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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.
As the Internet of Things draws everyone and, yes, everything closer together in a web of digital connectivity, opportunities for IT networking specialists abound. At the end of last year, our Networking Salary Survey found that nearly half of all networking professionals earned some level of bonus pay in 2016, a strong indicator of competition among employers.
The Network Pro certification (No. 74 in this year's Salary Survey 75) offered by training and certification provider TestOut provides a solid first step into the IT networking realm. Network Pro, like its PC Pro and Security Pro cousins, is closely aligned with a core CompTIA credential, in this case Network+. Indeed, as CompTIA Approved Quality Content (CAQC), Network Pro prepares candidates to earn not one, but two certs.
Network Pro certification also provides solid employment potential: U.S. IT workers who are Network Pro-certified chalked up an average annual salary of $52,140 in 2016, with a median annual salary $43,950. Though popular in the United States, TestOut is a relative newcomer to the international market, so we didn't get any reliable data about non-U.S. certification holders.
The Network Pro population is relatively young, with almost 53 percent of survey respondents either between the ages of 25 and 34 (37.7 percent), between the ages of 19 and 24 (13.2 percent), or age 18 or younger (1.8 percent). Even most of the "old timers" are young, with 33.9 percent of respondents between the ages of 35 and 44, though we did hear from a small group (9.4 percent) between the ages of 45 and 54, and an even smaller group (3.8 percent) between the ages of 55 and 64.
Given all of that youth (and relative youth), it's a perhaps hopeful sign for the future of IT that while men are still heavily (85 percent) in the majority, a larger-than-normal 15 percent of Network Pro-certified individuals are women.
When it comes to educational attainment, Network Pro holders tend to have some level of college education under their belts. A bit more than half have either a bachelor's degree (43.4 percent) or master's degree (9.4 percent), while an additional 22.6 percent have associate's (two year) degrees. Nearly 10 percent of those surveyed are still in school, while the rest claim either a high school diploma (3.8 percent) or technical training (11.3 percent) as the pinnacle of their formal education experience.
On the employment front, 18 percent of Network Pro-certified respondents are still full-time students, while 68.9 percent of those surveyed are employed full-time. Of the remaining 13 percent, most (9 percent) are employed part-time. The typical work week for most is either the standard 40 hours (54.7 percent of those surveyed), or falls somewhere between 41 and 50 hours (35.8 percent).
Among Network Pro holders, most are either rank-and-file employees (39.6 percent) or specialists (28.3 percent). There are fewer jobs on the higher rungs of the corporate ladder, though we did hear from notable contingents of both senior specialists (11.3 percent) and managers (9.5 percent).
Generally speaking, the Network Pro crowd is a little wet behind the ears, with 53 percent of all Network Pro holders having worked in a role that directly utilizes their certified skills for between zero years (1-11 months) and 2 years. The next largest group, at 20.7 percent, have been in the game for between 3 and 5 years, while 17 percent have been in a networking role for either between 6 and 8 years (11.3 percent) or between 9 and 10 years (5.7 percent), and 9.3 percent have been thus engaged more than 10 years.
Finally, here's the view of Network Pro 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: 60.4 percent
Several times a week: 17percent
Several times a month: 7.5 percent
Occasionally: 9.4 percent
Rarely: 5.7 percent
Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills.
Strongly Agree: 35.8 percent
Agree: 32.1 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 26.3 percent
Disagree: 3.8 percent
Strongly Disagree: 2 percent
Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly Agree: 41.5 percent
Agree: 37.7 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 13.4 percent
Disagree: 1.8 percent
Strongly Disagree: 5.6 percent
Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly Agree: 34 percent
Agree: 28.5 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 30.1 percent
Disagree: 3.8 percent
Strongly Disagree: 3.6 percent