Salary Survey Extra: Apples vs. oranges
Posted on
February 24, 2022
Are apples cosmically better than oranges? Or is it the other way around?

Sort of like with yin and yang, or Sturm und Drang, apples and oranges have always been linked. You can have one without the other, but also, no you can’t, what are you thinking, are we humans who can think and use tools, or is everything just chaos, darkness, and the whims of the universe?

On the one hand, apples are a fruit, possibly even the fruit, the urtext of all fruits going back to the beginning of time and the (Judeo-Christian) story of the first humans. The philosopher and religious historian Bruce Springsteen argued against this conception, writing that, “They say Eve tempted Adam with an apple. But man, I ain’t going for that. I know it was her pink Cadillac.”

The classic rebuttal, of course, is two-pronged: In the first place, stuff it, Bruce. And furthermore: Who asked you?

On the other hand, an orange is also a fruit.  It has a strong and singular identity, unmuddled by literal dozens of squabbling offshoots like Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, and Golden Delicious. You might find a blood orange here, and a tangerine or a clementine there, but really an orange is an orange. And also, nobody really ever has to ask why we call it an orange, now, do they?

And yet, the linkage between apples and oranges persists. As French novelist Gustave Flaubert once wrote, “One mustn’t ask apple trees for oranges.” (Flaubert didn’t stop there, using his apple tree pretext to further observe, one also mustn’t ask “France for sun, women for love, life for happiness,” but go suck a lemon, Flaubert. We’ll cherry pick your wisdom however we need to.)

The point is that people talk a lot about apples and oranges, and at the time that our crack survey team was putting together the 2022 Salary Survey, we decided that certified IT professionals should settle the issue once and for all. Yes, we’re about to report the result of another of our Not So Serious inquiries that appear at the end of the Salary Survey each year.

So which is it? Is the apple the king of fruits? Or should we finally acknowledge the ultimate supremacy of oranges? Here’s what we learned:

Q: Apples or oranges?

Oranges. They have vitamin C, they come individually wrapped, and orange juice is WAY better than apple juice. — 30.7 percent
Apples. You can’t make hard cider out of oranges. — 26.9 percent
Are we talking about all apples, or can we leave out Red Delicious? — 14.2 percent
Actually, the correct phrasing is apples AND oranges. — 28.2 percent

Oranges, it would seem, are the clear winner, outpacing apples by a margin of nearly 4 percent. That’s almost exactly what it would take to win the popular vote and still get shellacked in electoral college. So maybe we haven’t actually settled the issue after all?

Also, the apple purists could argue that we poisoned the well by splitting the apple faction into people who love apples without reservation, and people who have gotten burned one too many times by a Red Delicious apple that looked in the produce section of the supermarket like it had been grown by Polykleitos himself, but somehow turned bland and mushy on the drive home.

And, yes, we acknowledge the pedantic 28 percent of voters who grokked that perhaps the most universal linkage between these cosmic comestibles is the English idiom “comparing apples to oranges” — used to describe, one might say, a “fruitless” comparison between fundamentally different things. “Comparing apples to oranges” is quite frequently shorthanded “apples and oranges.”

Suppose, for example, that you were to tell your friends that the novels of Gustave Flaubert are superior to the songs of Bruce Springsteen. Some people might actually attempt to argue the question, but most would almost certainly be apt to shrug and say, “It’s apples and oranges.”

But really, it’s oranges. That’s what 30.7 percent of certified IT professionals say — and Certification Magazine has no electoral college.

About the Author

Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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