Insider Pro | Career Path

Become a CISO

This c-suite level position is the pinnacle of IT & security. Learn how to establish and maintain enterprise wide information security strategy as a CISO.

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About this Career Path

Taught by CISO’s for CISO’s, this career pathway has developed thousands of executives around the world. Interact with thousands of CISO’s, security managers,and leading security professionals whilst gaining your CEU’s/CPE’s for critical security certifications like the CISM and CCISO.

Recommended Prerequisites

  • 8-10 years experience in a Cybersecurity or IT management role
  • Holding the CISSP and/or CRISC is preferred but not required

For professionals with less than 8 years of industry management experience, we recommend one of these paths: SOC Analyst 3 or Cyber Security Engineer

Once Completed You Are Ready To:

Claim Skills

  • Enterprise Management
  • Corporate Leadership
  • Executive Risk Management
  • 50 CISO Security Controls
  • 12 CISO Core Competencies
  • Ethical Decision Making

Pass Certifications

  • EC-Council Certified CISO


8+ Years Industry Management Experience


Study 6 hrs/week and complete in 2 months


Average salary via


Gain access to materials immediately

This Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) career path will have a structured curriculum with specialized learning activities that will give you real-world training on how to become a successful CISO in the ever-changing security landscape. In this career path, you will learn about corporate cybersecurity management, NIST 800-53 security and privacy controls, business continuity and disaster planning, enterprise security case management, and numerous competencies of the effective CISO.

How Do You Become a CISO?

The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) role is a C-level position that typically takes many years to achieve. Over a period of years, IT professionals gain technical experience as well as other non-technical skills and knowledge that helps make a great leader. Professionals in the CISO role usually have work experience, education, and certifications in the field of information security.

There are various paths that you can take to become a CISO. One example looks like this:

  • Earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science or other related field or gain equivalent work experience.
  • Obtain an entry-level position in the industry (such as a programmer, security administrator, system administrator, etc.)
  • Advance to a security specialist, analyst, consultant, engineer, or auditor.
  • Obtain advanced training and appropriate certifications.
  • Advance into an IT management role (security manager, architect, director, etc.)
  • Attain further education or certifications that have a management focus.
  • Get promoted into the CISO role.

What Does a CISO Do?

A Chief Information Security Officer is the leader of an organization’s IT security department and its team members. This is a senior-level management position, that is responsible for selecting, overseeing, and providing leadership for any initiatives that concern the overall security of an organization. The CISO role requires technical and non-technical skills and knowledge that are learned academically and through work experience.

As a CISO, you can expect a job that carries a certain amount of freedom and power. In this position, some of your responsibilities may include:

  • Select and lead a team of IT professionals
  • Strategize and implement information security technologies and enhancements
  • Supervise the development of organizational security standards, policies, and procedures, and ensure compliance with them
  • Work with key stakeholders to create an IT security risk management program
  • Stay updated with evolving infrastructures and anticipate new security threats
  • Monitor threats, vulnerabilities, and events in systems
  • Audit current systems and perform thorough risk assessments
  • Develop strategies for handling security incidents and organize investigative actions
  • Prioritize and assign security resources appropriately
  • Prepare financial forecasts for security operations
  • Provide leadership, training opportunities, and guidance to personnel
  • Facilitate education and training programs that are focused on security awareness and compliance
  • Various administrative and managerial tasks

This isn’t an exhaustive list, and the exact duties that a CISO is asked to perform may be different depending on the specific organization. The above is meant to be a list of general tasks and responsibilities that are often assigned to a CISO.

How Much Does a CISO Make?

The CISO role is one of the highest paid in the IT industry. Professionals in the U.S. who are Chief Information Security Officers can expect to earn between $74,182 to $239,407 per year. The average annual salary is $134,220.

Who Does the CISO Report To?

Every organization is different, so there really isn’t a universally accepted reporting structure. There are some factors that play a part in the structure that an organization employs. It’s essential to understand what the organization’s security goals are and what leadership’s perspective on security is. Additionally, the organization’s size, industry, and the role the CISO will play all have to be considered. That said, there are some common practices regarding CISO reporting, including structures in which a CISO reports to the:

  • Chief Information Officer (CIO)
  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
  • Chief Risk Officer (CRO)
  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
  • Board of Directors

The best reporting structure for a company will allow for effective communication and swift progress and will ensure that all elements of cybersecurity are covered, no matter which reporting structure is used.

What Is the Difference between a CIO and a CISO?

A Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is typically concerned with the overall security of the computer systems and databases of a corporation. The Chief Information Officer (CIO) instead, is concerned with general technical issues facing the organization. For example, the CIO may work with the budget for new computers or other hardware, or for software upgrades. Additionally, a CIO may help determine how the IT department operates and installs new hardware.

The chief focus for a CISO is security. The CISO will have to be familiar with all the systems that are used in the organizations, but they will do so in the context of security. For example, the CISO will ensure that security protocols are followed when new hardware is upgraded, or software is installed. When the CIO and the CISO work well together, it ensures that the organization’s operations maintain the highest level of efficiency and safety.