Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH)
Posted on
February 10, 2017

Salary Survey Extra is a series of periodic dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our most recent Salary Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

The Salary Survey takes a long look at the GCIH certification.

Last week in this space we inaugurated a new Salary Survey Extra feature that zeroes in one a randomly chosen certification from our Salary Survey 75 list. This week, Deep Focus turns its attention to No. 20, the GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH) credential.

For starters, GIAC Certified Incident Handlers in the United States have an average annual salary of $130,410, with a median annual salary of $127,530. For those living outside the United States, the average annual salary in 2016 was a less resounding $98,280, with a median annual salary of $97,500.

Among all GCIH-certified individuals in the survey, 83.6 checked in from the United States, with the remaining 16.4 percent coming from just four other countries around the world: Canada, United Kingdom, Norway, and Thailand.

A mere 9.1 percent of GCIH holders in the survey are women, meaning that nearly 91 percent are men. The range of ages among GCIH-certified individuals skews heavily toward middle age, with 41.8 percent of respondents between the ages of 35 and 44, while an additional 36.4 percent are between the ages of 45 and 54. The youngest GCIH holders are between the ages of 25 and 34 (9.1 percent), while 11 percent are headed to retirement (55 to 64) and 1 .8 percent are pushing the boundaries of career longevity (65 to 74).

The highest level of formal education attained by an overwhelming majority of GCIH holders is some sort of college degree, with more than half (52.5 percent) having risen to the level of a master's degree, while an additional 32.6 percent topped out at the bachelor's degree tier. About 4 percent have doctorates, while a further 4.3 percent made it at least far enough to hold an associate's (two-year) degree. The only other box checked is the high school diploma crowd, a resolute 6.5 percent of the total population.

A potent 98 percent of all GCIH holders have full-time jobs, while just two percent are unemployed, and nobody claimed part-time employment. That means the 12.6 percent of respondents who work between 31 and 39 hours per week are likely salaried employees (or managers) who don't need a full 40 hours per week to attend to their duties. Among all other GCIH-certified respondents, 27.3 percent put in 40 hours, while 47.4 percent are mildly overworked (41 to 50 hours), and 12.7 percent are giving it their all (more than 50 hours).

Per the Salary Survey norm, those with jobs are most heavily concentrated (41.8 percent) at the senior specialist level of the general workplace hierarchy. Interestingly, however, there are quite a few management-level GCIHs, including managers (12.4 percent), senior managers (11 percent), directors (18.3 percent), and executives (5.7 percent). Among rank-and-filers, 7.2 percent are employees, with 3.6 percent at the specialist level.

By far and away, GCIH holders are industry veterans. Almost 70 percent have worked in a role that directly utilizes their certified skills for more than 10 years, while an additional 10.8 percent have been plugged into a security role for 9 or 10 years, and 9.4 percent have been at it for between 6 and 8 years. The relatively modest band of newcomers included just 3.7 percent who have been exercising their skills for between zero years (1-11 months) and 2 years, while 7 percent have been thus engaged for between 3 and 5 years.

Finally, here's the view of GCIH holders on key questions from the survey about how certification impacts job performance:

At my current job I use skills learned or enhanced through certification:
Several times a day: 56.5 percent
Several times a week: 30.4 percent
Several times a month: 4.4 percent
Occasionally: 6.5 percent
Rarely: 2.2 percent

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills.
Strongly Agree: 50.9 percent
Agree: 36.6 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 9.1 percent
Disagree: 3.4 percent
Strongly Disagree:  [No responses]

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly Agree: 23.6 percent
Agree: 49.2 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 16.4 percent
Disagree: 5 percent
Strongly Disagree: 5.8 percent

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly Agree: 29.1 percent
Agree: 40 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 21.8 percent
Disagree: 5.5 percent
Strongly Disagree: 3.6 percent

About the Author

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