IT professionals often wonder whether the time and expense involved in acquiring a certification is worth it. And if it is, which certification should they pursue?
Foote Partners recently released its 2018 IT Skills Demand and Pay Trends Report, which helps answer those questions. Based on data from 3,188 North American employers, the report found that the average market value for the 446 IT certifications it tracks climbed 0.3% in the first quarter of the year. While that doesn't seem like much, the study also found that on average, having a single certification was worth 7.6% of an IT worker’s base pay.
Drilling down into the data, the report also found that a select group of certifications had gained 10% or more in market value during the six months ending April 1. Several of those certifications are related to IT infrastructure, and those are the certifications highlighted on the following slides.
However, the fact that a given certification has recently increased in value doesn’t necessarily mean that demand is increasing for a given skill or that the trend will continue. The report rightly points out that a lot of different factors can influence supply and demand for certifications, including factors people don’t often consider, such as vendors aggressively marketing certain certifications or overhauling their certification programs.
Foote Partners’ data also revealed that market value volatility for tech skills is leveling out. The analysts attribute the decreasing fluctuation in pay for various skills to “something more urgent”: the arrival of “game-changing emerging technologies” like blockchain, the internet of things, artificial intelligence, automation, data analytics, and new cybersecurity advances. These areas could see some of the highest employment demand in coming months and years, and vendors haven’t yet created certifications related to some of this newer tech.
Still, for IT professionals who follow career trends, it’s worth noting which certifications are seeing sharp upticks in demand. And according to Foote Partners, the following certs from the networking and communications and systems administration categories gained significant value.
Note: Certifications are arranged in alphabetical order, not in order of relative value.