Security professionals are, on the whole, satisfied with their jobs, according to recent research. As noted by CBR Online, 83 percent of survey respondents said they were satisfied with their current positions and just 9 percent said otherwise. Those in higher-level positions reported greater job satisfaction and bigger salaries but said they feel their jobs are less secure.
Salary Remains a Sticking Point Despite Higher Job Satisfaction
The new data revealed that North American cybersecurity professionals earn the most among their global counterparts. Salaries are at least 50 percent higher in the U.S. than in Europe and 100 percent higher than in Latin America. According to CISO Magazine, salaries for C-suite technology executives, such as chief information officers (CIOs), chief technology officers (CTOs) and chief information security officers (CISOs), are headed north of $250,000, in part to offset losses due to the growing cybersecurity skills gap.
Still, Exabeam’s “2018 Cyber Security Professionals Salary and Job Report” found that salary remained the top sticking point for 40 percent of security professionals who reported that they’re not satisfied with their current earnings. Employees with only high school education reported the lowest salary, followed by those with bachelor’s degrees and then professionals with more advanced education.
By the numbers, system and security administrators make the least ($50,000 to $75,000), along with security operations center (SOC) and security analysts. Information security officers and security engineers, meanwhile, start at $75,000, while security consultants and chief inspectors make as much as $175,000.
Qualifications matter in cybersecurity. The Exabeam survey found that 33.9 percent of security professionals hold the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) designation, while 23.7 and 22.7 percent hold the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) and CompTIA certifications, respectively. In addition, 71 percent of all security professionals have at least a bachelor’s degree.
Security Professionals Weigh In on AI
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning could help close this gap. According to the survey, 75 percent of IT employees said new technologies will make their jobs easier and 32 percent said that are already using these tools. Still, 10 percent said they feel “threatened” by AI and machine learning.
Tim Helming of cybersecurity hiring firm DomainTools noted that this technology can only take companies so far, however. “Talented, passionate and diligent cybersecurity staff are still absolutely paramount in order to carry out additional work on the more advanced threats,” he said, as quoted in the CBR piece.
Meanwhile, CSO reported that recruiting security professionals who hold degrees exclusively won’t be enough to keep up with emerging cybersecurity threats. Bridging the gap between IT needs and available personnel means widening the net and considering candidates that lack formal qualifications but possess the right skills to tackle security challenges.