Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on CCSP

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Salary Survey Extra is a series of 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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

CCSP certification is helping security professionals protect cloud assets.Everything is in the cloud in 2017. Not everything everything, of course. Cloud cities are popular in science fiction, for example — both Star Wars and Star Trek feature such fantastical locales — but we still live with both our feet and buildings on the ground. When it comes to both data and IT infrastructure, however, more and more each day the cloud is literally where it’s at.

That means there’s a rising interest in protecting both vital information and critical IT processes and functions that depend on cloud storage and operation. Recognizing the need for cloud-specific security training, (ISC)² and Cloud Security Alliance teamed up to launch the Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) credential in April 2015. Despite its relative youth, CCSP (No. 16 in this year’s Salary Survey 75) is already making an impact, with more that 1,600 certification holders worldwide.

The CCSP-certified individuals who responded to our 2016 Salary Survey are largely U.S. citizens (70 percent), though we did have a number of credential holders check in from around the world as well. All in all, we heard from CCSP holders in 16 other nations: Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.

Among CCSP holders in the United States, the average annual salary in 2016 was $133,820, with a median annual salary of $133,330. For those outside the United States, the average annual salary was $101,360, with a median annual salary of $96,670.

Nearly all of those we surveyed are men (94.8 percent), though we did hear from CCSP-certified women. And while CCSP itself is quite young, those who hold it are a seasoned group indeed, with nearly 72 percent either between the ages of 35 and 44 (32.8 percent), or between the ages of 45 and 54 (38.7 percent). The youngsters of the group, a mere 10 percent, are between the ages of 25 and 34; while plenty of old dogs are learning CCSP’s new tricks, with 18.2 percent of credential holders between the ages of 55 and 64.

The highest level of education attained by most CCSP holders is either a master’s degree (50 percent) or bachelor’s degree (31.9 percent). Most of the rest of those surveyed either topped out at an associate’s (two-year) degrees (5.2 percent), technical training with no college degree (6.9 percent), or a high school diploma (2.6 percent).

A very sturdy 92.2 percent of CCSP holders surveyed are employed full-time, versus just 3.5 percent who are unemployed, and 2.6 percent who are employed part-time. Among those who have full-time jobs, more than 65 percent have a longer-than-standard work week, putting in either between 41 and 50 hours (48.3 percent), or more than 50 hours (17.2 percent). Just 19 percent work the standard 40 hours per week, while a fortunate 10.3 percent work between 31 and 39 hours per week.

CCSP, at least in its early going, is a notably management-heavy certification. A solid 20.4 percent of those surveyed are mangers, with 13.8 percent functioning as senior managers, 19.9 percent at the director level, and 3.4 percent holding executive positions. Almost everyone else (38.2 percent of those surveyed) is at the senior specialist level, leaving almost no mere specialists (2.6 percent) or rank-and-file employees (1.7 percent).

Just as most CCSP holders we surveyed are older workers, most of them are highly experienced as well: 61.2 percent have been applying certified IT skills (if not CCSP-certified skills; remember that CCSP only debuted in 2015) in the workplace for more than a decade. Most of the rest of our respondents have been certified IT professionals for between 9 and 10 years (13.8 percent), between 6 and 8 years (14.7 percent), or between 3 and 5 years (7.8 percent).

Finally, here’s the view of CCSP 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: 44.8 percent
Several times a week: 31.9 percent
Several times a month: 13.8 percent
Occasionally: 9.5 percent
Rarely: [No responses]

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills. 
Strongly agree: 37.1 percent
Agree: 40.5 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 15.5 percent
Disagree: 5.2 percent
Strongly Disagree: 1.7 percent

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 25 percent
Agree: 37.1 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 25.9 percent
Disagree: 9.5 percent
Strongly Disagree: 2.5 percent

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 18.2 percent
Agree: 37.1 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 31 percent
Disagree: 10.3 percent
Strongly Disagree: 3.4 percent

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CertMag Staff

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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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