Certifications Key to Tech Contracting Jobs: Dice Report
According to the latest IT jobs report from online recruiting and job posting service Dice, one aspect of marketing that tech consultants appear to value is certifications. Forty percent of tech consultants said obtaining a certification helped them land a new gig, which is about 10 percentage points higher than their colleagues working in traditional roles. The report indicates that to potential clients, certifications can inspire confidence that contractors are qualified to contribute, manage or lead various projects.
Project Management Professional (PMP) made the top 10 and it's the most frequently desired certification on Dice, with nearly 2,200 requests in job postings on any given day, up nine percent year over year. Project management is a lucrative role, with an average annual salary of about $104,000, add PMP and average salaries jump to nearly $120,000. Other top certifications include three Microsoft-based specifications, including Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE), Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) and Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP).
"There are very few certainties in tech contracting. It isn't just another way of approaching a technology career. It's more akin to starting a small business and that means taking risks, marketing, financial management and more," noted Alice Hill, managing director of Dice. "It's important to remember that not all certifications create the opportunity for a new job or a fatter paycheck, so tech professionals have to be certain that the investment is worth it."
Hill said a company's network is its lifeblood - Cisco Certified Network Associates demonstrate their ability to administer medium-sized routed and switched networks (1,200 job postings, up 21 percent yr/yr), while entry-level network technicians have found CompTIA's Network+ certification helpful in job hunting. In addition, ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) experience and expertise is becoming more vital. Service deliverability is essential and those with ITIL credentials can command a six-figure salary -- nearly $110,000 -- in addition to expanding their job options.
In addition, the report pointed out that seasoned information security professionals are eligible for the Certified Information Systems Security Professionals (CISSP) certification, which is recognized, along with Security+ by the Department of Defense, which requires contractors with privileged access to federal computer networks to obtain specific certifications. This is one factor driving the high level of tech professionals (53 percent) who have at least one certification and are based in Washington D.C., according to Dice research.
The monthly report also tracks the top tech metro areas based on the number of jobs posed by zip code on Dice as of February 1. The New York/New Jersey led the list with 8,862 postings, followed by Washington DC/Baltimore with 8,226 postings and Silicon Valley with 5,366 postings. Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas, Seattle and Philadelphia filled out the top ten. Total available tech jobs reported by Dice stood at 83,272 as of Feb. 1, with 50,730 full-time positions, 36,103 contract positions and 1,655 part-time positions.