It's an anomaly, but one to pay attention to: Pay for workers with technology certifications is up; Non-certified skills are keeping pace. Yet certifications on the whole are expected to have less value over the long haul, says a research expert.
are the hot certifications and technology skills right now that will boost pay
and make you more marketable for a new job? Linux and open source, security,
application development, networking, business intelligence and analysis,
enterprise applications such as SAP and system
administration, according to technology research analysts Foote Partners of
Vero Beach, Fla.
According to a quarterly Foote Partners
certification and skills index, salaries for certified and non-certified skills
have risen in the second quarter of 2010. The longer term data trends on
certifications has them declining in value, according to David Foote, chief
research officer and CEO of Foote Partners, but the latest report had pay data
on the rise for those with certifications, particularly for a number of
rudimentary, entry level certifications in security and open-source systems such as Red Hat.
"Red Hat is doing very well and is taking
advantage of open systems business demand," said Foote in an interview with
eWEEK. "Two Red Hat certs are in the top 10 on our IT Certifications Hotlist:
Red Hat Certified Technician and Red Hat Certified Security Specialist. It
appears that companies still want a support base, even in open systems where
you don't have to choose a vendor. But they are, and those
investing in the cloud are looking at employee skill sets in Linux and open
Despite a continued presence of demand in security
skills for more than three years, one beginner, entry-level certification cracked this
quarter's certification "hotlist" for the first time.
"The CompTIA Security+ cert was No. 3 on the
hotlist, and it's never been in the top 10 before," said Foote. "Large
companies do not outsource security, so they are turning internally. Many
people are working in networking and systems already, and some of them are
transitioning and acquiring security skills... Security is a different mindset
than many parts of IT. Security professionals have a pit bull tenacity and like
to be constantly challenged... Security offers career stability, and the thing
is, you can't do security without being certified."
Likewise, the entry-level security certification
from the SANS Institute dubbed Security Essentials is also on the top ten
"If my neighbor asked me -My son or daughter is
thinking about a career in IT... Is that a good move?' I would say IT is a
great career choice and they should take a serious look at security for
technical and non-technical positions," said Foote. "Remember, IT in general is
full of baby boomers and there is going to be a whole lot of retirement from
the industry... Security is an enterprise risk management function now and
there are also non-technical security jobs. Think governance, compliance,
auditing... These are areas you do not have to be a technical wizard to work
in, but are good, well-paying jobs."
Other key certifications in networking (Cisco,
Avaya) and virtualization (VMWare, Citirx) and business analysis and business
intelligence (SAS Institute) are ranking very well. In terms of non-certified
skills that are doing well, Foote noted SAP experience, Agile
programming, and virtual private networking skills which combine network and
security skills. Agile rose to number 2 on Foote Partners non-certified skills
Foote noted that full time jobs with benefits in
2010 are scarce, but consulting and contract work are very much in demand.
While not new, Foote notes that many companies are "co-sourcing"--taking
freelance and contract workers and embedding them in key, strategic
projects--and using tight-knit, strong vendor relations to keep the process and
project in check.
"A lot of work in IT is getting integrated with
the business," stated Foote. "Being flexible, and quick is crucial. Companies
need rapid turnaround, so they are increasingly using vendors and contractors
while maintaining strong control with co-sourcing. Co-sourcing has been around
awhile, but its intensifying. Service delivery models are here.
Companies are asking a lot more out of the IT
department and want their CIOs to be managing strategic projects and products
that show profit. It takes years of work, but companies want IT to be taking
calculated risks while being agile. The market for this is driven by
consultants and contractors now with specialized skills-based work force getting