This feature first appeared in the Winter 2016 issue of Certification Magazine. Click here to get your own print or digital copy.
There is no "one size fits all" profile that describes (even broadly) every person in IT. If you ask the right questions, however, something between a portrait and a thumbnail sketch emerges. IT professionals who jump into certification, for example, typically don't wait long after entering the field.
A little more than 17 percent of those who responded to the Salary Survey worked in IT for less than a year before getting their first certification. And you don't have to stretch that timetable very far to capture a much bigger slice of the pie. Slightly more than 46 percent of those surveyed earned their first certification after working in IT between 1 year and 5 years.
Some don't press on much after that first credential: About 20 percent of our respondents have just one active certification to their name, and 48 percent more have between two and four active certs. The total count is between five and nine for another 22 percent, but that final 10 percent who have 10 or more active certs includes some seriously dedicated learners: 3.6 percent of those surveyed hold 16 or more active certifications.
There are IT professionals in every industry, but the leading consumers of employable IT skills are the sectors you'd expect. Software claims 16 percent of certified IT pros, followed by computer or network consulting (15 percent), government (11 percent), finance (10 percent) and business services (6 percent).
You can also find IT jobs at every rung of the corporate ladder, but the highest concentration of skilled professionals — 44 percent of those surveyed — are at the senior specialist level, with the next largest groups directly above (managers, at 13 percent) and below (specialists, at 15 percent).
Whatever the job is, there's a significant number of IT pros who haven't been doing it very long, or at least not for their current employer. Almost 14 percent of those surveyed have been at their jobs less than a year, and an additional 42 percent have been with their current employer between 1 year and 5 years. Don't worry, die-hards, you're not alone: Nearly 13 percent of respondents have been where they are for more than 15 years.