Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on CompTIA CySA+

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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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

CompTIA's CySA+ certification has steadily gained traction in the cybersecurity realm since its 2017 debut.It’s often said of cybersecurity that humans are the weakest link in any defensive scheme. On the other side of the coin, there’s a human pulling the strings behind every cyberattack. Cybersecurity analysts — information security professionals who evaluate human behavior and apply those insights to security practices — consider the problem from both angles.

The CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) credential, launched in early 2017, has quickly become a Salary Survey 75 staple, landing at No. 58 on our most recent list. Achieving CySA+ certification is an excellent way for cybersecurity specialists to round out their knowledge of both attackers and so-called weak links

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

All U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $104,780
Median Annual Salary: $103,750
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 6.5 percent
Very Satisfied: 19.6 percent
Satisfied: 50 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 21.7 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 2.2 percent

All Non-U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $67,620
Median Annual Salary: $68,750
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 22.2 percent
Very Satisfied: 11.1 percent
Satisfied: 33.3 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 17 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 16.4 percent

CompTIA’s long-lived certification program has a global reach, and some of that breadth is reflected in this year’s pool of CySA+ holders: only 72 percent are U.S. residents. We also heard from credential holders in 13 other countries: Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, and the United Kingdom.

The information security sector of the wider IT universe is largely dominated by male professionals, and that holds true here as well: Just 5.5 percent of CySA+ holders who responded to the survey are women. The survey pool of CySA+ holders is also surprisingly youthful, with a bit more than 60 percent of those surveyed younger than 45, either between the ages of 35 and 44 (39.1 percent), between the ages of 25 and 34 (21.9 percent). Most of the CySA+ “senior citizens” are youngish as well, with a further 25 percent of respondents between the ages of 45 and 54, and just 14 percent either between the ages of 55 and 64 (10.9 percent) or between 65 and 74 (3.1 percent).

More than 90 percent of CySA+ 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 CySA+ holders is either a bachelor’s degree (46.9 percent of respondents), master’s degree (32.8 percent), associate’s degree (7.8 percent), professional degree (3 percent), or doctorate (1.6 percent). The outliers are the 3.2 percent of those surveyed who completed some level of technical training after high school and the 4.7 percent who are currently in school.

A strong 95.5 percent of CySA+ holders who responded to the survey are employed full-time, with the remaining 4.5 percent either working part-time positions (3.1 percent) or on sabbatical (1.4 percent). Among those who have full-time jobs, most have either a standard 40-hour work week (42.2 percent of respondents) or put in between 41 and 50 hours per week (45.3 percent). The remaining 12 percent of respondents are evenly split between those who work more than 50 hours per week (6.3 percent) and those who put in between 31 and 39 hours per week (6.2 percent).

Like most other information security professionals, CompTIA-certified cybersecurity analysts appear to have been strongly impacted by the appearance and spread of COVID-19. A notable 53 percent of respondents either put in 40 hours per week from home (28.1 percent) or more than 40 hours per week from home (25 percent). The other half of respondents do get some of their hours in outside a traditional workplace, with 7.8 percent of those surveyed at home between 31 and 39 hours per week, 6.3 percent at home between 21 and 30 hours per week, and 9.4 percent at home between 10 and 20 hours per week. The balance of CySA+ holders who responded to the survey — 23.4 percent — are more tied to their office spaces, working from home fewer than 10 hours per week.

In terms of workplace standing, the largest single group of CySA+ holders we heard from are employed at the manager level (28.2 percent). The rest, in descending order, are either senior specialists (24 percent of respondents), specialists (19.7 percent), rank-and-file employees (9.9 percent), senior managers (8.4 percent), directors (5.6 percent), or executives (4.2 percent).

A notable 57.7 percent of CySA+ 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. The rest have been plying their certified skills for either between zero years (1 to 11 months) and 2 years (7 percent of those surveyed), between 3 and 5 years (18.3 percent), between 6 and 8 years (14.1 percent), or between 9 and 10 years (2.8 percent).

Finally, here’s the view of CySA+ 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: 50.7 percent
Several times a week: 28.1 percent
Several times a month: 11.2 percent
Occasionally: 8.5 percent
Rarely: 1.4 percent

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills. 
Strongly agree: 47.9 percent
Agree: 33.8 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 18.3 percent
Disagree: [No responses]
Strongly Disagree: [No responses]

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 25.4 percent
Agree: 53.5 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 16.9 percent
Disagree: 2.8 percent
Strongly Disagree: 1.4 percent

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 22.5 percent
Agree: 42.4 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 29.5 percent
Disagree: 4.2 percent
Strongly Disagree: 1.4 percent




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CertMag Staff


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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