Salary Survey Extra: Paying the cost of your networking certification

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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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

Paying for certification can be a problem.Certification costs money. Generally speaking, that is. There are ways to save, of course, beginning with the abundance of free training and study materials that are available online, available in public libraries, and sometimes even available free from product vendors. Many people, particularly those who specialize in a product line like those of Cisco or Oracle, learn on the job by installing, configuring, using, replacing, or upgrading the products they’re certified on.

Even if you never spend a nickel on study and training, however, there’s generally a fee (sometimes a substantial fee) associated with taking the certification exam itself. And given that many people don’t pass their test on the first attempt, the cost of retakes has to be factored in as well. Some certification exams can only be taken at a testing center, which occasionally involves travel costs. And even beta exams typically have a fee, albeit greatly discounted.

For most people, one way or another, there’s going to be money involved at some point. It doesn’t necessarily have to be your money that changes hands, however, even if you’re the certification candidate. There’s a proud tradition in our salary surveys of people passing the buck to someone or something else, and our recently concluded Networking Salary Survey showed once again that cost doesn’t have to be an obstacle to certification.

We asked survey respondent how they handled the cost of their most recent certification, and here’s what we found:

Method of paymentPercentage of those surveyed who use this methodMethod of paymentPercentage of those surveyed who use this method
I paid for everything50.7 percentOther1.4 percent
My employer paid for everything31.2 percentFederal government grant or program0.8 percent
My employer and I shared the cost8.8 percentScholarship0.8 percent
Friend or relative paid for eveyrthing2.2 percentNo cost to me or anyone else0.5 percent
Vendor-issued voucher1.6 percentState or municipal assistance program0.3 percent
Some combination of these factors1.6 percentIncluded in conference or convention fee0.1 percent

Original question: Who or what paid for your most recent Networking certification?

 GO-ING, GO-ING …  Show of hands, who still has the Pokémon GO app installed on their phone? Surely you remember Pokémon GO. Just a few months ago, Pokémon GO was bigger than Wikileaks. One of two scenarios seems likely: Either Nintendo got in, got its billions, and got the (heck) out, and people have mostly gone back to plopping in the La-Z-Boy and being angry on Twitter. Or else the media couldn’t be bothered to keep up its breathless Pokémon GO coverage, because — squirrel!

At any rate, since it seemed at the time as though we were quite possibly only days away from Pikachu mounting a credible third-party challenge and storming to electoral glory, well, we attempted to gauge the ubiquity of Pokémon GO among certified networking professionals. More specifically, we wanted to know just how far down the rabbit hole survey respondents had gone in pursuit of those adorable pocket monsters. Here’s what we learned:

What? — 31.7 percent
Huh? — 28.9 percent
I downloaded the free app and played for a few days. — 17.7 percent
Yowza! I gotta catch ‘em all! — 7.5 percent
Meh. I already caught ‘em all. — 2.9 percent
I know a guy who got jumped trying to find a Pokéstop. — 6.5 percent
That’s not true. Nobody ever got jumped trying to find a Pokéstop. — 4.0 percent
I downloaded the free app, played for a few days, then came to my senses after dropping $125 on in-app purchases. — 0.8 percent

Original Question: How deeply involved are you in Pokémon GO?

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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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