Salary Survey Extra: Which certification did you earn most recently?

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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

Have you ever wondered which certifications are currently popular among your fellow IT professionals?For many certified IT professionals, certification is a lifetime pursuit. Most certifications require the credential holder to periodically recertify, so there’s a degree of built-in momentum that makes it at least a little bit hard to stop once you’ve gotten started. Certification can also be an excellent self-paced and self-guided means of adding skills to one’s IT repertoire.

One of the questions we ask each year in our Salary Survey is for each survey respondent to identify their most recently earned certification. For some people that may be the only certification they’ve ever gotten. Or it may be a credential that finished off a run of certifications several years ago. In other words, that one question by itself is not necessarily indicative that a certification is “hot.”

On the other hand, we also ask survey respondents how many new certifications they’ve earned in the past year. And roughly 57 percent of certified IT professionals who responded to our 2019 Salary Survey earned one or more new certifications. About 25 percent earned two or more. So we can make at least a partial comparison that does give some indication of current popularity.

To start out with, here’s the unfiltered list of most recently earned certifications. These are the Top 25 responses:

1) (ISC)² CISSP
2) CompTIA Security+
3) IBM Certified Specialist
4) Teradata Database Certified Associate
5) Magento 2 Certified Associate Developer
6) CompTIA A+
7) Okta Certified Administrator
8) Magento 2 Certified Professional Front End Developer
9) Pega Certified Senior System Architect (CSSA/PCSSA)
10) CompTIA Network+
11) Okta Certified Professional
12) Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Routing & Switching
13) ISACA CISM
14) Pega Certified System Architect (CSA/PCSA)
15) AXELOS ITIL Foundation
16) IBM Certified Solution Architect
17) (ISC)² CCSP
18) Okta Certified Consultant
19) CIW Site Development Associate
20) Pega Certified Decisioning Consultant (CPDC/PCDC)
21) IBM Certified Solution Developer
22) CompTIA Project+
23) Amazon Web Services Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
24) IBM Certified Administrator
25) ISACA CISA

Now let’s limit our search to only responses given by survey participants who actually earned a certification in the 12 months prior to the survey. Here’s what that list looks like:

1) Magento 2 Certified Associate Developer
2) (ISC)² CISSP
3) CompTIA Security+
4) Magento 2 Certified Professional Front End Developer
5) IBM Certified Specialist
6) Okta Certified Administrator
7) Teradata Database Certified Associate
8) Pega Certified Senior System Architect (CSSA/PCSSA)
9) Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Routing & Switching
10) CompTIA A+
11) Okta Certified Professional
12) AXELOS ITIL Foundation
13) Pega Certified System Architect (CSA/PCSA)
14) CIW Site Development Associate
15) Pega Certified Decisioning Consultant (CPDC/PCDC)
16) (ISC)² CCSP
17) IBM Certified Solution Architect
18) CompTIA Network+
19) ISACA CISM
20) CompTIA Project+
21) Okta Certified Consultant
22) IBM Certified Infrastructure System Architect
23) Magento 2 Certified Professional Cloud Developer
24) Amazon Web Services Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
25) Amazon Web Services Certified Cloud Practitioner

Some of the ordering of the list has changed a bit, but there’s a lot of common ground between the two lists. So maybe it’s fair to look at either list if you want to know which credentials are currently popular among the global community of certified IT professionals.

Perhaps there are a lot of IT folks out there who just missed the “past year” cutoff when they were taking the survey, but are still earning the same certs as most of the rest of our respondents. At any rate, if you’re looking for a certification that’s currently (or at least recently) of interest to a lot of certified IT professionals, then this is a reasonable place to start your search.

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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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