(ISC)² CCSP

Job Outlook for CCSP Cert Holders [updated 2021]

October 5, 2021 by Ravi Das (writer/revisions editor)

In today’s world, gone are the days when businesses and corporations stored everything IT-related on site thanks to the use of cloud infrastructure. This highly accessible and flexible option allows a company to have servers, databases, backups and assets and client information off-premises. This solution gives several advantages including scalability of resources and the ability to leverage 24/7 support by the cloud provider’s team.

But just as advantageous and convenient as it is to use the cloud, it too is prone to many cyberattacks and threats. Thus, highly-trained IT professionals are needed to help safeguard and protect the assets that reside in a cloud-based Infrastructure — such as those that possess the coveted “Certified Cloud Security Professional” certification or “CCSP” for short.

Some details about the CCSP certification

Before delving into the actual job prospects, it is important to briefly review the scope of the CCSP certification, as it is currently being offered by (ISC)²:

  • Introduced in 2015
  • As of July 1, 2021, as many as 9,734 professionals have acquired this certification. Of these, 5,114 are in the U.S.
  • The average CCSP salary is over $114,000 in North America
  • The CCSP has been named as one of the top eight certifications to have (salary-wise) and the #1 that IT professionals plan to achieve next in their career, according to the Certification Magazine 2021 Salary Survey
  • There is a total of 125 multiple-choice questions on the exam
  • You have three hours to complete the test
  • You need to have a minimum score of at least 700/1,000 (70%) to pass the exam
  • In terms of requirements to take the exam, you must either be CISSP certified or have five years of work experience, with at least three years of information security, one year in cloud security (i.e., one of the six domains of the CCSP CBK) or a CCSK (Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge)
  • It costs $599 to take the CCSP exam

The exam covers the following topics with the assigned weights, as detailed in the CCSP common body of knowledge (CBK).

Domains Exam Percentage
1. Cloud concepts, architecture, and design 17%
2. Cloud data security 19%
3. Cloud platform and infrastructure security 17%
4. Cloud application security 17%
5. Cloud security operations 17%
6. Legal, risk and compliance 13%
Total 100%

The overall job outlook

The good news is that overall, the prospects for landing a security-related cloud position are very strong and only expected to grow exponentially into the future. The main catalyst for this, of course, is the adoption rate of the cloud, both by individuals and corporate America. Just consider these statistics:

  • According to Gartner, Inc., worldwide public cloud spending is forecast to reach $332.3 billion in 2021, with an increase of 23.1% from $270 billion in 2020. “Emerging technologies such as containerization, virtualization and edge computing are becoming more mainstream and driving additional cloud spending. Simply put, the pandemic served as a multiplier for CIOs’ interest in the cloud.”
  • Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) will see the highest growth in 2021, 38.5% and 67.7%, respectively, especially in response to a growing need to support a hybrid workforce. However, Cloud Application Services (SaaS) will still demand most of the spending with its forecasted $122.6 billion in 2021 and $145.377 billion in 2022.
  • According to data from Indeed, from March 2018 to March 2021, the share of cloud computing jobs per million increased by 42 percent; the searches per million for cloud computing jobs grew by almost 50 percent.

Given that the cloud infrastructure is such a gargantuan platform, there are two key ways in which you can gain employment in this area:

Work directly for a cloud computing company

Some of the main companies that are hiring in this area include the following:

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Google Cloud
  • Microsoft Azure

Google Cloud, for example, has increased its workforce from 25,000 to 37,000 since the arrival of the new CEO, Thomas Kurian, in early 2019.

According to Business Insider, AWS cloud application architects could earn between $140,000 and $150,000, Microsoft cloud solution architects between $89,149 and $183,116 and Google Cloud sales engineers and program managers have salaries ranging from $134,000 to $174,000. 

Work for a company that is not a cloud provider but uses the cloud in its daily business

The number of businesses and corporations that could fit into this category is countless. For instance, this broad category can range from banks to IT companies to even the federal government. You could work directly as a cloud security professional with one of these companies or even have another role in which there is a security interface, such as:

  • Cloud computing analyst
  • Cloud administrator
  • Cloud architect
  • Cloud engineer

But keep in mind that to land one of these positions, you should have skills in the following as well:

  • Python
  • Java
  • Ruby on Rails
  • Solid experience in either Windows or Linux
  • Database programming languages like SQL

Who can benefit from the CCSP?

