Salary Survey Extra: Is ‘get a certification’ on your to-do list?

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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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

Are you planning to get a certification in 2017?Goals and goal-setting are a big part of both professional development and personal development for many individuals. And that’s a condition that’s far from unique to the IT realm. People from many different walks of life rely on the motivation and focus that typical comes with making a plan and seeing it through.

IT certification, in many ways, is designed to be goal-oriented and goal-driven. Microsoft Learning, the certification and training arm of the global software titan, has recently begun peppering its training with badges, which are sort of like mini-certs: Complete an exam, and get a badge. And that’s just one example.

For our 2016 Salary Survey, we asked respondents a couple of questions about their certification plans for the upcoming year. You can click here, for example, to see the 50 certifications named most frequently when we asked survey participants which cert(s) they intend to chase in 2017 (be sure to scroll down the page).

We also asked survey respondents how many of them are planning to get at least one new certification this year. Perhaps not surprisingly, given that we asked a bunch of certified IT professionals this question, nearly 75 percent of all survey respondents (74.4 percent, to be exact) have “get at least one new cert” on the to-do list for 2017.

We also asked how people did in 2016. There may be something in the air this year, because 48.7 percent of all respondents did not get any new certs last year, a stark contrast to the 25.6 percent who anticipate that being the case in 2017.

A solid 43 percent of those surveyed got either one (30 percent) or two (13 percent) new certifications in 2016. Among the remaining slightly more than 8 percent of respondents, 4.7 percent got three certs in 2016, 1.5 percent got four certs, 0.6 percent got five certs, and a hard-working 1.4 percent got six or more.

Now, although we learn from the original Ghosbusters movie that you should never cross the streams, we got a little curious to know what past performance suggests about future certification activity. Here’s what we learned:

Planning to Get At Least One New Cert in 2017 (74.4 percent of all respondents)
Got no certs in 2016: 40.7 percent
Got one cert in 2016: 33.6 percent
Got two certs in 2016: 15.6 percent
Got three certs in 2016: 5.9 percent
Got four certs in 2016: 1.8 percent
Got five certs in 2016: 0.7 percent
Got six or more certs in 2016: 1.6 percent

Planning to Get No New Certs in 2017 (25.6 percent of all respondents)
Got no certs in 2016: 72.3 percent
Got one cert in 2016: 19.4 percent
Got two certs in 2016: 5.3 percent
Got three certs in 2016: 1.5 percent
Got four certs in 2016: 0.6 percent
Got five certs in 2016: 0.4 percent
Got six or more certs in 2016: 0.5 percent

So, among those planning to get no new certs in 2017, that decision represents a continuation of the status quo for most. And most of those planning on no new certs for 2017 who did certify last year only got a single cert.

On the other side of the coin, among those who are planning to certify in 2017, a notable 40 percent had the year off from certification in 2016, while most of the rest (49 percent) got either one (33.6 percent) or two (15.6 percent) new credentials.

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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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