Salary Survey Extra: The social media app of choice for certified professionals

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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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

What social media platform do certified tech workers turn to for personal (not professional) engagement?We live in an age where at least some things — certainly some perceptions of things — are shaped and defined by social media. Maybe not as much in 2019 as, say, five years ago. Even with privacy concerns, toxic interaction, and general indifference chipping away at user bases, however, social media remains a cultural, societal, and even political force. Just ask President Trump.

Don’t ask certified IT professionals, on the other hand, about the latest trending topic to inspire a testy tweet from the Commander in Chief. Because there’s an excellent chance that most of them won’t know what you’re talking about. (More about that in a minute.) We think of social media as being an IT thing: One of the most successful companies in the world, after all, is a social media firm.

That doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that IT pros are deeply ensconced in daily interaction with friends and strangers. Knowing what’s behind the curtain probably breeds a certain level of indifference. If you’re an employee on a cruise ship, then a month at sea is just another day (or 30 days) at the office, right? And tech jobs often don’t leave much time in the day for distractions.

Productivity tools and automation software, on the other hand, are tying social media into work and commerce more closely than ever before. There are even (relatively) new players in the social media game that exist to foster business outcomes first, and social interaction second — we’re looking at you, Slack. (Despite having left you out of the survey question that spawned this feature.)

Since we are a highly curious lot, at the end of our most recent Salary Survey, in the part where we ask the Not So Serious questions, we included an item designed to measure, on a broad scale, which social media networks are actually on the minds (and at the fingertips) of certified IT professionals. Here’s what we learned:

Q: Which social media platform do you use most for personal engagement?

Facebook — 48.8 percent
I don’t do social media. — 28.7 percent
Instagram — 7.5 percent
Twitter — 6.3 percent
LinkedIn — 5.3 percent
Other — 3.4 percent

Facebook, for IT pros, is where it’s at, at least if you define “it” as being personal engagement. Tech pros, to the extent that they do hang out on social media, hang out on Facebook. Now we wish we’d asked how much they do, in fact, hang out on social media. And there’s an implied question that we should have asked and didn’t: Which social media platform do you use most for professional engagement?

Remember how we said earlier that IT pros aren’t likely to have seen the latest Trump Twitter tirade? Now you can see why.  There are more tech pros who spend personal time on Instagram, for Pete’s sake, than on Twitter. The “personal engagement” framing of the question likely weighed heavily against LinkedIn. Most folks who engage heavily there are probably doing so for professional reasons.

The two most popular social media tools to pop through in the “Other” category (where we allowed users to enter their own answers) are WhatsApp and Reddit. We’ll certainly add those two as options if we ask some form of this question again next year.

Speaking of next year: Is it really almost Salary Survey time again? It’s not if you’re judge by the time frame we’ve followed in past years. We may be about to dramatically deepen our survey window, however, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

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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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