Salary Survey Extra is a series of dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our annual Salary Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.
These days it seems like you can hardly swing your arms without smacking a brewing cybersecurity crisis. Businesses and organizations desperately need skilled cybersecurity professionals, and a security certification is an excellent means of gaining the skills necessary to jump in with both feet and join the excitement swirling around one of IT’s most challenging and rewarding fields.
One viable landing spot for anyone preparing to make such a leap is the Security Pro credential managed by IT training and certification provider TestOut. TestOut’s Pro certs are relatively new (Security Pro is No. 74 on this year’s Salary Survey 75 list), but TestOut is an official training provider for CompTIA, so you study up for Security Pro and Security+ at the same time.
Here’s what the salary picture looks like for Security Pro holders who responded to the Salary Survey:
All U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $60,150
Median Annual Salary: $67,500
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 8.3 percent
Very Satisfied: 25.8 percent
Satisfied: 34.2 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 7.5 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 24.2 percent
TestOut’s certification program is strongest in the United States, and all of the Security Pro holders who responded to the survey are U.S. residents. Most are also men (93.7 percent of those surveyed), as tends to be true of most cybersecurity credentials. Most of those we heard from are relatively youthful, including a handful of respondents (5.6 percent of those surveyed) who are 18 or younger, and more notable groups between the ages of 19 and 24 (13.8 percent) and between the ages of 25 and 34 (31.2 percent). The rest are either between the ages of 35 and 44 37.5 percent of those surveyed) or between the ages of 45 and 54 (11.9 percent).
Exactly 75 percent of Security Pro holders are college-educated, with the highest level of education attained being either an associate’s (two-year) degree (41.7 percent of those surveyed) or bachelor’s degree (33.3 percent). The rest are either currently in school (8.2 percent of respondents), or completed technical training with no college degree (16.8 percent).
A solid 75 percent of Security Pro holders are employed full-time, while 12.5 percent have part-time jobs, and 8.2 percent are students. The rest, just 4.3 percent of respondents, are currently out of work. Among those who have jobs, most either have a standard 40-hour work week (50 percent of those surveyed), or are mildly overworked, putting in between 41 and 50 hours per week. The rest (13.3 percent of respondents) have a light load of between 31 and 39 hours per week.
For the most part, Security Pro holders are working in low-level jobs as either rank-and-file employees (37.5 percent of those surveyed) or specialists (31.1 percent). There is a largish group, however, who have climbed up to management, with 25 percent of those surveyed working as managers, and a further 6.4 percent at the senior manager level.
As you might expect, given their relatively modest organizational standing, most Security Pro holders are fairly new to cybersecurity, with 75 percent having worked in a role that directly utilizes one or more of their certified skills for between zero years (1 to 11 months) and 2 years. The rest have been in the game for either between 3 and 5 years (12.5 percent of respondents), between 9 and 10 years (6.9 percent), or more than 10 years (5.6 percent).
Finally, here’s the view of Security Pro 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: 37.5 percent
Several times a week: 25 percent
Several times a month: 12.5 percent
Occasionally: 18.7 percent
Rarely: 6.3 percent
Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills.
Strongly agree: 31.9 percent
Agree: 30.6 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 25 percent
Disagree: [No responses]
Strongly Disagree: 12.5 percent
Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 50 percent
Agree: 31.3 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 13.7 percent
Disagree: [No responses]
Strongly Disagree: 5 percent
Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 40.6 percent
Agree: 28.1 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 18.8 percent
Disagree: 9.4 percent
Strongly Disagree: 3.1 percent