The CCSP is ideal for IT and information security leaders responsible for applying best practices to cloud security architecture and design (Domain 1), data security (Domain 2), platform and infrastructure security (Domain 3), application security (Domain 4), security operations (Domain 5), legal, risk and compliance (Domain 6). See the CCSP: Certification Exam Outline

For example, professionals in the following positions should consider adding the credential to their portfolio:

  • Enterprise architect
  • Security administrator
  • Systems engineer
  • Security architect
  • Security consultant
  • Security engineer
  • Security specialist
  • Systems architect

Here are the duties associated with some of these figures:

Cloud security specialist

These IT professionals apply their experience by implementing reliable, scalable, secure data-driven process automation for managing the access life cycle of cloud services; they perform key management and implement cloud application architecture and technical design.

Cloud security engineer

A cloud security engineer plays an integral role in protecting an organization’s data, analyzing existing cloud structures, and creating new and enhanced security methods.

Cloud architect

These professionals are indispensable when an organization decides on cloud adoption to devise the proper implementation strategy. They develop the architecture of the cloud and assess the needs, evaluate possible providers, identify talents needed to manage the system once implemented, and oversee the governance and the security implications.

CCSP job titles and salaries

Per the (ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce Study, the average CCSP salary in North America is USD 114,172. For the Certification Magazine 2021 Salary Survey, instead, the average is up to USD 150,400.

According to Salary.com, the average salaries of job titles that are often associated with the CCSP certifications are below:

    Job Title Salary
Cloud architect $133,758
Cloud administrator $70,420
Cloud engineer $124,775
Cloud software engineer $113,739

Figures for positions in the United States as of July 2021.

According to Indeed, the average salaries of job titles that are often associated with the CCSP certifications are below:

    Job Title Salary
Cloud consultant $120,323
Data engineer $125,318
Software architect $134,584
Platform engineer $127,682

Figures for positions in the United States as of August 2021.

CCSP geographic cities and salaries

Below are the highest paying cities in the United States for cloud security professionals:

  • New York, N.Y. – $133,578
  • Seattle, Wash. – $133,373
  • San Jose, Calif. – $132,934
  • Reston, Va. – $129,015
  • Houston, Texas – $119,670
  • Chicago, Ill. – $118,266
  • Dallas, Texas – $115,958
  • Austin, Texas – $110,535

As you can see, CCSP average salaries vary widely by location.

According to Emsi a cloud data engineer can earn from a minimum of $76,500 in Illinois to a maximum of $221,520 in Massachusetts with a salary of $160,000-$170,000 in California.

Indeed, has reported salaries for a Cloud Consultant from $107,230 in Denver, Colo. to $134,035 in Plano, Texas.

CCSP experience and salaries

As of August 2021, over 310,000 cloud-related jobs were on the Indeed platform just in the United States.

As more openings go unfilled, there is also a great opportunity for experienced individuals to become qualified to fill open cloud positions. The CCSP certification, which can make you more attractive to potential employers, is an ideal option for advancing your expertise in all things cloud security.

The five-year CCSP requirement shows that the exam targets mid-level rather than entry-level security professionals with experience in maintaining cloud-based information system environments most securely and efficiently.

In general, experience plays a prominent role in salary. According to the (ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce Study, 2020, in fact, for “Millennial professionals early in their careers, the average salary is $67,000. Employees with greater work experience enjoy higher salaries, with Gen X respondents reporting an average salary of $95,000, and those in the Baby Boomer generation reporting $112,000.”

The job outlook for CCSP certification holders

With the rise in cloud computing to reduce the costs and speed the delivery of IT resources comes the urgent and ever-present need for more certified professionals with practical information security experience to build or evaluate cloud-based solutions. Just like finding the right cloud provider and service model (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, and more), you also need the right team of consultants and specialists certified in the specific technology. Those with the CCSP certification, a vendor-neutral credential offered by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC)², are highly sought out for their knowledge and experience.  

Is the CCSP right for you and worth pursuing? Well, (ISC)² certifications are accredited, recognized and endorsed by leading organizations and industry bodies worldwide. It also relates to one of the hottest career paths today, with positions available in cloud provider giants and the technical teams of many other companies in various other sectors: from the government to food (companies like Starbucks, for example) to healthcare.   

If you possess cloud computing skills, or if you want to pursue a future career in the field, then you may want to consider earning this credential. 

 

Sources

Posted: October 5, 2021
Author
Ravi Das (writer/revisions editor)
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Ravi is a Business Development Specialist for BiometricNews.Net, Inc., a technical communications and content marketing firm based out of Chicago, IL. The business was started in 2009, and has clients all over the world. Ravi’s primary area of expertise is Biometrics. In this regard, he has written and published two books through CRC Press. He is also a regular columnist for the Journal of Documents and Identity, a leading security publication based out of Amsterdam. You can visit the company’s website at www.biometricnews.net (or http://biometricnews.blog/); and contact Ravi at ravi.das@biometricnews.net.

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