Report: Security Certifications Boost Pay

Report: Security Certifications Boost Pay
Report: Security Certifications Boost Pay

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By Deborah Perelman
June 1, 2007

Though the pay value of the vast majority of IT certifications has been 
on the decline for more than two years, pay premiums for IT security, 
project management and database administration certifications have 
soared, finds a new report.

Compensation for certified IT security professionals increased nearly 2 
percent over the past six months, according to research released May 31 
by Foote Partners, an IT work force research firm based in New Canaan, 

Foote Partners documented a multi-year trend in IT professional pay in 
which noncertified IT skills are gaining over their certified 
counterparts. Pay for 149 leading noncertified IT skills grew 4.1 
percent in value in the last six months and 9.1 percent over the past 
year, according to the most recent report.

Pay for certified IT skills increased 1.1 percent and 2.1 percent, 
respectively, in the same period.

"We've been reporting for more than a year that pay for IT 
certifications has been on a steady decline," remarks David Foote, Foote 
Partners CEO and chief research officer.

 "But there is one category of IT certifications=E2=80=94and only one, according 
to our data=E2=80=94that is showing signs of life: IT security. The group of 27 
security certifications we survey is the only one that grew in value the 
past six months and we discovered why," he said.

Between the third quarter of 2001 and the third quarter of 2004, average 
base pay for IT professionals declined significantly, whether they had 
certified or non-certified technology skills. However, certified IT pros 
took slightly less of a hit, according to Foote's data.

After pay for both groups bottomed out in the third quarter of 2004, 
though both certified and non-certified IT professional pay came back 
fairly quickly, non-certified pay made healthier gains, putting it in 
the possible position to surpass certified pay by the end of 2007, if 
not sooner.

Several certifications, however, are holding their own. IT professionals 
with security certifications=E2=80=94including all versions of the CISSP, CISA, 
GSE, CISM, SSCP and GCFA=E2=80=94earned 10 percent to 14 percent premiums on 
their base pay over their non-certified counterparts.

Foote sees the strength of pay for certified IT security professionals 
as related to larger cultural trends and customer demands.

"Customers are becoming nervous and demanding more security in their 
vendors' products and services. This is especially true when their data 
is running across vendor networks," said Foote.

"We believe that this trend in IT security certifications pay is an 
indication that, finally, there is something other than government 
regulation that is driving business leaders to examine how critically 
short-handed their companies are when it comes to staffing the IT 
security function. Historically, market forces have been more effective 
than regulation in moving companies to correct deficiencies in their 
products and services. That, and in the case of security, sudden serious 
security breaches such as the recent theft of personal information by 
more than 45 million TJX customers," he said.

Project management certifications=E2=80=94including PMP, and the Open Group's 
ITCA=E2=80=94had a similar median pay value, and networking/internetworking 
certifications=E2=80=94including BCSM, CCIE, CCVP, CCSI, CCEA and several 
others=E2=80=94earned individuals 10 percent to 13 percent pay premiums, 
according to the report.

Other certifications holding their value included those in the areas of 
systems administration and engineering (Master ASE, CCIA and RHCA), 
application development and programming languages (IBM WebSphere and SOA 
Solution Designer, OCP and MCSD) and databases (TCM, OCM DBA, DB2 and 

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