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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.
Every certification journey starts somewhere. The MTA: Security Fundamentals (No. 65 on our most recent Salary Survey 75 list) credential offered by Microsoft is one of those first-rung-on-the-ladder certs that can launch a career in cybersecurity, or be part of the foundation that supports any number of other IT ambitions.
Here what the salary picture looks like for MTA: Security Fundamentals holders who responded to the Salary Survey:
All U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $76,410
Median Annual Salary: $70,310
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 5.7 percent
Very Satisfied: 17.1 percent
Satisfied: 42.9 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 20 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 14.3 percent
The Microsoft certification program has global reach, but we didn't hear from enough credential holders living and working outside the United States to formulate good data. So everything we've got here applies solely to U.S.-based MTA: Security Fundamentals holders.
Nearly all of the MTA: Security Fundamentals holders we heard from are men, though we did hear from a mildly surprising number of woman 16.2 percent of those surveyed. The overall group has largish outliers at both ends of the age spectrum, with 25 percent of those surveyed either between the ages of 19 and 24 (11.4 percent) or between the ages of 25 and 34 (14.3 percent), and 22.9 percent between the ages of 55 and 64. Everyone else is nestled in the middle, with 34.3 percent of respondents between the ages of 35 and 44 and 17.1 percent between the ages of 45 and 54.
More than 87 percent of MTA: Security Fundamentals holders who responded to the survey have an educational background that includes time spent at a college or university. The highest level of education completed by most MTA: Security Fundamentals holders is either a bachelor's degree (48.6 percent of respondents), master's degree (10 percent), associate's degree (17.1 percent), or professional degree (2.9 percent). The outliers are the 5.7 percent of those surveyed who departed the realm of formal education after completing some level of post-high school technical training and the 5.7 percent who left formal education behind after completing high school.
Microsoft certification is apparently a solid hedge against unemployment: 94.5 percent of MTA: Security Fundamentals holders who responded to the survey are employed full-time, while the rest (4.5 percent) have part-time jobs. For most of those with full-time jobs, the work week consists of either between 41 and 50 hours (31.4 percent of respondents) or the standard 40 hours (54.3 percent). The rest of the full-timers put in either more than 50 hours per week (11.4 percent of respondents) or between 31 and 39 hours per week (2.9 percent).
For most MTA: Security Fundamentals holders, full-time work means a lot of time at the office (or did, before COVID-19 reconfigured the workplace landscape): 88 percent of respondents work from home either fewer than 10 hours per week (71.4 percent) or between 10 and 20 hours per week (17.1 percent). A further 2.9 percent of respondents spend half or more than half of their work time in pajamas (or other casual wear), clocking in from home for between 21 and 30 hours per week, with the remaining 8.6 percent working from home for 40 hours every week.
In terms of workplace standing, the largest single group of MTA: Security Fundamentals holders we heard from are rank-and-file employees (39 percent of respondents). The rest, in descending order, are either specialists (26.8 percent of those surveyed), managers (14.6 percent), senior specialists (12.2 percent), senior managers (5 percent), or executives (2.4 percent).
A core 39 percent of the MTA: Security Fundamentals holders who responded to the survey are IT veterans, having worked in a role that directly utilizes one or more of their certified skills for more than a decade. The rest have been plying their certified skills for either between zero years (1 to 11 months) and 2 years (19.5 percent of those surveyed), between 3 and 5 years (24.4 percent), between 6 and 8 years (7.3 percent) or between 9 and 10 years (9.8 percent).
Finally, here's the view of MTA: Security Fundamentals 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: 58.5 percent
Several times a week: 21.9 percent
Several times a month: 9.8 percent
Occasionally: 9.8 percent
Rarely: [No responses]
Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills.
Strongly agree: 24.4 percent
Agree: 51.2 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 17.1 percent
Disagree: 4.9 percent
Strongly Disagree: 2.4 percent
Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 36.6 percent
Agree: 34.1 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 24.4 percent
Disagree: [No responses]
Strongly Disagree: 4.9 percent
Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 26.8 percent
Agree: 36.6 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 29.3 percent
Disagree: [No responses]
Strongly Disagree: 7.3 percent