Salary Survey Extra is a series of dispatches that give added insight into the findings of both our annual Salary Survey and our smaller Salary Survey PLUS polls. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.
It's been a couple of weeks since the last time that we played this tune on our Salary Survey fiddle, so let's recap some of the basics. A question that we frequently get in response to our surveys goes something like this: "I have a [name of certification], and I don't make [average annual salary that CertMag reported for that certification]. How about that, geniuses?!" The nature of an average, of course, is that it doesn't represent the actual experience of everyone in the group it describes.
But, yeah, fine, fair point. We said X, and you think X is a crock of (something smelly). Let's take a look at some of the other factors in play. Since we're dealing with Cisco's Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Routing & Switching credential this week, we'll refer to that. In the recent fall edition of Certification Magazine (published at the beginning of October) we reported an average annual salary for CCNP R&S of $86,350.
If $86,350 is the average annual salary of someone living and working in the United States who has a CCNP R&S on their résumé, then where or, perhaps more importantly, when can the average CCNP R&S-certified professional expect to encounter it? We ask a couple of questions about career timing in the survey, and one of them may be helpful here. Respondents tell us how long they have worked professionally in IT networking. When we cross reference those answers (drawing, again, from all U.S.-based CCNP R&S credential holders) to salary across the first 10 years of involvement in IT networking, an interesting (if predictable) trend emerges.
Here's what we came up with:
The First 10 Years of CCNP: Routing & Switching
The trend that emerges here is probably what most people would have expected to see. The more an individual accrues experience from professional involvement in IT networking, the correspondingly higher their salary is likely to be. There are hiccups: Year 4 is clearly a bit of a statistical outlier in terms of average annual salary, for example. The overall tendency, however, is pretty fixed: The longer you stick to what you're doing, the more you can expect to be paid for doing it.
It's clear that some people who climb the Cisco certification ladder up to the CCNP R&S rung may, in fact, hit the average annual salary number from the survey more or less right away. And by the time that you've been a networking professional for at least five years, the likelihood of being at or above that salary figure is better than 50 percent. Given that CCNP is a journeyman-level cert, it makes sense that you can get closer to the average salary more quickly than was the case when we ran this experiment with CCNA R&S.