning a CISA certification is a significant achievement that opens up numerous opportunities in the field of information systems auditing and security. The certification validates your skills and knowledge and provides a competitive edge in the job market. Further training, such as Cyber Risk Quantification with C-Risk, is an benefit to your professional development and career growth.

CISA certification FAQ

What are the prerequisites for the CISA exam?

According to the ISACA website, CISA certification is open to anyone interested in information security. It is possible to sit the exam without the prerequisite work experience and you have 10 years to gain the required 5 years of experience.

How much does it cost to take the ISACA CISA certification exam?

Once registered for the exam, candidates have 12 months to take the exam. As of May 2024, the cost for the CISA exam is USD 575.00 for ISACA members and USD 760.00 for non-members. Upon passing the exam, CISA-certified professionals are members of ISACA.

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