Salary Survey Extra: Punching the keys (on your PC or laptop)

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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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

In the future, we may not use PCs or laptops at the office, but the age of handheld computing hasn't yet arrived.Believe it or not, the first iPhone was released on June 29, 2007. Cell phones had been getting fancier and smarter for a few years before that. BlackBerry has been around since 1999, and the first PalmPilot was launched in 1996. Really, though, the true age of the handheld device and, more specifically, of the smartphone as the as do-it-all king of the personal device universe, only began 12 years ago.

It feels like we’ve been living in that reality for much longer. It’s probably difficult, if not impossible, for many to imagine getting anything done without a smartphone. Or, to a lesser extent, a tablet.  Science fiction has been dreaming of handheld computers for decades, but it’s really only in the past decade (Apple’s iPad arrived on the scene in 2010) that tablets have become ubiquitous.

So there really hasn’t been all that long for the miniaturization of the work we we all do with personal computers and laptops to take hold to the point that we no longer need personal computers and laptops. That the way things are trending — what is a laptop, really, but a smaller PC? — but it’s probably not going to become a reality as soon as was predicted when tablets and phones really took off.

We’re intrigued to know how far along the process is, however, so was included a question that addressed the timeline in our most recent Salary Survey. To what extent are certified IT professionals still doing most of their day-to-day work using a laptop or PC? Here’s what we learned:

Q: How many hours per day do you use a desktop or laptop computer to do your current job?

7 to 8 hours per day — 31.1 percent
Everything I do requires a desktop or laptop computer. — 29.6 percent
More than 8 hours per day — 23.1 percent
5 to 6 hours per day — 11.7 percent
3 to 4 hours per day — 2.7 percent
A couple of hours per day — 0.9 percent
I never use a desktop or laptop computer. — 0.5 percent
An hour or so per day — 0.5 percent

As you can see, while we may some day live in an age where people do their jobs exclusively or near-exclusively using phone or tablets, that reality is not where we are right now. Eighty-four percent of certified IT professionals who participated in the Salary Survey still use a laptop or PC to get work done at least 7 hours per day. Nearly a third of respondents use a laptop or PC exclusively.

And while there are some certified professionals who are in those lower usage tiers, there aren’t nearly enough to declare that a mass migration is underway. We’ll all find out what the future holds, possibly sooner than we think. It only taken a little more than a decade, after all, for phones and tablets to become as integral as they already are.

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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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