Salary Survey Extra: Rating common concerns shared by IT pros

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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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

What do IT pros worry about? One such youthful pastime is Heavy Heavy Hangs Over My Poor Head, in which participants hide a small object from the view of one player by holding it over the player’s head. That player then attempt to guess what is being concealed from his (or her) view, inspiring levels of suspense and excitement not seen since Bilbo Baggins asked Gollum what he (Bilbo) had in his pocket in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

We tend to have a less playful immediate connotation for things that are spoken of as hanging over the heads of working adults in 2016. It’s less like child’s play and more like the Sword of Damocles. No matter how secure you may feel that your job and skills are, there’s often a sense that disaster, or at least discomfort and discombobulation, could befall at any moment. In each year’s annual Salary Survey, we offer a list common concerns familiar to most (if not all) who work in IT. Salary Survey participants express how worried they are — or are not — about each of these potential problems.

So which of them weigh heaviest on people’s minds? There are degrees of variation from year to year. In 2014, roughly 26 percent of those surveyed were “very concerned” about the availability of jobs in IT. One year later, that number is up to 28 percent. On the other hand, while 35 percent of those surveyed were merely “concerned” about the availability of jobs in 2014, just 31 percent had that same level of anxiety at the end of 2015. At the other end of the spectrum, 10 percent of respondents were entirely unconcerned about the availability of jobs at the end of 2014, while just 8.7 percent shared that view at the end of 2015.

More information about the results from one year ago is available here. Let’s look in greater detail about what turned up this time around.

Availability of Jobs: Are there enough IT jobs to go around? Industry observers frequently trumpet that there are, in fact, more than enough. And IT workers often disagree with that assessment. Nearly 60 percent of survey respondents, in fact, are either very concerned (27.9 percent) or concerned about the availability of jobs in IT. Here’s the full breakdown:

Very Concerned — 27.9 percent
Concerned — 31.2 percent
Somewhat Concerned — 15.8 percent
Mildly Concerned — 16.4 percent
Not At All Concerned — 8.7 percent

Job Security: Having a great IT job today is no guarantee of having that same great job tomorrow. Tech layoffs, when they happen — especially at large companies — can be messy. About 57 percent of survey respondents were either very concerned (25 percent) or concerned (32 percent) about job security. The composite statistic is a bit lower, roughly 55 percent of those surveyed, this year. Here’s the full breakdown:

Very Concerned — 27.1 percent
Concerned — 27.7 percent
Somewhat Concerned — 18.7 percent
Mildly Concerned — 17.9 percent
Not At All Concerned — 8.6 percent

Compensation and Benefits: By the tiniest of margins over availability of IT jobs, this is the area of greatest concern in this year’s survey, and there was a nearly identical dead heat in last year’s survey. Job security lagged a bit further behind those two core concerns last year, but it’s right up there in 2016. It’s clear that IT pros, when they think heavy thoughts, are generally worried about where to find a job, how they’ll be compensated, and how long they can plan to stick around. Here’s the full breakdown:

Very Concerned — 28 percent
Concerned — 34.6 percent
Somewhat Concerned — 19.4 percent
Mildly Concerned — 12.1 percent
Not At All Concerned — 5.9 percent

Certification Concerns: There are five issues involved here. We asked survey respondents to express their level of agitation about Decertification, or the retirement of previously valid credentials; Recertification, or the ongoing need to keep credentials current; Cheating, or the effect on all certification of people gaming the system to pass exams; Employer Support, or the extent to which employers encourage and validate certification efforts; and Digital Badging, or the ongoing trend toward making certifications both easily presentable and readily verifiable online.

Digital badging is still a relatively new phenomenon, and doesn’t register nearly as strongly as the other issues, though retiring credentials are only somewhat more concerning. Support from employers (or perhaps lack thereof) and the ongoing burden or recertification are much bigger issues. Here’s the full breakdown:

Very Concerned — 13.1 percent
Concerned — 28.5 percent
Somewhat Concerned — 26.9 percent
Mildly Concerned — 21 percent
Not At All Concerned — 10.5 percent

Digital Badging
Very Concerned — 6.7 percent
Concerned — 20.6 percent
Somewhat Concerned — 26.2 percent
Mildly Concerned — 28.8 percent
Not At All Concerned — 17.7 percent

Cheating and Exam Security
Very Concerned — 20.1 percent
Concerned — 25.2 percent
Somewhat Concerned — 20 percent
Mildly Concerned — 22.2 percent
Not At All Concerned — 12.5 percent

Very Concerned — 20.9 percent
Concerned — 39.1 percent
Somewhat Concerned — 21.8 percent
Mildly Concerned — 13.2 percent
Not At All Concerned — 5.1 percent

Employer Support for Certification
Very Concerned — 23.4 percent
Concerned — 33.5 percent
Somewhat Concerned — 20.1 percent
Mildly Concerned — 14.1 percent
Not At All Concerned — 8.9 percent

What candy do IT pros crave? I WANT CANDY  Many an IT workplace has a candy dish, where workers can grab a sweet treat in passing to help brighten their day. And going all the way back to childhood, almost everyone has favorite candies. Some sweets are just more appealing to one person than to the next.

The temptation to pick through and only get the “good stuff” out of the candy dish is as old as trading candy with siblings after making a holiday haul. And by “good stuff,” we mean the miniature, individually wrapped candy bars. It’s been scientifically proven: No matter what else is in the dish, the mini-candy bars will go first. We asked IT pros to reveal their mini-candy bar weaknesses to us, and here’s what people like to snatch, from most to least craved:

Kit-Kat — 24.9 percent
Snickers — 21.5 percent
Reese’s Peanut Butter Minis — 15 percent
Twix — 10.0 percent
Milky Way Dark — 7.5 percent
Nestle Crunch — 7.5 percent
Mr. Goodbar — 4.0 percent
Three Musketeers — 3.7 percent
100 Grand — 3.6 percent
Krackel — 2.3 percent

Question as it appeared on the survey: Whenever no one else is watching the candy dish at work, I always grab all of the …

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CertMag Staff


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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