ISC2 CSSLP — Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional

The Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP) is a valuable certification offered by ISC2. Aimed at software developers, architects and other professionals involved in the software development lifecycle (SDLC), this certification signifies proficiency and expertise in secure coding and the various stages of SDLC.

Small businesses and enterprise companies want skilled IT technicians with a knack for embedding software assurances, orchestrating application access control and cementing the foundations of more fortified coding practices. As a CSSLP, you become invaluable to companies worldwide.

Learn more about Infosec's CSSLP certification training.

CCSLP exam objectives

To achieve a Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional certification, you must pass the CSSLP certification exam. The exam was revised on September 15, 2023 to reflect the most pertinent issues secure software professionals currently face and the best practices for mitigating those issues. The eight domains the exam currently covers are:

Read more about the CSSLP domains.

Why should I get the CSSLP certification?

As a CSSLP-certified professional, you anchor your organization’s software security and play a vital role in protecting sensitive data and maintaining the integrity of applications. Unlike other certifications focusing on specialized areas, the CSSLP offers a comprehensive view of secure software development, making it essential for those looking to excel in this field.

If you have a strong interest in software and cybersecurity, the CSSLP certification is an ideal step in your career. By combining the CSSLP certification with a few years of hands-on experience, you position yourself to be competitive for sought-after roles in secure software development.

What is the current CSSLP certification exam?

The current CSSLP exam was released in September 2023 and is aligned with the most up-to-date practices of secure software development. In general, the exam tests your knowledge in the following areas:

  • Managing and implementing secure software development processes

  • Integrating security best practices throughout the software lifecycle

  • Ensuring compliance with regulations and standards

  • Employing modern techniques to assess and mitigate software-related risks

The broad spectrum of topics included in the CSSLP Common Body of Knowledge (CBK®) ensures relevancy across all disciplines in the field of information security.


The Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP) exam is the gateway to one of the most esteemed certifications in secure coding and software development security. Curious to learn more? Here’s everything you need to know about this crucial test:

What is the CSSLP exam outline and structure?

The CSSLP exam encompasses a total of 125 multiple-choice questions. You have three hours to complete the exam, and you need to have a passing score of at least 700 out of 1000. Questions are in multiple-choice format, diving into the various domains of software security across the entire lifecycle.

How difficult is the CSSLP exam?

Your difficulty in passing will vary, depending on your background in software development and security. The examination is aimed at professionals who understand the software development lifecycle and emphasizes real-world scenarios. It’s not an entry-level challenge; a passing score requires 700/1000 points.

What are the experience requirements for the CSSLP certification?

ISC2² recommends a minimum of four years of cumulative, paid software development lifecycle (SDLC) work experience before you take the exam. Your professional journey must span at least one of the eight domains defined in the ISC2 CSSLP Common Body of Knowledge (CBK).

However, if you’ve earned a baccalaureate (or regional equivalent) in computer science, information technology (IT) or related fields, you can reduce that work experience requirement to three years, while the four-year degree counts as a year of experience.

I don’t have the required experience. Can I still become a CSSLP?

Even if your experience doesn’t meet the criteria, the CSSLP pathway remains open. By passing the CSSLP examination, you can attain the status of an Associate of ISC2. The clock then starts ticking, granting you five years to gather the four required years of SDLC experience.

From part-time endeavors to internships, various avenues can help you gain the necessary experience. Learn more about what counts for CSSLP experience.

How do you take the CSSLP exam?

The CSSLP exam can be taken at any ISC2-authorized Pearson VUE testing center. You must visit the ISC2 website, create an account and purchase an exam voucher. Scheduling and essential exam details unfold through that account.

Don’t forget your two valid forms of identification on the day of the in-person exam. Additional guidance can be found on the Pearson VUE ISC2 page.

How much does the CSSLP exam cost?

The CSSLP certification exam’s price may fluctuate based on your location. Here’s a glance at the standard fees:

  • U.S.: $599

  • Europe: EURO 555

  • United Kingdom: GBP 479

  • Middle East: $599

  • Africa: $599

Find the latest pricing details on the ISC2 website.

How to pass the CSSLP exam?

To pass the CSSLP exam, you must secure 700 points out of 1000 over 125 questions. ISC2 suggests at least four years of hands-on experience in the software development lifecycle for aspiring candidates.

Your success in the CSSLP exam is contingent on your preparation, understanding of the domains and test-taking tactics. Utilize reputable CSSLP training resources as a guide.

How long does the CSSLP certification last?

Keep your CSSLP certification by renewing it every three years. Various educational activities and training programs accumulate the continuing professional education (CPE) credits needed for renewal.

Check out our CSSLP renewal guide for an extensive understanding of the renewal process.

How do I earn CPEs and renew my CSSLP?

The continuous evolution of your CSSLP certification demands earning CPE credits. Accumulate 90 over three years and upload them to your certification account. You also need to pay a continuing education renewal fee, which is $85 per year or $255 for the complete three-year cycle. There are plenty of options for CPEs, such as:

  • Attend ISC2 webinars and conferences

  • Complete relevant courses

  • Contribute to the industry through publications, teaching or mentoring

  • Pursue additional ISC2 certifications or relevant industry certifications

The ISC2 CPE Handbook provides a detailed exploration of renewal methods.

