Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
Posted on
October 21, 2022
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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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

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Few things in IT have as much romantic allure as hacking. The Certified Ethical Hacker cert, however, will put you on the right side of that mystique.

So-called hackers operate on both sides of the boundary between legal and illegal activities, but glamor and intrigue are almost always attributed to the legitimately bad actors. The allure of Robin Hood-style outlawery is as strong as ever when it comes to hacking — at least until/unless you actually think about the serious harm being done.

The real good guy hackers are the ones who practice white-hat or "ethical" hacking. And the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) credential from EC-Council (No. 16 on our most recent Salary Survey 75 list) is the foremost certification in the industry for anyone who wants to blend that romantically magnetic outlaw charisma with a solid cybersecurity skill set.

Here's what the salary picture looks like for CEH holders who responded to the Salary Survey:‍

All U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $128,000
Median Annual Salary: $129,290
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 8.2 percent
Very Satisfied: 36.4 percent
Satisfied: 38.2 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 12.7 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 4.5 percent‍

All Non-U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $64,070
Median Annual Salary: $51,000
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 4.6 percent
Very Satisfied: 14.5 percent
Satisfied: 42.7 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 31.8 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 6.4 percent

Most of the CEH holders who participated in the Salary Survey are U.S. residents (50 percent of those surveyed), but we also heard from CEH-certified professionals in 38 other countries: Afghanistan, Armenia, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Denmark, France, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

The cybersecurity profession tends to be male-dominated, and that's certainly reflected here: 92.2 percent of the CEH holders who participated in the survey are men, with 6.5 percent who are women, and 1.3 percent who chose not to identify a gender. Most of those surveyed are solidly middle-aged, either between the ages of 35 and 44 (41.8 percent of respondents) or between the ages of 45 and 54 (26 percent). The outliers are the 14.5 percent of CEH holders who are between the ages of 25 and 34, the 14.5 percent between the ages of 55 and 64, the 1.8 percent between the ages of 65 and 74, and the 1.4 percent between the ages of 19 and 24.

A bit more than 91 percent of CEH holders who responded to the survey have an educational background that includes time spent at a college or university. The highest level of formal education completed by most CEH holders is either a master's degree (50.5 percent of respondents), bachelor's degree (31.8 percent), associate's degree (3.2 percent), professional degree (1.8 percent), or doctorate (5 percent). The outliers are the 5 percent of those surveyed who topped out at some level of post-high school technical training, the 2.3 percent who exited the realm of formal education after completing high school, and the 0.4 percent who are currently in school.

All but a handful of the CEH holders who participated in the survey are regularly employed, with 95.7 percent holding full-time jobs, 2.2 percent in part-time jobs, 1.3 percent on sabbatical, and the remaining 0.8 percent out of work at the time of the survey. Among those who have full-time jobs, most are at work either for the standard 40 hours per week (35.9 percent of respondents) or put in between 41 and 50 hours per week (40.9 percent). The rest are either laboring under a lighter load — spending either between 31 and 39 hours per week doing work (10.5 percent of respondents) or between 21 and 30 hours/fewer than 20 hours per week (both 0.4 percent) — or really leaning into the all-work-and-no-play ethic, putting in more than 50 hours per week (11.8 percent).

Many IT jobs aren't tied to a physical location, a condition that became more widespread recently as the COVID-19 pandemic sent people home from the office in droves. Nearly 50 percent of CEH holders who participated in the survey have been spending their entire work schedule at home of late, putting in either more than 40 hours per week (30.9 percent of those surveyed) or 40 hours per week (18.2 percent). Everyone else is scattered across the spectrum, with 37 percent working from home either fewer than 10 hours per week (27.7 percent) or between 10 and 20 hours per week (9.1 percent), and 14 percent working from home either between 21 and 30 hours per week (6.8 percent) or between 31 and 39 hours per week (7.3 percent).

In terms of workplace standing, the largest single group of CEH holders we heard from, 35.7 percent of those surveyed, are employed at the senior specialist level. The rest, in descending order, are either managers (20.6 percent), senior managers (14.3 percent), specialists (11.9 percent), directors (7.9 percent), executives (5.2 percent), or rank-and-file employees (4.4 percent).

A majority of the CEH 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 (54 percent). The rest have been plying their certified skills for either between zero years (1 to 11 months) and 2 years (5.2 percent of respondents), between 3 and 5 years (14 percent), between 6 and 8 years (15.2 percent), or between 9 and 10 years (11.6 percent).

Finally, here's the view of CEH 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: 50.8 percent
Several times a week: 27.2 percent
Several times a month: 12.4 percent
Occasionally: 8.8 percent
Rarely: 0.8 percent

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills.
Strongly agree: 39.7 percent
Agree: 41 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 14.9 percent
Disagree: 2.8 percent
Strongly Disagree: 1.6 percent

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 31.3 percent
Agree: 44.6 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 18.9 percent
Disagree: 4 percent
Strongly Disagree: 1.2 percent

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 31.9 percent
Agree: 41.5 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 19.4 percent
Disagree: 6 percent
Strongly Disagree: 1.2 percent

PAST CEH DEEP FOCUS FEATURES

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

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