Salary Survey Extra: What is your most recently earned certification?

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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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

You can get a sense of where IT professionals are focusing their career development efforts by looking at their most recently earned certifications.If you drive down an interstate highway, then you’ll pass both landmarks and mile markers. A landmark is one-of-a-kind, a landform or man-made point of interest that passes by one time, while mile markers recur with predictable frequency. For some people, getting an IT certification is a singular career event, whereas for other people it comes up again and again.

One of the questions we ask each year in our Salary Survey is for each survey respondent to identify their most recently earned IT certification. For some people, that may be the only certification they’ve ever gotten. Or it may be a credential that finished off a run of certifications several years ago. In other words, the response to that one question by itself is not necessarily indicative that a certification is “hot.”

On the other hand, we also ask survey respondents how many new certifications they’ve earned in the past year. And roughly 58 percent of certified IT professionals who responded to our 2021 Salary Survey earned one or more new certifications. About 27 percent earned two or more. So we can make at least a partial comparison that does give some indication of current popularity.

To start out with, here’s the unfiltered list of most recently earned certifications. These are the Top 25 responses:

1) (ISC)² CISSP
2) CompTIA Security+
3) IBM Certified Specialist
4) Teradata Database Certified Associate
5) Magento 2 Certified Associate Developer
6) CompTIA A+
7) Okta Certified Administrator
8) Magento 2 Certified Professional Developer
9) Magento 2 Certified Professional Front End Developer
10) Pega Certified Senior System Architect (CSSA/PCSSA)
11) CompTIA Network+
12) Okta Certified Professional
13) Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Routing & Switching
14) ISACA CISM
15) Pega Certified System Architect (CSA/PCSA)
16) AXELOS ITIL Foundation
17) IBM Certified Solution Architect
18) (ISC)² CCSP
19) Okta Certified Consultant
20) CIW Site Development Associate
21) Pega Certified Decisioning Consultant (CPDC/PCDC)
22) IBM Certified Solution Developer
23) CompTIA Project+
24) IBM Certified Infrastructure System Architect
25) IBM Certified Solutions Expert

Now let’s limit our search to only responses given by survey participants who actually earned a certification in the 12 months prior to the survey. Here’s what that list looks like:

1) Magento 2 Certified Associate Developer
2) (ISC)² CISSP
3) Magento 2 Certified Professional Developer
4) CompTIA Security+
5) Magento 2 Certified Professional Front End Developer
6) IBM Certified Specialist
7) Okta Certified Administrator
8) Teradata Database Certified Associate
9) Pega Certified Senior System Architect (CSSA/PCSSA)
10) Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Routing & Switching
11) CompTIA A+
12) Okta Certified Professional
13) AXELOS ITIL Foundation
14) Pega Certified System Architect (CSA/PCSA)
15) CIW Site Development Associate
16) Pega Certified Decisioning Consultant (CPDC/PCDC)
17) (ISC)² CCSP
18) IBM Certified Solution Architect
19) CompTIA Network+
20) ISACA CISM
21) CompTIA Project+
22) Okta Certified Consultant
23) IBM Certified Infrastructure System Architect
24) Magento 2 Certified Professional Cloud Developer
25) Amazon Web Services Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

Some of the ordering of the list has changed a bit, but there’s a lot of common ground between the two lists. So maybe it’s fair to look at either list if you want to know which credentials are currently popular among the global community of certified IT professionals.

Perhaps there are a lot of IT folks out there who just missed the “past year” cutoff when they were taking the survey, but are still earning the same certs as most of the rest of our respondents. At any rate, if you’re looking for a certification that’s currently (or at least recently) of interest to a lot of certified IT professionals, then this is a reasonable place to start your search.

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CertMag Staff

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