Average CSSLP Salary in 2021

Daniel Brecht
October 20, 2021 by
Daniel Brecht

The Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP) is a credential offered by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)² designed to show a high level of competence in security issues in the entire software development lifecycle (SDLC). It is a global, vendor-neutral certification designed for software developers, engineers or architects who can ensure security is embedded in every stage of the SDLC, from planning and design to implementation and maintenance, on to testing and deployment. Successful candidates can benefit from one of the most recognized certifications in the industry that meets the stringent requirements of ANSI/ISO/IEC Standard 17024 and that of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 8570.1.

(ISC)²’s CSSLP is also ideal for software program managers, application security specialists and quality assurance testers. Even C-level executives such as CTOs and CISOs can benefit from this certification, as they are responsible for security practices (authentication, authorization and auditing). However, those best served by getting the CSSLP are people with less experience to expand their software security knowledge or who are applying for government-related positions.

Earning the CSSLP requires a minimum of four years of experience (or three years, if you have a degree in a related field) in one or more of the eight domains of the CSSLP Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) — see the Exam Outline. Those who don’t have the required experience to be a CSSLP can become an Associate of (ISC)² by successfully passing the CSSLP examination.

What is the average CSSLP salary?

CSSLP holders have varied salaries, depending on factors like job title, location, gender and experience. In the U.S., according to PayScale, CSSLP holders earn $108,000 yearly.

The Certification Magazine gathered the the average CSSLP salary, found below:

Region Salary

Globally $116,000

North America $165,000

These numbers make CSSLP salary the highest of 75 certifications considered for the survey. This qualification was also within the first 30 considered by survey responders as the certification to gain within the following year; not bad considering the specific focus of the credential.

Furthermore, according to research by Foote Partners, the CSSLP certification is one of the top 10 IT credentials that increased in value during 2020, with holders earning 13% more.

What is the average CSSLP salary by city?

A principal software engineer, for example, working in San Francisco, Calif., will earn an average of 23.9% more than the national average. They will find higher than average salaries also in Seattle, Wash., (12.8% more) with the lowest salaries found in Minneapolis, Minn., (13.1% less) and Austin, Texas, (2.1% less).

City Salary

Chantilly, VA $171,000

New York, NY $156,000

Minneapolis, MN $122,000

San Francisco, CA $174,000

Seattle, WA $158,000

Austin, TX $137,000

What is the average CSSLP salary by experience?

According to the latest figures by PayScale: an entry-level principal software engineer with less than one year of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $109,960 based on five salaries; whereas, with one to four years of experience earns an average of $119,989 based on 80 salaries; while with five to nine years of experience earns an average of $130,775 based on 559 salaries. Employees with greater experience, or longer service, with 10-19 years of experience earn an average of $141,245 based on 2,109 salaries; those in their late career (20 years and higher) earn an average of $146,291.


Years’ Experience Salary

1-4 years $120,000

5-9 years $131,000

10-19 years $141,000

20 years or more $146,000

What is the average CSSLP salary by job role?

Salaries for CSSLP holders vary widely by job role. A senior software engineer average salary is $84,000 - $154,000; software engineer average salary is $61,000 - $125,000; and a software developer average is $50,000 - $104,000. 

Job Title Salary

Senior Software Developer / Programmer $94,000

Software Architect $125,000

Software Developer $93,000

Software Quality Assurance (SQA) Analyst $80,000

Principal Software Engineer $102,000

Software Engineering Manager $135,000

Senior Software Engineer $120,000

Note that the employment of software developers, quality assurance analysts and testers is projected to grow 22 percent from 2019 to 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

What are the benefits of becoming CSSLP certified?

The value of CSSLP certification, according to (ISC)²:

  • Instant credibility. This credential is proof that you are a subject matter expert in application security.
  • Relevant, new knowledge. Preparing for the test, you have a chance to fill gaps in your software security knowledge and be exposed to all a professional in the field should master in terms of preparation and skills. In addition, to keep certified, you will need to keep updated through continuing education, ensuring your skills remain current and relevant.
  • Versatile skills. Being vendor-neutral and not product-specific, this credential allows you to apply your knowledge to different technologies and methodologies and access more jobs in various sectors.

Companies often lack skilled professionals who have expertise in app development security, so becoming CSSLP certified with software developer related skillsets (with a much faster than the average growth rate of other professions) will ensure good pay and opportunities for the foreseeable future.

How can I become CSSLP certified?

There is no better time than now to take the exam to help fill a shortage gap of software-focused professionals who are well-versed in IT security best practices and SDLC fundamentals.

Earning your CSSLP certification will set you apart from other job candidates. This premium credential commands a high-paying salary, which varies according to industry, years of experience, the level within an organization, an individual’s performance and the employer hiring.

Those studying for the examination can consider the CSSLP Study Group on the (ISC)² Community, as well as many other resources offered by (ISC)², including the CSSLP Webcast Series, and the “Official (ISC)² Guide to the CSSLP CBK,” Second Edition covering the eight domains.

In addition to the Official (ISC)² Study Materials, there’s a variety of live and on-demand courses available from third-party training providers. This option makes it easy for professionals to find learning opportunities that fit their needs, location and schedule.



Daniel Brecht
Daniel Brecht

Daniel Brecht has been writing for the Web since 2007. His interests include computers, mobile devices and cyber security standards. He has enjoyed writing on a variety of topics ranging from cloud computing to application development, web development and e-commerce. Brecht has several years of experience as an Information Technician in the military and as an education counselor. He holds a graduate Certificate in Information Assurance and a Master of Science in Information Technology.