Salary Survey Extra is a series of dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our annual Salary Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.
There are 12 different certifications available to specialists working inside the IBM information technology ecosystem. So you’ll have to do some narrowing of the scope of your interests before becoming an IBM Certified Specialist (No. 28 on our most recent Salary Survey 75 list).
Here’s what the salary picture looks like for IBM Certified Specialist holders who responded to the Salary Survey:
All U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $118,550
Median Annual Salary: $112,500
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 10 percent
Very Satisfied: 17.5 percent
Satisfied: 40 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 25 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 7.5 percent
All Non-U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $54,110
Median Annual Salary: $53,750
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 3.2 percent
Very Satisfied: 16.8 percent
Satisfied: 36.8 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 29.6 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 13.6 percent
The largest single body of IBM Certified Specialist holders to participate in the survey is made up of U.S. residents (24.4 percent of respondents), but we also heard from credential holders in 45 other countries: Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, South Korea, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and Venezuela.
There are more women among the survey population here than one might typically expect to find 10.6 percent of IBM Certified Specialist holders who responded to the survey are female. In broad terms, the group as whole is neither young nor old, with 72 percent of those surveyed either between the ages of 35 and 44 (39.7 percent) or between the ages of 45 and 54 (32.3). The outliers are the 8.5 percent of respondents who are between the ages of 25 and 34, the 18.3 percent who are between the ages of 55 and 64, and the 1.2 percent who are between the ages of 65 and 74.
More than 84 percent of the IBM Certified Specialist holders we heard from have an educational background that includes time spent at a college or university. The highest level of education completed by most IBM Certified Specialist holders is either a bachelor’s degree (32.3 percent), master’s degree (36.7 percent), associate’s degree (7.3 percent), professional degree (also 7.3 percent), or doctorate (1.2 percent).
An impressive 96.5 percent of IBM Certified Specialist holders are employed full-time, with 2.9 percent holding part-time jobs and 0.6 percent presently out of work. Among those with full-time jobs, most are at work either between 41 and 50 hours per week (46.7 percent of those surveyed), more than 50 hours per week (11.5 percent), or for the standard 40 hours per week (33.3 percent). A fraction of credential holders with full-time jobs put in either between 31 and 39 hours per week (6.1 percent), between 20 and 30 hours per week (1.2 percent), or fewer than 20 hours per week (also 1.2 percent).
Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, 70 percent of IBM Certified Specialist holders were spending most of those hours at a traditional workplace, working from either home either fewer than 10 hours per week (49.4 percent of respondents) or between 10 and 20 hours per week (21.3 percent). The rest were better accustomed to what has become the norm for many, working from home either between 21 and 30 hours per week (6.2 percent of respondents), between 31 and 39 hour per week (5 percent), 40 hours per week (5.6 percent), or more than 40 hours per week (12.5 percent).
In terms of workplace standing, the largest single group of IBM Certified Specialist holders we heard from (65 percent of respondents) are employed at the senior specialist level. The rest, in descending order, are either specialists (11.5 percent of respondents), managers (9.1 percent), senior managers (4.8 percent), executives (also 4.8 percent, directors (2.9 percent), or rank-and-file employees (1.9 percent).
Nearly two-thirds of the IBM Certified Specialist holders who participated in the survey — 63.9 percent — are IT veterans, having worked in a role that directly utilizes one or more of their certified skills for more than a decade. The rest have been plying their certified skills for either between zero years (1 to 11 months) and 2 years (2.9 percent of respondents), between 3 and 5 years (13 percent), between 6 and 8 years (9.6 percent) or between 9 and 10 years (10.6 percent).
Finally, here’s the view of IBM Certified Specialist holders 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: 28.4 percent
Several times a week: 35 percent
Several times a month: 14.9 percent
Occasionally: 15.9 percent
Rarely: 5.8 percent
Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills.
Strongly agree: 18.3 percent
Agree: 44.2 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 26.9 percent
Disagree: 7.2 percent
Strongly Disagree: 3.4 percent
Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 19.7 percent
Agree: 38.9 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 23.6 percent
Disagree: 14.9 percent
Strongly Disagree: 2.9 percent
Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 20.2 percent
Agree: 36.5 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 27 percent
Disagree: 12 percent
Strongly Disagree: 4.3 percent