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 These posts contain previously unpublished Certification Survey data.
Three times each year when one of our certification surveys rolls around — the fourth survey of every calendar year is the annual Salary Survey — we gather data about certified professionals who work in the same IT sector. Everyone who participates has at least one thing in common with everyone else: They're all certified in some branch of the same technology.
So what else do the individuals who participate in these surveys have in common? In what ways are they different? In this installment of our Certification Survey Extra series, we'll create a composite of the individuals who participated in our recent Computer Technician Certification Survey and see what that looks like.
Certified computer support professionals who are already involved in working on computers and assisting clients may be interested to see how close their own experience is to that of their peers. Those who are considering providing supports for computers and computer systems as a career may be interested to find out, at a broad brush level, what their potential future looks like.
For starters, it would appear that the IT support realm, like many IT sectors, is made up of mostly male workers. Approximately 9.2 out of every 10 survey respondents are men.
There's more diversity when it comes to the respective ages of those surveyed, though there is a somewhat surprising skew toward late middle age. The largest group, 26.3 percent of respondents, is made up of individuals between the ages of 45 and 54, followed by 25.3 percent who are between the ages of 55 and 64, and 17.9 percent who are between the ages of 35 and 44. That leaves just the 15.8 percent of those surveyed who are between the ages of 25 and 34, the fractional 2.2 percent who are either between the ages of 19 and 24 (1.1 percent) or younger than 18 (also 1.1 percent), and the 12.6 percent who are between the ages of 65 and 74.
A notable 81 percent of those surveyed have an educational background that includes time spent at a college or university. Most have either a bachelor's degree (40.4 percent of respondents) or master's degree (24.5 percent), while the rest of the individuals in that cohort almost all have an associate's degree (14.9 percent). That leaves just 19 percent of those surveyed who fall into one of our other buckets (post-high school technical training, high school diploma, currently in school, and so on).
Almost exactly 60 percent of those surveyed live and work in the United States, but we did hear from certified support professionals in 28 other countries: Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Venezuela, and Yemen.
The norm among certified computer support professionals who participated in the survey is to hold either one or two current support certifications: A notable 58 percent of respondents have either one (23.9 percent) or two (34.1 percent) current credentials. Most of the rest of those surveyed have either 3 current computer support certs (18.2 percent of respondents), 4 such certs (8 percent), or 5 such certs (4.5 percent).
A notable 52 percent of those surveyed worked in the computer support realm for three or fewer years before getting their first web certification: for 13.6 percent of respondents it was less than a year, an additional 11.4 percent certified after just one year in the field, 15.9 percent certified after getting two years of professional experience, and 11.4 percent certified after working in IT support for three years. Roughly 32 percent of all respondents held a computer support job (or jobs) for somewhere between four and 10 years before getting their first certification. The remaining 15.9 percent of respondents did not board the certification express until after they'd been employed professionally in computer support pursuits for more than a decade.
It would appear that there's some freedom to move around among certified computer support professionals. Almost exactly 45 percent of survey respondents have been with their current employer for 5 or fewer years. On the other hand, 38.5 percent of those surveyed have been with their current employer for more than a decade. So there's apparently stability to be had, if that's what you're looking for.
Finally, there's a heavy tilt toward large employers among the certified cloud computing professionals who participated in the survey. Roughly 54 percent of those surveyed work for companies that have more than 500 total employees, while a further 19.3 percent are with small to mid-size employers (between 500 and 201 coworkers). That leaves 9 percent of all respondents are self-employed, while 28.2 percent are in the mom-and-pop bucket, working for companies with between 2 and 200 employees.
Taking all of that into account, and painting with an extremely broad brush, most of the certified computer support professionals who participated in the survey are likely to be men, older than 35, with a college or university degree. They are most likely to be from the United States, have between one and three current computer support credentials, and probably worked in the support realm for three or fewer years before getting certified. They are further most likely to work for companies with that have more than 500 employees and have probably held their current job for either fewer than 6 years or more than a decade. How well do you fit the profile?