Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on CompTIA Project+

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Master the principles of project management with CompTIA's Project+ certification.Salary Survey Extra is a series of dispatches that give added insight into the findings of both our annual Salary Survey and our smaller Salary Survey PLUS polls. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

Project management is a key factor in just about any business equation these days. Especially in the IT world, where creating a product or delivering a service often involves the efforts of numerous individuals across various teams and divisions, a savvy and gifted project manager will find his or her skills almost constantly in demand.

IT industry association CompTIA, a key source for training and education in many IT disciplines, connects numerous IT professionals to project management via its Project+ credential. Project+ may not have the runaway popularity of A+, Network+, and Security+, but it’s still widely used and trusted, and landed at No. 60 on our most recent Salary Survey 75 list.

Like most of CompTIA’s credentials, Project+ has global reach, though most of the Project+ holders who responded to the survey — 81 percent of them — are from the United States. We did, however, hear from individuals in six other countries: Australia, Canada, Germany, Jamaica, New Zealand, and Trinidad and Tobago. Among U.S. Project+ holders, the average annual salary in 2016 was a solid $106,370, with a median annual salary of $107,000. Outside the United States, the average annual salary was $97,000, with a median annual figure of $87,500.

Though we don’t doubt that there are many capable women who hold Project+ certification, most of those we heard from (92.7 percent of respondents) are men. Most are also on the leading edge of Generation X, pushing deep into their 30s and 40s, with 36.4 percent of those surveyed between the ages of 35 and 44, and 34.5 percent between the ages of 45 and 54. There’s a very modest youth movement, with 7.3 percent of those surveyed falling between the ages of 25 and 34, while 18.2 percent are between the ages of 55 and 64, and the rest (3.6 percent) are between the ages of 65 and 74 and probably hoping to retire any day now.

The highest level of formal education attained by most Project+ holders is either a bachelor’s degree (40 percent of those surveyed) or master’s degree (34.5 percent), though there are a handful of doctorates (3.6 percent) and professional degrees (3.5 percent). You can also rise to Project+ certification from the educational summits of a high school diploma (5.6 percent of those surveyed), technical training with no college degree (5.5 percent), or an associate’s (2-year) degree (7.3 percent).

Full-time employment among Project+ holders is strong, with 92.7 percent of those surveyed holding full-time jobs, though we did hear from a small contingent of part-timers (1.8 percent), as well as handful who are currently out of work (5.5 percent). Among regular full-time workers, most either have a standard 40-hour schedule (46.2 percent of those surveyed) or are putting in some extra effort working between 41 and 50 hours per week (38.5 percent). There are some hardcore strivers putting in more than 50 hours per week (9.6 percent of those surveyed), as well a fortunate few tasked with putting in between 31 and 39 hours (3.8 percent) or between 20 and 30 hours (1.9 percent).

Project+ holders are strongly represented in management roles, with 20 percent of those surveyed serving as senior managers, while an additional 27 percent are either directors (12.7 percent) or managers (14.5 percent). There are also quite a few at the senior specialist level (38.2 percent of those surveyed), as well as a smattering of specialists (9.1 percent) and rank-and-file employees (5.5 percent).

As indicated by the average age of Project+ holders in the survey, most are IT veterans, including 69.1 percent who have worked in a role that directly utilizes one or more of their certified skills for longer than a decade, and 23 percent who have been in the project management game for either between 9 and 10 years (12.7 percent) or between 6 and 8 years (10.9 percent). The outliers are those who have been doing project management for between 3 and 5 years (5.5 percent of those surveyed) or between zero years (1 to 11 months) and 2 years (1.8 percent).

Finally, here’s the view of Project+ holders on key questions from the survey about how certification impacts job performance:

At my current job I use skills learned or enhanced through certification: 
Several times a day: 61.8 percent
Several times a week: 20 percent
Several times a month: 5.7 percent
Occasionally: 8.9 percent
Rarely: 3.6 percent

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills. 
Strongly agree: 41.8 percent
Agree: 36.3 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 16.4 percent
Disagree: 3.1 percent
Strongly Disagree: 2.4 percent

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 29.1 percent
Agree: 43.6 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 20 percent
Disagree: 7.3 percent
Strongly Disagree: [No responses]

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 18.1 percent
Agree: 47.3 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 25.5 percent
Disagree: 9.1 percent
Strongly Disagree: [No responses]

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