Salary Survey PLUS: Most popular Linux certifications
Posted on
September 9, 2015

This feature first appeared in the Summer�2015�issue of Certification Magazine. Click here to get your own print or digital copy.

CertMag is back with fresh data from our recent Linux Salary Survey.

It's fitting, when you think about it, for Linux to have a penguin as its mascot. Penguins are resourceful creatures with the fortitude to survive in some of the harshest conditions on Earth. As the overwhelming OS of choice in both the supercomputing and enterprise computing realms, Linux similarly bears the brunt of managing some of the most demanding utilizations of sheer computational wherewithal.

While many home, education and business computer users live in a world of Windows, Linux is the bedrock that lurks beneath much of what we swipe, click, or type each day. The billions of eyeballs that scan the web from sunrise until well after dark are really looking at Linux � we just can't see far enough beneath the intervening layers of internet technology to make that distinction.

As the demand for massive computer systems to manage increasingly complex webs of technology grows, the demand for Linux expertise is booming right along with it. Earlier this year, the Linux Foundation's annual Linux Jobs Report, which gathers data from more than 1,000 hiring managers, disclosed that more than 95 percent of employers surveyed planned to hire Linux professionals before year's end.

The same report revealed that Linux certification has an important impact on the hiring process, with 44 percent of hiring managers saying they're more likely to hire a candidate with a Linux credential. So if certification makes it easier to get hired for Linux jobs, does it also have an impact on how well Linux certified employees are paid?


Our own survey of Linux-certified professionals revealed some positive indicators on that score. The median annual income for Linux-certified IT pros both last year and this year is relatively low by comparison with other IT specializations - $52,500 - but a significant number (more than 40 percent) of Linux IT pros benefit from bonus and incentive pay.

There's also positive growth at the top of the salary ladder, where the most experienced and tenured IT professionals tend to reside. Slightly more than 16 percent of those surveyed had an annual income of $100,000 or more in 2014, but that figure climbed to 18.5 percent in 2015. The more you know about Linux, the greater the likelihood that your salary is on the rise - or should be.

And though it's far from certain that adding a Linux certification to your resume will also boost your paycheck, there's a strong likelihood that getting certified does lead to increased income for many. A hefty 38 percent of survey respondents were given a raise by their employers in the first year after earning the most recent Linux cert.

The pay bump was small for many, with 36 percent of those surveyed reporting an increase of 5 percent or less. On the other hand, 26.9 percent collected a raise in the neighborhood of 10 percent, with an additional 29 percent of those surveyed reporting an increase of somewhere between 15 and 30 percent.

At the top of the heap, we found a handful of Linux-certified professionals (an impressive 7 percent of those surveyed) who either weren't making all that much in the first place, or who really hit the jackpot - reaping a pay increase of more than 35 percent. Tell us where you work next time, fellas. We'd like to find out whether those people are hiring.

TABLE TALK : Mirror, mirror on the wall. Which are the most widely-held Linux certifications of all:

CertMag's Linux Salary Survey revealed some interesting data.

We learned a few other things, too. It's all available right now in our latest quarterly issue, or you can pull up a virtual chair and settle in here at for the big (and gradual) reveal.

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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