How much can I expect to earn with a Security+ certification?

How much can I expect to earn with a Security+ certification?

Henry Dalziel | CompTIA, Information Security Careers, Security+ | June 14, 2013

This is the original content of the post here – hence why there are comments. This will be re-populated with the original once we’ve updated the other post!

Hope that makes sense!

  • Deek Stevenson

    Not even remotely close. A Security+ cert getting you $80k? WHERE?

    I work with GCIH, Sec+, and N+ certed people that bring in barely $70-72k.

    These facts posted regarding the salaries are not correct.

    • Thanks for your comment.

      What would you imagine the correct approximation to be – especially for someone just starting their career in the InfoSec space?

    • iT

      My husband was making $60,000 with a Sec. + Cert alone…no degree. He makes over $90,000 now being that he has a total of four certs now…still no degree.

    • Nick Ortega

      Really? Because I have Sec + and N+, my yearly salary working on Wall St. here in New York City is 76k per year. Not only is experience key but even more important is how you market yourself to potential employers, $76,000 is not what i was offered by a long shot, i showed my employer that i was worth much more till he offered me the maximum he was allowed to offer me

  • Dave Wilder

    Hi Henry,

    What market is this from?
    I have an A+ and a Network+ but have not seen those salary levels in my area unless those that have those salaries are being paid those rates for other reasons.

    • The quoted salaries are high but there are certainly open to debate. We based our figures on the US market – but like any other profession – experience is key. There is a shortage of qualified and experienced IT Security professionals so key is being able to demonstrate ability.

  • Vikraal

    Man, when will we indians get these salaries? I am a fresher, with CEH and 6 months infosec experience and i just earn $6000 (yeah it’s not $60,000) annually, and that’s above average for a fresher here. 🙁

  • JBG

    I would love to find these jobs. I have a BS in IT along with an A+ and Net+. At my previous job I would have made $64k in 2013 but that option is no longer available. I am now working in copiers for about 55% that because I couldn’t find another IT job offering even close to my previous salary. I am looking to start on a Sec+ very soon though.

  • Scott

    I reckon the way they did this study was by averaging the salary of IT professionals that had this certification… but not necessarily ONLY this certification. So really, these guys could have had majorly difficult and elite certs as well as a Net+ cert, and their high salaries would have been factored in as well.

  • Nick

    Experience is king. Security+ alone will not get you those pay marks. Employers expect a properly credentialed Security+ applicant to have at least 2 – 5 years of experience with Security tools and skills already. I would recommend getting Sec+ and either MCITP – Server Admin or CCNA in addition. That should get you closer to those wages, however they are much harder certs than Sec+.

  • mike

    Its more or less a dod / gs type salary. Since a lot of security stuff is usually dealing with federal or banks. You have to leave your parents basements and go out and leave your home towns to get jobs that pay well.

    • Joe

      I work for the DOD and I get 55K with my security + so those salaries are not from the DOD.

      • Mike

        Lol, well that also includes a Bachelors in Information Systems Security with a focus in enterprise security also, an A.S. in Network technology, an A.A. in Intel. studies, NET +CE, and A +CE.

    • Young Guy

      necessary true if you live in the city or a large metro area. If you’re in the middle of nowhere or a small city that doesn’t really have a lot of tech related jobs, yes. I had to do this because the tech jobs in my area were basically impossible to get with just a compTIA A+ 802 so I left that area and got paid entry level 17$ (Which is like $19 back where I’m from because it’s more expensive to live where I’m from) and then went back to my city with security + and some college classes no BA but experience and got paid $30 in less than 3 years.

  • vato

    These numbers are ludicrous. You won’t make this money with only these certificates. You won’t get a job as a Server Admin or Security Pro, until you spend some time in the trenches doing Tier 1 work.

    • SvaAgg

      The DOD categorizes Network+ as a tier one min req. cert. Security+ is a tier 2 min req cert, and you need something really intensive like a CISSP cert to get a tier 3 job with any DOD affiliated agency or private contractor that being said they expect that you have done tier one and tier two work before getting close to a tier 3 job – You have to work your way up and a B.S. Degree is always a plus. anyways pay starts at 50-60k for net+, 65-75 for sec+ and 90-110k for a CISSP (You’d probably have a some sort of STEM or Business tech degree if you went this far). Keep in mind security clearances are a big deal breaker as well. cheers.

