Introduction

In the cybersecurity field, certifications go a long way. Not only do they teach you the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in various career pathways, but they also net you a higher salary. Plus, when it comes time to apply for a new job or promotion, your certification will put you a cut above the competition. 

The CySA+ certification by CompTIA is ideal for mid-level professionals who have already earned their Security+ or Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) credentials. CySA+ will build on the foundational principles you learned in your core certifications and teach you additional skills related to threat detection and risk assessment. 


Common job positions for CySA+

A CySA+ certification opens doors to many different professional pathways. Here are some of the most popular jobs for CySA+ holders, according to CompTIA: 

  • IT security analyst
  • Security operations center (SOC) analyst
  • Vulnerability analyst
  • Cybersecurity specialist
  • Threat intelligence analyst
  • Security engineer
  • Cybersecurity analyst

Most of the jobs fall under the “analyst” subheading, although cybersecurity specialists and cybersecurity engineers are also represented. This is likely because the CySA+ focuses on skills like data analysis for identifying vulnerabilities, risks and threats. 

You may end up filling multiple roles throughout your career, or advancing through the ranks from a job like cybersecurity analyst to security engineer. A loose roadmap for how you’d like your career to progress can help you decide if the CySA+ is ultimately the right choice for you. 

CySA+ job market

As the cybersecurity field grows at a red-hot pace, the demand for certified professionals is also growing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports positive growth across the entire industry, but it’s helpful to zoom in on specific roles. Take a look at what they have to say about the outlook for cybersecurity analysts, which is just one of the many jobs you can pursue with a CySA+ certification: 

  • Average annual pay of $98,350 per year (that’s $47.28 per hour)
  • Over 100,000 job openings in 2016
  • Much faster than average job growth outlook. That’s an increase of 28% between 2016 and 2026, which translates into 28,500 more open roles

If there’s one big takeaway here, it’s that there are a ton of exciting opportunities for you to explore. And with the right skills and certifications, your future in cybersecurity will be a bright one. 

That being said, it’s nice to know everything you can about a certification pathway before you commit to it. Let’s do a deeper dive into all the factors that make up the big picture of the CySA+ jobs outlook. 

Best geographic locations for CySA+ jobs

Some cities have a better cybersecurity scene than others. As a result, you’ll see more job availabilities as well as higher salaries there. Take a look at some of the best cities for finding a job with the CySA+ certification and their average salaries:

  • Washington, District of Columbia: $79,030
  • Seattle, Washington: $76,423
  • New York, New York: $75,000
  • Atlanta, Georgia: $73,247
  • Houston, Texas: $72,338
  • Dallas, Texas: $67,589
  • Tampa, Florida: $64,768

It may come as no shocker that the best-paying places to use your CySA+ are big cities. Typically, large metropolitan areas have a higher concentration of tech-related jobs than small cities and rural areas. What may be surprising is the concentration in the Southeastern U.S., with Tampa, FL and Atlanta, GA both making the cut. Texas is also a hotbed of cybersecurity employment with not one but two major cities on the list. 

Best companies to work for with a CySA+

We know the job outlook looks good, but what about employers? Who hires CySA+ certification holders? 

Companies of all shapes and sizes hire people with the CySA+ certification. However, some companies have a reputation for hiring a higher-than-average number of CySA+ holders, so you may want to pay special attention to those companies when your job search begins. 

The U.S. Armed Forces and defense contractors are the top employers in this arena, although companies in retail, finance and healthcare also need cybersecurity pros. 

Here is a list of companies where CySA+ holders are in high demand, along with the median salary for each one: 

  • U.S. Air Force: $63,159
  • U.S. Army: $70,578
  • U.S. Navy: $105,367
  • Boeing: $88,206
  • Lockheed Martin: $102K – $112K
  • Northrop Grumman: $141K – $179K
  • Raytheon: $72K – $150K

CompTIA also publishes a list of employers that commonly hire CySA+ holders. As you can see, there’s more industry variety represented here: 

  • Target
  • Western Governors University 
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • U.S. Navy
  • RICOH USA
  • Japan Business Systems (JBS)
  • Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
  • Washington State Patrol
  • KirkpatrickPrice
  • Integra
  • Dell SecureWorks
  • Linux Professional Institute
  • Boulder Community Health
  • BlacKnight Cyber Security International
  • Summit Credit Union

Keep in mind that this list is by no means exhaustive. Your skills in cybersecurity are in high demand at companies in almost every industry. 

Years of experience for CySA+ professionals

The CySA+ certification is a big professional benefit, but it’s not the only thing employers look at when they’re considering hiring you. How many years of work experience you have is another major factor. 

CompTIA recommends having at least three years of related experience before you tackle the CySA+ exam. Although that’s not a hard-and-fast rule, it does give you a benchmark for where you should be in your career. 

Let’s take a look at two job titles that are popular for CySA+ holders, according to CompTIA: cybersecurity analyst and cybersecurity engineer. We chose one mid-level job and one advanced-level job so you could get an idea of what to expect at different stages of your career. 

Experience breakdown for cybersecurity analysts 

  • Entry-level (0 – 1 years): 9.6%
  • Early career (1 – 4 years): 48.3%
  • Early mid-career (5 – 9 years): 23.1%
  • Experienced (10 – 19 years): 13.7%
  • Late career (20+ years): 5.3%

Nearly half of cybersecurity analysts are in the early stages of their careers, having entered the field 1 – 4 years ago. Nearly one-quarter are in the early mid-career phase, which covers the first nine years of work experience. The number significantly drops off in later career phases, as analysts are promoted or move into more advanced-level jobs like cybersecurity engineer. Speaking of which … 

Experience breakdown for cybersecurity engineers

  • Entry-level (0-1 years): 6.6%
  • Early career (1-4 years): 33.7%
  • Early mid-career (5-9 years): 24.1%
  • Experienced (10-19 years): 28.3%
  • Late career (20+ years): 7.4%

While there’s a good percentage of cybersecurity engineers in the early phase of their careers, over half fall within the 5 – 19-year bracket. Overall, the spread is fairly even across the three middle career phases. This is good news for both newcomers to the cybersecurity field and old hands who are looking to move up the career ladder. In either case, the CySA+ will help you secure the career momentum you’re looking for. 

Based on the data available from Payscale.com and CyberSeek, there are a few other helpful conclusions we can draw from employment trends for CySA+ holders. To fall into the hiring “sweet spot,” consider the following: 

  • Minimum of a Bachelor of Science degree; Master of Science preferable for advanced-level jobs 
  • Between 3 – 19 years of related work experience 
  • Flexibility to work in a “cybersecurity hub” like Washington DC, Seattle, or New York City 
  • Openness to work for the federal government or in the private sector for a defense, retail or finance company

Wrap-up 

Cybersecurity is a rapidly growing field, and the demand for experienced professionals is only increasing. While the odds of finding a job in the field are in your favor, you can’t expect that one will fall right into your lap. Certain factors like the relevancy of your certifications will set you apart from the competition and ensure that you’re the best candidate of the bunch. 

In this article, we explored the jobs outlook for the CySA+ certification by CompTIA. Earning this mid-level certification is an excellent way to take your cybersecurity career to the next level and move into higher-paying roles. 

 

Sources

  1. CompTIA CySA+, CompTIA
  2. What Jobs Can I Get with CompTIA CySA+ Certification?, CompTIA
  3. Information Security Analysts, Bureau of Labor Statistics
  4. Average Security Analyst Salary, PayScale
  5. Average Cyber Security Analyst Salary, PayScale
  6. Average Cyber Security Engineer Salary, PayScale

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Christine
McKenzie

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Christine
McKenzie

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