Survey Says Pay for Certifications Is Dropping, Except in Security

Foote Partners says that certifications haven't affected base pay for IT workers over the past six months, unless the certification was in the area of security.

According to Foote's most recent survey, base pay for jobs that involved security certification increased an average of 1.7 percent over the last six months and 0.8 percent over the last two years. To arrive at its conclusions, the company surveyed 33,800 IT workers in the United States and Canada.

The percentage of base pay attributed to certifications in all other areas declined or remained flat over the last six months. Foote's results show that certified application developers' base pay dropped 4.8 percent and base pay for systems administrators and network engineers dropped 3.1 percent.

However, over a broader two-year timeframe, the trends look different. Over that timeframe certification accounted for an average 22.7 percent of base pay for trainers. Next in line were application developers, whose certifications account for a 9.9 percent increase of their base payment, followed by Web development with a 5.5 percent increase.

Foote thinks the recent six month trend they've seen with pay for those with security certifications is due to companies placing more emphasis on the need for better security.

"Customers are becoming nervous and demanding more security in their vendors' products and services. This is especially true when their data is running across vendor networks. We believe this trend in IT security certifications pay is an indication that, finally, there is something other than government regulation that is driving business leaders to examine how critically short-handed their companies are when it comes to staffing the IT security function," said David Foote, chief executive and research officer at Foote Partners.

Foote said that another overall trend it's seeing is that pay rates for those with certifications is dropping--with the recent exception of security--and that pay for those without certifications is increasing. Pay for jobs in 149 non-certified IT skill areas grew an average of 4.1 percent over the last six months and 9.9 percent over the past year while pay for jobs in 141 certified IT skill areas dropped 1.1 percent over the past six months and 2.1 percent over the past year.

A summary of the company's findings is available online in PDF format.

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