Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

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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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

EC-Council's Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) credential has excellent name recognition, both in the cybersecurity field and beyond.Everyone likes to be “bad” in the George Thorgood sense of the word, where you’re cool and wear black leather, but you still love your mom and observe the speed limit when you’re flying down the interstate on your Harley (you know, most of the time). So-called “ethical” hacking, as a profession, meets that need in spades — the whole point is to be a hacker without actually breaking the law — while also lining up the average IT pro with a fat salary.

The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) credential from EC-Council (No. 24 on our most recent Salary Survey 75 list) is the foremost certification in the industry for anyone who wants to blend that romantically alluring outlaw charisma with a solid cybersecurity skill set.

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

All U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $122,130
Median Annual Salary: $123,500
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 10.5 percent
Very Satisfied: 24.6 percent
Satisfied: 40.4 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 17.5 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 7 percent

All Non-U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $66,540
Median Annual Salary: $47,500
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: [No responses]
Very Satisfied: 16.7 percent
Satisfied: 40 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 26.7 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 16.6 percent

Most of the CEH holders who participated in the Salary Survey are U.S. residents (66.3 percent), but we also heard from CEH-certified professionals in 13 other countries: Canada, Ecuador, India, Kenya, Macedonia, Mexico, Singapore, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, United Kingdom, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The cybersecurity profession tends to be male-dominated, and that’s certainly reflected here: 95.3 percent of the CEH holders who participated in the survey are men. Most of those surveyed are solidly middle-aged, either between the ages of 35 and 44 (34.9 percent of respondents) or between the ages of 45 and 54 (37.2 percent). The outliers are the 11.6 percent of CEH holders who are between the ages of 25 and 34, the 14 percent between the ages of 55 and 64, and 2.3 percent between the ages of 65 and 74.

Nearly 90 percent of CEH 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 CEH holders is either a master’s degree (44.2 percent of respondents), bachelor’s degree (27.9 percent), associate’s degree (9.3 percent), professional degree (4.7 percent), or doctorate (2.3 percent). The outliers are the 5.8 percent of those surveyed who topped out at some level of post-high school technical training, the 4.7 percent who exited the realm of formal education after completing high school, and the 1.1 percent who are currently in school.

All but a handful of the CEH holders who participated in the survey are regularly employed, with 95.6 percent holding full-time jobs, 3.3 percent in part-time jobs, and 1.1 percent out of work at the time of the survey. Among those who have full-time jobs, most are at work either for the standard 40 hours per week (37.9 percent of respondents) or put in between 41 and 50 hours per week (48.3 percent). The rest are either laboring under a lighter load, spending between 31 and 39 hours per week doing work (3.5 percent of respondents), or really leaning into the work all-work-and-no-play ethic putting in more than 50 hours per week (10.3 percent).

Many IT jobs aren’t tied to a physical location, but nearly all of the CEH holders in our survey pool are going to an office to do their jobs, with more than 82 percent of those surveyed working from home either fewer than 10 hours per week (70.5 percent) or between 10 and 20 hours per week (11.8 percent). A less-than-trendsetting 17 percent of respondents work from home more regularly, starting their commute from the master bedroom either between 21 and 30 hours per week (7.1 percent), between 31 and 39 hours per week (4.7 percent), 40 hours per week (3.5 percent), or more than 40 hours per week (2.4 percent).

In terms of workplace standing, the largest single group of CEH holders we heard from, 42.7 percent of those surveyed, are employed at the senior specialist level. The rest, in descending order, are either managers (24 percent), senior managers (11.4 percent), specialists (8.3 percent), directors (5.2 percent), executives (4.2 percent), and rank-and-file employees (also 4.2 percent).

Most of the CEH holders who responded to the survey are IT veterans, having worked in a role that directly utilizes one or more of their certified skills for more than a decade (63.6 percent). The rest have been plying their certified skills for either between zero years (1 to 11 months) and 2 years (3.1 percent of respondents), between 3 and 5 years (9.4 percent), between 6 and 8 years (8.3 percent), or between 9 and 10 years (15.6 percent).

Finally, here’s the view of CEH 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: 60.4 percent
Several times a week: 32.3 percent
Several times a month: 6.3 percent
Occasionally: 1 percent
Rarely: [No responses]

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills. 
Strongly agree: 53.1 percent
Agree: 36.5 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 8.3 percent
Disagree: 1 percent
Strongly Disagree: 1 percent

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 29.2 percent
Agree: 44.8 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 19.8 percent
Disagree: 4.2 percent
Strongly Disagree: 2 percent

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 27.1 percent
Agree: 40.6 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 25 percent
Disagree: 4.2 percent
Strongly Disagree: 3.1 percent

PAST CEH DEEP FOCUS FEATURES

2019

2018

2017

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CertMag Staff

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