Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on Certified Ethical Hacker

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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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.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 Ethical Hacker credential from EC-Council is a highly sought-after cybersecurity cert.Set a thief to catch a thief is a timeless aphorism that has resonated for as long as people have been around to steal from each other. In 2018, a lot of the stealing that goes on happens digitally, so maybe an updated version would be set a hacker to catch a hacker. Which, in a sense, is EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) credential in a nutshell.

The CEH looms large in the cybersecurity community and it looms large year after year in our annual Salary Survey. In this year’s survey, Certified Ethical Hacker loomed large enough to land at No. 36 on our Salary Survey 75 list.

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

All U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $122,470
Median Annual Salary: $122,140
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 12.5 percent
Very Satisfied: 20.8 percent
Satisfied: 44.4 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 16.7 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 5.6 percent

All Non-U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $59,400
Median Annual Salary: $52,500
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 3.3 percent
Very Satisfied: 17 percent
Satisfied: 33.7 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 30 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 16 percent

The largest single body of CEH holders who responded to the survey is made up U.S. residents (71.3 percent of those surveyed). We also heard from certified individuals in 19 other countries: Australia, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, India, Jordan, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

Almost all of the CEH holders in the survey are men (95.2 percent of respondents), though we did hear from a handful of female credential holders. In terms of age, the CEH crowd leans heavily toward middle age, with 33.7 percent of those surveyed between the ages of 35 and 44, and 28.7 percent between the ages of 45 and 54. The outliers are CEH holders between the ages of 55 and 64 (15.8 percent of respondents), those between the ages of 25 and 34 (19.8 percent), and particularly those between the ages of 19 and 24 (2 percent).

The highest level of formal education completed by most CEH holders is either a bachelor’s degree (29.7 percent of those surveyed) or master’s degree (42.6 percent). Everyone is scattered up and down the ladder, with 3.9 percent of respondents currently in school, 2 percent having climbed no higher than a high school diploma, and 10.9 percent having topped out at post-secondary technical training. The rest are college-educated to some degree, with 4.9 percent having gotten an associate’s (2 year) degree, 1 percent having gotten a doctorate, and 5 percent who can claim a professional degree such as juris doctor.

A rock-solid 95.3 percent of CEH holders are employed full-time, with some working part-time (1.9 percent), and the rest out of work (2.8 percent). Among those with full-time jobs, most are at least somewhat overworked, putting in between 41 and 50 hours per week (43.1 percent of respondents) or more than 50 hours per week (17.6 percent). Most of the rest have a standard 40-hour schedule (32.4 percent of those surveyed), with a fortunate few on the job between 31 and 39 hours per week (6.9 percent).

In terms of workplace standing, roughly 65 percent of those surveyed are either senior specialists (43.6 percent), specialists (15.5 percent) or rank-and-file employees (5.5 percent). The rest are at some level of management, either as mangers (14.5 percent of respondents), senior managers (8.2 percent), directors (6.5 percent) or executives (6.2 percent).

Almost all of the CEH holders who responded to the survey have been plying their certified skills for quite a while. Only 6.4 percent of respondents have worked in a role that directly utilizes one or more of their certified skills for between zero years (1 to 11 months) and 2 years, with 15.5 percent having done so for between 3 and 5 years, 17.2 percent having done so for between 6 and 8 years, and 13.6 percent have done so for between 9 and 10 years. Everyone else (47.3 percent of respondents) has been plying their certified skills for more than 10 years.

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: 59.1 percent
Several times a week: 28.2 percent
Several times a month: 3.6 percent
Occasionally: 8.2 percent
Rarely: 0.9 percent

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills. 
Strongly agree: 46.3 percent
Agree: 40 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 10.9 percent
Disagree: 1.8 percent
Strongly Disagree: 1 percent

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 32.7 percent
Agree: 38.2 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 18.2 percent
Disagree: 8.2 percent
Strongly Disagree: 2.7 percent

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 25.4 percent
Agree: 35.5 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 30 percent
Disagree: 7.3 percent
Strongly Disagree: 1.8 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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