Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on Fortinet Network Security Expert (NSE) Level 2

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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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

The Fortinet Network Security Expert (NSE) Level 2 credential covers network security products and tools.There are a whole lot of people in the world whose ordinary everyday interactions with whomever and whatever require them to interface with a computer network multiple times. With computer networks supporting (often invisibly) so much of what many of us do in a normal day, it’s hard to overstate the importance of network security.

Indeed, network security is of such vital importance that the network security certification program developed by cybersecurity solutions provider Fortinet has (count ‘em) eight levels. The Fortinet Network Security Expert (NSE) Level 2 credential (No. 62 on our most recent Salary Survey 75 list) helps security personnel “learn about the types of security products that security vendors (have) created” to address network security.

Here’s what the salary picture looks like for Fortinet NSE Level 2 holders who responded to the Salary Survey:

All U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $100,620
Median Annual Salary: $100,000
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: [No responses]
Very Satisfied: 13.1 percent
Satisfied: 38.1 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 36.9 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 11.9 percent

All Non-U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $65,400
Median Annual Salary: $76,250
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 3.7 percent
Very Satisfied: 11.2 percent
Satisfied: 40.7 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 33.3 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 11.1 percent

The largest single body of Fortinet NSE Level 2 holders to participate in the survey is made up of U.S. residents (22.9 percent or respondents). We also heard from credential holders in 15 other countries: Australia, Canada, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.

Men generally outnumber women in information security professions, and that’s certainly true here, with men accounting for 91.4 percent of the Fortinet NSE Level 2 holders who responded to the survey. In terms of age, more than 90 percent of those surveyed are between the ages 25 and 54, landing either between the ages of 25 and 34 (20 percent), between the ages 35 and 44 (48.6 percent), or between the ages of 45 and 54 (25.7 percent). The only outliers are the 5.7 percent of respondents who are between the ages of 55 and 64.

More than 90 percent of the Fortinet NSE Level 2 holders we heard from have an educational background that includes time spent at a college of university. The highest level of education completed by most Fortinet NSE Level 1 holders is either a bachelor’s degree (48.6 percent), master’s degree (40 percent), associate’s degree (3 percent), or professional degree (2.7 percent). The outliers are the 5.7 percent of those surveyed who exited the realm of formal education after the completing some level of post-high school technical training.

A perfect 100 percent of Fortinet NSE Level 2 holders who participated in the survey are employed full-time. For most, that means being at work for either between 41 and 50 hours per week (48.6 percent of respondents) or for the standard 40 hours (28.6 percent). That leaves just the 17.1 percent of respondents whose full-time schedule is more than 50 hours per week and the 5.7 percent who are getting off easy with a full-time schedule of between 31 and 39 hours per week.

With the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic redrawing office boundaries, just 11.4 percent of the Fortinet NSE Level 2 holders who responded to the survey are spending most of those hours at a traditional workplace, working from home fewer than 10 hours per week. The rest of the survey group leans heavily toward remote work, with 14.1 percent working from home between 10 and 20 hours per week, 8.6 percent punching the clock from home between 21 and 30 hours per week, 22.9 percent at home for between 31 and 39 hours per week, 14.4 percent at home for 40 hours per week, and 28.6 percent working from home for more than 40 hours per week.

In terms of workplace standing, the largest single group of Fortinet NSE Level 2 holders we heard from (34.1 percent of respondents) are employed at the senior specialist level. The rest, in descending order, are either managers (27.3 percent of those surveyed), specialists (16 percent), senior managers (15.8 percent), rank-and-file employees (4.5 percent), or directors (2.3 percent).

More than half (56.8 percent) of the Fortinet NSE Level 2 holders who responded to the survey are IT veterans, having worked in a role that directly utilizes their certified skills for more than a decade. The rest have been plying their certified skills for between zero years (1 to 11 months) and 2 years (2.3percent of respondents), between 3 and 5 years (13.6 percent), between 6 and 8 years (18.2 percent), or between 9 and 10 years (9.1 percent).

Finally, here’s the view of Fortinet NSE Level 2 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: 27.3 percent
Several times a month: 11.4 percent
Occasionally: 2.2 percent
Rarely: [No responses]

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills. 
Strongly agree: 52.3 percent
Agree: 34.1 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 9.1 percent
Disagree: 2.3 percent
Strongly Disagree: 2.2 percent

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 36.4 percent
Agree: 52.3 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 9.1 percent
Disagree: 2.2 percent
Strongly Disagree: [No responses]

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 38.6 percent
Agree: 36.4 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 22.7 percent
Disagree: 2.3 percent
Strongly Disagree: [No responses]

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