Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on Red Hat Certified System Administrator

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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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

If you are setting out to conquer the Red Hat certification program, then Red Hat Certified System Administrator is the first step in the journey.Red Hat is quite possibly the largest tech corporations in the world to focus entirely on open source technology, with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) forming the cornerstone of its open source empire. Similarly, Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA), No. 31 on our most recent Salary Survey 75 list, is the foundation of the Red Hat certification program.

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

All U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $126,730
Median Annual Salary: $127,500
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 15.4 percent
Very Satisfied: 30.8 percent
Satisfied: 53.8 percent
Not Very Satisfied: [No responses]
Not At All Satisfied: [No responses]

All Non-U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $44,460
Median Annual Salary: $32,500
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 7.5 percent
Very Satisfied: 12.5 percent
Satisfied: 27.5 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 40 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 12.5 percent

The largest single body of RHCSA holders to participate in the Salary Survey is made up U.S. residents, though not nearly as many as is the norm — an unusually low 25 percent of respondents. The rest flowed in from credential holders in 28 different countries: Argentina, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Italy, Nepal, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.

As is the norm, there are considerably more men than women among our survey respondents: 90.6 percent are men. In terms of age, there’s a strong youth movement here, with more than 88 percent of RHCSA holders surveyed either between the ages of 19 and 24 (9.5 percent), between the ages of 25 and 34 (41.5 percent), or between the ages of 35 and 44 (37.7 percent). The rest, a comparative handful, are either between the ages of 45 and 54 (7.5 percent of respondents) or between the ages of 55 and 64 (3.8 percent).

When it comes to formal education, the highest level of education completed by most RHCSA holders is either bachelor’s degree (45.3 percent of respondents) or master’s degree (26.4 percent), with a bare few having followed different college paths to an associate’s degree (1.9 percent) or professional degree (1.9 percent). Those in the non-university crowd either topped out at a high school diploma (7.5 percent) or went one step further and completed some level of technical traning (17 percent).

We didn’t hear from any RHCSA holders who are out of school and unemployed: 94.6 percent of respondents are employed full-time, 3.6 percent are presently full-time students, and 1.8 percent are recently retired. Among those with full-time jobs, most are either at work between 41 and 50 hours per week (41.5 percent of respondents) or have a standard 40-hour schedule (35.8 percent), with the outliers either on the clock for between 31 and 39 hours per week (15.2 percent) or more than 50 hours (7.5 percent).

In terms of workplace standing, the largest single group of RHCSA holders are at the senior specialist level (37.7 percent). The rest, in descending order, are either specialists (29 percent), rank-and-file employees (18.8 percent), managers (7.2 percent), directors (3 percent), or executives (4.3 percent).

Red Hat is an established presence in the certification world, but there are many more relative newcomers out there than is the norm in our surveying. More than 45 percent of RHCSA-certified respondents have worked in a role that directly utilizes one or more of their certified skills for either between zero years (1 to 11 months) and 2 years (21.7 percent of respondents) or between 3 and 5 years (24.6 percent). The rest have been plying their certified skills for either between 6 and 8 years (18.9 percent), between 9 and 10 years (8.7 percent), or for more than a decade (26.1 percent).

Finally, here’s the view of RHCSA 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: 52.2 percent
Several times a week: 29 percent
Several times a month: 4.3 percent
Occasionally: 11.6 percent
Rarely: 2.9 percent

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills. 
Strongly agree: 21.7 percent percent
Agree: 48 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 15.9 percent
Disagree: 10.1 percent
Strongly Disagree: 4.3 percent

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 30.4 percent
Agree: 49.3 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 11.7 percent
Disagree: 4.3 percent
Strongly Disagree: 4.3 percent

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 23.2 percent
Agree: 53.6 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 18.8 percent
Disagree: 4.4 percent
Strongly Disagree: [No responses]

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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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