Investing time, effort, and money in technology certifications to improve understanding and proficiency in various technical skills certainly, adds value to personal development, but what does it mean in terms of job prospects and salary increases? Are all certificates identical, or are some more valuable than others?
The IDG Insider Pro and Computerworld IT Salary Survey 2022 of 1,172 IT Professionals sought to understand the current understanding of certifications and gain some real-life experiences of how employers view them. With a shortage of IT skills in short supply, recruiter Hays states that 84 percent of employers say they have a shortage of skills. The shortage in the IT, construction, life sciences, and property industries is greater than the national average of the USA spending time and energy on training. Is it the case?
According to our survey, 64 percent of respondents currently have IT certifications, up from 59 percent in last year’s survey. While 36 percent are not certified, that number may change during the year, with nearly half of those surveyed saying that certifications have helped them get a job, a raise, or a promotion.
What are the areas of technology where we currently see more certifications? Top of the certification list is IT professionals working in the security field, where more than 79 percent are certified. Next is cloud computing, with more than 77 percent, followed by networking with 71 percent?
Given the rapid acceleration of digital transformations resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, we would expect to see increased demand for certifications, especially in some high-tech areas such as cloud, applications, and security. However, while 39 percent said that certificates played no role in career advancement, the return on investment in certification, at least for a large portion of IT benefits, remains questionable.
However, still, many see it as an opportunity for self-improvement in the coming months. While certifications may or may not immediately benefit from influencing job prospects and earnings, some certifications may be more valuable than others. Has this at least given IT benefits the idea to pursue certifications in the next 12 months?
Our survey found that more than half of IT professionals (58 percent) want to earn IT-related certifications this year. This is a significant increase from last year’s 50% figure. As in last year’s survey, security, at 21 percent, came to the fore in terms of assurances that most IT benefits would follow, although the number has slightly decreased from the number of our 2020 survey of 28 percent. The real growth field, unsurprisingly, is cloud computing. Compared to 15 percent in last year’s survey, 19 percent of IT professionals said they would pursue cloud computing certification in the next two years. Networks (11 percent), project/process management (10 percent), systems administration (eight percent), and analytics (four percent) were also included.
The pursuit of technology certification loosely matches the demand for IT skills established in our hiring data analysis. At the top of that tree were application development, cloud computing, and security, so it is reasonable that these are key investment areas in certification. What is also clear, at least from some feedback from respondents, is the need to use skills to build personal profiles while creating broader awareness and resilience.
Going down. Certificates that are not in high request
Communications, marketing technology, and mobile app development are very low (one percent overall). Programming languages and database certifications are not much better, and two percent have both. While this may reflect the limited relevance of these certifications to areas of modern technology growth, it is surprising that there is little correlation with what IT leaders consider to be skills that are no longer a priority, as we revealed in our hiring analysis.
Other factors, such as outsourcing, may come into play, and some organizations prefer to obtain certified in-house teams in growth areas such as cloud and security. If an organization needs a website, there are many options for agencies and gig economy workers that could fill the gap.
Understandably, all IT professionals want to be respected in their work and feel relevant to their employer. One way to build competencies is certifications, which can elevate people in the eyes of IT leaders, or they can be perceived as part of the process and not linked to opportunities and changes. If anything, it seems to apply to individual employers. Otherwise, we would expect to see more and more people seeking a certificate, and the qualifications would become industry norms in all technologies.
However, as we have seen in our job satisfaction research, skills development, education, and training are increasingly important on a list of factors important to IT professionals.