Salary Survey Extra: Spreading the word about networking certification

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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

IT pros in discussionIn any realm of human interaction, the best-kept secret, to address a familiar turn of phrase, is — think about this logically — impossible to identify by anyone who is not already privy to it. Most of us suspect the existence of certain things, such as nuclear launch codes, that are not known to us, but are probably known to an extremely select few. So we could at least speculate (with debatable accuracy) about what some of the world’s best-kept secrets might be.

People most often use the phrase “best-kept secret” not to refer to a deliberately concealed item of knowledge, however, but to address something particularly satisfying that they have newly encountered, generally in the realm of products and services. In that sense, “best-kept secret” becomes a characteristically fond assessment of something that a consumer of some sort is pleased to have discovered.

Are there, along those lines, “best-kept secrets” in the IT certification world? There most assuredly are, given that there are so many training and certification products on the market that no one could reasonably be expected to be familiar with all of them. In 2015, for example, IBM “discovered” TestOut, a company that recently marked its 25th year in the training and certification arena. No matter how successful, prolific, or established a training and certification company may be, there will always be individuals (and sometimes even industry-leading corporations) who don’t know about them.

In that light, we frequently ask the certified professionals who respond to our surveys how they learned about the various certification and training opportunities that are the focus of their educational endeavors. How are regular IT professionals finding out about certification? Our most recently Salary Survey PLUS had an IT networking focus, so the data gathered pertains most directly to certification and training opportunities that are networking-oriented. Here’s what we learned:

Source of InformationPercentage of Those Surveyed Who Most Often Learn About Certification Opportunities from That SourceSource of InformationPercentage of Those Surveyed Who Most Often Learn About Certification Opportunities from That Source
Career Counseling14.8 percentInternet search44.7 percent
High school or college course25.6 percentReferred by employer19.8 percent
Industry convention or conference8.3 percentReferred by friend or acquaintance28.7 percent
Industry publication or website11.3 percentVendor promotional materials11.5 percent

Note: This question allowed multiple selections.

One thing we can see from these results is something that many probably already suspected: It’s Google’s world. The rest of us are just living in it. If you want information to be found, then get those search engine ratings up. There’s also a strong indication, however, that word of mouth (and, to a lesser extent, the word of one’s manager’s mouth) is of critical importance. It’s also quite clear that formal education is rapidly becoming intertwined with certification.

What do you think, certified professionals? How do you most often learn about certification opportunities?

 NO STRANGER THAN YOU  One of the biggest pop culture events of 2016 was the debut on Netflix in July of Stranger Things. Set in a small Indiana town in 1983, the part-mystery, part-horror, part-sci-fi yarn, about a young boy’s disappearance and everything that follows from it, captivated viewers and launched a wave of speculation and discussion.

There’s a Season Two on the way early next year, but since it will be a while before we have anything to discuss in regards to that, we used the Not-So-Serious section of our most recent Salary Survey PLUS to have certified networking professionals weigh in about a key Stranger Things issue. Namely, of all the unbelievable things to happen on the show, which unbelievable thing was most unbelievable?

(Warning: Mild spoilers for Season One of Stranger Things below.)

Here’s what we learned:

No Steven Spielberg lawsuit (yet) — 34.9 percent
The whole idea of the “Upside Down” — 23.3 percent
A couple of 12-year-old kids taking on a massive government conspiracy — 17.3 percent
A child operative trained to manipulate physical objects with her mind — 8.5 percent
Matthew Modine’s hairline — 8.1 percent
Every scene of Winona Ryder losing her (stuff) — 7.9 percent

Original question: The least believable thing about Stranger Things on Netflix is …

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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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