Certification Survey Extra: Do support professionals work for large companies?

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Certification Survey Extra is a series of periodic dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our most recent Certification Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Certification Survey data.

IT support is an essential function for nearly all businesses, but are large employers hogging all of the support professionals?There is a degree of freedom in being a computer support professional, in that nearly all modern businesses and organizations have at least a part-time need for a dedicated computer support professional. Even if just at the level of knowing a guy who can come in every now and again and fix computer or network problems, most enterprises need some degree of support.

That being the case, a skilled computer support professional doesn’t necessarily have to be tied down if he or she would prefer not to work for a single employer. In general, however, it would appear that most certified support professionals prefer the security of regular full-time employment with somebody else writing the paychecks: Just 12.6 percent of respondents in our recent Computer Technician Certification Survey are self-employed.

Where do certified support professionals tend to end up working? Are they likelier to be found at giant corporations, or working for mid-size companies? Small businesses? It turns out that there’s actually not an overwhelming trend. Really big companies do stake the largest claim, but there’s actually a fairly even distribution:

Q: What is the size of the total workforce at your current employer?

I am self-employed: 12.6 percent
10 or fewer: 2 percent
11 to 50: 8.2 percent
51 to 200: 15.2 percent
201 to 500: 12.3 percent
501 to 1,000: 10.5 percent
1,001 to 5,000: 12.3 percent
5,001 to 10,000: 8.8 percent
More than 10,000: 18.1 percent

There’s apparently opportunity for qualified computer support professionals across the spectrum. The strongest likelihood is that you’ll be at a really big company, but it’s not that much stronger than the likelihood of having between 51 and 200 coworkers, or even the likelihood of being self-employed.

There is, correspondingly, a fair amount of mobility among certified support professionals. A surprising 43.7 percent of respondents have been with their current employer for 3 or fewer years, including 11.5 percent who have been with their current employer for less than a year.

To some extent, those numbers could reflect a steady presence among certified support professionals of newcomers to the profession who are taking their first job. If we dig a little deeper, however, it turns out that a little more than half of the certified supported professionals represented in that 43.7 percent have worked in support for more than 10 years, making them hardly new to the field.

There’s no need, it would seem, for certified support professionals to feel tied-down. If you don’t like the job that you have now, then you can probably find another one somewhere else.

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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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