Certification Magazine's 2009 Salary Survey
BackBy Certification Magazine Editorial Staff —1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
Fifteen months ago, the world watched in horror as stock markets plummeted, debt skyrocketed, banks collapsed and the credit industry imploded, plunging the global economy into the worst recession since the Great Depression. No one knew what the next day, week or month — let alone year — had in store.
Suffice it to say, not much has changed. Though economists have pointed to early signs of recovery, we’re all still waiting with bated breath for some kind of certainty to emerge. This year’s CertMag Salary Survey received more than 40,000 responses from IT professionals in over 150 countries around the world — from Pakistan to the Philippines, from Bulgaria to Bangladesh. The good news is, despite the continued economic ambiguity, the results of our survey pointed to a few stable trends within the IT industry that could provide professionals with some direction for the coming year.
First, IT has been widely recognized as a growth industry — even in this climate — and our numbers reflected that. In 2009, the average U.S. total salary, including benefits and incentives, was a generous $96,677. That is a 9 percent gain over last year’s average of $88,640. However, this growth represents a slowdown from that of the previous year, when average total salaries jumped a dramatic 15 percent.
Also reflective of the times was the number of IT professionals who are experiencing pay cuts. About a quarter of you said you’ve either had your pay cut in the last year or expect to have your pay cut in the coming year. Fewer people reported getting incentives or bonuses this year, too — dropping from 41 percent of respondents in 2008 to 34 percent in 2009.
However, again proving the value of certification, many respondents reported receiving a raise after earning their most recent certification, with 30 percent of you saying that raise was between 10 and 20 percent. Then again, most of you (52 percent) said that raise was 5 percent or less, whereas last year the most common raise amount was 5 to 10 percent.
Also indicating the power of certification was the number of respondents who added more than two certifications to their portfolios this year. This figure jumped from 11.4 percent of respondents in 2008 to more than 30 percent in 2009, while the total number of people who earned at least one cert this year was more than 67 percent. Tellingly, a full 96 percent of respondents from the top five countries with the highest salaries said they were certified.
In the U.S., the top five highest-paying certs varied a bit this year from last year, although the general content areas stayed pretty much the same. The cert that commanded the highest salary this year was the Brocade Certified Network Engineer (BCNE, formerly FNCNE) with a whopping average total salary of $146,250. This bumped last year’s top cert, the Brocade Certified Fabric Designer (BCFD or BCSD), which had an average salary of $120,770 last year, to No. 4 this year.
Rounding out the top five highest-paying certs in 2009 were: (ISC)2 Information Systems Security Architecture Professional (CISSP-ISSAP) with $136,060; Brocade Certified SAN Manager (BCSM) with $136,020; Brocade Certified Fabric Designer (BCFD or BCSD) with $135,600; and the (ISC)2 Information Systems Security Management Professional (CISSP-ISSMP) with $134,100.
As evidenced by these results, a general focus on network and security issues continues to be a growing trend — and lucrative career choice — within the IT industry.
The cert that connoted the lowest salary was the CIW – Certified Internet Web Professional, with an average salary of $59,290. This was followed by the Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician (MCDST) with $62,030; the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) with $63,420; the HP: Accredited Platform Specialist (APS) with $64,180; and Dell certification with $67,190.
This is not too surprising given that many of these certs correspond with entry-level jobs or jobs that are not particularly “hot” right now.
No doubt about it: The past year has had its ups and downs. But as the results of the 2009 CertMag Salary Survey show, there are rays of light to be seen in the IT field. And while a certain level of uncertainty remains, IT professionals can use it as an opportunity to explore the new specializations or career paths that continue to emerge as the industry develops.
– Agatha Gilmore
Identifying Today’s IT Professional: Who Are You?
Before delving into an analysis of the survey data, we first must understand who was answering the questions. Here’s a rundown.
According to survey responses, dudes continue to dominate the industry, with 90 percent of you being men. And it’s still a young person’s industry. The largest number of responses (27 percent) came from the 25 to 29 age group, followed by the 30 to 34 demographic (roughly 21 percent). The under-25 group stayed consistent with prior surveys, containing less than 12 percent of the respondents. There was a slight downturn in the older groups this year, with less than 16 percent in the 35 to 39 age range; less than 10 percent from 40 to 44 years old; 7 percent from ages 45 to 49; and just 5 percent from the 50 to 54 age group.
More than half of you have received higher education of some sort. Approximately 42 percent of you have a bachelor’s degree, and 22 percent have a master’s degree. Nearly 12 percent of you have received technical training but no degree, and nearly 10 percent have just a high school diploma.
Survey respondents are also overwhelmingly global. Respondents logged on to fill out the survey from 167 countries spanning the globe. We even had one respondent from North Korea.
Following previous Salary Survey trends, the majority of respondents live outside the United States, but the largest single group within the survey remained the U.S., with 7,130 respondents out of the 26,075 who told us where they live. That 27 percent total represents a significant drop from last year, however, when it was nearly 40 percent. The Indian contingent grew again this year, with 16.7 percent of responses — up from 14.6 percent in 2008. China was the biggest area of growth, though, with 4.2 percent of the total responses. It bumped the United Kingdom — which had 4 percent — from the third spot. Canada held steady with 4 percent, the same as last year.
Among North American respondents, the highest percentage are in California (8.5 percent), followed by Texas (7.2 percent). The number of respondents from Virginia held steady this year, with nearly 6 percent. Ontario, Canada, had 5.2 percent of responses, followed by Illinois with 4.1 percent and Florida with 4 percent.
More of you are working less regularly. About 89 percent of respondents are currently working full time, compared with 94 percent in 2008. Only 3 percent work part time, and 4 percent are unemployed, compared with 2 percent in 2008. About 4 percent are students. The majority of you — 60 percent — work an average of 40 to 50 hours per week.
Nearly 68 percent of respondents have been with their current employer for less than four years; 14.2 percent have been with that employer for less than a year, 12.1 percent for one year, 19.9 percent for two years and 14 percent for three years. Just over 10 percent have been with their current employer for more than 10 years. According to the survey, 43 percent expect to change jobs in the coming year, while 57 plan to stay put.
The size of the companies that respondents work for is all over the board, with the majority (64 percent) working for companies with fewer than 5,000 employees, but 26 percent working for companies with between 5,000 and 100,000 employees. Further, nearly 17 percent of respondents work for companies with fewer than 50 employees, while 10 percent work for companies with more than 100,000 employees.1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |