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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.
There are frequent arguments in information technology circles regarding the (ahem) degree to which it is (or, in many cases, is not) essential to get a college education on the way to launching an IT career. Is it critical to get a bachelor's degree or master's degree, or can you learn what you need to know by other means?
While a college degree can prove beneficial, of course, it's certainly not impossible to establish a successful career with no college education. One benefit of college, on the other hand, that's often hard to quantify is that employers tend to pay better for college-educated professionals, particularly when hiring a new employee.
In all of our surveys, we ask respondents to identify the highest level of formal education they have completed. Given that our most recent Salary Survey PLUS canvassed certified Big Data professionals, today's mission is to examine the link between Big Data salary and formal education. Do certified Big Data professionals with more formal education earn higher salaries?
We divided survey respondents into two groups: Big Data professionals who live in the United States, and Big Data professionals who live in all non-U.S. countries. Here's what we learned:
Among U.S. professionals, it seems clear that college education, even just at the level of an associate's (two-year) degree, adds significant earning power. It's also the case that, as educational attainment increases, there's a corresponding rise in average annual salary. Another interesting note: Except for a handful of certified professionals who topped out at the level of technical training, nearly all of our U.S. respondents (94 percent of those surveyed) have some form of college degree.
Outside the United States, on the other hand, there's a notable group of certified Big Data professionals who climbed the educational ladder no higher than a high school diploma but are still working in the industry. Bachelor's degrees and master's degrees, on the other hand, are even more commonplace than in the United State. The same general salary trend also prevails: greater educational attainment = higher salary.
At least where Big Data is concerned, there's a clear indication that aspiring professionals would be well-advised to at least consider getting a college degree before entering the field.