      • Thank you very much for your useful and helpful comment – a lot of our students looking to start a career and find their first job in information security will find your comments beneficial.

  • Mike

    These figures actually may be correct with the proper security clearance. However, if it is jsut a civilian job with little experience than no; these are not correct. I have A+CE, NET+CE, and A BS in ISS with a focus in Enterprise Security with an AS in computer technology with another AA in intelligence studies. I alone with the clerance would be looking at 125k with 8 years experience. Hope this helps.

    • Hi Mike, thanks very much for your comment. It really helps our community to have comments like this especially for those trying to break into cybersecurity and find their first jobs.

  • Doug R

    I am coming to the end of my military career and I have had a lot of friends and co-workers advise me to look at IT/Cyber security. I have been looking at Certification classes at local collages just to get my foot in the door then work toward a degree. Would this be a good idea at my age, any info would be grateful.

    • Mike

      Depends on the route you want to take. If you want to do network security then yes, a degree and a few certs such as CEH, SEC+, and maybe CCNP-Security you should be fine starting out at about 90k. If you have a good clearence then 120k is not out of the question.

  • Anonymous

    I have Security + and no degree and my pay is 72k.

  • Anonymous

    An A+ cert bringing more than 40K is a complete and utter joke. That cert high lights your first 6 months of IT experience, and is generally viewed a cert with very little respect in the IT community.

  • Jeremy

    I know this is a bit late but I wanted to input some information that might help people. This page is a top result for Google search queries such as “Comptia Security Plus Jobs”.

    Having any certification does not guarantee that you will get paid more for doing the same job. Having a certification may give you the edge in landing a job against an equally qualified candidate that is lacking a certification. You should know that the ability to land a job lies almost entirely in the interview – your ability to sell yourself as a competent IT professional. A certification will only assist you in two things – getting your resume past a screener, and to serve as a talking point during your interview. If you aren’t properly selling the certification during the interview, you have wasted your precious time and money obtaining it.

    All of that being said, the stated figures for how much people make with certifications are grossly misleading. They do not factor in length of time with the certification, length of time in the field, other qualifications the individual may possess and a number of other variables.

    For a person just starting out in IT, or looking to move to a new field or land a new position or promotion within their company, these figures are not baseline figures. Most people start off in IT as a computer repair technician, help desk technician or junior network technician. Making a transition to a position that requires experience in areas outside of your realm of duties, such as security, server administration or database administration is difficult. I was and am in that rock and a hard place situation. I had an A+ cert, which landed me my current position as a field services technician making $43k. I recently obtained my Net+ and Security+ certs through my degree program. I can tell you, those certs are not going to make or break me in an interview. What WILL make the difference is me highlighting them and using them and skills I have obtained through work to rise to the next challenge. How you talk yourself through your interview is what determines the value of your certifications. Some people think they can obtain mass certs and never have to worry about finding work. I can tell you, that money would be better spent in speech classes and dozens of hours practicing interviewing in front of a mirror.

    Now let’s talk money. These are REASONABLE, ENTRY LEVEL wages you can expect to earn, assuming you have 4+ years experience in any realm of IT:

    A+ – $35-40k
    Net+ – $40-55k
    Security+ – $50-60k

    Project+ – Don’t bother, seriously, Spend money on ITIL, Six sigma or CAPM (the entry level version of PMP, the defacto PM cert). Nobody wants vendor neutral project management for beginners certs.

    Most of the rest, also don’t bother with. Go with vendor specific certifications. Linux+? It does earn you two other certs, SUSE CLA and LPIC-1 (google Linux+ 3 in 1), but people would rather see Red Hat, Oracle or some other advanced type of Linux/Unix certification.

    In closing: $67k for an A+? WUT? Whoa let me go apply to every mom and pop PC repair shop for a $33/hr tech job!!!! I must have been doing it wrong all this time, because at the corporate level, A+ earns you $40k and you’re gonna be capped around that amount for about a decade. I have heard tell of hobos making up to $30k panhandling. Maybe IT people can make up to $67k with a “Will repair PC for food” signs. Because you’re going to need that sign if you are relying on an A+ cert alone…

  • jt

    I think a lot of these comments could benefit from some location information. I live in an area that is apparently well below national averages in compensation. I’m told that my 60k, for a T3 network admin position is really high.

