This feature first appeared in the Winter 2021 issue of Certification Magazine. Click here to get your own print or digital copy.
A lot can change in five years. In or around 1427, a 15-year-old girl who had become accustomed to religious visions began seeking an audience with the French royal court. By 1431, peasant visionary Joan of Arc had become a seasoned veteran of numerous battles and sieges, served as a key military advisor and inspirational figurehead, received a noble title from King Charles VII, and been captured, ransomed, tried for heresy, and burned at the stake.
Your average certified IT professional probably won’t become one of the most famous martyrs in all Christendom in the next five years, but she or he may change jobs, quite possibly more than once. There’s a core of survey respondents, 8 percent of those surveyed, who clearly value stability and have been with their current employer for more than 15 years. Quite a few others, however, are far more nomadic.
A whopping 62.5 percent of survey respondents have worked for their current primary employer for five or fewer years. It’s three or fewer years for 44 percent of all respondents, and zero years (1 to 11 months) for 13 percent of all respondents. With that many folks just settling in, relatively speaking, it seems clear that IT professionals, probably for a variety of reasons, are prone to change jobs.
Some might argue that all of those new and relatively new arrivals are merely the vanguard of a rising generation of IT workers flooding in from colleges and high schools. Weighing rather heavily against that line of reasoning, however, is the fact that most of those who responded to the survey are not spring chickens.
A topic of concern for many in the tech industry is the general aging of the workplace population, and this year’s survey, like the last handful we’ve done, bears out that trend. A sobering 36 percent of those who responded to this year’s survey are 45 or older, and 35 percent are between the ages of 35 and 44. By contrast, just 25 percent of respondents are between the ages of 25 and 34, while a mere 4 percent are younger than 25.
That’s roughly 70 percent of today’s certified IT professionals who were either born, coming of age, or (gulp) already in the workforce the year (1986) that an up-and-coming actor named Tom Cruise became an overnight matinee idol as the star of Top Gun. (Cruise apparently still feels the need for speed. After a three-decade navy pilot interregnum, Top Gun: Maverick is coming to theaters May 27.)
Speaking of timing, 13.5 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. A striking 48.5 percent of those surveyed earned their first certification after working in IT for between 1 year and 5 years.
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 29.1 percent of all survey respondents declaring themselves senior specialists. The next largest groups are the ones directly above and directly below senior specialist on the standard-issue company org chart: 16.3 percent of those surveyed are managers, 17.1 percent are senior managers, and 11.3 percent are specialists.
No matter what job title accompanies the picture on their I.D. badge, there’s a pretty strong degree of confidence and satisfaction among most survey respondents. A sturdy 64.5 percent of those surveyed have no intention of seeking a different job in 2022. (Given the indicators discussed a few paragraphs above this one, it sounds as though at least some IT workers who are about to change jobs just don’t know it yet.)
And though the IT industry as a whole has certainly been subject to employment upheavals in recent years — certainly some jobs were lost to the direct and indirect effects of COVID-19 in 2021 — most workers are feeling secure, at least in the short term. A noteworthy 86.6 percent of respondents do not anticipate being laid off in the coming year, while 87 percent are confident they won’t have to deal with a pay cut.
TABLE TALK: How do you compare to other IT professionals?