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Before pursuing an ISACA certification, it is important to learn about its history, how acquiring a certification benefits you, its technical field of influence, and how to go about studying for the individual exams attached to the certificates on offer. ISACA was formed in 1967 for a particular reason; to develop a body of information and guidance needed for professionals operating in the computer system auditing industry. Today, ISACA as an organization has surpassed its initial goals and now provides certifications focused broadly on IT governance.
Therefore, anyone interested in furthering his or her career in IT governance, risk assessment, systems auditing and security management can take advantage of the prestige and skill that comes with acquiring an ISACA certification.
IT governance plays a huge role in monitoring and managing the IT resources used in an organization. It can be defined as the processes involved in ensuring the effective and efficient use of IT infrastructure in enabling a particular organization to meet its goals. Thereby ensuring a business receives the business insight and data needed to make effective decisions.
Professionals in IT governance must have a good understanding of how to develop and align IT goals with those of the organizations they audit or work with. And job roles involve; strategic management, risk management and the optimization of IT resources.
Like most certifications, obtaining an ISACA certification offers certain privileges to both individual professionals, and businesses with employees operating in the IT space.
The ISACA governing body offers the public four professional certifications covering the most important factors in IT governance. These certificates are designed for professional information system auditors, risk/security managers and prospective experts in IT governance. The four categories include:
IT professionals who have garnered experience in information systems auditing and would like to take their professional development a step further will find the CISA certification an important examination to take. The CISA certificate was designed with one thing in mind; to recognize your credentials and ability to audit, control and monitor enterprise IT systems. Currently, the CISA is the most popular certification ISACA offers and passing the exam integrates you into the group of 115,000 professionals who have been certified.
In June 2016, five domains were implemented as job practice areas and they include:
There are certain requirements one must meet before achieving the CISA certificate and they include:
It is important to note that these requirements are not mutually exclusive of one another. Candidates interested in obtaining the CISA certificate must meet all requirements presented by the ISACA board.
IT professionals dedicated to the management aspect of IT security can consider applying for the CISM certificate due to the prestige that comes to successful applicants. The CISM certification process was designed with testing an individual’s ability to build, monitor and manage IT security ecosystems for business organizations.
The CISM certification exam takes a technical turn with emphasis placed on information security governance, information risk management, and information security development. There are certain criteria that must be passed before one can attain a CISM certificate and they include:
A job practice serves as the basis for the exam and the requirements to earn an ISACA certificate. The job practice for CISM is in four domains which cover:
The requirements needed to apply and become CISM certified are five in number. They include:
Meeting these criteria are the 5 prerequisites needed to attain a CISM certificate. It is also important to note that if you are short on the experience requirement in information security, a postgraduate degree can serve as a substitute for 2 years work experience, while a professional Microsoft certifications—Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE), CompTIA Security+ serve as a years’ work experience.
ISACA’s CGEIT certificate was created to recognize the efforts and knowledge needed to discuss critical issues related to governance and strategic development, as well as the traction needed to move to C-suite that professionals have gathered through the years. The exam tests a candidate’s knowledge and ability to; align business with IT, integrate best practices and standards in IT governance, and fostering an environment that values continuous policy improvement in IT infrastructure/implementation.
This certification was designed for professionals who will have the responsibility of management, advising and providing assurances concerning enterprise IT in organizations. The requirements are:
ISACA work experience requirements for attaining the CGEIT certification are strict. This is due to the fact that at least one year experience working on IT governance frameworks is a prerequisite for successful application. On the other hand, college instructors are given the choice of counting two full-time years teaching IT governance as one-year work experience.
The CRISC certification was designed to provide IT professionals dedicated to understanding the impact of risk in information systems to the operations of a business organization. Therefore attaining this certificate highlights your technical abilities and dedication to understanding the risk peculiar to a certain organization. A CRISC certified professional is generally viewed as an indispensable partner to business organizations.
Meeting these requirements is a determining factor on if your application will be accepted. Unlike other ISACA certifications, one cannot make use of educational experience or anther certificate to replace the ‘work experience’ requirement. But it is important to note that ISACA gives every candidate a 5 year period to gain the work experience needed to qualify for your certificate.
ISACA launched independent certifications in 2015 with a view to adding expert level credentials to its list of available certificates. And the Cybersecurity Nexus (CSX) and the CSX-P certificates were the results. The CSX-P credential is a certificate that validates an individual’s ability to act as the first security responder when incidents involving IT security occurs. Therefore, the exams test a candidate’s ability to work with firewalls, antivirus response, and tasks involving breach analysis.
Unlike the other ISACA certification exams that make use of clear-cut questionnaires, the CSX-P exam is performance-based. This means candidates are given real-time simulations to identify and manage security incidents. This tests their ability to act as first responders in real-life situations.
ISACA acts as both an examination and a tutorial body by providing the services needed to conduct both activities. Prospective candidates can access practical training materials through the virtual instructor-led courses ISACA provides or by downloading the study materials needed to brush up your understanding of the topics covered in your certification exams.
There are also independent training services that provide candidates with the materials and lectures needed to understand what one will come up against during the examination process. Training service providers like SkillsBuild Training, provide a customized service which allows you gauge your current knowledge and set-up classes or lecture durations that allow you catch up at whatever pace you choose.
As stated earlier, multiple advantages come with acquiring an ISACA certification, and a larger salary when compared to other IT professionals without these certifications is one. The average salary for IT professionals with ISACA certificates are:
ISACA was formed by a group of IT professionals with the idea of developing centralized information, and guidelines guiding their practices. ISACA was founded in 1969 and today, the organization boasts of approximately 2,100 chapters worldwide. These chapters span across 185 countries with more than 140,000 official members and an additional 15,000 non-members holding ISACA certificates. The organization is a recognized leader in the IT certification community and also has a dedicated journal for chronicling its activities.