MALVERN, Pa. — Cybersecurity jobs are in high demand, and Penn State Great Valley’s new Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) exam preparation course can help experienced IT professionals move up the career ladder and achieve their professional goals.
A highly regarded and sought-after endorsement, the CISSP credential demonstrates deep technical knowledge and experience to effectively design, engineer, and manage the overall security posture of an organization — something needed by many governments and organizations around the world.
“With cybersecurity, there is a huge potential for jobs,” said Angel Kern, the course’s instructor. “Every branch of the government requires at least one CISSP-certified staff member. With this kind of credential, you are almost guaranteed employment.”
Launched last spring, the course uses (ISC2) materials to examine the eight domains of information security knowledge required to pass the exam. For many, the exam seems daunting, but Kern uses class discussion and practice tests to help students feel comfortable and prepared.
After noticing a shortage of trained cybersecurity professionals, Kern applied for a position at Great Valley. An IT professional with 12 years of experience in education, Kern works with students one-on-one to help them identify areas of weakness and create individualized training plans. Because the exam requires a minimum of five years of experience in two domains, students may need to spend extra time learning lesser-known domains.
“I ask my students when they plan to take the exam, and from there we work backwards,” she added. “Studying for the CISSP exam can be overwhelming at first, but I enjoy helping my students prepare and feel confident.”
Dedicated to helping her students pass the rigorous exam, Kern even changed her initial format of her course to better meet their needs.
“I started the course by assigning practice tests as homework,” she said. “But after our first few meetings, it became evident that we needed to spend more class time tackling the questions together and discussing our answers as a group.”
For Kern’s students, this made a huge difference in helping them understand the sizeable content of the exam.
“I recently attended the CISSP exam preparation course and promptly took the exam within 2 weeks of the course conclusion,” said David B., who took Kern’s course this past May. “The course helped me by forcing me to read and begin the practice questions. I would have never found the time if I didn’t take the course. The practice test question and answer discussions were invaluable as they provided insight on the reasoning of how my other classmates answered the questions. I am happy to say that I passed the exam!”
Many of Kern’s other students have already sat for the CISSP exam — and passed. In addition to preparing students for the exam, Kern also discusses how to maintain the credential.
“I love helping people reach their goals,” noted Kern. “I’m teaching this course because I want my students get to the next step in their careers and find happiness.”
The next CISSP exam preparation course will begin on Oct. 17, with classes running on Tuesdays from 6 to 9 p.m. for 10 consecutive weeks. More information is available on the Penn State Great Valley website.