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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.
This is the second appearance in our Deep Focus series by Massachusetts-based Pegasystems. If you'd like a thimbleful of background on the company and its products, then we invite you to jump back to the earlier entry, which covered the Certified System Architect (CSA) credential. Today, our focus turns to its close cousin, the Certified Senior System Architect (CSSA) credential, which checked in at No. 34 in this year's Salary Survey 75.
Out of all CSSA-certified individuals who responded to the survey, 30 percent checked in from the United States, while the rest came from 17 countries around the world, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. India (22 percent of CSSA holders in the survey) and the United Kingdom (15 percent) were particularly well represented.
Among U.S. CSSA holders, the average annual salary in 2016 was $122,620, with a median annual salary of $121,670. The average annual salary across all countries outside the United States was $65,610, with a median annual salary of $38,330.
CSSA holders are mostly male (86.8 percent of those surveyed), but there are a notable number of females (13.2 percent) who can claim the credential. CSSA skews much younger than many IT certifications do, with exactly half of all credential holders falling either somewhere between the ages of 25 and 34 (46.5 percent of those surveyed) or between the ages of 19 and 24 (3.5 percent). Even among those more advanced in years, most (32.5 percent of those surveyed) are barely older, landing between the ages of 35 and 44. The senior citizens of the bunch are smallish pockets of CSSAs between the ages of 45 and 54 (11.4 percent) and between the ages of 55 and 64 (6.1 percent).
The highest level of education attained by most CSSA holders is either a bachelor's degree (53.5 percent of those surveyed) or master's degree (39.5 percent of those surveyed). If you don't much go in for higher education, then you aren't likely to join the CSSA ranks. The rest of our respondents either have professional degrees (6 percent) or doctorates (1 percent).
Impressively, we didn't hear from a single unemployed CSSA holder. The vast majority of respondents hold full-time jobs (97.4 percent) and part-time employment accounts for everyone else (a mere 2.6 percent of those surveyed). CSSA holders can expect to be at least somewhat overworked. While we did hear from a largish group (35.1 percent of those surveyed) who put in a standard 40 hours per week, most work either somewhere between 41 and 50 hours per week (46.5 percent), or more than 50 hours per week (14.9 percent).
Most CSSA holders have climbed a few rungs up the employment ladder. While there are contingents of rank-and-file employees (11.4 percent of those surveyed) and specialists (13.2 percent of those surveyed), the largest group by far is made up of those at the senior specialist level (59.6 percent of those surveyed). Managers (7 percent), senior mangers (also 7 percent) and credential holders at the director level (1.8 percent) account for the balance of those surveyed.
There is a veteran core of CSSA holders who have plying their certified skills for either more than a decade (14.9 percent of those surveyed), or nearly that (6.1 percent with between 9 and 10 years of service). Most, however, are relatively new to the game, with between 6 and 8 CSSA-fueled years (20.2 percent of those surveyed), between 3 and 5 years (40.4 percent), or between zero years (1-11 months) and 2 years (18.4 percent).
Finally, here's the view of Certified Senior 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: 64.9 percent
Several times a week: 22.8 percent
Several times a month: 6 percent
Occasionally: 4.3 percent
Rarely: 2 percent
Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills.
Strongly agree: 57 percent
Agree: 33.3 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 5.3 percent
Disagree: 2.4 percent
Strongly Disagree: 2 percent
Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 26.3 percent
Agree: 45.6 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 21.1 percent
Disagree: 3.5 percent
Strongly Disagree: 3.5 percent
Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 34.2 percent
Agree: 42.1 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 15.8 percent
Disagree: 5.3 percent
Strongly Disagree: 2.6 percent