Bright Spots in the Gloom

By Ericka Chickowski  |  Posted 2009-02-16 Print this article Print

Premiums paid for many certifications are diminishing, but some bright spots persist.

“Over the last three months certification skills as relates to non-certified skills took much less of a hit,” Foote says. “Usually in a recession certification starts going up in value because people start looking at streams of candidates and finding it’s like sipping from a fire hose. They put a job out and get so many people they tend to then choose, if all things are equal, the certified person.”

The premium for certifications looks particularly strong in the security niche, which is generally doing well even though the pay landscape is shifting.

“The CISSP, the vaunted gold standard for security management, that's down a few percentage points,” Foot says. “Right now we're seeing some decline in those (management skills) and some flux going more to the people in the trenches.”

For example, one of the more dramatic increases can be seen in the security network architect category, which saw pay increase by 14.3 percent in 2008.

This follows a more general trend, which is seeing architecture and business process skills get bumped in pay, both in certified and non-certified skills, as more and more IT departments look for ways to save by eliminating redundant infrastructure and practices.

“One of the big headlines here is architecture. SOA may be diving over a cliff, and yet architecture continues to be rewarding,” Foote says. He believes that is due to the fact that “there is a lot of energy right now in creating efficiencies.”


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