Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on ISACA CSX Fundamentals

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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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

ISACA's CSX Fundamentals cert can open the door to a career in cybersecurity.Of all the skills gaps in the IT industry, including the overall IT skills gap, the one that is of highest concern to the greatest number of people is almost certainly the cybersecurity skills gap. The ongoing migration of all commerce, all business, all government, etc., to the internet is creating a vast attack surface, but the multiplication of personnel available to protect digital assets has not kept pace.

This phenomenon has lead to the launch of a number of certification and education efforts intended to quickly move aspiring cybersecurity professionals to the front lines. ISACA’s CSX Fundamentals credential (No. 32 on our most recent Salary Survey 75 list) is the tip of the spear of one such foot-in-the-door attempt to quickly swell the information security ranks.

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

All U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $132,000
Median Annual Salary: $125,000
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 20.5 percent
Very Satisfied: 19.5 percent
Satisfied: 60 percent
Not Very Satisfied: [No responses]
Not At All Satisfied: [No responses]

All Non-U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $68,040
Median Annual Salary: $63,750
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 5.2 percent
Very Satisfied: 4.8 percent
Satisfied: 47.6 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 38.1 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 4.3 percent

The largest single body of CSX Fundamentals holders to participate in the survey is made up of U.S. residents (32.3 percent), but we also heard from credential holders in 16 other countries: Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Jamaica, Peru, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

Per the Salary Survey norm, CSX Fundamentals-certified women are scare — 93.5 percent of our CSX Fundamentals-certified survey respondents are men. Because it’s designed around the basics of cybersecurity, CSX Fundamentals tends to appeal to younger, if not quite youthful, IT professionals: 71 percent of those surveyed are younger than 45, either between the ages of 35 and 44, (42 percent) or between the ages of 25 and 34 (29 percent). The outliers are the 16.1 percent of CSX Fundamentals-certified individuals who are between the ages of 45 and 54 and the 12.9 percent who are between the ages of 55 and 64.

Precisely 86 percent of the CSX Fundamentals 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 CSX Fundamentals holders is either a bachelor’s degree (22.6 percent of respondents), master’s degree (58.1 percent), doctorate (3.2 percent), associate’s degree (3.2 percent), or professional degree (6.5 percent). The rest of those surveyed either departed the realm of formal education after completing high school (6.8 percent) or are currently furthering their educational pursuits (6.1 percent).

A perfect 100 percent of CSX Fundamentals holders who participated in the survey are employed full-time. For most, that means working either between 41 and 50 hours per week (51.6 percent of respondents), more than 50 hours per week (16.1 percent), or for the standard 40 hours per week (22.6 percent). The rest put in between 31 and 39 hours per week (9.7 percent).

The COVID-19 pandemic stirred up a whole lot of things, including a great many workplaces. So it’s perhaps not surprising that close to 60 percent of CSX Fundamentals holders report spending their entire work schedule at home, putting either more than 40 hours per week from home (38.7 percent of those surveyed) or 40 hours per week from home (19.4 percent). The rest are spending at least some of their working hours in a more traditional workplace setting, working from home either between 31 and 39 hours per week (9.8 percent of respondents), between 21 and 30 hours per week (9.7 percent), between 10 and 20 hours per week (9.5 percent), or for fewer than 10 hours per week (12.9 percent).

In terms of workplace standing, the largest single group of CSX Fundamentals holders who participated in the survey are employed at the manager level (35.3 percent of those surveyed). The rest, in descending order, are either specialists (23.5 percent of respondents), senior managers (14.7 percent), senior specialists (also 14.7 percent), directors (8.8 percent), or employees (3 percent).

A core 38.2 percent of the CSX Fundamentals holders we heard from 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 (5.9 percent of respondents), between 3 and 5 years (17.6 percent), between 6 and 8 years (32.3 percent), or between 9 and 10 years (6 percent).

Finally, here’s the view of CSX Fundamentals 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: 55.9 percent
Several times a week: 17.8 percent
Several times a month: 17.5 percent
Occasionally: 8.8 percent
Rarely: [No responses]

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills. 
Strongly agree: 32.4 percent
Agree: 44.1 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 20.6 percent
Disagree: [No responses]
Strongly Disagree: 2.9 percent

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 29.4 percent
Agree: 53 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 11.7 percent
Disagree: 3.1 percent
Strongly Disagree: 2.8 percent

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 38.2 percent
Agree: 32.4 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 20.6 percent
Disagree: 5.9 percent
Strongly Disagree: 2.9 percent

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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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