IT Pros Need Business Skills, Certifications for Higher Salaries
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Certifications can still lead to higher salaries, but for IT professionals, business skills are becoming just as valuable, according to the third-quarter IT Skills and Certification Pay Index report from Foote Partners.
In the report, released Nov. 29, Foote Partners found that only 5 percent of the certified skills in its index saw a pay increase from last year, compared with 13 percent of noncertified skills.
The third-quarter study showed that salaries of professionals with IT certifications and those with specific business skills were flattening, similar to the trend observed in the second-quarter skills and certification report. Foote Partners monitor approximately 2,200 employers and more than 120,000 jobs to compile the report each quarter.
Overall, pay for noncertified skills declined slightly in the third quarter, continuing the slide first observed last quarter after more than a year of steady gains, according to Foote Partners. Pay for IT certifications continued declining, hitting a 12-year low this quarter. However, a handful of specific skills and specialized certifications continued to see salary gains.
"The average market value for 274 noncertified skills dipped slightly from July to October for the second consecutive quarter," the report found, also noting that "pay premiums for 240 IT certifications continued their downward trend for a fifth straight quarter."
The application development/programming category and the systems administration and engineering category both grew in overall market value, thanks to salary increases for IT professionals with specialist certifications from Oracle, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Red Hat and Microsoft, the report found.
Declines were most significant in positions requiring entry-level and training certification. Premium pay, such as a bonus, declined 6.4 percent since the second quarter for those positions. Salaries for professionals with Web development certifications were down 5.3 percent, while salaries for professionals with operating systems skills, a noncertified category in the Foote Partners index, increased by 9.4 percent over the third quarter.
The market value for certifications that fall under the category of "beginner and training" have declined 32 percent over the last two years, according to the report. Professionals with certifications in networking and communication have seen a 10.4 percent drop, and pay premiums for database certifications have dropped 6.4 percent over the same period. Other certifications that have dropped include architecture, project management and process.