Salary Survey Extra is a series of dispatches that give added insight into the findings of both our annual Salary Survey and our smaller Salary Survey PLUS polls. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.
IBM has one of those certification programs (there are a few others out there, including at Oracle) where a given title, in this instance IBM Certified Administrator — No. 47 on our most recent Salary Survey 75 list — encompasses a handful of credentials. A quick search of the IBM certification website turns up 11 different software specializations for which you can become an IBM Certified Administrator.
For Salary Survey purposes, we lump them all together under the label IBM Certified Administrator. So bear in mind as you read through the following data that we are discussing are several distinct credentials all wearing the same hat.
Given that IBM has large corporate campuses in countries outside the United States, there are certainly IBM Certified Administrators in far-flung nations. Nearly all of those who responded to our survey, however, live and work in the United States. Among U.S. IBM Certified Administrators, the average annual salary in 2016 was $115,400, with a median annual salary of $115,000.
Likewise, we didn't hear from any of the female IBM Certified Administrators who are certainly out there — 100 percent of those who responded to the survey are men. Most are also veterans of the global IT workforce, with nearly 80 percent falling either between the ages of 55 and 64 (47.3 percent of those surveyed) or between the ages of 45 and 54 (40 percent). The rest, 22.7 percent of respondents, are between the ages of 35 and 44.
The highest level of education attained by most IBM Certified Administrators is either a bachelor's degree (37.3 percent of those surveyed) or master's degree (29.1 percent). Most of the rest (20.9 percent of those surveyed) topped out at the level of technical training (with no college degree), though a handful (12.7 percent) rose no further up the educational ladder than completing high school.
Full-time employment among IBM Certified Administrators is strong at 96 percent, with 4 percent of those surveyed currently sidelined by unemployment. Among regular full-time workers, most are pushing beyond the bounds of the 4o-hours work week. Nearly half of those surveyed (46.5 percent) work between 41 and 50 hours per week, while 28.2 percent put in more than 50 hours per week. Just 13.6 percent of those surveyed have a normal 40-hour schedule, while the remaining almost 12 percent put in between 31 and 39 hours per week.
IBM Certified Administrators are almost exclusively found at the senior specialist level on the company org chart, which accounts for 90 percent of those surveyed. The remaining 10 percent are more or less evenly divided between the roles of manager (5.2 percent of respondents) and senior manager (4.8 percent).
As indicated by the rather robust average age of IBM Certified Administrators in the survey, most are seasoned IT veterans, with 87.7 percent having worked in a role that directly utilizes one or more of their certified skills for more than 10 years. The rest have been in the game either between 9 and 10 years (7.1 percent of those surveyed) or between 6 and 8 years (5.2 percent).
Finally, here's the view of IBM Certified Administrators on key questions from the survey about how certification impacts job performance:
At my current job I use skills learned or enhanced through certification:
Several times a day: 48.2 percent
Several times a week: 19.6 percent
Several times a month: 20 percent
Occasionally: 12.2 percent
Rarely: [No responses]
Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills.
Strongly agree: 35.4 percent
Agree: 37.3 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 20 percent
Disagree: [No responses]
Strongly Disagree: 7.3 percent
Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: [No responses]
Agree: 44.5 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 40 percent
Disagree: 5.3 percent
Strongly Disagree: 10 percent
Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: [No responses]
Agree: 50.9 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 33.6 percent
Disagree: 11.8 percent
Strongly Disagree: 3.7 percent