This feature first appeared in the Winter 2016 issue of Certification Magazine. Click here to get your own print or digital copy.
Have you heard the one about the year that personal incomes shot up into the sky like a Fourth of July firework? That's every year if you work in IT, but 2015 was especially notable. Welcome to the most lucrative IT compensation numbers we've ever seen — salaries are big this year.
It's partly because of a shift in how we calculated them. You'll see a lot of six-figure tallies when you turn the page to our bigger-and-better list of the top 75 salaries in this year's survey. The overwhelmingly largest single group of Salary Survey respondents are American IT professionals. So we calculated U.S. salaries and non-U.S. salaries both separately and together to offer a more balanced overall salary picture.
The three-year trend in overall salaries, however, as shown in the graphic on this page, is that IT compensation everywhere is picking up steam. Overall employment is also even better than it was last year. When we checked at the end of 2014, almost 92 percent of those surveyed were employed full time. At the end of 2015, that number rose by almost five percent.
Of the more than 11,700 IT professionals who responded to this year's survey, 96.2 percent are employed full-time, versus just 1.1 percent who don't presently hold employment of any kind. (Part-time employment, sabbaticals, retirement and school enrollment accounts for the rest of our IT crowd.)
If you have IT-certified skills, then there's very little reason to find yourself plowing through job search sites, unless maybe you're looking for a job that's even better than what you have now. The boom in the Internet of Things, the urgent and ever-present need to secure and protect sensitive data, and exploding demand for IT infrastructure are just some of the pressing reasons why the world needs more certified professionals.
Opportunity knocks, but employers are practically banging down the door of those who have certain IT skills. And while salary growth may not be as certain as death and taxes, it's close. An impressive 62 percent of those we surveyed got a raise in 2015, compared to just 6 percent who took a pay cut.
The pay increase was small for some. Among those reporting a raise, 23 percent saw their pay climb only incrementally. A robust 40 percent of respondents, on the other hand, got an increase of between 3 and 6 percent, while 17 percent had their pay go up by between 7 and 10 percent. That leaves nearly 20 percent of those surveyed who really rang the bell, getting a larger-than-10-percent salary boost.
And while there are many different factors that determine salary, IT certification is certainly playing a role. Roughly 35 percent of those surveyed received a raise in the first year after getting their most recent certification. Out of that group, almost 70 say that certification was a key factor in getting a raise, while 8 percent attribute the raise directly to adding a cert to their list of job qualifications.
There's much more to tell than we have room for in print, and we're not stopping here. Keep your eyes glued to CertMag.com in the months ahead, and we'll check in there with new survey data every week.
TABLE TALK : Is your cert worth more than it used to be? There's a pretty good chance of that. Not every IT certification gains in value from one year to the next, but quite a few of them do: