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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.
Not to wax overly altruistic, but open source technology development is one of those energetically collaborative endeavors that harnesses the noblest impulses of the human spirit and gives one hope for the future of the species. OK, so that was maybe laying it on a little thick, but open source is one of those cool IT areas where certification can help you nail down a fat salary while simultaneously pitching in to achieve a greater good.
As one of the world's leading open source companies, Red Hat, which is particularly well known for its various Linux-related endeavors, offers some highly competitive open source certifications. Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) showed up at No. 41 on our most recent Salary Survey 75 list.
Red Hat certifications have global reach, and we heard from RHCE-certified individuals both in the United States (where roughly 30 percent of respondents are located) and 14 different countries around the world: Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Italy, Nepal, Poland, Romania, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. It's good to be RHCE-certified in the United States, where credential holders enjoyed an average annual salary of $119,750 in 2016, with a median annual salary of $105,500. Outside the United States, the average annual salary dipped to $44,650, with a median annual salary of $30,000.
The body of RHCE holders who responded to the survey is unique on a couple of fronts, the first being that all of them (100 percent) are men (which is a first for our Deep Focus series). They're also all surprisingly young. A robust 7.9 percent of those we heard from are barely out of high school between the ages of 19 and 24, while 39.6 percent are between the ages of 25 and 34, and 38.9 percent are between the ages of 35 and 44. You're an RHCE "old timer" if you align with the remaining 13.6 percent of respondents, who are between the ages of 45 and 54.
The highest level of education attained by most RHCE holders is either a bachelor's degree (50 percent of those surveyed) or master's degree (28.6 percent). Everyone else falls into a fairly even three-way split between high school diplomas (6.8 percent of respondents), technical training with no college degree (7.5 percent), and associate's (two-year) degrees (7.1 percent).
Employment among RHCE holders is quite good, with 94.6 percent of survey respondents employed full-time, versus just 5.4 percent who are out of work. Among those who have jobs, a welcome 42.9 percent work the standard 40 hours per week, while 21.4 percent put in between 31 and 39 hours per week. Among strivers, roughly 29 percent work between 41 and 50 hours per week, while just 6.9 percent put in more than 50 hours.
As many IT certifications do, RHCE leans heavily toward the "senior specialist" tier of the workplace org chart, which claims 53.6 percent of those surveyed. Other RHCE holders are primarily either specialists (10.7 percent of those surveyed) or rank-and-file employees (18.2 percent), though management does have a claim. About 9 percent of RHCE holders in the survey are managers, with 6.1 percent at the director level, and 2.5 percent who are executives.
RHCE would also appear to be welcoming to newcomers: More than 53 percent of those surveyed have worked in a role that directly utilizes one or more of their certified skills for either between zero years (1 to 11 months) and 2 years (32.1 percent of respondents), or between 3 years and 5 years (21.4 percent). There is a strong veteran presence, with 35.7 percent of respondents have been so engaged for more than 10 years.
Finally, here's the view of RHCE 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: 46.4 percent
Several times a week: 36.1 percent
Several times a month: 7.9 percent
Occasionally: 9.6 percent
Rarely: [No responses]
Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills.
Strongly agree: 50 percent
Agree: 21.8 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 17.5 percent
Disagree: 10.7 percent
Strongly Disagree: [No responses]
Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 24.6 percent
Agree: 67.9 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 5 percent
Disagree: [No responses]
Strongly Disagree: 2.5 percent
Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 26.7 percent
Agree: 48.2 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 21.9 percent
Disagree: [No responses]
Strongly Disagree: 3.2 percent