Salary Survey Extra: Settling the great debates of our time

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Salary Survey Extra is a series of occasional dispatches that give added insight into the findings of both our annual Salary Survey and our Salary Survey PLUS offerings. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

CertMag settles the great debates of our time.Both the annual Certification Magazine Salary Survey and our more frequent Salary Survey PLUS polls are serious attempts to measure and catalog empirical data. We’re not messing around when we do this stuff. Except that, once in a while, don’t we all need a break from lists of numbers, and tables that rank things on a scale of 1 to 5, with one being Excellent and 5 being Poor?

In the spirit of Trying Something New and Not Always Being So Buttoned Up and Businesslike, we included 10 questions at the end of our recent Linux survey that don’t really have anything to do with certification. Instead, we attempted to settle some of the great debates of our time with an appeal to the wisdom of IT pros. We’re doing the same thing right now, incidentally, in the currently open Salary Survey PLUS that deals with IT security certs.

We think the questions were fun, and we hope that everyone who took the survey enjoyed thinking them through. Because thinking things through, of course, is at the heart of all great debates. Right? Debaters always give reasoned, carefully researched answers to thoughtful, probing questions. It’s what makes great debates great.

(We should pause here a moment to note that not all of these questions are aimed at settling great debates. Some of them are just because we wanted to find out more about the faithful and diligent people who take our surveys. Although, maybe not everyone will see them that way. We’ve known some people who are pretty passionate, for example, about whether running is objectively “better” than biking. Sometimes great debates can flare up where you didn’t even realize you were starting one.)

We hope that everyone enjoys perusing the results. This may not settle everything in some people’s minds. On the other hand, if several hundred IT pros can’t give a definitive answer, then maybe it’s time to stop asking the question. At any rate, here’s what we learned:

CertMag settles the great debates of our time.Question 1: My preferred mode of physical exercise is …
The Big Winner: Running — 20.5 percent
Second Place: Walking — 18.2 percent
Dead Last: Yoga — 3.4 percent
The Rest of the Field: Biking (12.5 percent), Hiking (9.1 percent), Swimming (8 percent), Weight training (8 percent), What is this exercise you speak of? (6.8 percent), Crossfit (4.6 percent), Team sports (4.5 percent), Why would I exercise? (4.4 percent)

CertMag settles the great debates of our time.Question 2: The best Star Trek commander is …
The Big Winner: Picard — 30.7 percent
Second Place: Huh? —21.6 percent
Dead Last: Janeway — 1.1 percent
The Rest of the Field: Kirk (15.9 percent), Star Trek is for nerds (13.6 percent), Why aren’t Han and Luke on your list? (6.8 percent), How come there are no Klingon choices? (4.55 percent), Archer (3.4 percent), Sisko (2.3 percent)

Chess pieces SMALLQuestion 3: I’d rather play …
The Big Winner: Chess — 30.7 percent
Second Place: Poker — 27.3 percent
Dead Last: Settlers of Catan — 10.2 percent
The Rest of the Field: World of Warcraft (19.3 percent), Jenga (12.5 percent)

Beatles LSS Great Debates SMALLQuestion 4: The greatest rock band ever is …
The Big Winner: The Beatles — 31 percent
Second Place:The Rolling Stones — 21.8 percent
Dead Last: Wyld Stallyns — 0.0 percent
The Rest of the Field: Led Zeppelin (16.1 percent), Van Halen (11.5 percent), U2 (8.1 percent), Spinal Tap (5.8 percent) [TIE] Creed, Jem and the Holograms (2.3 percent), Entrada (1.2 percent)

Bilbo Baggins LSS Great Debates SMALLQuestion 5: If I could have dinner with any of the following, I would choose …
The Big Winner: Barack Obama — 19.5 percent
Second Place: Ghandi — 16.1 percent
Dead Last: Jesse Owens — 0.0 percent
The Rest of the Field: Bilbo Baggins (11.5 percent), Garfield (8.1 percent), Lisa Simpson (8 percent), [TIE] Julius Caesar, The Pope (6.9 percent), Queen Elizabeth II (5.8 percent), Sun Tzu (5.8 percent), Joan of Arc (3.5 percent), Machiavelli (2.4 percent), Aishwarya Rai (2.2 percent), [TIE] Tom Cruise, Jane Austen, Geronimo (1.2 percent)

Golf tee SMALLQuestion 6: Golf is …
The Big Winner: A sport — 30.9 percent
Second Place: Irrelevant — 28.8 percent
Dead Last: A game — 16.1 percent
The Rest of the Field: A waste of good pastureland (24.2 percent)

Matthew McConaughey SMALLQuestion 7: I liked Matthew McConaughey best in …
The Big Winner: Who? — 34.5 percent
Second Place: Interstellar — 19.5 percent
Dead Last: That Western thing with Matt Damon. Didn’t he play Rooster Cogburn? — 0.0 percent
The Rest of the Field: True Detective (15 percent), The Lincoln Lawyer (8.1 percent), How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (5.8 percent), The Wolf of Wall Street (5.6 percent), [TIE] Dazed and Confused, Reign of Fire, Those Ford Lincoln commercials, Blah. I hate him in everything (2.3 percent), EDtv (1.3 percent), Lone Star (1 percent)

Matthew Broderick in Wargames SMALLQuestion 8: The most convincing Hollywood star as movie hacker is …
The Big Winner: Matthew Broderick in WarGames — 25.3 percent
Second Place: Angelina Jolie in Hackers — 16.1 percent
Dead Last: [TIE] Simon Pegg in the Mission: Impossible movies, Benedict Cumberbatch in The Fifth Estate — 10.3 percent
The Rest of the Field: Sandra Bullock in The Net (13.8 percent), River Phoenix (or Ben Kingsley) in Sneakers (12.6 percent), Hugh Jackman in Swordfish (11.5 percent)

Pizza SMALLQuestion 9: The best pizza topping is …
The Big Winner: Meat — 42.5 percent
Second Place: Cheese — 34.5 percent
Dead Last: [TIE] Fish, Fruit — (2.2 percent)
The Rest of the Field: Vegetables (12.6 percent), Fungus (5.8 percent)

Fastball SMALLQuestion 10: Which of the following is hardest to do …
The Big Winner: Write perfect code with no errors — 41.4 percent
Second Place: [TIE] Play guitar like Eddie Van Halen, Perform successful brain surgery (20.7 percent)
Dead Last: Throw a split-finger fastball for a strike — 1 percent
The Rest of the Field: Get a date with a supermodel (8.1 percent), Get a second date with that same supermodel (7.9 percent)

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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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