Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on TestOut Security Pro

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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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

The Security Pro credential from TestOut is a great way to get a broad foundational grasp of cybersecurity knowledge and skills.Like workers in many other fields, some IT professionals are under threat of losing their jobs to automation and artificial intelligence. One sector of IT where there is a persistent clamor for more skilled human workers, however, is the information security realm. If you have sound cybersecurity knowledge and job skills, then there are many employers eager to hire you.

Certification is a great way for tech workers to acquire or reinforce cybersecurity knowledge and skills. The Security Pro credential from TestOut (No. 71 on our most recent Salary Survey 75 list) is one of multiple options available to individuals looking to get started down a path to cybersecurity employment.

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

All U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $63,990
Median Annual Salary: $61,250
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 3.8 percent
Very Satisfied: 23.1 percent
Satisfied: 38.5 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 26.9 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 7.7 percent

Though there are non-U.S. credential holders, TestOut certifications are most widely deployed in the United States, so the Security Pro survey data discussed here doesn’t take other countries into account.

The security profession as a whole is male-dominated, but a surprising 27.3 percent of Security Pro holders who participated in the survey are women. That’s a welcome indicator in a field that needs to both diversify and get younger — which brings up another intriguing facet of Security Pro certification: More than 65 percent of those surveyed are 44 or younger, either between the ages of 19 and 24 (11.5 percent), between the ages of 25 and 34 (23.1 percent), or between the ages of 35 and 44 (30.8 percent). That leaves just 34 percent of Security Pro holders on the downslope of their career trajectory, either between the ages of 45 and 54 (26.9 percent) or between the ages of 55 and 64 (7.7 percent).

Every Security Pro holder who responded to the survey has an educational background that either directly includes time spent at a college or university, or is still open to that possibility. The highest level of education completed by most Security Pro holders is either a bachelor’s degree (50 percent of those surveyed), associate’s degree (23.1 percent), or master’s degree (19.2 percent). The remaining 7.7 percent of respondents are all currently in school, with a college or university degree at least potentially in their future.

More than than 80 percent of Security Pro holders who participated in the survey are in the workforce, either on a full-time (78.8 percent) or part-time (3 percent) basis. The rest are either full-time students (6.1 percent of respondents) or currently out of work (12.1 percent). Among those who have full-time jobs, most have either a standard 40-hours-per-week schedule (53.9 percent of respondents), or put in between 41 and 50 hours per week (34.6 percent). The outliers are the 11 percent of respondents who are on the job for either more than 50 hours per week (4.2 percent of respondents), between 31 and 39 hours per week (3.8 percent), or between 20 and 30 hours per week.

If you work in IT, then there’s at least a chance that you spend some or all of your work week at home. It’s not a very good chance for Security Pro holders: 69.3 percent of those surveyed work from home fewer than 10 hours per week. The rest have the option of wearing pajamas to work for either between 10 and 20 hours per week (12 percent of respondents), between 21 and 30 hours per week (4.2 percent), between 31 and 39 hours per week (7.3 percent), 40 hours per week (3.8 percent), or more than 40 hours per week (3.4 percent).

In terms of workplace standing, the largest single group of Security Pro holders we heard from are employed at the rank-and-file employee level (39.4 percent of those surveyed). The rest, in descending order, are either specialists (33.3 percent), managers (21.2 percent), or senior specialists (6.1 percent).

Most of the Security Pro holders who responded to the survey — 42.3 percent of them — are information security newcomers, having worked in a role that directly utilizes one or more of their certified skills for between zero years (1 to 11 months) and 2 years. The rest have been plying their certified skills for either between 3 and 5 years (27.3 percent), between 6 and 8 years (15.2 percent), or more than 10 years (also 15.2 percent).

Finally, here’s the view of Security Pro 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: 42.4 percent
Several times a week: 6.1 percent
Several times a month: 12.1 percent
Occasionally: 27.3 percent
Rarely: 12.1 percent

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills. 
Strongly agree: 18.3 percent
Agree: 48.5 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 27.2 percent
Disagree: 3 percent
Strongly Disagree: 3 percent

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 12 percent
Agree: 57.6 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 18.2 percent
Disagree: 6.2 percent
Strongly Disagree: 6 percent

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 9.1 percent
Agree: 42.4 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 39.4 percent
Disagree: 3 percent
Strongly Disagree: 6.1 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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