Certification drives up salaries

Premium pay for IT certifications increased in late 2001 to an average 8.3 per cent of base salary, according to the results of a trend report from Foote Partners on the market values of 136 technical skills and certifications. However, the findings also show that premium pay for technical skills dropped to an average 8.1 per cent of base pay in the fourth quarter of 2001.

Based on interviews with 29,400 IT professionals in 1,850 North American and European firms, the Quarterly Hot Technical Skills and Certifications Index points to the growing importance of certification to employers.

"The average bonus being paid for a certification has never before exceeded the average for a stand-alone skill in the four years we've been surveying pay in these areas," said David Foote, president and chief research officer for Foote Partners.

"We're being told by managers that certifications demonstrate greater commitment to job and career, which may be the equivalent of 'comfort food' to employers in these uncertain times."

Here are some of the highlights of the study:

* The most valuable types of certifications are project management (14% of base in median bonus paid); database (11.3%); security (8%) and system/network operating systems (7.5%).

* The highest paying certification titles are Project Management Professional (average 14% of base pay at median), followed by Oracle Certified Professional, Microsoft Certified Database Administrator, and GIAC Certified Intrusion Analyst (12%). Microsoft Certified Trainer, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer + Internet, and Prosoft's Master CIW Enterprise Developer and Master CIW Administrator averaged 11% of base.

* Stand-alone technical skills that commanded the highest premiums in the fourth quarter of 2001 include database (8.9%); applications development tools/languages (8%); and Web/e- commerce skills (8.3%).

* Bonus pay for networking/internetworking skills declined 14% to 16% to an average 7.9% of base, but Foote says those results are misleading. He says compensation for networking skills isn't declining, but is instead being shifted into larger base salaries.

For more information, download a free copy of the report summary at http://www.footepartners.com/SkillsPayTrends2002FP.pdf .

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