How to Become a Cybersecurity Specialist
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What is the PMP exam like the CISSP?

It was a strange question that I answered when someone asked it. What is the difference between the PMP and the CISSP? These two exams cover completely different topics. The PMP exam covers project management, while the CISSP exam covers cybersecurity.

I thought about it.

This question is valid. Many people might be interested in both the PMP and the CISSP. Both certifications are the most prestigious in their respective fields. This question is worth considering.

Comparison of the PMP and the CISSP.

791,448 people currently hold the PMI PMP certificate. The IS2 CISSP certification is held by 122,289.

There are more PMPs than CISSPs around the globe. Having a CISSP certification, however, is rarer than a PMP.

1984 was the year that the first PMP exam took place. 1994 was the first year of the CISSP exam. The PMP has a 10-year advantage. This does not apply if you compare numbers. It is more difficult to find CISSPs based on numbers.

When I decide which certification I will pursue, I want information about the value of the certification in the job market. This is the easiest to do on You will see the results of your search, which will indicate the number of jobs that require or want the certification.

If I do a search for PMP within the Washington DC metropolitan area, I get 2525 results. Below is a breakdown of the estimated salaries for these results.

If I search the same area for CISSP, I get 2707 results. Below is a breakdown of the estimated salaries for these results.

There are a few CISSP-certified jobs that are available. The starting salary for CISSP positions is slightly higher than that of the PMP.

Therefore, the CISSP exam is more valuable than the PMP certification. The difference isn’t significant, and both certifications can be useful for employers.

The Exams

The PMP exam takes 4 hours. The CISSP exam doesn’t have a time limit. The CISSP exam is not like the PMP exam. It is adaptive. The adaptive nature of the CISSP exam means that if you answer a question correctly, the next question will be a little more difficult. If you do not meet the criteria for passing the CISSP exam, or if the algorithm decides otherwise, the exam is over.

There is no time limit for taking the CISSP exam. Some people complete it quickly, as I did. I was presented with only 110 questions. Others get asked question after question and may need to answer up to 150 questions. Each question can be difficult to answer and can take several minutes. An additional 40 questions could lead to an additional hour of exam taking.

There are 200 multiple-choice questions in the PMP. These questions often have multiple “correct” answers. This can make it difficult to choose the correct answer.

This is why I was relieved when I came to a question that required me to use a formula. My answer was correct as long as I remembered how to do the math. Non-formula questions were more difficult. It was difficult to decide which answer was best and why. Many of the questions required me to make a “best guess” and it was difficult to remain confident when forced to make decisions that you don’t know.

Multiple-choice questions are also part of the CISSP. Many questions, just like the PMP exams, don’t have an obvious answer. Just like the PMP exam, I was forced to choose between two answers I believed were correct.

The CISSP’s golden rule states that the most expensive answer is the best. If you’re asked to choose the best way of reducing risk, the best answer is the one that costs the least.

Which test is more difficult?

Both the PMP and CISSP exams are difficult. Although pass rates for both exams are not available, it is believed that less than half of those taking the CISSP exam fail to pass it on their first attempt. For the PMP exam, the numbers are similar.

However, for me, the CISSP exam was much more difficult than the PMP.

The PMP exam took me almost four hours. I spent a lot of time reviewing my answers and only six questions were completely unanswered. You can go back and review your answers, as well as change them. Once you’re done reviewing, click the button to close the test and check if you passed. I felt pretty confident when I clicked the button to complete the test.

I said my prayer and clicked.

The testing software may have deliberately delayed the results to keep you guessing. The test results are displayed after what seems like an eternity.

Boom – I passed.

The CISSP exam, on the other hand, is administered completely differently. As I said, the test is adaptive. The next question will be more difficult if you have an answer correct. The testing gets to the point where the questions are so difficult that no one can answer them all.

You can’t review or modify answers from the CISSP exam. Once you answer a question, the test moves on to the next. There is no way to go back. The test can be ended at any time. It is impossible to predict when the test will end and if questions will continue.

I was at question 107 and had the feeling that if I answered correctly, I would pass. I thought, for some reason, that if the question was not answered correctly, I would go down in flames.

I answered question 107 and the test didn’t end.

Question 108 dealt with a topic completely new to me. After analyzing the questions and answering the questions, I felt confident that I was right. The test went on until 110.

The test was over. It did not say whether I passed or failed.

I walked out of the computer and left it. To ensure that I didn’t change places with an older version of myself, biometrics were again scanned.

I walked discouraged mentally to the front desk where the woman was looking at a computer. She printed out a sheet of paper, folded it in half, and handed it to me. I opened the paper slowly as she handed it to me.

My mind was still recovering from the exam so I couldn’t decipher the paper. The woman smiled and said, “Congratulations!”