Certified Ethical Hacking,  Cybersecurity

CEH vs CISSP | Which one is best for your Career?

When researching potential jobs, CEH vs CISSP may appear on the list of desired career certifications. “What should I do and why?

Many participants have asked the same question. Time and money are limited, so it’s important to earn a certification that aligns perfectly with your goals and career experience. We have extensive experience and training in both certifications. This article compares CEH vs CISSP to decide which is right for you.

What are CEH vs CISSP a credential? 

CEH vs CISSP have widely recognized industry certifications, but their scope and purpose differ significantly.

About CISSP Certification

The CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) certification is a credential offered by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, commonly abbreviated as (ISC)2 or sometimes (ISC)².

The CISSP certification was created in 1994 and is the oldest information security certification certified under ANSI 17024. CISSP Certification is created for professionals working in security with many years of experience aiming to exhibit their understanding and experience in various areas of information security. It is often elaborated as “a mile wide and an inch deep.”

About CEH Certification

EC-Council’s CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) certificate is also ANSI 17024 certified, but it was not until 2003 that CISSP appeared almost 9 years later.

Two CEH certifications are available.  

  • CEH (ANSI): A multiple-choice knowledge exam
  • CEH (Reality): A virtual reality lab that simulates ethical hacking.

In this article, we will look at CEH (ANSI). 

Details of Exam: 

CISSP and CEH are written exams, but their approach and rigor differ greatly.

Information about the CISSP exam: 

The CISSP is a self-contained, knowledge-based exam. It includes 125 to 175 questions and must be finished in 4 hours. You must take CISSP training to prepare yourself fully for the exam. The test includes:

  • 50 unscored items (questions can be used in future tests but are not scored)
  • 75-125 MCQs and advanced creative items (e.g., drag items into the correct order)

The CISSP exam covers eight areas and is scored as follows:

  • Security and Risk Management (15%)
  • Asset Security (10%)
  • Security Architecture and Engineering (13%)
  • Communication and Network Security (13%)
  • Identity and Access Management (IAM) (13%)
  • Security Assessment and Testing (12%)
  • Security Operations (13%)
  • Software Development Security (11%)

This exam leverages Computerized Adaptive Test (CAT) format. The number and toughness of questions are effectively adjusted according to the previous answers. So you can’t ignore any question and come back to it later, and you can’t edit a submitted answer.

The minimum passing score for the CISSP exam is 700/1000.

CEH (ANSI) Exam Details:  

CEH (ANSI) is an independent knowledge-based exam. It includes 125 multiple-choice questions covering 20 topic areas and must be finished in 4 hours. A few topics are covered, which include:

  • Information threats of security and attack vectors
  • Attack finding
  • Attack safeguarding
  • Process and methods of information security

The minimum passing score for the CEH certification exam can vary from 60% to 85%, depending on the test bank you get.

Specific topics you need to understand in the exam are covered in our extensive CEH exam cheat sheet

To take the examination with proper planning, you need to take certified ethical hacking training online.

Eligibility Requirements: 

Both certifications need professional experience of several years, but both provide options for those who don’t have the time needed.

CISSP Requirements: 

To earn the CISSP certification, (ISC)2 requires candidates to have at least five years of experience in two or more of the eight CISSP Common Knowledge (CBK) areas.

Finishing a four-year college course or an approved certificate may count as one year out of the five-year requirement.

If you clear the test but do not have the required experience, you will get Membership Status (ISC)2 instead.

In addition, all CISSP candidates must be approved by an active CISSP holder within nine months of taking the CISSP exam. Things to know before taking CISSP Exam

CEH (ANSI) Requirements:  

As a prerequisite for the CEH (ANSI) exam, the EC-Council needs applicants to:

  • Take an official EC-Council CEH training course or
  • At least two years of professional experience in information security
  • If you already have expertise or experience and wish to skip formal training, you must give a qualified application and pay the fees for the application. These fees are non-refundable whether or not your application is accepted.

The difficulty of the test: 

CISSP is a very tough exam covering many information and cybersecurity areas. The CAT format makes things more difficult by increasing the complexity of each successfully answered question for a given domain.

Contradicting it, CEH (ANSI) has a much narrower aim and focuses only on concepts related to penetration testing.

The CEH is an exam to gain a basic understanding of cybersecurity. 

CISSP is a certification obtained by upgrading skills and knowledge to an advanced level. This difference is reflected in difficulty.

Career opportunities after Cybersecurity Certification

Searching for US-based jobs on several popular online job sites, we found that “CISSP” appears in job postings more than “CEH” and 3.6 to 5 times more often than “CEH”. This certification is most popular among potential employers.

CEH (ANSI) is recognized as an entry-level ethical hacking certification. Still, data shows that very few beginner applicants and the majority have entry-level or fresher-level of experience, and many of them have mid-career experience.

Ethical hacking needs a fundamental knowledge of system administration, computer networking, and scripting. As a result, most people go into the cybersecurity field in a bridging role, like software development or IT support, as indicated by the Vinsys cybersecurity path.

According to EC-Council, the average starting salary CEH candidates can expect is a respectable $90,000 annually. In contrast, Certification Magazine recently surveyed current CISSPs and discovered they command an average annual salary of over $130,000, as mentioned on ISC2.

Summing up: 

Earning the CISSP certification demonstrates the knowledge and experience needed to succeed in various cybersecurity and information technology fields. CEH focuses specifically on penetration testing, but gaining a CEH certification does not give you the practical skills required for this domain.

If you aim to pursue your penetration testing career, other programs and certifications (such as OSCP) can better prepare you for this role. If you’re a tangent and want to learn more about the tools and techniques used by pen testers, CEH can help. We recommend aiming for CISSP. Even if you don’t have the necessary experience (ISC), 2 can still be a way to get into the industry and eventually earn a CISSP.

Vinsys offers corporate training for CISSP and CEH certification training to corporate learners. Enroll now and get the relevant content you need to study and pass exams or unlimited access to hundreds of other courses!

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