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Microsoft certifications won't boost your pay much

Jon Brodkin | Feb. 14, 2011
Microsoft certifications are dropping in value and provide a smaller pay boost than IT skills related to Cisco, Oracle, EMC, VMware, IBM, SAP, and Red Hat technologies.

Out of the 18 Microsoft noncertified skills, only two -- Exchange Server and BizTalk Server -- have grown in value in the last three months. Foote has seen steady declines in value for .Net, but it's still the highest-paying Microsoft skill with a 12% pay premium. The value of .Net certifications have fallen four quarters in a row, but this can be viewed in a positive light from an employer's perspective. Falling values show that supply is catching up with demand, Foote notes.

In addition to .Net, higher-paying Microsoft noncertified skills include Microsoft Commerce Server and SQL Server.

On the whole, Foote says the IT jobs outlook is much sunnier than the picture painted by official government statistics. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics substantially underreports IT job creation, Foote says, by not counting IT professionals who work in line-of-business departments, such as product and marketing groups, rather than directly under the CIO.

While the U.S. government numbers the IT workforce at 4 million, Foote Partners believes it is as high as 24 million when counting all workers being paid for IT skills.

"The government has defined 'IT professional' in the same narrow way for several decades: just 21 job titles exist in the 2010-2011 edition of the Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook and they're all traditional technical infrastructure jobs in systems analysis, programming, data communications and networks, tech support, and database administration," Foote says in a recent analysis of federal data.

Still, the official U.S. employment figures show eight straight months of IT job growth, with a net gain of 74,200 IT jobs over the past year.


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