Salary Survey Extra: Two questions about exercise
Posted on
June 25, 2020

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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

Do certified IT professionals like to exercise? And, if so, what's in their headphones while they are working out?

The prevailing perception of certified IT professionals tends to be that they largely spend their time sitting and staring at computers and are generally not what might be termed "workout warriors." Is that an accurate assessment, or a lazily stereotypical slander?

To be fair, most people engage in, and some people actually enjoy, some form of exercise. In that sense, the true dividing line would seem to lie not between those who exercise and those who don't, but between those who use a fitness tracker to catalog each 12-mile run or two-hour swim, and those who ride an exercise bike while watching a 20-minute sitcom, or walk to the bus stop before work.

There are degrees between these sorts of extremes, of course, but the point, again, is that most people do something. The real question is: How much of that thing do they do? We got curious thinking about this issue, so as part of last year's end-of-survey Not So Serious chaser section, we put the question to our faithful brigade of certified IT professionals. Here's what we learned:

Q: The right amount of exercise for optimum wellness is which of the following?

I exercise six hours a day. That seems to work for Hugh Jackman whenever he has to play Wolverine. — 1.3 percent
More than 1 hour per day — 9.5 percent
30-60 minutes per day — 39.6 percent
30-60 minutes every other day — 4.6 percent
30-60 minutes a couple of times per week — 21.5 percent
I only exercise if my employer is paying me to do it. — 8 percent
I have never exercised and don't intend to start. — 5.4 percent

Somewhat surprisingly, there are quite a few IT professionals who are, if not getting ripped, at least hitting the gym (or pounding the pavement) with surprising consistency. Nearly 40 percent are active for at least 30 minutes every day. There are even some hardcore types getting after it more than an hour per day. And who knows? Maybe even a couple of the people who claim six-plus hours per day are not lying.

There aren't even that many total exercise curmudgeons. A few respondents essentially said they are flat-out opposed to exercise, but even the ones who claim not to have any interest unless their employer is running a wellness incentive scheme are admitting to a small degree of interest in physical fitness.

Do certified IT professionals like to exercise? And, if so, what's in their headphones while they are working out?

Since quite a few of those who participated in the survey are at least casual exercisers, it made sense to include the responses to a separate, yet related question here. Many people, when they are either exercising or doing something repetitive the only calls for a portion of their direct attention, will throw on some headphones and listen to, well, what exactly?

Podcasts are more ubiquitous in 2020 than blogs were in 2001. And there are other things the people routinely listen to: audiobooks, talk radio, news programs, and so forth. So what's the distraction of choice? Here's what certified IT professionals have to say about that:

Q: When I put in headphones to distract myself while exercising, doing something repetitive, working in the yard, etc., I like to listen to which of the following?

Music — 73.7 percent
My favorite podcast — 8.1 percent
A good audiobook — 6.4 percent
Talk radio — 3.4 percent
Sports broadcasts — 1.4 percent
News programs — 2.5 percent
Other — 4.4 percent

The overwhelming popularity of music here threw us for a bit of a loop. We were expecting a greater diversity of interest, but nope, tunes it is. Which begs the question, If tech geeks aren't listening to all of the podcasts out there, then who is? The percentages here would seem to indicate that the real answer is exactly what most people think it is: nobody.

There is that catch-all "Other" category and we did let people enter their own preferred answer. Most people just used this to let us know what they never listen to anything while doing something else, or to elaborate on one of the choices that we offered already. There were a couple of interesting things that we hadn't thought of, however, such as certification training materials (makes sense), motivational speeches, white noise, nature sounds, religious sermons, guided meditations, and "heavy breathing." OK, weirdo.

About the Author

Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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