Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on Certified Authorization Professional (CAP)

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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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

The Certified Authorization Professional (CAP) credential is for hard-nosed information security watchdogs.Most modern organizations are aware of the importance of information security, but the old adage about an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure doesn’t get nearly enough attention when it comes to protecting digital assets. There would be fewer costly breaches if more employers had at least one individual assigned to be a full-time information security watchdog.

The training needed to act in that capacity is what’s provided to cybersecurity workers who earn the Certified Authorization Professional (CAP) credential curated by (ISC)². The CAP, No. 19 in they year’s Salary Survey 75 list, isn’t as widely known as some of its close cousins, but employers will pay well to hire those who earn it.

Here’s what the salary picture looks like for CAP holders who responded to the Salary Survey:

All U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $131,100
Median Annual Salary: $126,670
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 16.4 percent
Very Satisfied: 20 percent
Satisfied: 48 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 15.6 percent
Not At All Satisfied: [No responses]

There are (ISC)²-certified individuals in many countries around the world, and doubtless a significant number of CAP holders who live and work outside the United States. We didn’t hear from enough of them, however, to provide non-U.S. salary or demographic data. Given that women tend to be vastly outnumbered by men in the ranks of information security professionals, it’s flat-out astonishing that 24 percent of CAP holders who responded to the survey — nearly one-fourth — are women, compared to just 76 percent who are men.

CAP holders of both genders, on the other hand, are notably older than is the norm for the Deep Focus series. Just 16 percent of those surveyed are between the ages of 35 and 44, and those are the youngest folks in the bunch. Moving closer to retirement, we find 36 percent of CAP holders in the survey between the ages of 45 and 54, and 40.4 percent between the ages of 55 and 64. There is even a small group, 7.6 percent of those surveyed, who are between ages of 65 and 74.

The highest level of education completed by most CAP holders is either a master’s degree (36.4 percent of respondents), bachelor’s degree (32 percent), doctorate (11.6 percent), or associate’s (two-year) degree (12 percent). The true outliers are the 8 percent of respondents with no college degree, but who completed some level of post-high school technical training.

Full-time employment among CAP holders is at an impressive 92 percent, with just a handful of respondents either unemployed (4.4 percent) or retired (3.6 percent). Among those who have full-time jobs, most put in some extra hours at the office, with 64 percent of respondents working between 41 and 50 hours per week, while the remaining 36 percent have a standard 40-hour schedule.

In terms of organizational standing, most CAP holders are either senior specialists (63 percent of those surveyed) or managers (18.5 percent). The rest are either specialists (7.8 percent of respondents), senior managers (7 percent), or executives (3.7 percent).

We didn’t hear from anybody at all who’s a CAP greenhorn. The newest of the newcomers are the 11.1 percent of respondents who have worked in a role that directly utilizes one or more of their certified skills for between 3 and 5 years, the 18.5 percent who have been so engaged for between 6 and 8 years, and 3.7 percent who have been at it for between 9 and 10 years. Everyone else — 66.7 percent of those surveyed — is an old hand who has relied on his or her certified skills for more than a decade.

Finally, here’s the view of CAP 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: 59.4 percent
Several times a week: 25.9 percent
Several times a month: 4.1 percent
Occasionally: 10.7 percent
Rarely: [No responses]

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills. 
Strongly agree: 48.1 percent
Agree: 37.1 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 14.8 percent
Disagree: [No responses]
Strongly Disagree: [No responses]

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 29.6 percent
Agree: 44.4 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 19.3 percent
Disagree: 3.4 percent
Strongly Disagree: 3.3 percent

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 33.7 percent
Agree: 29.6 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 33 percent
Disagree: [No responses]
Strongly Disagree: 3.7 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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