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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.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 world was on fire, both literally and figuratively, at the end of 2020. The Creek Fire in central California, for example — which at the time was the fourth-largest fire in California history — raged from Sept. 4 to Dec. 24, destroying more than 850 structures across nearly 380,000 acres. The point is that many individuals, even in information security circles, might not have noticed the emergence of a new IT certification.
Now that more than a year has passed, however, we're excited and intrigued to welcome ISACA's fledgling Certified Data Privacy Solutions Engineer (CDPSE) to the Salary Survey Deep Focus club. CDPSE climbed to impressive heights on our most recent Salary Survey 75 list, landing at No. 2, one spot below its certification cousin, the long-lived and widely respected ISACA CRISC credential.
Here’s what the salary picture looks like for CDPSE holders who responded to the Salary Survey:
All U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $150,230
Median Annual Salary: $147,500
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 10 percent
Very Satisfied: 28.6 percent
Satisfied: 41.4 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 11.4 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 8.6 percent
All Non-U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $81,100
Median Annual Salary: $69,380
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 2.7 percent
Very Satisfied: 10.8 percent
Satisfied: 62.2 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 16.2 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 8.1 percent
The largest single body of CDPSE holders to participate in the survey is made up of U.S. residents (65.4 percent), but we also heard from credential holders in 19 other countries: Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
ISACA is actively involved in opening up the IT industry in general to women and others, but the Salary Survey suggests that its certifications are mostly held by men: 82.1 percent of CDPSE holders who responded to the survey are men, followed by women (14.3 percent), survey participants who prefer not to identify their gender (2.8 percent) and transgender women (0.8 percent). A little less than half of the CDPSE holders who participated in the survey are relatively seasoned professionals, either between the ages of 45 and 54 (27.1 percent), between the ages of 55 and 64 (18.7 percent), or between the ages of 65 and 74 (2.9 percent). Standing up for youth are the 42 percent of respondents who are between the ages of 35 and 44, and the 9.3 percent between the ages of 25 and 34.
More than 90 percent of CDPSE 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 CDPSE holders is either a master’s degree (52.3 percent of respondents), bachelor’s degree (31.8 percent), associate’s degree (1.9 percent), professional degree (0.9 percent), or doctorate (3.7 percent). The outliers are the 7.5 percent of those surveyed who exited the realm of formal education after completing some level of post-high school technical training, the 1 percent who topped out with a high school diploma, and the 0.9 percent who are currently engaged in furthering their educational pursuits.
A solid 95.5 percent of CDPSE holders who participated in the survey are employed full-time, with the rest holding part-time jobs. Among those with full-time jobs, there’s a strong possibility of some extra hours at work: 40.2 percent of those surveyed work between 41 and 50 hours per week, and 11.2 percent are on the job for more than 50 hours per week. Just 35.5 percent of respondents have a traditional 40-hour work week, while the rest (13.1 percent) are fortunate enough to have a full-time schedule that only requires them to be at work between 31 and 39 hours per week.
In the COVID era, more than half (53.3 percent) of CDPSE holders who participated in the survey are spending their entire work schedule outside of a traditional office setting, putting in either 40 hours per week at home (18.7 percent) or more than 40 hours per week (34.6 percent). Additionally, 16 percent work from home for either between 31 and 39 hours per week (4.7 percent) or between 21 and 30 hours per week (11.2 percent). The remaining 27 percent of respondents still commute to a traditional workplace for at least half of the time that they’re on the clock, working from home either between 10 and 20 hours per week (14 percent) or fewer than 10 hours per week (16.8 percent).
In terms of workplace standing, the largest single group of CDPSE holders we heard from are employed at the senior manager level (25 percent). The rest, in descending order, are either senior specialists (23.3 percent), managers (18.1 percent), directors (16.4 percent), executives (12.9 percent), or specialists (4.3 percent). An interesting and rare point of data: None of the CDPSE holders who participated in the survey are rank-and-file employees.
A substantial 55.7 percent of CDPSE 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 (1.7 percent), between 3 and 5 years (9.6 percent), between 6 and 8 years (18.2 percent), or between 9 and 10 years (14.8 percent).
Finally, here’s the view of CDPSE 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: 54.8 percent
Several times a week: 26.1 percent
Several times a month: 11.3 percent
Occasionally: 6.9 percent
Rarely: 0.9 percent
Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills.
Strongly agree: 45.3 percent
Agree: 33 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 19.1 percent
Disagree: [No responses]
Strongly Disagree: 2.6 percent
Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 22.6 percent
Agree: 48.7 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 20.9 percent
Disagree: 4.3 percent
Strongly Disagree: 3.5 percent
Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 25.3 percent
Agree: 42.6 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 24.3 percent
Disagree: 2.6 percent
Strongly Disagree: 5.2 percent