What Are IT Skills Worth in 2019?

Global Knowledge has issued its list of 15 top-paying IT certifications.

On Feb. 11, Global Knowledge posted a foretaste of its 2019 IT Skills and Salary Report on the Global Knowledge website, in an article headlined 15 Top-Paying IT Certifications for 2019. That same day, Forbes magazine published its analysis of that reporting in an article with the very nearly identical headline 15 Top Paying IT Certifications in 2019.


Putting those two pieces together yields some fascinating information and insights. First, however, a personal disclosure: I have worked on prior IT Skills and Salary reports for Global Knowledge in past years, and while I had nothing to do with this year's report, I do know some of the staff involved (and the methods they use) reasonably well.


Let's start with the Top 15


Here's the Top 15 list, plucked verbatim (including hyperlinks) from the Global Knowledge article cited in the previous paragraph:


1) Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect — $139,529

2) PMP - Project Management Professional — $135,798

3) Certified ScrumMaster — $135,441

4) AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate — $132,840

5) AWS Certified Developer – Associate — $130,369

6) Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Server Infrastructure — $121,288

7) ITIL Foundation — $120,566

8) Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) — $118,412

9) Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) — $117,395

10) Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) — $116,900

11) Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) — $116,306

12) Citrix Certified Associate - Virtualization (CCA-V) — $113,442

13) CompTIA Security+ — $110,321

14) CompTIA Network+ — $107,143

15) Cisco Certified Networking Professional (CCNP) Routing and Switching — $106,957


The way to read this information is to understand that the info to the left identifies the name of the cert, while the number on the right represents the average salary reported from among the respondents to the Global Knowledge survey.


Global Knowledge does not disclose how many respondents reported for each certification mentioned, but it does affirm that "to qualify for this year's list, a certification must have at lease 100 survey responses to be considered statistically valid." That means all off the averages show above represent an average across at least 100 data points.


I suspect that's probably close to the number of samples until we get to item No. 6 (MCSE: Server Infrastructure, a long-established and widely held credential) at which point the sample size surely mushrooms into the multiple hundreds. As we go lower down the list, that sample size undoubtedly increases as well.


In and of itself, this list is pretty interesting. This is the first time I've seen all 15 positions over $100,000 in all the years I've been following it (and if memory servers I've been following it for 15 years or more). It's also the first time I've seen the CISSP drop out of the Top 5 (it just barely made into the Top 10, at No 10).


It also shows the growing and substantial importance of cloud and security technology, too. At least five slots are security related, and at least four are cloud-related, with an interesting blend of project and development management (slots 2 and 3), process management (slot 7), and networking stuff (slots 14 and 15) likewise in the mix.


What Forbes Brings to the Data


The Forbes story's author, Louis Columbus, brings some further and interesting insights to the latest results. For one thing, he observes that certs in virtualization and cloud computing pay an average of nearly $127,500 in the latest survey, up by 12.8 percent for similar credentials reported in last year's survey.


For the five security slots in the top ranks, the average annual salary works out to almost $116,000. PMP, as always, is a big winner, in slot number 2. Interestingly, however, reported median salaries for PMP holders jumped by an eye-popping 18.6 percent, up from the roughly $114,500 in 2018's report to nearly $136,000 in 2019's report (of course, each report is based on the prior year's survey, usually conducted in October and November).


Other insights from the Forbes story include:


? The average pay across the entire Top 15 is just over $121,000. That makes a pretty convincing argument for a top-flight IT cert all by itself, eh?

? The MCSE: Server Infrastructure took a big jump from the 2018 report to the 2019 report: up by 20 percent, from roughly $100,500 in 2018 to around $121,300 in 2019. Says a lot about the emerging and potent value of Windows Server and Azure in many modern enterprises.

? AWS still packs a potent punch, with two of its certs in the Top 5, and its platforms and services in wide use. The Forbes article says "AWS is now the primary computing platform in hundreds of enterprises and is spread to mid-market businesses, further driver demand for certifications as companies look to build more cloud apps internally."


We won't see the actual survey report from Global Knowledge until late March or early April, if history is any guide. But wow, they've done a great job of getting a double publicity hit from what usually makes interesting reading and provides lots of interesting data and insight about the IT profession in general, especially as it is touched and served by training and certification.


Would you like more insight into the history of hacking? Check out Calvin's other articles about historical hackery:
About the Author

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran who's worked as a software developer, technical marketer, consultant, author, and researcher. Author of many books and articles, Ed also writes on certification topics for Tech Target, ComputerWorld and Win10.Guru. Check out his website at www.edtittel.com, where he also blogs daily on Windows 10 and 11 topics.