Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on TestOut Security Pro
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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.
Just about every job in the modern information technology (IT) sector on some level involves securing and protecting digital assets and/or computer and network technology. So even if you don’t end up working directly in cybersecurity, there’s solid career value in have a strong knowledge of information security practices, processes, and principles.
The Security Pro credential (No. 74 on our most recent Salary Survey 75 list) offered by IT training and education provider TestOut verifies basic cybersecurity knowledge and skills and provides a great foundation for any aspiring IT professional. Start here and you can take your IT career in any number of different directions.
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 popular in the United States. Hence, the Security Pro survey data discussed here doesn’t take other countries into account.
Men far outnumber women in the security profession as a whole and that holds true here as well — just 5.9 percent Security Pro holders who participated in the survey are women. TestOut courseware is particularly popular in colleges and high school, which perhaps accounts for the fact that Security Pro credential holders tend to be younger than the security industry norm. More than 70 percent of those surveyed are 44 or younger, either between the ages of 19 and 24 (17.6 percent), between the ages of 25 and 34 (23.8 percent), or between the ages of 35 and 44 (29.4 percent). That leaves just 29 percent of Security Pro holders on the downslope of their career trajectory, either between the ages of 45 and 54 (23.2 percent) or between the ages of 55 and 64 (6 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 (41.2 percent of those surveyed), associate’s degree (35.4 percent), or master’s degree (11.8 percent). The remaining 11.6 percent of respondents are all currently in school, with a college or university degree at least potentially in their future.
A notable 100 percent of Security Pro holders who participated in the survey are in the workforce, either on a full-time (82.4 percent) or part-time (17.6 percent) basis. Among those who have full-time jobs, most have either a standard 40-hours-per-week schedule (50 percent of respondents), or put in between 41 and 50 hours per week (21.4 percent). That leaves roughly 29 percent of respondents who are on the job for either more than 50 hours per week (7.9 percent of respondents), between 31 and 39 hours per week (14.3 percent), or between 20 and 30 hours per week (6.4 percent).
The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic reshaped the workplace for many IT professionals in 2020, but doesn’t appear to have had much effect on Security Pro holders: 64.3 percent of those surveyed work from home fewer than 10 hours per week, and 13.6 percent are only at home for between 10 and 20 hours. On the other hand, the remaining 22 percent of respondents are spending their entire work schedule at home, with the option of conducting official business in sweatpants for either 40 hours per week (15 percent) or more than 40 hours per week (7.1 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 (41.2 percent of those surveyed). The rest, in descending order, are either specialists (35.3 percent), managers (18.2 percent), or senior managers (5.3 percent).
Most of the Security Pro holders who responded to the survey — 47 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 (29.4 percent), or more than 10 years (also 23.6 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: 29.7 percent
Several times a week: 40.1 percent
Several times a month: 6.1 percent
Occasionally: 12 percent
Rarely: 11.5 percent
Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills.
Strongly Agree: 29.4 percent
Agree: 42.3 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 22.3 percent
Disagree: 6 percent
Strongly Disagree: [No responses]
Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly Agree: 35.9 percent
Agree: 46.5 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 17.6 percent
Disagree: [No responses]
Strongly Disagree: [No responses]
Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly Agree: 29.7 percent
Agree: 40.9 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 17.9 percent
Disagree: 5.9 percent
Strongly Disagree: 5.6 percent
PAST TESTOUT SECURITY PRO DEEP FOCUS FEATURES