Salary Survey Extra: Snapshot of security professionals
Posted on
January 16, 2016
It takes all kinds to get IT security done.

It takes a village to conduct and report an industry survey. Given that Certification Magazine does four salary surveys every year, we're keenly aware of the investment of time and energy put forth by everyone who jumps into one of our surveys and forges ahead until the final click. If we happen to meet all of you someday a conference, or IT mixer, then we fully intend to look you in the eye as we shake your hand and offer our heartfelt thanks.

Each time we publish the results of a new survey, we try to provide some information about the people who took it. What industries do they work in? How many of them are employed full-time? What are the most common job titles and responsibilities? Some of this is pertinent when correlated with other observations, and some of it is just fun to think about. A lot of people wonder who else in the world does the job that they do, and what it's like elsewhere.

Our surveys are global, but a huge chunk of our support comes from certified professionals who live and work in the United States (where Certification Magazine and parent company GoCertify are located). It varies from survey to survey, but it's probably fair to say that roughly half of the people who respond to our surveys are from the United States, and the other half are from elsewhere, scattered here and there around the world.

We're all in the same industry — information technology (IT) — so we all tend to have a lot in common. From time to time, however, subtle differences come to light. We're also in the process of compiling results of the annual Salary Survey (the Big One), so we're in a comparative frame of mind. In light of all that, we ran a few simple comparisons between the American IT security professionals who responded to our most recent Salary Survey PLUS, and the folks from the rest of the world.

You can peruse a brief table of our results below.

We can see at a glance that far, far more men than women work cybersecurity, but that there are probably more female security professionals in the United States than perhaps any other country in the world. Two age brackets account for nearly all of world's security professionals outside the United States, while the Stateside pool of cybersecurity workers is both more evenly distributed and significantly older.

Wherever you live in the world, as noted elsewhere, you can dramatically improve your odds of landing a career in cybersecurity if you build your resume on a foundation of higher education. A college education may not be required of every IT security professional, but it certainly helps.

U.S. Survey Respondents Non-U.S. Survey Respondents
Gender Men: 89 percent / Women 11 percent Men: 92 percent / Women: 8 percent
Age 25 to 34: 12.8 percent35 to 44: 37.7 percent45 to 54: 28.6 percent

55 to 64: 16.2 percent

All others: 4.7 percent

19 to 24: 6.4 percent25 to 34: 30.6 percent35 to 44: 51.6 percent

45 to 54: 8 percent

All others: 3.4 percent

Education Technical Training (No College Degree): 13 percentTwo-Year College Degree: 11.7 percentBachelor’s Degree: 40.9 percent

Master’s Degree: 24 percent

All others: 15.4 percent

Technical Training (No College Degree): 17.8 percentBachelor’s Degree: 38.7 percentMaster’s Degree: 27.4 percent

All others: 16.1 percent

It takes all kinds to get IT security done.

DRINKS ARE ON US Roughly 140 years ago, a pharmacist named Charles Elmer Hires presented the first commercially formulated root beer at the U.S. Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Today, there are hundreds of root beers brands, and even clubs of root beer drinkers who hold regular gatherings to taste new and exotic brews. But is there one root beer that stands above the rest?

The "Not-So-Serious Tail End" portion of our Security Salary Survey posed a simple question. What is the best root beer? We asked, you answered, and let's all raise a (frosty) glass to the results. There's a clear favorite, but our runner-up is both British and imaginary, so take that for whatever it's worth:

1) A&W — 34.1 percent

2) The stuff the kids drink at The Three Broomsticks in the Harry Potter books (Butterbeer) — 25.6 percent

3) Barq's — 9 percent

4) IBC — 8 percent

5) Henry Weinhard's — 7.1 percent

Also receiving votes: Dad's (5.2 percent), Malta (4.27 percent), Hires (2.9 percent — no respect for the godfather of root beer), Bundaberg (2.7 percent), Shasta (1 percent)Salary Survey Extra is a series of weekly dispatches that give added insight into the findings of both our annual Salary Survey and our smaller Salary Survey PLUS polls. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

About the Author

Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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