How Much Can I Make with a CompTIA PenTest+ Certification?

IT cybersecurity offers countless paths to fulfilling jobs and rewarding pay – you determine the direction and, ultimately, how much money you can earn with CompTIA PenTest+. Not everyone has the same reason for getting certified. In general, you can apply your CompTIA PenTest+ certification in the following ways:

  • Attract the attention of employers with an endorsement of your skills that is respected globally and industry-wide.
  • Position yourself as a top candidate for intermediate-level cybersecurity positions.
  • Confirm to yourself that you've mastered the latest skills and concepts that act as the foundation of a career in penetration testing.

In all scenarios, CompTIA PenTest+ can serve as a springboard for cybersecurity careers, ensuring pen testing professionals are better prepared to solve a wide variety of issues when securing and defending networks in today's complicated business computing landscape.

Jobs That Require or Benefit from a CompTIA PenTest+ Certification

Aspiring to an intermediate-level point for your cybersecurity career, as well as your aspirations and how much work you’re willing to put into growing your career, have great impact on how much you can make in any job. Security is no exception. Here are a few common job titles that use CompTIA PenTest+:

  • Penetration tester
  • Vulnerability tester
  • Security analyst (II)
  • Vulnerability assessment analyst
  • Network security operations
  • Application security vulnerability

The job roles covered by CompTIA PenTest+ are categorized under Information Security Analysts by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of jobs in this category is expected to grow by more than 28 percent by 2026. The median pay in 2017 was $95,510.

The Reality of Mean Salary Percentiles

When researching salaries and aiming your career at specific job titles, remember that you may see a range of salaries for one particular job because some companies and geographies will pay more than others. Companies that pay more may also demand more, in terms of experience or responsibilities. The result is a range of possible salaries for any particular job title and the reality of mean salary percentiles.

Let’s look at the systems administrator position as an example. While the above median salary gives you a sense of where the majority of salaries fall, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also gives percentiles that show the highest and lowest salaries for that job title:

  • Systems administrator 90th percentile: $153,090
  • Systems administrator 75th percentile: $123,180
  • Systems administrator 50th percentile: $95,510
  • Systems administrator 25th percentile: $72,130

Five Ways to Boost Your Pay

The pay you can expect from a particular IT job can vary significantly from the median pay depending on a number of factors that may benefit your role for a certain position. Here are five ways that can help increase your pay:

  1. Prior Experience: Reducing training time and having expertise that goes beyond your job description may increase your value to an employer. Similarly, prior related job experience provides trust and builds expectations on the side of an employer that can benefit the numbers on your paycheck.
  2. Additional Training and Certifications: If CompTIA PenTest+ isn’t your first certification and if you can showcase additional completed training, you may expand the reach of your certifications and qualify for jobs that you otherwise would not, and subsequently become candidate for a higher-paying position. Review CompTIA’s stackable certifications to find out how you can build your IT career path with CompTIA certifications. CompTIA AITP also offers access to training for IT professionals.
  3. Commitment: Becoming certified is your first step to your career. Staying certified is even more important and can show employers that you’re committed to your job and that you’re in-sync with a rapidly evolving industry.
  4. Regional Differences: The pay for a job in one location may be vastly different than what is offered in another. For example, a security analyst working in New York City, on average, will make about 29 percent, or $38,750 more than a security analyst in Dallas.
  5. Industry Variations: Keep in mind that some industries may have, in their details, different expectations for certain job titles than others and offer different pay as a result.

The Personal Factor

Don’t underestimate your personal impact on the pay that you can expect from your job. In addition to the pay boosters discussed above, there are a few more key things that can give you the best shot at landing that first job and making a case for the pay you’re looking for:

  • Networking: Connecting with IT professionals and building your professional network is incredibly important to starting and advancing your career. Be active on social networks such as LinkedIn, engage in newsgroups and forums, and get involved in local IT groups, such as CompTIA AITP. CompTIA AITP not only offers training and job tools, but also access to local chapters that enable you to be in touch with what’s going on in your community.
  • Be Up to Date: Make sure that you’re proficient in new technologies. Spend time on IT websites, subscribe to newsletters or even contribute to blogs.
  • Soft Skills: Your communication skills can greatly influence your ability to land a job. Having an overall positive attitude, managing your time effectively, solving problems, showing self-confidence, coping with pressure and having a strong work ethic all prove that you’re an employee worth investing in.

Ready for a Career in Penetration Testing?

CompTIA now offers a number of exam training options for CompTIA PenTest+ to fit your particular learning style and schedule, many of which may be used in combination with each other as you prepare for your exam.

There’s a wealth of information to take you from deciding if CompTIA PenTest+ is right for you, all the way to taking your exam. We’re with you every step of the way!