Free and self-study CSSLP exam materials

Preparing for the CSSLP exam can be a significant undertaking, but thankfully, there are many resources available to assist you. Before diving into your studies, it’s wise to refer to the official CSSLP exam outline to understand the subjects you must focus on.

CSSLP study guides and CSSLP books

Study guides and books can help you prepare for the CSSLP exam, and you can find them at libraries, bookstores or online platforms like Amazon. Some popular options include:

  • CSSLP Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional All-in-One Exam Guide (3rd Edition) by Wm. Arthur Conklin (an inclusive resource covering all the essential domains)

  • Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional CSSLP by Thomas R. Peltier (useful as both a study guide and a professional reference)

Selecting the right study guide depends on your learning preferences and needs. Remember to check for the latest editions and consult the official ISC2 website or CSSLP training providers for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

CSSLP practice exams and simulations

Practice exams are an invaluable tool to assess your preparedness for the CSSLP certification exam. While actual exam questions remain confidential, there are several reputable sources for CSSLP practice questions to help you get a feel for the types of queries you might encounter:

  • CSSLP Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional Practice Exams by Daniel Carter: This book offers hundreds of practice questions covering all eight domains of the CSSLP CBK.

  • Transcender’s CSSLP Practice Exam: Transcender provides an extensive practice exam for the CSSLP that helps you understand where you stand.

Alongside these specific resources, many CSSLP training courses incorporate practice questions and quizzes within their curriculum. Infosec's CSSLP training includes more than 120 CSSLP practice exam questions.


Other free CSSLP training resources

  • Forums and online communities: Platforms like Stack OverflowTechExams and LinkedIn and Reddit groups provide an opportunity to interact with others preparing for the CSSLP exam or who have already achieved certification. Sharing insights, tips and encouragement can be immensely beneficial.

  • YouTube: Cybersecurity and software development experts share free CSSLP tutorials and insights on YouTube. While formal training is recommended, these videos can supplement your learning and provide different perspectives on complex topics.

  • Podcasts: Though not directly aimed at exam preparation, podcasts, such as Cyber Work and Code and Coffee, which focus on secure software development, can enhance your understanding of the field. Listening to experiences from certified professionals and industry leaders can enrich your knowledge and inspire you.

CSSLP jobs and careers

There’s a growing demand for professionals skilled in secure software development, and obtaining the Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP) can make you more desirable.

What does a CSSLP holder do?

The CSSLP certification validates your expertise in the software development lifecycle (SDLC) with a focus on security. A CSSLP who is well-rounded in all aspects of software creation and has engineer/developer skills as a coder or programmer can apply to any field that involves application security development. Here are some popular job titles CSSLP-certified individuals might hold:

  • Secure software developer

  • Application security specialist

  • Software assurance analyst

  • Security compliance analyst

  • Software security architect

Want to explore more about job opportunities? Check out our CSSLP certification: An overview for in-depth information about common positions, salary prospects and useful advice on resumes and interviews.

Is CSSLP worth it?

If you’re contemplating earning the CSSLP certification, consider how it aligns with your career path. As the software industry continually evolves, the need for secure development practices becomes more critical. Earning the CSSLP can prove your commitment and specialized skills in this vital area.

Plus, the CSSLP is recognized by various industries and governmental bodies, which means holding this certification can make you a candidate for government-sector positions. The CSSLP certification is one of the most recognized certifications in the industry that meets the stringent requirements of ANSI/ISO/IEC Standard 17024 and that of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 8570.1. It’s an asset for professionals looking to stand out and advance their careers in software security.

What is the CSSLP average salary?

According to PayScale, the average U.S. salary for CSSLP-certified professionals is around $99,000 yearly. According to various salary research sites:

  • Secure software developer: $123,302

  • Application security specialist: $85,176

  • Software assurance analyst: $65,675

  • Software security architect: $170,000

Refer to our CSSLP salary article for more detailed information and comparisons.

Where can I find CSSLP jobs?

CSSLP certification is frequently cited in software security job listings. General job platforms like Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor and specialized tech job boards often have openings for these roles.

Additionally, networking through professional groups, joining local meetups or engaging in other cybersecurity forums and websites can uncover exclusive opportunities.

Preparing for an interview in this field? Download our guide on software security interview tips to give yourself a competitive edge.

The CSSLP certification is more than a credential; it’s a pathway to diverse and rewarding career opportunities. Enhancing your skill set and becoming a certified expert in secure software development could be the key to your next professional milestone.

Paid ISC2 CSSLP training and exam prep

CCSLP candidates can opt for self-study using books and freely available materials or enroll in a paid course to prepare for the exam. Generally, paid CSSLP courses are divided into two categories: live online CSSLP boot camps or on-demand CSSLP courses that allow you to study at your own pace.

CSSLP comparisons and alternatives

CSSLP is an important certification path, but there are more. Depending on your current experience level and career goals, you may wish to explore alternative options. Check out these articles to learn more: