Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on (ISC)² CSSLP
Posted on
September 1, 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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

CSSLP certification sends a strong signal that you have management potential.

Software development is often plagued by what Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards once described as the "need for speed." Technology changes quickly, and developers must often sprint to keep pace — which sometimes moves security down the list of project priorities.

A skilled Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP) on the other hand, can ensure that sound security practices are incorporated throughout the "software development lifecycle," or SDLC. Software companies are increasingly coming to appreciate the value of this approach, which helped place the (ISC)2 credential very near the top of our most recent Salary Survey 75 list, at No. 4.

(ISC)2 is a global association, but in this particular case we only heard from a smattering of CSSLP holders who live and work outside the United States, meaning that our salary data is restricted to U.S. CSSLPs. Among CSSLP-certified survey respondents who live in the United States, the average annual salary in 2016 was a sterling $143,150, with a median annual salary of $146,670.

Most of the CSSLP holders we surveyed are men (95.4 percent of respondents), though there are a few women (4.6 percent) in the mix. Generally speaking, CSSLP is not for the young. We didn't hear from anyone younger than 35, and the largest single group of CSSLP holders in the survey (40.9 percent of those surveyed) is professionals between the ages of 55 and 64, with a further 31.8 percent landing between the ages of 45 and 54. The spring chickens of the group are the 18.6 percent of respondents between the ages of 35 and 44.

The highest level of education attained by most CSSLP holders is generally a master's degree (claimed by 54.5 percent of respondents), with hardy contingents the have bachelor's degrees (13.7 percent), or doctorates (9.1 percent). There are some who went no farther than technical training after high school (20 percent of those surveyed), and a few who went no farther than high school itself (2.7 percent).

Here's good news for aspiring CSSLPs: While a few who responded to the survey are retired, every CSSLP holder who is still in the workforce has a full-time job. And while many are at least somewhat overworked, with roughly 40 percent on the job between 41 and 50 hours per week, and about 25 percent putting in more than 50 hours per week, a CSSLP is not a guarantee of long hours. A solid 35 percent of those surveyed have a standard 40-hour work week.

A majority of the CSSLP holders who responded to the survey are several rungs up the ladder at their places of work. Given that 18 percent of those surveyed are executives and 19 percent are directors, with 7.7 percent functioning as senior managers and 13.6 percent acting as managers, getting a CSSLP would seem to be a good way of stamping "management material" on your resume. (The rest of those we surveyed, 41.5 percent in all, are at the senior specialist level.)

On the other hand, you may have to be in the field a while before working your was up to CSSLP status. While we did hear from a few up-and-comes, more than 90 percent of those surveyed have worked in the field for 10 years or more.

Finally, here's the view of CSSLP 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: 63.6 percent
Several times a week: 15 percent
Several times a month: 15.9 percent
Occasionally: 5.5 percent
Rarely: [No responses]

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills.
Strongly agree: 59.1 percent
Agree: 21.8 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 15.4 percent
Disagree: 3.7 percent
Strongly Disagree: [No responses]

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 32.3 percent
Agree: 37.7 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 30 percent
Disagree: [No responses]
Strongly Disagree:  [No responses]

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 34.1 percent
Agree: 41.8 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 24.1 percent
Disagree: [No responses]
Strongly Disagree: [No responses]

About the Author

Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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