Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on CompTIA Security+

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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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.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 long-established Security+ certification has widespread industry clout.Whether it’s the SolarWinds breach from the end of last year, or the Colonial Pipeline attack from earlier this year, cybersecurity problems are almost as much a part of the news as weather and traffic reporting. Companies large and small need skilled cybersecurity professionals at the ready to help prevent them from getting the wrong kind of media attention.

Tech industry association CompTIA maintains a core trio of IT certifications that prepare people to work in the IT industry or take IT jobs outside the tech sphere. The widely respected Security+ certification (No. 52 on our most recent Salary Survey 75 list) addresses cybersecurity skills and knowledge and provides a solid cornerstone for anyone’s cybersecurity career.

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

All U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $107,310
Median Annual Salary: $103,750
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 8.3 percent
Very Satisfied: 22.1 percent
Satisfied: 44.8 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 19.3 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 5.5 percent

All Non-U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $73,610
Median Annual Salary: $70,000
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 9.8 percent
Very Satisfied: 13 percent
Satisfied: 38.1 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 32.6 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 6.5 percent

The CompTIA certification program has a global footprint, but 79.7 percent of Security+ holders who responded to the Salary Survey live and work in the United States. That said, we did still hear from credential holders in 37 other countries: Albania, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Grenada, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malta, Netherlands, Nigeria, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

Cybersecurity as a profession has long been dominated by men, and that trend shows up here aw well, with women accounting for just 8.4 percent of those surveyed. And despite widespread concern about a general lack of interest in IT as a career path among teens and young adults, more than half of those swimming in our pool of Security+ holders are younger than 45, either between the ages of 25 and 34 (115.6 percent), or between the ages of 35 and 44 (37 percent). Even the “old folks” are generally youthful, with 25.6 percent of respondents between the ages of 45 and 54, while just 20 percent are 55 or older, either between the ages of 55 and 64 (18.7 percent), between the ages of 65 and 74 (2.9 percent), or older than 75 (0.2 percent).

More than 85 percent of Security+ holders who participated in the survey have an educational background that includes time spent at a college or university. The highest level of formal education completed by most of those surveyed is either a bachelor’s degree (42.2 percent of respondents), master’s degree (32 percent), associate’s degree (10 percent), doctorate (1.1 percent), or professional degree (0.4 percent). The outliers are the 8.6 percent of those surveyed who topped out at some level of post-high school technical training, the 2.9 percent who exited the realm of  formal education after completing high school, the 0.4 percent who had no formal education before entering the workforce, and the 2.4 percent who are currently in the process of furthering their education.

An impressive 95 percent of Security+ holders who responded to the survey are employed full-time, with 2.7 percent holding part-time employment, 0.2 percent on sabbatical, 0.2 percent attending school, and 1.9 percent unemployed. Among those who have full-time jobs, most are at work either for the standard 40 hours per week (45.9 percent of respondents), for between 41 and 50 hours per week (41.2 percent), or for more than 50 hours per week (7 percent). The remaining roughly 6 percent of full-timers enjoy some degree of freedom from rigid scheduling, working either between 31 and 39 hours per week (5.3 percent), or between 21 and 30 hours per week (0.6 percent).

Security professionals aren’t necessarily tied to a single workplace location. That’s a condition that has become even more pronounced during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic with just 38 percent of the Security+ holders we heard from enjoying the master bedroom-to-kitchen-table commute either fewer than 10 hours per week (29.3 percent), or between 10 and 20 hours per week (8.6 percent). That leaves almost two-thirds of those surveyed who are true homebodies, working from home either between 21 and 30 hours per week (5.3 percent), between 31 and 39 hours per week (6.8 percent), 40 hours per week (24.9 percent), or more than 40 hours per week (25.1 percent).

In terms of workplace standing, the largest single group of Security+ holders who participated in the survey, 31.8 percent of respondents, are employed at the senior specialist level. The rest, in descending order, are either specialists (20.6 percent of those surveyed), managers (17.9 percent), rank-and-file employees (11.2 percent), senior managers (8.9 percent), directors (5.7 percent), or executives (3.9 percent).

A bit more than half of the Security+ holders who participated in the survey are IT veterans, having worked in a role that directly utilizes one or more their certified skills for more than a decade (51.9 percent). The rest have been plying their certified skills for either between zero years (1 to 11 months) and 2 years (9.1 percent), between 3 and 5 years (17.3 percent), between 6 and 8 years (13.6 percent), or between 9 and 10 years (8.1 percent).

Finally, here’s the view of Security+ 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: 45.2 percent
Several times a week: 29.6 percent
Several times a month: 13 percent
Occasionally: 10 percent
Rarely: 2.2 percent

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills. 
Strongly agree: 41 percent
Agree: 36.5 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 16.8 percent
Disagree: 3.7 percent
Strongly Disagree: 2 percent

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 28 percent
Agree: 44.6 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 20.7 percent
Disagree: 3.9 percent
Strongly Disagree: 2.8 percent

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 25.8 percent
Agree: 38 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 28 percent
Disagree: 5.1 percent
Strongly Disagree: 3.1 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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