CISO (Chief Information Security Officer)

The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) holds the highest IT position within an organization. They oversee the IT department and manage, workers, procedures, and information. Their job focuses on the security of company information.




What is a CISO Responsible For?

A CISO handles the management and security of their organization’s information. Their choices establish and maintain the integrity and protection of company data.

It’s not all about high level security decisions, though. Some Daily Chief Information Security Officer duties may also include:

  • Manage procedures, standards, and policies to protect the privacy and integrity of data.
  • Maintain regulation and security policy compliance.
  • Oversee training and set procedures for information technology and security systems.
  • Create contingency plans to prevent security breaches.
  • Supervise and assess security procedures and protocols


What Degrees do Employers Prefer a Chief Information Security Officer to Have?

Typically, the Executive career level requires a graduate degree and significant work experience. At this level, only around 22% hold a bachelor’s as their sole degree. Your undergraduate field of study matters too. For instance, the CISO path begins with a relevant bachelor’s degree. This could be in Computer Science or Information Security.

There are many graduate school options for someone looking to become a future CISO.. A master’s degree is one such opportunity Master’s degree options could vary from a Computer Science or InfoSec degree program to an MBA. Depending on the course or degree level its cab take substantial time or effort to complete. It’s worth it though. Being a CISO is the ultimate responsibility, and both education and experience matter.


What Skills do you need to be a CISO?

Your skillset could affect your salary as a CISO. Knowing Computer Security is vital. This skill averages in a ▲10% salary increase. It’s high value and return on learning. 

Another important skill in this field is Cyber Security. It’s the bread and butter of any CISO career. Keeping information secure is the basis of the job. That’s why this skill raises wages about 7% on average. Much like Computer Security, Cyber Security is a crucial skill for any InfoSec career.

What more critical than Leadership when you’re the boss? Not much. But the best way to learn leadership is through managerial experience. Therefore, most C-suiters are seasoned professionals.  


How to start a career as a CISO (Chief information security officer)

Security Officer Salary



The average salary for a Chief Information Security Officer is $ 158,006. That’s almost triple the average national wage across all occupations. Even the lowest earning 10% CISOs make almost twice the average national salary with $102K. At the top tier, CISO’s can expect to make around $218K.

This is a top tier career, that’s why there’s so much emphasis on experience from the start. The CISO’s office is no place to be learning the ropes, you have to be ready to go from day one.


Experience Level# Years Of ExperienceMedian
Entry-Level< 1 Year$106,000
Early-career1 -4 Years$121,000
Mid-Career5 – 9 Years$127,000
Experienced10 – 19 Years$157,000
Late-Career20 + Years$171,000


Top Paying Cities

In the Technology sector, location matters! Your salary could be affected by your location. San Francisco is the national Tech hub, so, Chief Information Officers there earn about 25.2% more than the national average. New York and Boston also pay CISO’s more than the national average. On the flip side, the lowest salaries for CISOs are in Phoenix, Arizona. They are 10.3% less.

Location% Compared to National AverageMedian Salary 
San Francisco, CA24% higher$196,000 
New York, NY19% higher $188,000
Boston, MA18% higher $186,000
Chicago, IL9% higher $173,000
Dallas, TX8% higher $171,000




CISO Certifications

  •  CISSP certification proves that you manage a best-in-class cybersecurity program. This certificate verifies InfoSec expertise. and serves as entry to ISC² membership. That means lots of exclusive resources, educational tools, and networking opportunities. as well as joining a helpful network of Cybersecurity leaders.
  • CISM (pronounced siz-zm) is an ISACA certification. It validates knowledge and skills needed to maintain enterprise information security teams. Employers love seeing this certification on a resume. It’s a shortcut to competency in their eyes because of the achievement and capability the CISM certification represents.
  • CISA certification is specific to audits. It stands for Certified Information Systems Auditor. It sets a global standard for info systems pros who audit. So, it’s useful for all information systems careers. It’s key for those in auditing, control, and security.
  • GIAC offers industry standard certifications in more than 30 InfoSec categories. These include Cyber Defense, Penetration Testing, Management and Leadership, Incident Response, and Forensics. These are relevant to the CISO role. In fact, the Management and Leadership certification suits this role to perfection. Many seek it in hopeful anticipation of promotion. Sometimes it even works!