A certified information systems auditor (CISA) carries a specialty certification that indicates a mastery of IT security in the realms of governance, risk and compliance. And although it's not required, CISA certification is a big boost for the IT department in some surprising ways.
Not super familiar with it? Here's an overview of what CISA is and why you ultimately need to know about it.
IT Security = Job Security
Improving security has become an essential function of the IT department, especially with BYOD a reality and new vulnerabilities getting discovered every day. It sounds demanding, but an IT pro who has this certification is uniquely equipped to see where security weaknesses are and rectify them swiftly using the most efficient techniques available.
Do You Qualify?
To qualify for CISA certification, candidates require a minimum of five years of professional experience in the field of information systems auditing, control, assurance or security and, additionally, pass a one-time CISA exam administered by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA). ISACA is also responsible for awarding the certification itself.
Dust Off Your SAT PTSD
The exam is designed to be difficult, with no clear order to any one section of the 200 multiple-choice questions administered over a four-hour period. ISACA doesn't publish pass/fail rates, although the information gathered by the University of Virginia suggests only 50 percent of candidates pass (don't get discouraged; more than 50,000 have succeeded worldwide). Keep in mind certification is awarded upon completion of the exam, but to maintain certification, IT pros must consistently adhere to the ISACA Code of Professional Ethics and comply with the organization's continuing professional education policy.
You can always go to ISACA's website to take a CISA practice exam. This is a great way to self-assess.
What the Certification Gets You
CISA certification is not for the faint of heart, but the hard work that goes into gaining this certification is well worth the credentials you receive. CISA is ideal for any professional working in the IT field, but it is crucial for those who are looking to demonstrate a mastery of IT security audits and manage control operations. CISA certification also provides an avenue for IT pros to stay abreast of updates and changes in technology that would keep their IT department ahead of the curve. Because it's constantly updated to reflect new network challenges, the continuing education required by the program is a great way to stay on top of ever changing IT trends.