Which is Better Option CISA OR CISM? A Detailed Comparison

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Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) both are highly respected and recognized certifications in the field of information security. Which one is best for you depends on your career goals and your current job responsibilities.

CISA VS CISM? A General Overview

  • The CISA certification is intended towards professionals who audit, control, monitor, and assess an organization’s information technology and business systems. It is a widely recognized credential for those working in the field of information systems auditing, control, and security. CISA holders typically work in roles such as information systems auditors, information security managers, IT governance professionals, and risk management professionals.
  • The CISM certification, on the other hand, is designed for professionals who design, build and manage an organization’s information security program. CISM holders typically work in roles such as information security managers, chief information security officers (CISOs), and information security consultants.

It’s also worth considering that both certifications have different eligibility requirements, so you should review these carefully before making a decision. Let’s explore the market demand and major exam details of both certifications.

Read more: CISSP vs CISM

Market Demand for CISA and CISM

Job Roles

 Some common job titles for CISA and CISM holders include:

Read more: CISSP VS CCSP

Salary of CISA Certified

The salary for a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) can vary depending on several factors, including the individual’s level of experience, education, job title, and location. The average salary for a CISA holder is $102,856 per year. However, this figure can vary significantly based on the factors mentioned above. For example, a CISA holder with several years of experience and a strong educational background may earn a higher salary than a CISA holder just starting their career. In addition, a CISA holder working in a high-paying industry such as finance or technology may earn a higher salary than a CISA holder working in a lower-paying industry

Salary of CISM Certified

The salary for a Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) can vary depending on several factors, including the individual’s level of experience, education, job title, and location. According to data from the International Association of Computer Science and Information Technology (IACSIT), the average salary for a CISM holder is $110,000 per year. However, this figure can vary significantly based on the factors mentioned above.

Job Responsibilities of CISA and CISM Holders

CISA holders work in industries such as finance, healthcare, government, and technology.

  •  They may be responsible for auditing and evaluating the effectiveness of an organization’s information systems and controls, identifying and mitigating risks and vulnerabilities, and ensuring compliance with relevant regulations and standards. 
  • They may also be involved in implementing and maintaining internal controls, conducting security assessments, and providing guidance and direction to other members of the organization on information systems and security matters.

CISM holders typically work in industries such as finance, healthcare, government, and technology. 

  • They may be responsible for developing and implementing information security policies and procedures, managing security risks and vulnerabilities, and ensuring compliance with relevant regulations and standards. 
  • They may also be involved in managing security incidents, conducting security assessments, and providing guidance and direction to other members of the organization on information security matters.

Read more: CISA job practicing areas

Major Prerequisites and Required Experience

For CISA

To be eligible for the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certification, you must have a minimum of five years of professional work experience in the field of information systems audit, control, or security. This experience must have been gained within the 10 years preceding the application for the CISA certification.

For CISM

To be eligible for the Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certification, you must have a minimum of five years of professional work experience in the field of information security. This experience must have been gained within the 10 years preceding the application for the CISM certification.

Of the five years of required experience, a minimum of three years must be in information security management. This includes experience in designing, building, and managing an organization’s information security program.

For more information about certifications follow the certificate program exam guide 

Complete Exam Details of CISA and CISM Certifications

CISA Exam Domains

The Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) exam covers five domains, or subject areas, that are essential for professionals working in the field of information systems audit, control, and security. These domains are:

  • The Process of Auditing Information Systems (21%)
  • IT Governance and Management (16%)
  • Information Systems Acquisition, Development, and Implementation (18%)
  • Information Systems Operations, Maintenance, and Service Management (20%)
  • Protection of Information Assets (25%)

You can find more information about the CISA exam and the specific topics covered in each domain on the ISACA website.

CISM Exam Domains

The Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) exam covers four domains, or subject areas, that are essential for professionals working in the field of information security management. These domains are:

  • Information Security Governance (17%)
  • Information Security Risk Management (20%)
  • Information Security Program Development and Management (33%)
  • Information Security Incident Management (30%)

You can find more information about the CISM exam and the specific topics covered in each domain on the ISACA website.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, the decision on which certification to pursue will depend on your career goals and your current job responsibilities. If you are interested in auditing and controlling information systems, the CISA may be a better fit for you. If you are more interested in designing and managing information security programs, CISM may be a better fit. Both certifications are lucrative in their respective fields.

FAQ's

Both are the best certifications in their respective domains. Which certification you should get merely depends upon your job responsibilities and career interest. The CISA may be a better fit if you are interested in auditing and controlling information systems. CISM may be a better option if you are more interested in building and managing security controls.

Most candidates with a technology background struggle to understand governance and auditing problems, and they tend to think technically. Moreover, the domains are extensive and require broad knowledge. This could be one of the main reasons why so many people fail the CISA exam.

As shown in the graphic below, the average income range for a professional with a CISA qualification is between $52,459 and $122,326. According to recent statistics, the average wage is $102,856.

The Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) credential does not expire, however, credential holders must maintain their active status by participating in Continuing Professional Education (CPE).

To maintain your CISA certification, you must earn and report at least 120 CPE hours every three years and at least 20 hours yearly. CPE reporting is required by the end of each calendar year and must be renewed for the following year.

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