Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on MCSE: Core Infrastructure

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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

The clock is ticking down to deactivation on Microsoft's MCSE: Core Infrastructure credential.Earlier this week the Microsoft certification team cemented its all-in commitment to role-based certification, flushing away the final remains of the previous long-running regime. As of June 30, there will no longer be any exams available for any MCSA, MCSD, or MCSE certifications. And in two years from June 30, all MCSA, MCSD, and MCSE certification will be officially deactivated.

So this week’s Deep Focus features a certification that has a ticking clock attached: two years plus a couple of months. Until then, the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Core Infrastructure credential (No. 31 on our most recent Salary Survey 75 list) verifies your expertise at deploying and managing key hardware and software essential to modern IT operations.

Here’s what the salary picture looks like for MCSE: Core Infrastructure holders who responded to the Salary Survey:

All U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $117,500
Median Annual Salary: $116,250
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 5.1 percent
Very Satisfied: 28.2 percent
Satisfied: 30.8 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 35.9 percent
Not At All Satisfied: [No responses]

All Non-U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $65,850
Median Annual Salary: $50,000
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: [No responses]
Very Satisfied: 15 percent
Satisfied: 25 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 55 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 5 percent

The largest single body of MCSE: Core Infrastructure holders to participate in the survey is made up of U.S. residents (66.1 percent), but we also heard from credential holders in 16 other countries: Albania, Australia, Belarus, Canada, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Lebanon, Maldives, the Netherlands, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom.

All but a small fraction of the MCSE: Core Infrastructure holders who responded to the survey are men — just 3.3 percent of those surveyed are women. In terms of age, those same certified professionals are relatively old and getting older: More than 90 percent of those surveyed are either between the ages of 35 and 44 (37.3 percent), between the ages of 45 and 54 (also 37.3 percent), or between the ages of 55 and 64 (16.9 percent). The outliers are the 6.8 percent of those surveyed who are between the ages of 25 and 34, and the 1.7 percent who are between the ages of 65 and 74.

Roughly 80 percent of MCSE: Core Infrastructure holders who responded to the survey have an educational background that includes time spent at a college or university. The highest level of education completed by most MCSE: Core Infrastructure holders is either a bachelor’s degree (45.8 percent of those surveyed), master’s degree (25.4 percent), associate’s degree (3.4 percent), professional degree (also 3.4 percent), or doctorate (1.6 percent). Most of the remaining credential holders exited the realm of formal education after completing some level of post-high school technical training (15.3 percent of respondents), along with a handful who checked out after getting a high school diploma (5.1 percent).

A rock-solid 98.3 percent of MCSE: Core Infrastructure holders who responded to the survey are employed full-time, with the remaining 1.7 percent currently out of work. For most survey respondents, full-time employment means either putting in between 41 and 50 hours per week (55.9 percent of those surveyed), or sticking to a standard 40-hour work week (27.1 percent). The outliers are the 13.6 percent of those surveyed who work more than 50 hours per week, and the 3.4 percent who are on the clock for between 31 and 39 hours per week.

Roughly 74 percent of MCSE: Core Infrastructure holders are spending most of those hours in a traditional workplace, putting in either 10 or fewer hours per week from home (53.4 percent) or between 10 and 20 hours per week from home (20.7 percent). There are certainly some survey respondents, however, whose “office” is more virtual than real: those working from home either between 21 and 30 hours per week (3.5 percent of those surveyed), between 31 and 39 hours per week (8.6 percent), 40 hours per week (10.3 percent), or more than 40 hours per week (3.5 percent).

In terms of workplace standing, the largest single group of MCSE: Core Infrastructure holders we heard from are employed at the senior specialist level (42.2 percent of those surveyed). The rest, in descending order, are either managers (15.5 percent of respondents), directors (14.1 percent), senior managers (11.3 percent), rank-and-file employees (8.5 percent), executives (4.2 percent), or specialists (also 4.2 percent).

An eye-opening 77.5 percent of MCSE: Core Infrastructure holders who responded to the survey are IT veterans, having worked in a role that directly utilizes one or more of their certified skills for more than a decade. The rest have been plying their certified skills for either between zero years (1 to 11 months) and 2 years (4.2 percent of respondents), between 3 and 5 years (11.3 percent), between 6 and 8 years (5.6 percent), or between 9 and 10 years  (1.4 percent).

Finally, here’s the view of MCSE: Core Infrastructure 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: 31 percent
Several times a week: 39.4 percent
Several times a month: 25.4 percent
Occasionally: 4.2 percent
Rarely: [No responses]

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills. 
Strongly agree: 26.8 percent
Agree: 39.4 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 23.9 percent
Disagree: 7.1 percent
Strongly Disagree: 2.8 percent

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 22.5 percent
Agree: 35.2 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 29.6 percent
Disagree: 9.9 percent
Strongly Disagree: 2.8 percent

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 15.5 percent
Agree: 46.7 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 22.2 percent
Disagree: 8.9 percent
Strongly Disagree: 6.7 percent

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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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