Certification Survey Extra: Profile of certified networking professionals

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Certification Survey Extra is a series of periodic dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our most recent Certification Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Certification Survey data.

What do certified computer networking professionals have in common? Here's what our profile reveals.Three times each year when one of our certification surveys rolls around — the fourth survey of every calendar year is the annual Salary Survey —  we gather data about certified professionals who work in the same IT sector. Everyone who participates has at least one thing in common with everyone else: They’re all certified in some branch of the same technology.

So what else do the individuals who participate in these surveys have in common? In what ways are they different? In this installment of our Certification Survey Extra series, we’ll create a composite of the individuals who participated in our recent Computer Networking Certification Survey and see what that looks like.

Certified networking professionals who are already involved in computer networking may be interested to see how close their own experience is to the group profile. Those who are considering computer networking as a career may be interested to find out, at a broad brush level, what their potential future looks like.

For starters, it would appear that the computer networking realm, like many IT sectors, is made up of mostly male workers. Approximately 9.4 out of every 10 survey respondents are men. If you are a female certified networking professional, then you probably don’t often encounter other women in your professional circles.

There’s more diversity when it comes to the respective ages of those surveyed, though there is a pronounced skew toward late middle age. The largest group, 38.9 percent of respondents, is made up of individuals between the ages of 45 and 54, followed by 28.9 percent who are between the ages of 35 and 44, and 14.7 percent who are between the ages of 55 and 64. That leaves just the 11.1 percent of those surveyed who are between the ages of 25 and 34, the 1.6 percent who are between the ages f 19 and 24, the 0.5 percent who are 18 or younger, and the 4.2 percent who are between the ages of 65 and 74.

A notable 83 percent of those surveyed have an educational background that includes time spent at a college or university. Most have either a bachelor’s degree (45.2 percent of respondents) or master’s degree (20.7 percent), with the rest in that group claiming an associate’s degree (11.2 percent), doctorate (4.3 percent), or professional degree (1.1 percent). That leaves just 16 percent of those surveyed who fall into one of our other buckets (post-high school technical training, high school diploma, currently in school, and so on).

About 65 percent of those surveyed live and work in the United States, but we did hear from certified web professionals in 32 other countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, India, Iran, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.

The norm among certified networking professionals who participated in the survey is to hold multiple current computer networking certifications. A notable 80 percent of respondents have three or more certifications. That includes the following: 3 certs (17 percent of respondents), 4 certs (14.2 percent), 5 certs (10.2 percent), 6 certs (8.5 percent), and 7 certs (5.1 percent). Other notable groupings include the 5.7 percent of those surveyed who have 10 current certs, the 8.5 percent who have 16 or more, the 9.7 percent who have 1, and the 10.2 percent who have 2.

A notable 72.8 percent of those surveyed worked in the computer networking realm for 5 or fewer years before getting their first web certification: for 24.4 percent of respondents it was less than a year, an additional 13.1 percent certified after just one year in the field, and 11.4 percent certified after getting two years of professional experience. Roughly 11 percent of all respondents held a computer networking job (or jobs) for somewhere between 6 and 10 years before getting their first certification. The remaining nearly 16.5 percent of respondents did not board the computer networking certification express until after they’d been employed professionally in computer networking pursuits for more than a decade.

It would appear that there’s a lot of room to move around among certified web professionals. Almost exactly 50 percent of survey respondents have been with their current employer for fewer than 5 years. On the other hand, almost exactly one-third those surveyed have been with their current employer for more than a decade. So there’s apparently stability to be had, if that’s what you’re looking for.

Finally, there’s a nearly even split between mid-size and small employers and the rest of the spectrum. Roughly 56 percent of those surveyed work for companies that have 1,000 or fewer total employees, while the remaining 44 percent are with large employers (1,000 coworkers or more). Of particular note, 9.2 of all respondents are self-employed, while 22.5 percent work for companies with more than 10,000 employees.

Taking all of that into account, and painting with an extremely broad brush, most of the certified web professionals who participated in the survey are likely to be men, older than 35, with a college or university degree. They are most likely to be from the United States, have three or more current web design and development credentials, and probably worked in the computer networking realm for five or fewer years before getting certified. They are further most likely to work for companies with that have 200 or more employees and have probably held their current job for either fewer than 5 years or more than a decade. How well do you fit the profile?

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CertMag Staff

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Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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