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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.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 term "baked in" is often used with reference to information security principles, processes, and best practices. When a company it preparing to put the cookie dough of its essential IT infrastructure into the oven, so to speak, information security needs to be added to the mix and spread through everything.
The skills required to be the information security consultant who is in charge adding security to the cookie dough are verified by the Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) credential (No. 53 on our most recent Salary Survey 75 list) offered by information security professional association ISC2.
Here's what the salary picture looks like for SSCP holders who responded to the Salary Survey:
All U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $98,530
Median Annual Salary: $98,130
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 16.5 percent
Very Satisfied: 20.9 percent
Satisfied: 38.7 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 19 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 4.9 percent
All Non-U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $77,540
Median Annual Salary: $76,250
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 7.5 percent
Very Satisfied: 16.4 percent
Satisfied: 40.3 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 25.4 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 10.4 percent
ISC2's widely respected certification program has a global footprint, which is reflected here. U.S. residents account for roughly 71 percent of the overall pool of SSCP holders who participated in the survey, but we also heard from individuals in 29 other countries: Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Bahamas, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Peru, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, and United Kingdom.
The information security sector of the wider IT universe is largely dominated by male professionals, but a noteworthy 16.6 percent of SSCP holders who responded to the survey are women, compared to 79.6 percent who are men. (A fractional 2.1 percent chose not to identify their gender, while 3.5 percent are transgender female, 2.1 percent are transgender male, and 1.7 percent are gender variant/nonconforming.) The survey pool of SSCP holders is surprisingly youthful, with a shade more than 60 percent of those surveyed younger than 45, either between the ages of 35 and 44 (32.6 percent), between the ages of 25 and 34 (26.1 percent), between the ages of 19 and 24 (1.7 percent), or 18 or younger (0.4 percent). Most of the SSCP "senior citizens" are youngish as well, with a further 31.3 percent of respondents between the ages of 45 and 54, 7 percent between the ages of 55 and 64, and 0.9 percent between the ages of 65 and 74.
Roughly 85 percent of SSCP 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 SSCP holders is either a bachelor's degree (37.5 percent of respondents), master's degree (32.6 percent), associate's degree (10 percent), doctorate (2.6 percent), or professional degree (3.9 percent). The outliers are the 7 percent of those surveyed who completed some level of technical training after high school, the 4.3 percent who concluded their educational pursuits with a high school diploma, the 1.7 percent who are currently in school, and the 0.4 percent who entered the workforce without any formal education.
A solid 79.6 percent of SSCP holders who responded to the survey are employed full-time, with the rest either employed part-time (6.6 percent), currently in school (2.7 percent), on sabbatical (4.5 percent), or out of work (6.6 percent). Among those who have full-time jobs, most have either a standard 40-hour work week (35.2 percent of respondents) or put in between 41 and 50 hours per week (30 percent). The remaining roughly one-third of respondents are split among those who work more than 50 hours per week (11 percent), those who put in between 31 and 39 hours per week (18.1 percent), those who are on the clock for between 20 and 30 hours per week (3.1 percent), or those whose full-time work schedule consists of fewer than 20 hours per week (2.6 percent).
SSCP holders at least have a strong chance of doing their jobs remotely: Nearly 33 percent of respondents are spending their entire work week at home, putting in either 40 hours per week from home (17 percent), or more than 40 hours per week from home (15.3 percent). In the middle are the 12.7 percent of credential holders who work from home between 31 and 39 hours per week, and the 11.8 percent who work from home between 21 and 30 hours per week. The balance of those surveyed are more tied to traditional workplaces, either working from home between 10 and 20 hours per week (15.7 percent of those surveyed) or working from home fewer than 10 hours per week (27.5 percent).
In terms of workplace standing, the largest single group of SSCP holders we heard from are at the senior specialist level (27 percent). The rest, in descending order, are either managers (20.4 percent of those surveyed), specialists (19.4 percent), senior managers (12.5 percent), rank-and-file employees (8 percent), directors (7.9 percent), or executives (4.8 percent).
The largest single group of SSCP holders who responded to the survey, 35.3 percent, are relative IT novices, having worked in a role that directly utilizes one or more of their certified skills for between 3 and 5 years. The rest have been plying their certified skills for either between zero years (1 to 11 months) and 2 years (10 percent of those surveyed), between 6 and 8 years (20.1 percent), between 9 and 10 years (9 percent), or for more than a decade (25.6 percent).
Finally, here's the view of SSCP 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: 44 percent
Several times a week: 29.7 percent
Several times a month: 15.9 percent
Occasionally: 7.6 percent
Rarely: 3.8 percent
Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills.
Strongly agree: 40.1 percent
Agree: 39.8 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 13.1 percent
Disagree: 4.2 percent
Strongly Disagree: 2.8 percent
Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 33.2 percent
Agree: 38.4 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 17.7 percent
Disagree: 7.6 percent
Strongly Disagree: 3.1 percent
Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 29.4 percent
Agree: 42.2 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 18 percent
Disagree: 5.9 percent
Strongly Disagree: 4.5 percent