IT certification gives federal job seekers an edge

Federal IT professionals plugging away at getting an IT certification in hopes of better pay could indeed see more money in the bank. A recent survey of public sector IT employees shows that more than half of those who completed a certification saw a salary increase or a bonus.

Network World and SolarWinds, which develops IT management software, surveyed 184 government IT professionals, most of which were network architects/admins/engineers. Nearly 40 percent said they worked for a mid-size federal agency.

The majority of respondents said getting a certification had paid off: 60.9 percent got a new job, 58 percent saw an increase in salary or a bonus and 27 percent reported getting promotion. For those who got a raise, one-third saw more than a 10 percent increase in their pay. The second most common salary increase was 4 percent to 6 percent,

Asked what their greatest motivation for pursuing certification, respondents listed the following reasons:

  • A promotion or other job (54 percent)
  • To learn about the technology (14.1 percent)
  • A salary raise (13.5 percent)
  • Needed it because it was required for their job (11.7 percent)

In the ever more competitive job market, people are looking for ways to stand out among the many other job seekers, and a certification could help job seekers position themselves better.

“In the market we have today, when you post a job opening you probably get more resumes than ever before,” said Josh Stephens, vice president of technology at SolarWinds. “Certifications are a good way to differentiate yourself from other candidates.”

The cost to take the exam for a certification ranges from $120 to $200 for those who decide to self-study or use online learning materials, Stephens said. Another, costlier option would be training classes that conclude with a certification, or boot camp that cost anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000 a week, he said.

“Not only is it money well spent, but it’s time well spent,” Stephens said.  “One of the concerns when you interview a public sector employee is not only do they know the technology, but do they know how the public sector utilizes the technology? If they’re certified, you know they have a well-rounded education on that certain technology.”


 

About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

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