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 These posts contain previously unpublished Certification Survey data.
A lot of people never really settle on the answer to the childhood question about what you're going to be when you grow up before the growing up has happened and the realization sets in that there doesn't have to be a single fixed answer. Nobody has to be just one thing, and many people end up working in two or more different careers as adults.
On the other hand, of course, once you've devoted a certain degree of time and resources to lining yourself up with a particular profession, the thought of cutting loose years of effort and investment to switch to something new can be intimidating. That is often especially true since career switching brings no guarantee of greater satisfaction or better compensation.
In our recent Web Design and Development Certification Survey, we asked some questions to determine how certified web professionals feel about the employment situation they have now, and whether they've thought about making changes. To start with, we asked whether anyone is thinking about exiting the IT realm altogether at some point in the next three-to-five years.
Somewhat surprisingly, half of those who participated in the survey could conceive of such a scenario. About 34 percent of respondents think it is either likely (25 percent) or very likely (8.3 percent) that they will soon transition to a different industry altogether. Roughly 17 percent of those surveyed are less inclined to make the leap but still open to the possibility, deeming it somewhat likely.
That leaves a solid 50 percent of certified Linux professionals are fairly strongly inclined to remain in IT. These folks report that they are not likely to look for work in a different, non-IT field at any point in the next three-to-five years.
Staying put in IT, on the other hand, doesn't necessarily mean staying in the same IT sector. Web design and development skills are broadly applicable, and there is potential for certified web professionals to find work across the IT industry. That led to our next question: How likely are those in our survey group to, at some point in the next three-to-five years, look for work in a different IT field?
There's a range of opinion here. A bare handful of respondents (just 8 percent) say that they are not likely to look for work elsewhere in the tech realm over the next three-to-five years. There's also the 35 percent of certified web professionals who say it's only somewhat likely that they'll go looking for the proverbial greener grass in that time frame.
Nearly 60 percent of those surveyed, on the other hand, practically have one foot out the door. These folks believe it either likely (33 percent) or very likely (26.2 percent) that the next three-to-five years of their career will see them putting out feelers to different parts of the wider IT world.
Some IT specializations, of course, feed into others. An individual who starts out working as a certified web professional could end up transitioning to project management, for example, or computer security. That led to our final question about career positioning: How likely are certified web professionals to retain their web-design- or web-development-certified status over the next three-to-five years?
A bit more than 90 percent of those surveyed fully intend to maintain the status quo, considering themselves either very likely (23.3 percent) or likely (68 percent) to remain certified web professionals in the foreseeable future. The rest report that it's at least somewhat likely that they'll keep their web design or development skills fresh.
That doesn't quite jibe with the responses to our other future-looking questions, but maybe some of these folks figure that it's worth their time and effort to keep their web skills current even if they end up primarily doing something else altogether. It never hurts to be prepared.