Certification Survey Extra: Staying put vs. travelin’ on

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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 These posts contain previously unpublished Certification Survey data.

When it comes to staying put or seeking greener pastures, most certified networking professionals lean toward the former.In the words of famed American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan to one of his many muses, “When your rooster crows at the break of dawn / Look out your window and I’ll be gone / You’re the reason, I’m travelin’ on / Don’t think twice, it’s all right.” As much as we all admire the rambling aesthetic, however, and yearn, at times, to roll on down the open road, staying put is often second nature.

This is frequently the case when it comes to regular full-time employment, and probably even more so in the IT industry than elsewhere. A good job can ensure security and stability, and IT employers often design benefits packages and bonuses to encourage employees to put down roots. It’s also often the case that staying put yields career rewards in the form of promotions and raises.

On the other hand, it’s not for nothing that Bob Dylan (and many others) have gotten rich singing and writing about the urge to roam free, and IT skills are among the most portable skills in the modern workplace. There are almost always opportunities elsewhere, and you can often find jobs in whatever corner of the globe it suits your fancy to look for them.

So as part of our recently conducted Computer Networking Certification Survey, we asked certified computer networking professionals to tell whether staying put is where it’s at, or whether the impulse to wander and explore (so to speak) is too strong to be denied.

To start with, we asked whether survey respondents are, generally speaking, content to remain in their chosen profession. Does working in computer networking today translate, more or less, into staying put in the computer networking realm, at least in the near-term future? The answer, apparently, is yes.

A notable 79.5 percent of those surveyed said that they either likely (28.5 percent) or very likely (51 percent) to remain a computer networking professional in the next three to five years. And out of the remaining 20.5 percent of respondents, 11.9 percent said they are at least somewhat likely to stick with computer networking, while just 8.6 percent feel only dubiously connected to networking.

Then again, one never can say for certain what the future, even the mostly foreseeable future, may hold. Computer networking skills and knowledge provide a good springboard from which to enter any number of different IT specializations. And there’s always the possibility of exiting IT altogether, to follow other interests. Here’s what we learned:

Q: How likely are you to look for work in a different IT field in the next 3 to 5 years?
Not likely — 33.1 percent
Somewhat likely — 21.2 percent
Likely —  21.9 percent
Very likely — 23.8 percent

Q: How likely are you to look for work in a different non-IT field in the next 3 to 5 years?
Not likely — 69.5 percent
Somewhat likely — 14.6 percent
Likely —  7.9 percent
Very likely — 7.9 percent

Essentially, only a few certified computer networking professionals would consider looking outside of IT for work in the near future. On the other hand, more than 65 percent of respondents say it’s at least somewhat likely that they’d consider hopping to a different field while staying beneath the IT umbrella.

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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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