This feature first appeared in the Winter 2017 issue of Certification Magazine. Click here to get your own print or digital copy.
If you wrote a letter to 10 different certified professionals and asked them each to send you $1, then you would probably never get anything back, because who uses regular old mail for anything anymore? Also because people who work in IT were somewhat literally not born yesterday.
A topic of concern for many in the tech industry is the general aging of the workplace population, and there aren't a lot of spring chickens out there. A sobering 43 percent of those who responded to this year's survey are 45 or older, and 29 percent are between the ages of 35 and 44.
That's more than 70 percent of today's working professionals who were either born, coming of age, or (gulp) already in the workforce the year (1981) that Ronald Reagan began his first term in office.
Speaking of timing, 22.5 percent of survey respondents worked in IT for less than a year before getting their first certification. And you don't have to stretch that timetable very far to capture a much larger slice of the pie. Exactly 42 percent of those surveyed earned their first certification after working in IT between 1 year and 5 years.
Some don't press on much after that first credential: About 20 percent of respondents have just one active certification to their name, and 48 percent more have between two and four active certs.
The total count is between five and nine for another 22 percent, but that final 10 percent who have 10 or more active certs includes some seriously dedicated learners: 3 percent of those surveyed hold 16 or more active certifications.
Many of the certifications represented in this year's survey are connected in some way, it would seem, to the cybersecurity field. That's because 43 percent of all respondents named security as their primary area of IT specialization. Networking was next, at 10.4 percent, followed by software (10.2 percent) and management (5.2 percent).
As we've learned from past surveys, there are IT jobs at every rung of the corporate ladder. We've found pretty consistently, on the other hand, that the highest concentration of skilled tech professionals tends to reside at the senior specialist level.
That was the case this year as well, with 37.9 percent of all respondents declaring themselves senior specialists. The next largest group is the one immediately below on the standard- issue company org chart: 15.5 percent of those surveyed are specialists, followed by comparably sizeable contingents of rank-and-file employees (14.5 percent) and managers (12.2 percent).
Whatever the job is, there's a significant number of IT pros who haven't been doing it very long, or at least not for their current employer. Nearly 20 percent of those surveyed have been at their jobs less than a year, and an additional 45 percent have been with their current employer between 1 year and 5 years.
Don't fret, company lifers, you're not alone: A sturdy 12 percent of respondents have been where they are for more than 15 years.
No matter how old (or how recent) the picture on their I.D. badge is, there's a pretty strong degree of confidence and satisfaction among most survey respondents. A rock-solid 65 percent of those surveyed have no intention of seeking a different job in 2017.
And though the IT industry as a whole has certainly been subject to employment upheavals in recent years, most workers are feeling secure, at least in the short term. A remarkable 93 percent of respondents do not anticipate being laid off in the coming year, while 96 percent are confident they won't have to deal with a pay cut.
TABLE TALK : All IT professionals are not struck from the same mold, but there are some similarities. How do you compare?