Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on ISACA CISA

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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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

This CISA certification from cybersecurity and governance association ISACA is the signature IT auditing certification.What does a certified information systems auditor do? There’s a succinct and engaging discussion of this unique and important IT role at GoCertify.com, and the author of that piece recommends ISACA’s Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) as the key credential of interest for persons who are interested in becoming IT auditors.

The CISA is a recurring presence in our annual Salary Survey 75 rankings (No. 16 on our most recent list), and reliably stakes out a position in the upper echelons of IT salary. Here’s what the salary picture looks like for CISA holders who responded to the Salary Survey:

All U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $133,120
Median Annual Salary: $130,000
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 13.8 percent
Very Satisfied: 16.2 percent
Satisfied: 47.5 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 17.5 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 5 percent

All Non-U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $77,080
Median Annual Salary: $69,790
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 7 percent
Very Satisfied: 14.7 percent
Satisfied: 39.9 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 32.2 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 6.2 percent

The largest single body of CISA holders to participate in the survey is made up of U.S. residents (35.9 percent of respondents), but we also heard from credential holders in 41 other countries: Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Uganda, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

Most of the CISA holders we heard from are men (92.8 percent of those surveyed), with just a handful of female certified professionals in the mix. A majority of the survey group is pretty tightly concentrated in middle age, with more than 70 percent of respondents either between the ages of 35 and 44 (39.5 percent) or between the ages of 45 and 54 (32.7 percent). The rest are either between the ages of 19 and 24 (13.9 percent of those surveyed), between the ages of 55 and 64 (12.1), or between the ages of 65 and 74 (1.8 percent).

Nearly 95 percent of the CISA holders who responded to the survey have an educational background that includes time spent at a college or university. The highest level of education completed by most CISA holders is either a master’s degree (55.1 percent of respondents), bachelor’s degree (31.4 percent), associate’s degree (3.6 percent), doctorate (1.8 percent), or professional degree (also 1.8 percent). The outliers are the 2.2 percent of those surveyed whose formal education went no further than completing some level of technical training after high school, along with those who topped out with a high school diploma (3.1 percent), those who are presently in school (0.5 percent), or those who had no formal education before entering the workforce (0.5 percent).

An impressive 97 percent of CISA holders who participated in the survey are employed full-time, with the remaining 3 percent either employed part-time (0.9 percent), out of work (0.9 percent), or presently taking a sabbatical (1.2 percent). Among those who have full-time jobs, most are punching the clock either for the standard 40 hours per week (34.1 percent of those surveyed), for between 41 and 50 hours per week (45.7 percent), or for more than 50 hours per week (13 percent). The rest are either at the office for between 31 and 39 hours per week (6.7 percent of respondents) or for fewer than 20 hours per week (0.5 percent).

In terms of workplace standing, the largest single group of CISA holders we heard from are employed at either the senior specialist level or at the manager level (both 26.6 percent of respondents). The rest, in descending order, are either directors (16.2 percent of those surveyed), senior managers (12.9 percent), executives (7 percent), or rank-and-file employees (2 percent).

A notable 67.6 percent of the CISA 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 (1.7 percent of those surveyed), between 3 and 5 years (8.7 percent), between 6 and 8 years (12 percent), or between 9 and 10 years (10 percent).

Finally, here’s the view of CISA 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: 53.1 percent
Several times a week: 24.9 percent
Several times a month: 14.1 percent
Occasionally: 7.5 percent
Rarely: 0.4 percent

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills. 
Strongly agree: 38.2 percent
Agree: 46.5 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 12.9 percent
Disagree: 0.8 percent
Strongly Disagree: 1.6 percent

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 24.6 percent
Agree: 45.4 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 23.3 percent
Disagree: 5 percent
Strongly Disagree: 1.7 percent

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 24.2 percent
Agree: 42.5 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 25.4 percent
Disagree: 5.4 percent
Strongly Disagree: 2.5 percent

PAST CISA DEEP FOCUS FEATURES

2018

2017

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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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