CCSK Salary: A look at what CCSK holders are earning
Question: how much do professionals with the CCSK credential earn?
Do you know just how much CCSK holders earn on average? The answer may surprise you. Here’s a quote from Certification Magazine (April 2017) regarding the average and median salary for professionals with the Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK) credential in 2016:
“Among U.S. CCSK holders, the average annual salary in 2016 was an eye-opening $149,760,
with a median annual salary of $138,340.”
$138,340? $138,340?! How is that possible? To understand this, you need to consider who the average CCSK holder is, the general content this credential covers, along with the audience it was designed for.
Who is the average CCSK holder?
Before I begin, if you are not familiar with what the CCSK is I would recommend reading another article I wrote, “CCSK vs CCSP (Pt.1)“, which sheds some light on this cloud security certification. Anywho – as a CCSK trainer I can give you some generalities that have struck me over the years of our average attendee. I would peg the average age of a CCSK student in their mid 40’s. Average position I would say is a manager or director in an enterprise-sized firm. General IT experience is usually coming in between 15 and 20 years. Most attend the training because they want to maintain their career and they know the industry as a whole is moving to cloud. They understand that certification makes them more valuable. Another trait? They’re driven professionals. I have seen students take a late flight out so they can write their exam from their hotel room on the last day of the course.
What does the CCSK cover?
CCSK training isn’t about tools, and I think that’s why the average salary is so high. See, to me at least, tools in themselves aren’t security – they’re tools, a means to an end if you will. Simply focusing on the tools leaves you with a singular viewpoint of security, and as any of my students will attest to, security is much more than a firewall or an IPS. It’s about the Big Picture. CCSK delivers exactly that: The Big Picture.
Where the average technical cyber security training session will no doubt be lead by a particular vendor on their particular tools, the CCSK goes much more into the critical areas of security management such as Governance, Risk Assessment, Procurement, Existing Certifications for providers and other Big Picture items. Although there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the technical side of cyber security, these are the issues the business needs answers to. A point solution doesn’t deliver security. A strong security program that is continuously evolving delivers security. The CCSK training focuses on developing a strong security program for cloud services.
What audience is the CCSK intended for?
If you are manager or director level in a company that is using cloud services, you need this training. If you are a technically minded person looking to climb the corporate ladder, you absolutely need to attend this course. The value you get from networking with those who you wish to emulate alone is well worth the cost. You will understand what drives successful professionals and what keeps them up at night – all during the course. On the other hand, if you have 1 year of experience in IT, please don’t think getting your CCSK will automatically make you worth $150,000 a year. Becoming certified in anything makes you more valuable; it doesn’t make you worth 6 figures overnight.
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Cloud Security Trainer and Architect
Graham’s the cloud security SME and principal trainer for Intrinsec. He’s logged over 20 years of IT experience assessing, recommending, designing and implementing secure system and network solutions for Fortune 500 companies and Government agencies. Since 2010, Graham’s been a leader in delivering cloud training and performing cloud security solutions across North America.