Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on CCNP 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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

Cisco's CCNP Security credential is a great gateway for aspiring network security specialists.In 2017, the phrase “secure computer network” is practically an oxymoron. As numerous recent breaches have shown, no computer network is entirely safe, and many of them likely aren’t even mostly safe. Enter the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Security credential, No. 24 on our most recent Salary Survey 75 list. A CCNP Security-certified network tech can shore up your porous network defenses.

Cisco’s certification program, like the distribution of its highly popular networking hardware, is worldwide. More than half (55 percent) of the CCNP Security-certified individuals who responded to our survey are from the United States, but we also picked up respondents from eight other countries: Argentina, Canada, Croatia, France, Hungary, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. U.S. credential holders grabbed an average annual salary of $127,000 in 2016, with a median annual salary of $115,000. Among non-U.S. respondents, the average annual salary is $76,400, with a median annual figure of $55,000.

Women are generally scarce in the IT realm, and particularly underrepresented when it comes to security, but CCNP Security is a bit of an outlier in that regard: A notable 13.6 percent of CCNP Security holders in the survey are women. Most of those surveyed, whether women or men, are relatively young. A hefty 54.5 percent of respondents are between the aged of 35 and 44, with an additional 18.9 percent between the ages of 25 and 34. Of the remaining 25 percent of CCNP Security holders in the survey, most (17.7 percent of respondents) are between the ages of 45 and 54, with the rest (8.9 percent) eyeballing retirement between the ages of 55 and 64.

For most CCNP Security holders, the highest level of education attained is either a bachelor’s degree (40.9 percent of those surveyed), master’s degree (31.8 percent), or professional degree (9.1 percent). Among the remaining 18 percent, most have completed some level of technical training (13.6 percent of respondents), and the rest have associate’s (2-year) degrees (4.6 percent).

When it comes to regular employment, CCNP Security is one of those rare standouts: 100 percent of credential holders surveyed are employed full-time. Most are pretty busy, too. A solid 36.4 percent of CCNP Security holders in the survey have a standard 40-hour work week, while 23.2 percent work between  41 and 50 hours per week, and 22.2 percent work more than 50 hours per week. The fortunate few, 18.2 percent of those surveyed, work between 31 and 39 hours per week.

Most CCNP Security holders are squarely in the middle of the workplace organizational pyramid, ranking either as senior specialists (63.6 percent of those surveyed) or specialists (10 percent). The rest are either managers (10.9 percent of those surveyed), or looking down from the top of the pyramid as either executives (7.3 percent) or directors (8.2 percent).

As is the case with most advanced credentials, the CCNP Security holders in the survey tend to be tech veterans: a whopping 68.3 percent of them have worked in a role that directly utilizes one or more of their certified skills for more than a decade. Among the rest, 4.5 percent have been so engaged for between 9 and 10 years, 13.8 percent for between 6 and 8 years, and 13.4 percent for between 3 and 5 years.

Finally, here’s the view of CCNP 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: 64.1 percent
Several times a week: 31.3 percent
Several times a month: [No responses]
Occasionally: 4.6 percent
Rarely: [No responses]

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills. 
Strongly agree: 40.9 percent
Agree: 45.9 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 9.1 percent
Disagree: 4.1 percent
Strongly Disagree: [No responses]

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 41.8 percent
Agree: 50 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 8.2 percent
Disagree: [No responses]
Strongly Disagree: [No responses]

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 22.7 percent
Agree: 59.1 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 18.2 percent
Disagree: [No responses]
Strongly Disagree: [No responses]

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CertMag Staff

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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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