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Pursuing a CISA Certification: What to Consider

By Steve Smith

The information presented here is true and accurate as of the date of publication. DeVry’s programmatic offerings and their accreditations are subject to change. Please refer to the current academic catalog for details.
October 16, 2023

5 min read


Cyber security professionals play an important role in safeguarding the information systems we rely on in today’s hyper connected Internet-of-Things world. Because of this connectivity, it’s easier than ever for cybercriminals to access a vast network of information and is causing individuals and businesses alike to be more vigilant in how they keep our computers, data, information systems and networks secure.

As the cyber security field becomes ever more important, cyber security professionals strive to obtain the most up-to-date knowledge, jobseekers in this field may consider the importance of industry-relevant certifications. In this article, we’ll explore CISA certification and discuss the education, experience and exam requirements associated with this credential. We’ll also detail some of the career opportunities that are available to cyber security professionals who have earned CISA certification. 

What is CISA Certification?

Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) is a credential given by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) that validates an IT professional’s knowledge and skill in assessing the vulnerabilities and establishing IT controls in an organization’s network. According to ISACA, the CISA certification is globally recognized as the standard of achievement for professionals who audit, control, monitor and access an organization’s IT and business systems.

By inspecting procedures and products, and using risk mitigation measures to minimize cyber threats and breaches, CISA certification holders guarantee that the technical needs of a company are satisfied without introducing system vulnerabilities.

The CISA credential is intended for mid-level IT professionals who are interested in assessing and auditing information systems and security and access controls or looking for growth in their cyber careers. This includes security auditors, chief risk officers, compliance heads and other experienced IT professionals responsible for information systems operations and security.

CISA Requirements

The Certified Information Systems Auditor credential is considered to be challenging to obtain, due mainly to its rigorous exam and employment experience requirement. To qualify for the CISA, candidates must:

  • Pass the CISA exam. (We’ve included more detailed information about the exam in the next section.)

  • Have 5 or more years of experience in an information system (IS) or IT audit, control, assurance or security position. 

  • Agree to adhere to the CISA’s code of professional ethics. 


The CISA certification exam tests candidates in 5 domains:

  1. Information system auditing process: This domain covers the execution of risk based IS audit strategies, following appropriate IS audit standards and effectively communicating audit results and recommendations.

  2. IT governance and management: Evaluation of the IT governance infrastructure, along with IT strategies for effectiveness. This domain also addresses IT human resources, business continuity planning and disaster recovery.

  3. Information systems acquisition, development and implementation: In this domain, knowledge is tested in subjects like feasibility studies, business cases, total cost of ownership and return on investment, as the candidate is tested in the selection of IT suppliers and contracts to ensure proper service levels. This section also covers project and risk management, project requirements analysis, success criteria and post-implementation issues.

  4. IS operations and business resilience: Covers knowledge related to service management practices, enterprise architecture, systems resiliency, control techniques and performance monitoring. Data backup, database management, data lifecycle, incident management practices and disaster recovery testing are also examined.

  5. Protection of information assets: Candidates are tested in areas related to the protection of IT assets. Areas explored include information security, physical and environmental controls and the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information assets.

Exam candidate guides from ISACA provide complete information about registration, preparation, rules, scoring and other aspects of the CISA credentialing exams.

CISA Job Opportunities

What career opportunities can holders of the CISA credential explore? Since the CISA certification is intended for experienced IT and IS professionals, you may be interested in preparing to pursue the following career roles after gaining experience and earning CISA certification:

  • IT auditor: In charge of safeguarding sensitive information, identifying weaknesses in networks and employing strategies to prevent security breaches, IT auditors use technology to protect an organization’s data and internal controls.

  • Information systems auditor: Working with an outlined security system, IS auditors monitor a system’s efficiency. CISA certification can help them gain the skills to execute their duties and may help them to advance to a more senior position, such as information security manager.

  • Internal audit manager: CISA certification can quantify an IT professional’s skills in communication and analytics. Internal audit managers ensure their company’s processes comply with its strategies and objectives, conduct risk assessments and create plans to monitor audit reports.

  • Risk analyst: Responsible for monitoring an organization’s processes to identify areas that might be vulnerable to attack, risk and cyber security analysts are tasked with identifying and minimizing threats. They also offer solutions for addressing the risk to minimize its potential impact. 

  • Compliance analyst: Compliance analysts may review and apply policies to meet compliance requirements with programs like the health insurance portability and accountability act (HIPAA), the general data protection regulation (GDPR) and the payment card industry (PCI) data security standard (DSS).

Salary information for these and other occupations can be found by visiting the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics at

Learn to Protect Critical Infrastructure at DeVry

Begin your cyber security career journey with DeVry. We can help you prepare to pursue  a career safeguarding critical information systems and networks against cybercrime with  our online Bachelor’s Degree Specialization in Cyber Security. In this degree program, you’ll explore the methods organizations use to protect their sensitive data from cybercriminals using skills in network security testing, countermeasure testing and risk factor analysis. You’ll also learn how to build security, contingency and disaster recovery plans.

Enrolling in this degree program might help you qualify for our Future Cyber Defenders Scholars Program, where you’ll have access to events, trainings and network opportunities, earn badges for completing leadership courses, join DeVry’s National Chapter of CompTIA and more.

Study on your terms with DeVry. Our 6 academic sessions per year allow you to start when you’re ready and learn at your own pace, finishing on a regular or accelerated schedule that meets your personal and professional goals.

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