Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC)

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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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

GSEC certification can help you get an all-around grasp of cybersecurity fundamentals.There’s an urgency about cybersecurity in today’s IT realm that almost demands greater knowledge of effective information security practices and precautions from all IT professionals. The GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC) credential (No. 41 on this year’s Salary Survey 75 list) is one of a handful of certs designed to equip interested parties with a broad overview of the fundamentals of sound cybersecurity.

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

All U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $118,660
Median Annual Salary: $113,640
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 1.8 percent
Very Satisfied: 27.8 percent
Satisfied: 42.6 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 27.8 percent
Not At All Satisfied: [No responses]

All Non-U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $91,750
Median Annual Salary: $96,670
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 9.5 percent
Very Satisfied: 28.8 percent
Satisfied: 41.2 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 20.5 percent
Not At All Satisfied: [No responses]

The largest single body of GSEC holders who responded to the survey is made up of U.S. residents (83.6 percent), but we also heard from certified professionals in 5 other countries: Australia, Azerbaijan, Canada, Japan, and New Zealand.

Per the cybersecurity usual, almost all of the GSEC holders who responded to the survey are men (92.5 percent), with a handful of women in the mix. A solid majority of those we heard from are more or less squarely in the midst of middle age, either between the ages of 35 and 44 (32.7 percent of those surveyed) or between the ages of 45 and 54 (34.4 percent). The outliers are those between the ages of 25 and 34 (14.1 percent of respondents), those between the ages of 55 and 64 (14.1 percent), and a small group between the ages of 65 and 74 (4.7 percent).

In terms of the highest level of formal education completed by GSEC holders, roughly four-fifths of those who responded to the survey hold some level of college degree. For most, that means topping out at a bachelor’s degree (32.8 percent of those surveyed) or master’s degree (34.4 percent), with peak attainment for other represented by either a doctorate (4.6 percent) or an associate’s degree (7.8 percent). Everyone else we tracked either exited the formal education realm after completing high school (6.3 percent of respondents) or completed some level of technical training after high school  (14.1 percent).

Full-time employment among GSEC holders is strong at 92.5 percent, with 1.5 percent of those surveyed presently on sabbatical, and 3 percent out of work. Among those who have jobs, most put in either a standard 40-hour work week (29.7 percent of respondents) or have a bit more time at the office, falling somewhere between 41 and 50 hours per week (53.1 percent). The rest either work more than 50 hours per week (14.1 percent of those surveyed) or work between 31 and 39 hours per week (3.1 percent).

In terms of workplace standing, the largest single group of GSEC holders, 37.5 percent of those surveyed, are at the senior specialist level. The rest, in descending order, are either managers (16.7 percent of respondents), specialists (14 percent), directors (9.7 percent), rank-and-file employees (8.3 percent), executives (6.9 percent), and senior managers (6.9 percent).

More than half of those surveyed — 55.6 percent — 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 (12.5 percent of those surveyed), between 3 and 5 years (15.3 percent), between 6 and 8 years (11.1 percent), or between 9 and 10 years (5.5 percent)

Finally, here’s the view of GSEC 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: 51.4 percent
Several times a week: 34.7 percent
Several times a month: 6.9 percent
Occasionally: 5.6 percent
Rarely: 1.4 percent

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills. 
Strongly agree: 31.9 percent
Agree: 44.4 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 18.1 percent
Disagree: 4.2 percent
Strongly Disagree: 1.4 percent

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 25 percent
Agree: 43.1 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 23.6 percent
Disagree: 4.2 percent
Strongly Disagree: 4.2 percent

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 25 percent
Agree: 43.1 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 26.4 percent
Disagree: 2.8 percent
Strongly Disagree: 2.8 percent

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CertMag Staff

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