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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.
What determines the "value" of a certification? There are many different reasons that people choose to get certified. So on some level, it's a personal question. Your certification is valuable to you for whatever reasons are most important to you.
Two questions, however, are often discussed more than any others when it comes to determining whether it's "worth it" to get certified. Will the certification add to my knowledge and understanding of a given IT topic? Will the certification increase my earning power?
For the Salary Survey, we isolated those two items and asked the question directly: Which is the most important benefit of earning a certification? At least in terms of perception among IT professionals, there's no contest. A commanding 71.8 percent of those surveyed said that gaining increased knowledge and skills is the most important benefit of earning a certification.
Just 15.8 percent feel that gaining increased earning power is the most important benefit of earning a certification. And we did hear from a contrarian 12.4 percent of survey respondents who believe that neither increased earning power nor increased knowledge and skills is the most important benefit of earning a certification.
For those people, the most important benefit of certification probably lies somewhere in the follow-up question that we asked: Besides education and salary, what are the most important benefits of getting a certification? We asked each respondent to name his or her two top choices. Here are the options, along with the percentage of all survey respondents who chose that option:
Gain qualifications for a future job — 49.4 percent
Improve or confirm my qualification for my current job — 48.2 percent
Gain greater confidence in my own skills — 40 percent
Become eligible for positions of greater responsibility with my current employer — 34.9 percent
Gain prestige and recognition among colleagues — 28.7 percent
Gain advanced access to technical data — 25.7 percent
My employer requires this certification — 21.9 percent
Enjoy belonging to a community of certified professionals — 19.8 percent
Enjoy receiving increased support from IT vendors — 5.6 percent
Finally, what about the value of certifications over time? This is a battleground, of sorts. Some people like to argue that certification is less valuable than it used to be. Time and the rapid advance of technology have changed the playing field, certain skills are invalid or outdated, and so forth. So we asked IT professionals that question as well: What will happen to the overall worth and impact of certifications over the next five years?
For the most part, people either don't see the overall picture changing much, or they're optimistic. A considerable 47.9 percent of those surveyed think that certifications will become more valuable and impactful over the next five years, while 39.8 percent see things remaining about the same. A little less than 10 percent of those surveyed believe that certifications will become less valuable and impactful, while 2.7 percent think they will become irrelevant.
MMMMM, HOT DOGS In October of last year, the World Health Organization rained on everyone's parade. Not quite literally, of course, but it was close. Parades happen in summer, after all, and summer means cookouts, and cookouts need hot dogs ... and hot dogs (and a lot of other meats) cause cancer. Boooo! And waaaah!
While it seems unlikely that hot dogs (and other processed meats) will immediately vanish from circulation, the C-word is certainly going to make a lot of us think twice. So in the Not-So-Serious section of the Salary Survey, we asked IT professionals what part of "the whole hot dog experience" they are going to miss the most.
Apparently, there's only so much hot dog nostalgia out there:
Hot dogs are gross, good riddance. — 19.3 percent
Whatever the meat is that they actually put in those things — 17.6 percent
Cooking them over a campfire — 15 percent
Eating them at the ballpark — 11.7 percent
Deli mustard — 10.9 percent
Diced onions — 6 percent
Sweet pickle relish — 5.9 percent
Buns — 5.1 percent
Kobayashi — 3.6 percent
Catsup — 2.9 percent
Grabbing one out of the slow cooker at the Gas 'n Sip — 2 percent