This feature originally appeared in the Winter 2014 edition of Certification Magazine.
What do you see when you look in the mirror? We don’t know which of the IT professionals and students who responded to our 2013 Salary Survey have red hair, or brown skin, or green eyes. We can’t say how many respondents are at least 6 feet tall, or which ones throw a baseball with their right hand, and which ones use their left. There’s no way to guess which of you spend seven or eight hours doing yard work in the bright sun on weekends, or how many respondents wear dark glasses because they like how they look, and how many are actually wearing corrective lenses.
We’re not in the dark about everything, however, and we can pin down a few details about the IT professional of 2013. For starters, it would seem that most of you are men — which matches reporting from other sources. At the end of October, software engineer Tracy Chou of Pinterest conducted a search for her female peers at 84 different technology companies. Women are out there, just not in large numbers. Chou found that at Mozilla just 43 of 500 software engineers (8.6 percent) are women. Wireless technology provider Qualcomm employs 271 software engineers, but only 15 (5.5 percent) are women.
It’s no surprise then, that 92 percent of those who responded to the salary survey are men. Tracking the age of respondents, on the other hand, reveals far greater diversity. The largest group is in the 30 to 34 age bracket, which accounted for 21 percent of all respondents, and the next biggest groups are clustered nearby. Fifteen percent of respondents are in the age 25 to 29 bracket, while 14.5 percent are age 35 to 39, and 14.1 percent are age 40-44. The oldest are age 60 to 64 (2.9 percent), while the youngest are age 19-24 (7.6 percent).
Some respondents got their first certification as far back as the early 1990s, while most clustered around two more recent periods. About 30 percent got certified for the first time between 1998 and 2002, while exactly 50 percent are relative newcomers, having started out in certification since 2007. Many earned their first certification within a single year of joining the IT workforce (20 percent) and most were early adopters: 61 percent of those surveyed earned their first certification after working in the industry 5 or fewer years.
The experience of some others, however, proves that you can, in fact, teach an old dog new tricks: About 10 percent of respondents only picked up their first cert only after working in the industry at least 15 years. And speaking of learning, the most common educational background among those surveyed is a Bachelor’s (37 percent) or Master’s degree (28 percent), though there is apparently a bit of room in the industry for high school graduates (5.5 percent). (Technical training and associate degrees cover about 22 percent of respondents.)
There’s a notable core of IT professionals in our results who seem very happy with their current employer: Nearly 15 percent of those surveyed have stayed under the same corporate roof for more than 10 years. There are, on the other hand, definitely some nomadic tendencies in evidence. A shade more than 47 percent of respondents have worked for their current employer three or fewer years, and roughly 50 percent of you are hoping to change jobs in 2014.
By far the largest portion of those surveyed work between 40 and 50 hours each week (58 percent), while most of the rest are either in some sort of near full-time arrangement working 30 to 40 hours per week (19 percent), or staying late at the office working more than 50 hours per week (15 percent). Which is not to suggest that everyone has either a cubicle or a door that closes when they need to concentrate: 36 percent of respondents either work from home or telecommute at least 10 hours a week, including an enviable 8 percent who are full-time homebodies.
Finally, as mentioned earlier, responses came in from around the globe. In a reversal of prior Certification Magazine salary surveys, however, the United States dwarfed participation from all other countries, accounting for nearly 60 percent of those surveyed, followed by a strong contingent (10 percent) from India. That must be what happens when you take almost five years off between salary surveys without sending anyone a postcard.
The rest of our report is broken down into the following sections:
INTRODUCTION What’s going on here?
DOLLARS & CENTS What are IT pros making?
WORKPLACE Where do IT pros go to work?
CERTIFICATION How do IT pros get certified?