Non-certified skills pay more than certified – what this means to network pros

* What the latest Foote Partner report means to network execs

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The corner has officially been turned, notes David Foote, CEO and Chief Research Officer of Foote Partners, the research firm that has for the past eight years been reporting of the closing gap in skills pay between certified and non-certified folks. Its latest quarterly update has found that average pay for non-certified IT skills tops that of certified professionals.

"The truth is that IT jobs have changed substantially in eight years. In another few decades the IT organization as we know it today will be hard to find, and so will entire segments of IT jobs. The hurt that has been put on the marketplace reputation of skill certifications is only a drop in the pond of fundamental changes that will reform or destroy dozens of long-held IT industry conventions, beliefs and rituals," said Foote, in a statement.

He notes that the change reflects the need for IT pros to be familiar with their employers' customers, industry, and products, and in enough detail that they can take a strategic as well as a tactical role in growing the enterprise.

According to the report: "IT pros are being hired, evaluated and rewarded for this much broader collection of skills. There simply aren't certifications for much of this stuff. And for those skills and knowledge that are certifiable, they are much less vendor dependent."

It also appears that searching for the right fit is a bit more subjective for some organization that are relying on the "I know it when I see it" type of vibe from prospective employees. And in the cases when companies absolutely know what they are looking for, they're looking really hard to find it - and it's not formal skills certifications. This all leads me to questions we've tried to tackle before - how on earth does an employer write up such a job specification that would attract the right candidate?

Here are some of the hard figures from Foote Partners third quarter report monitoring the pay of 74,000 IT pros in the United States and Canada:

* Of the 151 certified skills surveyed, the average premium pay for a single skill as a percentage of base salary fell 2.3% over the last year to 7.97% of base pay. Project management, security and networking skills, in that order, commanded the highest premium pay, at 10%, 9.1% and 8.5% of base salary, respectively.

* IT skills pay for certified networking skills fell from 9.3% in Q3 2005, to 8.5% in Q3, 2007.

* Some of the networking and internetworking certs paying between 10% and 13% of base pay include Cisco Certified Internetwork, EMC Proven Professional Technology Architect - Expert, and Avaya Certified Expert.

* Of the 145 non-certified skills surveyed, the average premium pay for a single skill as a percentage of base salary climbed 8% to represent 8.08% of base salary. Enterprise business application, and management and process skills tied as the highest paying single skill, commanding 9.1% of base salary.

* Non-certified networking and communications skills ranked fifth in the amount of skills pay that is added to base salary. Pros with these skills see their salaries bumped up by 7.4% of base salary.

* Some of the non-certified networking and communications skills earning between 9% and 12% of base pay include network security, network skills in project assignment, and RFID.

More data from the report here.

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