Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on Security+

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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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

There are more than 500,000 Security+ holders worldwide. Should you become one of them?There are now more than 500,000 individuals out there who have earned the Security+ certification managed by tech industry association CompTIA. For perspective, if we assume an average height of 5 feet, 9 inches, and if we could lay out all of Security+ holders in the world head to toe in a line, they would stretch about 550 miles, which is roughly the distance between Malad City, Idaho, and Glacier National Park.

Hmm. That didn’t quite paint the masterpiece-level picture that we’d initially envisioned. The point is that there are a lot of certified professionals out there with a Security+ (No. 54 on our most recent Salary Survey 75 list) in their back pocket. If you have an professional inclination toward information security, then Security+ is a great place to start building a career.

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

All U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $98,840
Median Annual Salary: $95,730
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 8 percent
Very Satisfied: 26 percent
Satisfied: 36.4 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 23.9 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 5.7 percent

All Non-U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $72,850
Median Annual Salary: $71,250
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 5.3 percent
Very Satisfied: 17.1 percent
Satisfied: 43.4 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 25 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 9.2 percent

The largest single body of Security+ holders to participate in the survey is made up of U.S. residents (83.7 percent), but we also heard from credential holders in 24 others countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.

Most of the Security+ holders who participated in the survey are men (88.8 percent), though we did hear from a small core group of women who are Security+-certified. The range of ages among Security+ holders is a fairly standard curve, with a gentler slope heading toward retirement: 1.1 percent of survey respondents are between the ages of 19 and 24, 20.6 percent are between the ages of 25 and 34, 35.8 percent are between the ages of 35 and 44, 26.2 percent are between the ages of 45 and 54, and 14.1 percent are between the ages of 55 and 64. There are also a smattering of certified professional keeping IT going into retirement, with 2 percent of respondents between the ages of 65 and 74, and even 0.2 percent age 75 or older.

Roughly 84 percent of the Security+ 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 Security+ holders is either a bachelor’s degree (39.9 percent), master’s degree (31.2 percent), associate’s degree (11.3 percent), doctorate (1.3 percent), or professional degree (1.1 percent). The outliers mostly either exited the realm of formal education after finishing high school (3.3 percent of those surveyed) or completed some level of post-high school technical training (8 percent), though we did turn up a core group who are still in school (3.5 percent) and a tiny handful (0.4 percent) who had no formal education before entering the workforce.

A solid 95.2 percent of Security+ holders are employed full-time, with 2.3 percent employed part-time, 1.7 percent out of work, and tiny slivers of the employment pie held by those who are either students (0.4 percent) or on sabbatical (0.4 percent). Among those with full-time jobs, most have either a standard 40-hour schedule (44.5 percent) or work between 41 and 50 hours per week (41.9 percent). The rest either put in more than 50 hours per week (8 percent) or work between 31 and 39 hours per week (5.6 percent).

In terms of workplace standing, the largest single group of Security+ holders we heard from (40.9 percent of respondents) are at the senior specialist level. The rest, in descending order, are either managers (18.8 percent of those surveyed), specialists (16.3 percent), rank-and-file employees (9.8 percent), directors (7.3 percent), senior managers (5.6 percent), and executives (1.3 percent).

A bit less than half (47.9 percent) of the Security+ holders who participated in the survey are tech 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 (11.5 percent of respondents), between 3 and 5 years (18.2 percent), between 6 and 8 years (13.6 percent), or between 9 and 10 years (8.8 percent).

Finally, here’s the view of Security+ 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: 53.9 percent
Several times a week: 24.6 percent
Several times a month: 7.3 percent
Occasionally: 10.6 percent
Rarely: 3.6 percent

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills. 
Strongly agree: 40.5 percent
Agree: 35.5 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 19.2 percent
Disagree: 3.1 percent
Strongly Disagree: 1.7 percent

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 29 percent
Agree: 42.4 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 20.3 percent
Disagree: 6 percent
Strongly Disagree: 2.3 percent

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 26.9 percent
Agree: 40.1 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 24.2 percent
Disagree: 6 percent
Strongly Disagree: 2.8 percent




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CertMag Staff


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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