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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.
A great deal of the time spent studying for an MBA focuses on the business of doing business. That is to say, how do business do what they do, and how can they do those things more effectively and efficiently? It's been said of military conquest that amateurs study tactics, while professionals focus on logistics. Put another way, you can't win a great battle if your army never takes the field in the first place.
Massachusetts-based Pegasystems is a software company that makes products concerned with the business of doing business. Two key areas of focus are tech tools to better enable customer relationship management (CRM) and business process management (BPM). The company has been around since 1983, but joined the IT certification game relatively recently, with the launch of Pega Academy in 2014.
The certification program is thriving, and one of several Pegasystems credentials to pop through in this year's Salary Survey 75 is Certified System Architect (CSA), No. 30. Among CSA-certified individuals who responded to the survey, 28.7 percent checked in from the United States, while the remaining 71 percent came from 23 countries across the globe, including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands. the Philippines, Poland Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.
Among U.S. Certified System Architect holders, the average annual salary in 2016 was $124,480, with a median annual salary of $126,000. The average annual salary across all countries outside the United States was $57,980, with a median annual salary of $35,100.
The Certified System Architect population is considerably less male-skewed than many such groups in IT: 15.7 percent of survey respondents are female, meaning that the subgroup of male certification holders falls slightly below the 85 percent threshold, a boundary rarely crossed in the male-dominated IT realm. Certification holders are heavily concentrated on the far end of young adulthood, with 48.1 percent of those surveyed between the ages of 25 and 34. There is a modest youth movement, with 11.6 percent of those surveyed between the ages of 19 and 24, but middle age has a much larger claim, with 36 percent of respondents either between the ages of 35 and 44 (24.1 percent), or between the ages of 45 and 54 (12 percent).
The highest level of education attained by most Certified System Architect holders is either a bachelor's degree (57.4 percent) or master's degree (35.2 percent), though a notable 4.2 percent have professional degrees (such as an M.D. or juris doctor). If you haven't been to college, then you probably aren't a CSA.
A remarkable 98.2 percent of Certified System Architect holders are employed full time, with the remaining 1.8 percent claiming part-time employment. No one who responded to the survey was unemployed in 2016. Long hours are the norm for CSAs, with nearly 63 percent at work either between 41 and 50 hours per week (47.7 percent), or more than 50 hours (14.8 percent). Nearly everyone else (31.9 percent of respondents) clocks in for the standard 40-hour week.
Jobs are heavily clustered at low-end of the employment hierarchy, with 43 percent of respondents either rank-and-file employees (25 percent) or specialists (18.1 percent). There is a solid tier of senior specialists (38.4 percent), but management and executive positions are relatively rare.
As you might expect, given the newness of the certification program, most CSA holders have been working with Pegasystems products five or fewer years, with 38.4 percent of respondents on the bandwagon for between zero years (1-11 months) and two years, while 33 percent have been in the game for between 3 and 5 years. There are small pockets of veteran savvy, with 12 percent of CSAs in the trenches of between 6 and 8 years, while 16 percent have been clocking in either between 9 and 10 years (5 percent) or more than 10 years (10.7 percent).
Finally, here's the view of Certified System Architect 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: 60.2 percent
Several times a week: 21.3 percent
Several times a month: 10.2 percent
Occasionally: 6.5 percent
Rarely: 1.8 percent
Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills.
Strongly agree: 50.5 percent
Agree: 36.6 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 8.8 percent
Disagree: 2.3 percent
Strongly Disagree: 1.8
Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 25.9 percent
Agree: 45.8 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 20.8 percent
Disagree: 4.6 percent
Strongly Disagree: 2.8 percent
Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 33.3 percent
Agree: 43.1 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 18.5 percent
Disagree: 3.2 percent
Strongly Disagree: 1.9 percent