This feature first appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of Certification Magazine. Click here to get your own print or digital copy.
Perhaps because the open source nature of Linux encourages first-time learners to play around and learn by doing, there are fewer IT certifications that directly address Linux than in any of the other focus areas where we've done Salary Survey PLUS research. Maybe there's just not a lot of call for variety, with a few long-established certs covering the basics.
Whatever accounts for it, the relatively modest diversity of Linux certification options makes it a little surprising that certification issues attracted the most attention when we asked survey respondents to rate their level of concern about familiar IT challenges.
A notable 64 percent of survey respondents are either concerned (34.8 percent) or very concerned (29.4 percent) about employer support for certification, while 60 percent are either concerned (30 percent) or very concerned (30.4 percent) about recertification and maintaining skills.
Concerns about the likes of compensation and benefits, availability of jobs, and job security generally far outstrip any amount of brow furrowing set aside for certification. Those issues are certainly on the minds of Linux professionals, with 52 percent either concerned (26.8 percent) or very concerned (25.9 percent) about the availability of jobs, while 51 percent are either concerned (26 percent) or very concerned (25.2 percent) about job security.
Even those hot button pressure points, however, fall roughly in line with the level of worry about exam security (52 percent concerned or very concerned) and credential retirement (46 percent concerned or very concerned).
It won't surprise anyone to learn that most of the certified Linux professionals (93 percent) who responded to the survey are men. There's considerable youth among those surveyed, with 10 percent between the ages of 19 and 24, while 30 percent are between the the ages of 25 and 34. Roughly 29 percent are between the ages of 35 and 44, with 19 percent between the ages of 45 and 54.
In terms of educational attainment, some form of college is the norm, as 61 percent of those surveyed have climbed the ladder far enough to have either a bachelor's degree (38.6 percent) or master's degree (22.8 percent), while an additional 10 percent can claim an associate's degree.
Many of our surveys indicate close to full employment, so it's a bit of an oddity that just 86 percent of respondents claim either full-time (76.3 percent) or part-time (9.6 percent) employment. There's a notable contingent who identify as students (7 percent), while 4.4 percent say they're without work.
Among those who are employed full-time, 47.5 percent have a standard 40-hour work week, while 39 percent work between 41 and 50 hours per week. Roughly 10 percent have the short end of the stick, working more than 50 hours per week, while a lucky 5 percent clock in for between 31 and 39 hours.
Somewhat surprisingly, given that Linux has yet to catch on with the computer-using masses, survey respondents are not exclusively employed at large firms and organizations. Roughly 25 percent of those surveyed have more than 10,000 coworkers, while an additional 22 percent work at firms where the total headcount falls between 5,001 and 10,000 (9.6 percent), or between 1,001 and 5,000 (12.3 percent).
The rest are scattered across the mid-size and small business spectrum, with a particularly notable group (14 percent) employed at firms with between 51 and 200 employees, while 7 percent are self-employed.
Per the norm, we also asked survey respondents to sound off about a range of topics not directly connected — not connected at all, really — to networking. That's how we know, for example, that roughly 15 percent of all Linux professionals think Arrival should have been the film that actually swiped the Best Picture Oscar from La La Land at the recent Academy Awards. Keep an eye on CertMag.com to find out how others responded, as well as glean additional insight on other survey matters both wacky and weighty.
TABLE TALK : Where can Linux-certified IT professionals expect to find work?