Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on (ISC)²’s CISSP

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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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.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 CISSP certification from (ISC)² is the old warhorse of cybersecurity certificationsIn the same way that the brand name “Hoover” has come to be directly associated with the vacuum cleaners — indeed, you can say or write “hoovered” to mean vacuumed — the acronym CISSP, for Certified Information Systems Security Practitioner (No. 12 on our most recent Salary Survey 75 list), is more or less equivalent, inside the information technology (IT) realm, with cybersecurity. If you only ever get one cybersecurity certification, well, this is probably the one to get.

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

All U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $135,510
Median Annual Salary: $133,470
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 8.4 percent
Very Satisfied: 24.9 percent
Satisfied: 46 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 15.7 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 5 percent

All Non-U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $97,980
Median Annual Salary: $98,250
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 5.7 percent
Very Satisfied: 22.7 percent
Satisfied: 39.9 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 22.8 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 8.9 percent

The largest single body of CISSP holders to participate in the survey is made up of U.S. residents (68.3 percent of respondents), but we also heard from credential holders in 37 other countries: Afghanistan, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

Cybersecurity is typically a male-dominated profession and there are just a handful of women (7.6 percent of those surveyed) among the pool of CISSP holders who responded to the survey. CISSP is an advanced credential, and most of the credential holders we heard-from are mid-career professionals, with nearly 70 percent of respondents either between the ages of 35 and 44 (31.7 percent),or between the ages of 45 and 54 (37.7 percent). That leaves the 7.6 percent of those surveyed who are between the ages of 25 and 34, and the 23 percent who are 55 or older, either between the ages of 55 and 64 (21 percent) or between the ages of 65 and 74 (2 percent).

More than 85 percent of the CISSP holders we heard from have an educational background that includes time spent at a college or university. The highest level of education completed by most CISSP holders is either a master’s degree (41.7 percent of respondents), bachelor’s degree (36.4 percent), associate’s degree (6 percent), doctorate (3.4 percent), or professional degree (1.3 percent). The rest either exited the realm of formal education after completing some level of post-high school technical training (6.3 percent of those surveyed), checked out after graduating from high school (4.2 percent), are currently furthering their education (0.5 percent), or entered the workforce without any formal education (0.2 percent).

A potent 96.8 percent of CISSP holders who participated in the survey are employed full-time, with 2.5 percent holding part-time jobs, 0.2 percent taking a sabbatical, and 0.5 percent unemployed. Among those with full-time jobs, most are at work either between 41 and 50 hours per week (51.6 percent), more than 50 hours per week (10.4 percent), or for the standard 40 hours per week (31.5 percent). The outliers are the fortunate few whose full-time work schedule consists of either between 31 and 39 hours per week (6.3 percent), or between 20 and 30 hours per week (0.2 percent).

Exactly 75 percent of CISSP holders who responded to the survey are spending most of those hours at a traditional workplace, working from home either fewer than 10 hours per week (59 percent of respondents) or for between 10 and 20 hours per week (16 percent). The rest of the survey group are a mixed bag, with 7 percent working from home between 21 and 30 hours per week, 3.4 percent at home for between 31 and 39 hours per week, 6.8 percent at home for 40 hours per week, or 7.8 percent at home for more than 40 hours per week.

In terms of workplace standing, the largest single group of CISSP holders we heard from (43.2 percent of respondents) are employed at the senior specialist level. The rest, in descending order, are either managers (16.7 percent of those surveyed), directors (14 percent), senior managers (13 percent), specialists (6.5 percent), executives (3.4 percent), or rank-and-file employees (2.9 percent).

Nearly three-fourths (72.1 percent) of the CISSP 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 (2.6 percent of respondents), between 3 and 5 years (7.3 percent), between 6 and 8 years (10.7 percent of respondents), or between 9 and 10 years (7.3 percent).

Finally, here’s the view of CISSP 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: 52.9 percent
Several times a week: 27.6 percent
Several times a month: 8.6 percent
Occasionally: 8.6 percent
Rarely: 2.3 percent

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills. 
Strongly agree: 39.7 percent
Agree: 41.1 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 15.6 percent
Disagree: 2.6 percent
Strongly Disagree: 1 percent

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 18.3 percent
Agree: 41.1 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 26.5 percent
Disagree: 8.6 percent
Strongly Disagree: 5.5 percent

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 17.7 percent
Agree: 39.3 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 29.2 percent
Disagree: 8.3 percent
Strongly Disagree: 5.5 percent

PAST CISSP DEEP FOCUS FEATURES

2019

2018

2017

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CertMag Staff

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