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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.
The shakeup of the Microsoft certification pyramid that began at the end of 2016 and carried over into this year means that our Deep Focus lens falls this week on something the series has not previously encountered: a retired certification. Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Server Infrastructure landed at No. 51 on our most recent Salary Survey 75 list, but it's not even included in this year's Salary Survey. The formerly thriving credential was dispatched to certification heaven on March 31.
There's a different credential that has taken the place of MCSE: Server Infrastructure, the new Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Cloud Platform and Infrastructure. So as you read down through this information, it would perhaps be helpful to picture that new certification in your head. There's probably not a straight-across 1-to-1 correlation between the experience of MCSE: Server Infrastructure holders and those who have already moved on to the MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, but there's likely to be a lot of shared ground.
While the bulk of MCSE: Server Infrastructure holders who responded to the survey live and work in the United States (67 percent of those surveyed), we did hear from credential holders in 12 other nations: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Lebanon, Russia, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, and Vietnam. Those in the United States pulled down an average annual salary of $113,040 in 2016, with a median annual salary of $102,500. For those outside the United States, the average annual salary was $72,530, with a median annual figure of $70,000.
As has happened in the case of a few other Deep Focus certifications, all of the MCSE: Server Infrastructure holders who participated in the survey are men — there are surely female credential holders out there, but we didn't hear from any of them. Most of those who did respond to the survey are comfortably ensconced in middle age. While we did hear from a small segment of MCSE: Server Infrastructure holders who are between the ages of 25 and 34 (11.6 percent of those surveyed), most who responded to the survey are either between the agest of 35 and 44 (30.2 percent), or between the ages of 45 and 54 (32.6 percent). The remaining 25.6 percent of those surveyed are eyeing retirement between the ages of 55 and 64.
The highest level of education attained by most MCSE: Server Infrastructure holders is either a bachelor's degree (25.6 percent of those surveyed) or master's degree (37.2 percent). We also heard from a smattering of credential holders who rose up to earn both doctorates (3.9 percent of those surveyed) and professional degrees (3 percent), as well as very modest segment who went no higher up the ladder than to obtain an associate's (2-year) degree (4.7 percent). There's a clear path, however, open to those who have no truck with college: an unusually strong 23.3 percent of those surveyed completed some degree of technical training, but bypassed higher education altogether.
Full-time employment among MCSE: Server Infrastructure holders is strong at 95.3 percent, with 4.7 percent of those surveyed currently sidelined by unemployment. Among regular full-time workers, most are at least somewhat overworked. More than two-thirds of MCSE: Server Infrastructure holders either work between 41 and 50 hours per week (53.6 percent of those surveyed), or put in more than 50 hours per week (17.1 percent). The rest are either at work for the standard 40 hours (24.4 percent of those surveyed), or clock in for between 31 and 39 hours per week (4.9 percent).
Survey results indicate that MCSE: Server Infrastructure holders are strongly represented in management roles. While just 7.3 percent of survey respondents are at the executive level, 23 percent are directors, with 11.6 percent serving as senior managers and 16.3 percent as managers. The largest single group of respondents are at the senior specialist level (34.9 percent of those surveyed), with 4.7 percent employed as specialists and 2.2 percent serving merely as rank-and-file employees.
As is generally true of groups that skew older, and have hence typically gone deeper into their IT careers, most MCSE: Server Infrastructure holders in the survey are veterans. Though small contingents have worked in a role directly utilizes one or more of their certified skills for between zero years (1 to 11 months) and 2 years (2.3 percent of those surveyed), for between 3 and 5 years (9.3 percent), for between 6 and 8 years (4.7 percent), and for between 9 and 10 years (7 percent), most are old pros. A whopping 76.7 percent of those surveyed have been plying their certified skills for more than 10 years.
Finally, here's the view of MCSE: Server Infrastructure 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: 65.1 percent
Several times a week: 25.6 percent
Several times a month: [No responses]
Occasionally: 7.3 percent
Rarely: 2 percent
Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills.
Strongly agree: 27.9 percent
Agree: 37.2 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 22.9 percent
Disagree: 7 percent
Strongly Disagree: 5 percent
Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 32.5 percent
Agree: 39.5 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 20.9 percent
Disagree: 5.2 percent
Strongly Disagree: 1.9 percent
Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 25.6 percent
Agree: 30.2 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 30.2 percent
Disagree: 9.3 percent
Strongly Disagree: 4.7 percent