Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on GIAC Certified Intrusion Analyst (GCIA)

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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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

GCIA certification can prepare you to configure and monitor intrusion detection systems, and to read, interpret, and analyze network traffic.Once upon a time cybersecurity, like most realms in IT, was mostly populated with generalists expected to be able to address whatever crisis might arise. As threats have gotten more complex, and attackers more cunning, however, the cybersecurity community has had to train and deploy waves of increasingly specialized niche operators.

Most of these specialists still have broad general knowledge of cybersecurity, but acquiring and sharpening a core skill can take you even further up the career ladder. One such area of focus is addressed by the GIAC Certified Intrusion Analyst (GCIA) credential which landed at (superstition alert!) No. 13 on our most recent Salary Survey 75 list.

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

All U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $136,090
Median Annual Salary: $121,670
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: [No responses]
Very Satisfied: 30.5 percent
Satisfied: 47.8 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 21.7 percent
Not At All Satisfied: [No responses]

All Non-U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $95,000
Median Annual Salary: $77,500
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 11.1 percent
Very Satisfied: 34.5 percent
Satisfied: 22.2 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 32.2 percent
Not At All Satisfied: [No responses]

The largest single body of GCIA holders to participate in the survey is made of U.S. residents: 71.9 percent of those surveyed. We did hear from credential holders in five other countries: Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.

Most of the GCIA holders we heard from are men (93.7 percent), with just a handful of women involved. The GCIA crowd also skews old, with the youngest credential holders surveyed (12.5 percent) between the ages of 25 and 34, while 34.3 percent are between the ages of 35 and 44, and 37.5 percent are between the ages of 45 and 54. The outliers are the 9.5 percent of GCIA holders surveyed who are between the ages of 55 and 64.

More than 70 percent of the GCIA holders we surveyed have an educational background that includes time spent at a university. The highest level of education completed by most GCIA holders is either a bachelor’s degree (34.4 percent of respondents), master’s degree (also 34.4 percent), or a doctorate (3.1 percent). The rest of our respondents are somewhat evenly split between those whose formal education ended after high school (12.5 percent of those surveyed) and those who received some level of technical training but did not attend college long enough to snag a degree (15.6 percent).

Among all GCIA holders surveyed, 97 percent have full-time jobs, while 3 percent are currently on sabbatical. No one who responded to the survey is (or was, at the time) out of work. Most have a longer-than-standard work week, putting in either between 41 and 50 hours per week (46.9 percent of respondents) or more than 50 hours (6.3 percent). The rest have either a standard 40-hour work week (34.3 percent of those surveyed) or put in between 31 and 39 hours (12.5 percent).

In terms of workplace standing, the largest single group of GCIA holders in the survey are at the senior specialist level (42.9 percent of respondents). The rest, in descending order, are either directors (14.3 percent), managers (11.4 percent), specialists (11.4 percent), rank-and-file employees (8.6 percent), senior managers (6 percent), and executives (5 percent).

A bit more than half (51.5 percent) of GCIA holders to participate in the survey are 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 (8.6 percent), between 3 and 5 years (17.1 percent), between 6 and 8 years (11.4 percent), or between 9 and 10 years (11.4 percent).

Finally, here’s the view of GCIA 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: 57.1 percent
Several times a week: 37.1 percent
Several times a month: [No responses]
Occasionally: 2.9 percent
Rarely: 2.9 percent

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills. 
Strongly agree: 28.6 percent
Agree: 45.7 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 17.1 percent
Disagree: 5.7 percent
Strongly Disagree: 2.9 percent

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 25.7 percent
Agree: 62.9 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 5.7 percent
Disagree: [No responses]
Strongly Disagree: 5.7 percent

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 34.2 percent
Agree: 57.1 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 5.7 percent
Disagree: [No responses]
Strongly Disagree: 2.9 percent

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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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