    I have an AAS, a BS, and am working on a M. Engr. In info sec. I have some vendor specific certs at the moment, and the new management in IT at my company clearly thinks I’m over paid. According to labor statistics though, before my BS i figured I should have been worth about 70k. Now closer to 85k. Turns out though, you’re only worth what the companies in your area will pay you, which in Des Moines IA apparently isn’t much, because I have not been compelled to leave yet by any better offers.

    • Jeremy

      Your worth is (or should be) determined by your seniority, the types of certifications and qualifications you have, your # years experience, your # years with your certifications, the area you are located, the size of the company and the role that you fulfill in your company.

      What does a T3, which I am assuming means a Level 3 Network Support Technician do at your company? Do you provision switches and routers, write the ACLs, configure load balancing, proxy servers, content filters, VPN concentrators, intrusion detection appliances, etc.? Do you handle the telephony and VOIP as well? Do you configure the servers? Does your role overlap with server engineering or provisioning as far as configuring group policy, OUs and user objects? Do you diagram the physical or logical topology of your network? Did you architect any of the current topology? If you are saying yes to 3 of those questions, you are getting underpaid. If you are saying yes to 2 of those questions, you are being fairly compensated. If you are saying no to all but one of those questions, perhaps you are being overpaid.. It is impossible to know without a complete list of your daily responsibilities.

      I included my email this time if people had questions.

      • Thank you VERY much for this post Jeremy. I’ve emailed you privately to say thanks. If anyone has any questions please ask them here and I’ll forward them to Jeremy.

        • D

          Jeremy, I’m just getting started and have a high interest in security. Im going to take a Security+ course at a local community college then get my certificate. I have a bachelor’s in psychology. What are my job outlooks looking like when I get the certificate? How can I obtain more experience, what would be the next steps as someone stepping foot in this career?

          Thanks in advanced.

      • Brett

        Good point Jeremy – I think a lot of the people on this thread are forgetting that it comes down to what you actually DO on a day-to-day basis, and how WELL you do it. Sure, go out and spend the money and get the certs. But when it comes down to it, how do you come across in an interview? Do you bumble around, or are you able to confidently talk through a solution to a proposed problem. Job descriptions vary from company to company, so a help desk 1 at one company may have a completely different set of responsibilities than a help desk 1 down the street. The certs will help you land a job (especially if other candidates don’t have those certs), but your ability to sell yourself in an interview and negotiate salary is what will matter. I’m a network admin with MCSA: Enterprise desktop administrator, but currently I’m finishing up a B.S. in cybersecurity and studying for CISSP. Certifications should be pursued based on what you want to do with it, and how highly they are regarded in the industry you’re trying to get into.

  • MK

    fresh out of high school and looking to pursue the IT security certification, once im done what is the outlook for me, salary wise, job wise, you know. Help would be greatly appreciated thanks.

  • IT

    @MK you won’t be able to land a security job just getting out of high school, it will even be difficult to get your foot in the door as a help desk tech because the market is so flooded.

    • I agree – most people that get a job in cyber only do so having migrated into it – in any event, it’s 100% possible – but as ever, specializing is the best idea – find a niche and excel at it. If you want the tech side of things then pentesting might be a good place to start but for the business CISO side of it you’d be prudent to understand where the needs and business lies. You’ll make a ton more as senior management then a ‘Pentester’ or ‘Ethical Hacker’ as people like to refer to the profession these days.

  • Ash

    Hello all,
    Read all the interesting posts here and they were indeed very informative. I wanted some feedback if it isn’t much to ask. I have done my Bachelors in IT (B.Sc.IT), then done a Computer Security PG Certification and finally Cisco CCNA, CCNP and CCNA Sec till date. Currently a Fresher (no work Exp) and looking for Jobs aswell. During one of my interviews, I was recommended to look into CISSP, which I did and found that was too early for me at this point. During my search on CISSP, I came across Security+ from CompTIA and wanted to know if I can still do it even after my base being from Cisco background of network studies ? My usual study course that I had planned would have been to do CCNP Sec and then try for CCIE Sec under Cisco. And working as a Security Professional here in India, what kind of salary package I could expect abroad (in $) after a few years of Experience.
    I am interested in making a career in Security and don’t like Business related stuff.

  • Clifford

    The numbers can come from the cost of living in the area.

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