Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on TestOut PC Pro
Posted on
March 13, 2020

Salary Survey Extra is a series of dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our annual Salary Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

TestOut's PC Pro certification prepares learners to embark on a career as a computer technician.

Modern workers across almost every industry are heavily reliant on computers. When it comes to mechanical failure or software glitchery, however, most people tend to have a similar relationship with their computer as they do with their car: They know a couple of things, and could maybe change the battery, or swap out a bad headlight bulb, but mostly they just take it to the guy who fixes cars.

The guys (and gals) who fix computers often get started on their IT journey with an IT support/computer technician certification like TestOut's PC Pro (No. 73 on our most recent Salary Survey 75 list). PC Pro is both its own certification and provides training for CompTIA's similar A+ credential, so you can wind up with two certs, essentially, for the price of one.

Here's what the salary picture looks like for the PC Pro holders who responded to the Salary Survey:

All U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $59,650
Median Annual Salary: $58,000
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 2.3 percent
Very Satisfied: 15.9 percent
Satisfied: 47.7 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 27.3 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 6.8 percent

Though there are non-U.S. credential holders, TestOut certifications are most widely deployed in the United States, so the PC Pro survey data discussed here doesn't take other countries into account.

Somewhat surprisingly, more than one-fifth of PC Pro holders who responded to the survey are women (21.3 percent of respondents). In addition to tilting further in the direction of gender balance than most of the certs we report about in this space, PC Pro also skews significantly younger than most Deep Focus certs. More than 65 percent of those who responded to the survey are younger than 45, either between the ages of 19 and 24 (4.5 percent of those surveyed), between the ages of 25 and 34 (31.8 percent), or between the ages of 35 and 44 (29.6 percent). The rest are either between the ages of 45 and 54 (18.2 percent of those surveyed) or between the ages of 55 and 64 (15.9 percent).

Nearly 80 percent of PC Pro holders who responded to the survey have an educational background that includes time spent at a college or university. The highest level of education completed by most PC Pro holders is either a bachelor's degree (31.8 percent of those surveyed), associate's degree (25 percent), or master's degree (22 percent). The outliers are the 6.8 percent of survey respondents who completed some level of post-high school technical training, the 2.3 percent who exited the realm of formal education after completing high school, and the 11.4 percent who are still furthering their education.

Roughly 72 percent of PC Pro holders who participated in the survey have full-time jobs, with 6.6 employed part-time, 8.2 percent currently in school, 3.3 percent on sabbatical, and 9.8 percent out of work. Among those who have full-time jobs, most are at work either for the standard 40 hours per week (63.6 percent of respondents) or put in between 41 and 50 hours (25 percent).  The outliers are the 4.6 percent of those surveyed who work more than 50 hours per week, the 4.5 percent who put in between 31 and 39 hours per week, and the 2.3 percent who are on the clock for between 20 and 30 hours per week.

It has gradually become somewhat common in the IT industry to work from home, but this may not be the certification to pursue if that represents your dream employment situation: roughly 76 percent of those surveyed work from home fewer than 10 hours per week, and a further 11.9 percent are at the home office no more than between 10 and 20 hours per week. That just just about 12 percent of PC Pro holders who either work entirely from home (the 4.8 percent whose total home work hours per week are an even 40), mostly from home (the 4.8 percent putting in between 31 and 39 hours), or spend between half and two-thirds of their work hours at home (the 2.4 percent who are at home for between 21 and 30 hours per week).

In terms of workplace standing, the largest single group of PC Pro holders we heard from are employed at the rank-and-file employee level (42.6 percent). The rest, in descending order, are either specialists (37.7 percent of respondents), senior specialists (6.6 percent), or managers (13.1 percent).

A little less than half of the PC Pro holders who responded to the survey — 47.5 percent of them — are IT newcomers, having worked in a role that directly utilizes one or more of their certified skills for between zero years (1 to 11 months) and two years. The rest have been plying their certified skills for either between 3 and 5 years (23 percent of respondents), between 6 and 8 years (13.1 percent), or more than 10 years (16.4 percent).

Finally, here's the view of PC 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: 39.3 percent
Several times a week: 24.6 percent
Several times a month: 8.2 percent
Occasionally: 19.7 percent
Rarely: 8.2 percent

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills.
Strongly agree: 23 percent
Agree: 45.9 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 24.6 percent
Disagree: 4.9 percent
Strongly Disagree: 1.6 percent

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 32.8 percent
Agree: 42.6 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 18 percent
Disagree: 3.3 percent
Strongly Disagree: 3.3 percent

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 26.2 percent
Agree: 39.4 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 26.3 percent
Disagree: 4.9 percent
Strongly Disagree: 3.3 percent





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