Salary Survey Extra: Big Data certification spending
Posted on
September 14, 2017

Salary Survey Extra is a series of periodic dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our most recent Salary Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

Do you have to spend a lot of money to get certified in Big Data?

They say that there's no such thing as a free lunch. And you have to ask yourself, "What would be their incentive to lie?" Like, maybe the "they" who keep on saying all of these things are actually "Big Lunch," and they are tired of all the moochers trying to do the old dine and ditch. Β Wait a minute, where are we? What is going on here? Who's on first?

Oh, right. Nothing good is free. Of course, some things are β€” nope, stay on target. The point is that if you want to get quality then you typically have to open up your wallet and spend a little. Good things may come to those who wait, but better things come to those who pay with cash. (The wisdom of the ages, folks. Right here at

We often ask in our surveys how much money people spend on various certification preparation tools such as study guides and practice tests. After all, when you're planning to jump into a given certification, it's useful to at least have a ballpark estimate of how much money you may wind up spending.

To clarify: For this discussion, we're only considering the amount of certification spending that's devoted to exam preparation. You may get off scot-free when it comes to spending on study and training, but in terms of exam fees, everyone has to pay the piper. (Well, unless they have a voucher. Or maybe their employer is footing the cost. Come on, you know what we mean.)

So let's take a look as some certification spending data from our recent Big Data Salary Survey. First, how much did certified professionals spend on training materials, such as the aforementioned study guides and practice exams?

Question: Approximately how much money did you spend on training materials to complete your most recent Big Data certification?

Spent nothing β€” 40.2 percent of respondents
$50 to $99 β€” 20.5 percent
$100 to $499 β€” 16.1 percent
$49 or less β€” 12.1 percent
$500 to $999 β€” 5.4 percent
$1,000 to $9,999 β€” 4.5 percent
$10,000 or more β€” 0.9 percent

Clearly you don't have to spend big to get certified, given that 40 percent of certified professionals who responded to the survey didn't spend a nickel on training materials to get their most recent certification, and an additional 20 percent didn't even have to spend 50 bucks. The big spenders are a clear minority.

Many people, on the other hand, prefer to learn from other people rather than wrestle with a textbook or online learning module. So how much does the average individual allocate to certification spending on the likes of workshops and seminars?

Question: Approximately how much money did you spend on seminars, workshops, or other instructor-led training to complete your most recent Big Data certification?

Spent nothing β€” 80.4 percent of respondents
$50 to $99 β€” 7.1 percent
$49 or less β€” 5.4 percent
$100 to $499 β€” 2.7 percent
$500 to $999 β€” 1.8 percent
$1,000 to $9,999 β€” 1.8 percent
$10,000 or more β€” 0.9 percent

There's an even stronger signal here: You really don't need to spend money on workshops, seminars, or other instructor-led training to get a Big Data certification. If you do decide to write the check, on the other hand, well, at least you won't have to fight anyone for seating.

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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