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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

If you want to do white hat hacking for a living, then Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) is a must-have certification.Even people who call their moms on Mother’s Day and are reliably kind to dogs sometimes have a hankering to walk on the wild side. Sometimes reliably “good” individuals just want someone else to know that they could be “bad,” if they really felt like. Some activities are even considered bad in most circumstances, but can sometimes be turned to good ends.

IT professionals who want to be bad without, you know, actually being bad are often drawn to so-called white-hat or “ethical” hacking. And the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) credential from EC-Council (No. 36 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: $128,350
Median Annual Salary: $128,210
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 11.6 percent
Very Satisfied: 24.8 percent
Satisfied: 46.3 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 15.7 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 1.6 percent

All Non-U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $74,170
Median Annual Salary: $64,380
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 6.7 percent
Very Satisfied: 15 percent
Satisfied: 49.2 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 22.5 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 6.6 percent

Most of the CEH holders who participated in the Salary Survey are U.S. residents (50.4 percent), but we also heard from CEH-certified professionals in 40 other countries: Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Macedonia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

The cybersecurity profession tends to be male-dominated, and that’s certainly reflected here: 94.7 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 (38.7 percent of respondents) or between the ages of 45 and 54 (29 percent). The outliers are the 13.7 percent of CEH holders who are between the ages of 25 and 34, the 16.6 percent between the ages of 55 and 64, and 1.2 percent between the ages of 65 and 74. (We did also hear from a tiny number of individuals, less than 1 percent of those surveyed, who are 18 or younger, or between the ages of 19 and 24.)

A bit more than 91 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 (50.2 percent of respondents), bachelor’s degree (33.2 percent), associate’s degree (4.6 percent), professional degree (1.2 percent), or doctorate (2.5 percent). The outliers are the 5 percent of those surveyed who topped out at some level of post-high school technical training, the 2.1 percent who exited the realm of formal education after completing high school, and the 1.2 percent who are currently in school.

All but a handful of the CEH holders who participated in the survey are regularly employed, with 98.4 percent holding full-time jobs, 0.8 percent in part-time jobs, and a further 0.8 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 (38.6 percent of respondents) or put in between 41 and 50 hours per week (42.3 percent). The rest are either laboring under a lighter load, spending either between 31 and 39 hours per week doing work (8.7 percent of respondents), or between 21 and 30 hours per week (0.4 percent), or really leaning into the work all-work-and-no-play ethic and putting in more than 50 hours per week (10 percent).

Many IT jobs aren’t tied to a physical location, a condition that became more widespread in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic sent people home from the office in droves. More than 55 percent of CEH holders who participated in the survey have been spending their entire work schedule at home of late, putting in either more than 40 hours per week (31.5 percent of those surveyed) or 40 hours per week (24.1 percent). Everyone else is scattered across the spectrum, with 32 percent working from home either fewer than 10 hours per week (21.6 percent) or between 10 and 20 hours per week (10.4 percent), and 12 percent working from home either between 21 and 30 hours per week (4.1 percent) or between 31 and 39 hours per week (8.3 percent).

In terms of workplace standing, the largest single group of CEH holders we heard from, 34 percent of those surveyed, are employed at the senior specialist level. The rest, in descending order, are either managers (23.4 percent), senior managers (13.6 percent), specialists (11.7 percent), directors (8.6 percent), executives (4.9 percent), and rank-and-file employees (3.8 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 (59.2 percent). The rest have been plying their certified skills for either between zero years (1 to 11 months) and 2 years (5.7 percent of respondents), between 3 and 5 years (11.3 percent), between 6 and 8 years (13.2 percent), or between 9 and 10 years (10.6 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: 52.8 percent
Several times a week: 27.5 percent
Several times a month: 12.4 percent
Occasionally: 5.3 percent
Rarely: 2 percent

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills. 
Strongly agree: 45.3 percent
Agree: 40 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 12.5 percent
Disagree: 1.1 percent
Strongly Disagree: 1.1 percent

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 32.8 percent
Agree: 45.7 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 17.7 percent
Disagree: 2.3 percent
Strongly Disagree: 1.5 percent

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 29.4 percent
Agree: 39.6 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 24.9 percent
Disagree: 4.2 percent
Strongly Disagree: 1.9 percent

PAST CEH DEEP FOCUS FEATURES

2020

2019

2018

2017

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