Cybersecurity CISO

How to plan your career to be a CISO

Pallavi Vishwakarma

Member of Technical Staff

Feb 08 2023

3 min reading

How to plan your career to be a CISO
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A Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is a senior executive overseeing an organization's information security program. The CISO is responsible for protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of an organization's information systems, assets, and data. This includes developing and implementing security policies, procedures, and standards, monitoring the effectiveness of security measures, conducting risk assessments, and responding to security incidents.


It is a c-suite level position at organizations. It is one of the most powerful and influential executives in any given firm and typically reports directly to the CEO. As a result, it's a job that requires a lot of experience, knowledge, competence, and practical abilities in all facets of information security.


Why are CISOs in Demand?


The CISO role is a relatively new one in the C-Suite. But many businesses are choosing to employ a specialist director of security. Currently, a dedicated CISO serves on the board of about 55% of all businesses. 58% of those who do not yet have a CISO say they will add this position.


CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers) are in demand due to the growing importance of information security in organizations. With the increasing sophistication of cyberattacks, the need for robust security policies and practices has become a top priority for organizations. 


Additionally, the rise of data privacy laws and regulations has made the protection of sensitive information a critical concern for organizations, further increasing the demand for experienced CISOs. Effective CISOs are able to balance the need to protect an organization's assets with the need to support its business objectives, making them valuable resources for organizations in today's technology-driven world.


And also CISOs make a good living, with an annual pay of about USD 231,000. (Salary, 2022). However, executive pay might vary based on the position held and the size of the organization. Top-tier CISOs have recently demanded wages of more than USD 2.3 million.


How to become a CISO?


Becoming a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is a challenging but rewarding career path. Here are some steps you can take to help you reach this goal:

  1. Obtain a relevant education: A bachelor's or master's degree in computer science, information technology, or a related field is a good starting point for a career in information security. Many CISOs also hold certifications such as Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), or Certified Information Security Manager (CISM).
  1. Gain experience in information security: CISOs typically have several years of experience in information security, including roles such as security analyst, security consultant, or security manager. It's important to gain a wide range of experience across different areas of information security, including risk management, security architecture, incident response, and compliance.
  1. Develop technical skills: CISOs need to have a strong understanding of security technologies and be able to evaluate and implement security solutions. Gaining hands-on experience with security technologies and tools, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and security information and event management (SIEM) systems, is important.
  1. Gain leadership experience: CISOs are senior-level executives who need to have strong leadership skills and the ability to manage teams, projects, and budgets. Gaining experience in leadership roles, such as leading teams or projects, can help prepare you for the role of CISO.
  1. Develop your strategic vision: A company looks for a new executive who can guide them into future when hiring a new executive. You will need to demonstrate that you are a person who can support growth and innovation in addition to being a skilled security manager. What broad strategic perspective will you bring to the boardroom?

Becoming a CISO typically requires a combination of education, experience, and skills, and may take several years of hard work and dedication. However, for those who are passionate about information security and are willing to put in the effort, the role of CISO can be both challenging and rewarding.


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