Salary Survey Extra: What training do networking pros spend on?

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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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

How do you spend your training and study budget when preparing to certify?Last week in this space we focused on footing the bill for certification. That is to say, where does the money come from, and whose money is it? Some people pony up the total cost of getting a certification out of their own wallet, but among those who responded to our most recent Salary Survey PLUS, it’s considerably more common for an employer to either chip in, or pay for everything.

Some of the money spent on certification is for the exam itself, of course, the last step in the process. Exam costs tend to mostly fixed, however, certainly in the sense that, whatever the price tag is, almost everyone pays the same dollar amount (with the exception of those who sniff out the occasional exam beta, or other discount). Where spending habits diverge is in the pre-exam realm of training and study.

We asked survey respondents to tell us about their spending habits in two broad categories: money spent to purchase self-study materials (books, quizzes, practice exams, and so forth), and money spent on instructor-led training (classes, workshops, seminars, and so forth). Generally speaking, we found that it’s far more common to spend money on training materials:

Amount Spent to Purchase Self-Study MaterialsPercentage of Respondents Who Spent This AmountAmount Spent to Purchase Self-Study MaterialsPercentage of Respondents Who Spent This Amount
$0 (Spent nothing)16.2 percent$500 to $99912.3 percent
$49 or less11.3 percent$1,000 to $9,99910.6 percent
$50 to $9913.6 percent$10,000 or more1.4 percent
$100 to $49934.6 percent

Original Question: Approximately how much money did you spend on self-study materials to complete your most recent networking certification?

Only 16 percent of those surveyed opted not to spend a nickel on self-study materials. There are various forms of “free” study aids, from product documentation to work experience, so people who don’t spend are probably still studying by some means. And everyone else made at least a nominal investment, with the largest group (34.6 percent of respondents) spending between $100 and $500 on self-guided test prep.

When we turn to instructor-led training, however, there’s a decidedly different picture:

Amount Spent to Purchase Instructor-Led TrainingPercentage of Respondents Who Spent This AmountAmount Spent to Purchase Instructor-Led TrainingPercentage of Respondents Who Spent This Amount
$0 (Spent nothing)43 percent$500 to $9998.5 percent
$49 or less9.9 percent$1,000 to $9,99911.3 percent
$50 to $998.5 percent$10,000 or more1.0 percent
$100 to $49917.8 percent

Original Question: Approximately how much money did you spend on instructor-led training to complete your most recent networking certification?

The biggest revelation here is that nearly half of all survey respondents didn’t pay anything at all for instructor-led training. There are fewer means of getting someone to teach you about tech without any money changing hands, so it seems more likely, in this case, that most (if not all) of those who spent nothing probably skipped instructor-led training altogether.

 PETER, PAUL AND HOME DEPOT  Where have all the folksingers gone? Bob Dylan may be about to receive a Nobel Prize, but the heyday of acoustic guitars, soaring harmonies and piercing questions about the world has left us, long time ago. Which doesn’t mean that we can’t still have a little fun blowing the occasional pop culture dog whistle in the Not-So-Serious section of our survey.

It was another poet of the American working class, Pete Seeger (along with Lee Hays), who wrote the hopeful folk ballad “If I Had a Hammer,” first performed publicly at a dinner for leaders of the Communist Party of the United States in New York City. Other performers made the song famous, though the last time it was a radio staple was going on 50 years ago.

Seeger and Hays had some ideas about what they might use their hammer for, so we asked survey respondents to choose between a few potential options, and here’s what we learned:

I’d use it to pound some nails. — 50.5 percent
I’d a hammer out danger. — 14.3 percent
I’d a hammer in the morning. — 13 percent
I’d a hammer out a warning. — 8.1 percent
I’d a hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters, all over this land. — 7.9 percent
I’d a hammer in the evening. — 6.2 percent

Original Question: If I had a hammer …

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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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