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CISA vs CISM: Which Certification is Right for You?

Oct 15, 20173 mins readCBT Proxy
CISA vs CISM: Which Certification is Right for You?

Both of the certifications, CISM and CISA, are being offered by the same body that is Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA). There is a number of about which one is better.

Introduction of CISA & CISM by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association has further made this decision a bit more complicated. In this article, we will discuss both of these credentials.

Most of the people recommend that you could go for anyone of the two credentials as they consider both of the certifications are similar. Whereas, this is not correct.


CISM is a credential for those professionals that cater to manage, design, assessing, and overseeing a company’s information security.

CISA is an accreditation that recognizes an inspection professional’s experience to assess a report on compliance, institute controls and IT/IS vulnerabilities within the organization.


The domain’s knowledge and information of CISM and CISA are being focused on IS (information security), but there is a core difference between them. CISM is a credential in order to ensure the organization’s information security; in comparison, CISA aspirants makes sure the information security controls.


According to recent research, the average salary of CISM certified is 117,436 dollars per year, whereas the average salary of a CISM professional is 116,431 dollars per year.

CISA Certification Exam Requirements

In order to take out the CISA exam, it is needed to have a minimum of 5 years of work experience in the sector controlling, securing, or auditing information systems. Some alternatives are also available.

The CISA preparation process might include attending CISA review test classes, using the software, or enrolling in an online course, study guides, and review manuals. Post-certification, the certified CISA is also needed to comply with standards of Information Security System.

CISM Certification Exam Requirements

Before going for the CISM exam, the aspirant is required to follow all the given ISACA guidelines regarding curriculum; candidate requires to register themselves online for the credential and should have a minimum of 5 years of professional experience in the sector of Information security.

According to recent ISACA reports, it is discovered that 32,000 professionals have qualified for the CISM credential; on the other hand, 129,000 professionals have achieved CISA certification.

Job Descriptions

Most of the CISM job descriptions are relevant to business continuity planning, information security risk analysis, information security management, and business impact analysis, etc. Whereas, the CISA certified professionals job descriptions mostly focuses on regulatory compliance, controls, IT auditing, and a lot of time audit of IT infrastructure.


If you are planning for CISM or CISA, by keeping your career in focus in mind while choosing the right certification.

For instance, if you are working in the positions of System Administrator, Network Administrator, or similar area, and you would like to grow your career in the sector of information security management, CISM would be more appropriate for obtaining a leading position.

However, if you are working in the fields of compliance, auditing, and assurance, or you would like to grow your career in the field of IT auditing, CISA is better for you.

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