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How much time does it take to prepare for the CISSP?

I have no information security experience, but have been working in IT application development and maintenance for five years. Will I be able to pass the CISSP exam with two months (60 to 80 hours) of preparation?

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With no background in information security, I'm afraid you'll have more than 80 hours of background reading to do before you can get started on the real curriculum itself. Even that will probably take more than 100 hours to complete -- given that you'll be learning all or most of this material for the first time.

My best guess is that you'll need 120 hours to ground yourself thoroughly in information security terms, concepts and best practices. Then, count on another 120 hours to prepare for the CISSP exam itself.

Remember, too, that you can't qualify for the CISSP unless you can provide documented proof of direct, security-related on the job experience for at least three years (given a Master's and a Bachelor's) and for up to five years (given no degree to offset on the job experience requirements).


This was first published in September 2004

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