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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.
Way back in 1961, the then newly-merged Frito-Lay Inc. snack food corporation unveiled a popular slogan that speculated consumers could not "eat just one" of its tasty potato chips. IT certifications are probably not as irresistibly delicious as thin-sliced, deep-fat-fried wafers of potato product. Many certified individuals, on the other hand, get more than just one certification.
Each year when we conduct the Salary Survey, we ask respondents a couple of questions about their IT certification plans for the coming year. You can click here, for example, to see a list of the 50 certifications named most frequently when we asked survey participants which cert(s) they were intending to chase in 2020 (be sure to scroll down the page).
We also asked survey respondents how many of them were (still are, in other words) planning to get at least one new certification in 2020. Perhaps not surprisingly, given that we directed this inquiry toward a bunch of certified IT professionals, nearly 80 percent of those surveyed (79.2 percent, to be exact) said that at least one new certification was definitely in the cards.
We also asked survey respondents how many of them actually got a new certification (or multiple new certifications) in 2019. Maybe everyone is feeling especially ambitious about 2020, because 43.1 percent of respondents did not get any new certifications in 2019, a stark contrast to the 20.8 percent who admitted that would probably be the case in 2020.
An impressive 46.2 percent of those surveyed got either one (32.2 percent) or two (14.1 percent) new certifications in 2019. Among the remaining slightly more than 10 percent of respondents, 5.6 percent got three new certs in 2019, 2.1 percent got four new certs, 1 percent got five new certs, and a hard-working 1.9 percent got six or more new certs.
Now, although we learn from the original Ghostbusters movie that you should never cross the streams, we got a little curious to know what past certification performance suggests about future certification activity. Here's what we learned:
Planning to Get At Least One New Cert in 2020 (79.2 percent of all respondents)
Got no new certs in 2019: 36.7 percent
Got one new cert in 2019: 34.9 percent
Got two new certs in 2019: 16.2 percent
Got three new certs in 2019: 6.3 percent
Got four new certs in 2019: 2.6 percent
Got five new certs in 2019: 1.2 percent
Got six or more new certs in 2019: 2.1 percent
Planning to Get No New Certs in 2020 (20.8 percent of all respondents)
Got no new certs in 2019: 66.7 percent
Got one new cert in 2019: 22 percent
Got two new certs in 2019: 7.5 percent
Got three new certs in 2019: 2.7 percent
Got four new certs in 2019: 0.3 percent
Got five new certs in 2019: [No responses]
Got six or more new certs in 2019: 0.8 percent
So, among those planning to get no new certs in 2020, that decision represents a continuation of the status quo for roughly two-thirds. And most of those planning on no new certs in 2020 who did actually certify last year only got a single cert.
On the other side of the coin, among those who are planning to get certified in 2020, a notable 36.7 percent took the year off from certification in 2019, while most of the rest (51 percent) got either one (34.9 percent) or two (16.2 percent) new credentials in 2019.