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The value of IT certifications declined again over the last 12 months, but
bucking that trend, IT security skills led all categories in terms of value of
IT skills for both certified and non-certified workers in terms of pay.

The value of IT certifications fell by 4.1 percent over the past 12 months while
the value of security certifications rose by 2 percent over the past 12 months,
according to the most recent survey of pay premiums for IT skills in the United
States and Canada.

In the midst of a recession where job losses and unemployment have reached
levels not seen in years, the new survey finds bright spots in demand and
premium pay for particular IT skill sets and certifications.

“Perhaps the more positive story for North American IT labor and a better
indicator of overall workforce performance is demand trends for specific
categories of IT skills,” says David Foote, Foote Partners co-founder, CEO
and chief research officer, in a prepared statement. “The recession has had
minimal impact on demand for IT skills in the areas such as architecture,
business process, security, communications, e-commerce and several ERP and
infrastructure specializations.”

The survey notes that pay premiums for non-certified and certified IT skills
fell an average of 0.6 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively, for the three
months ending June 30. But several IT skills and certifications increased
in value—for example, security.

“Security has become a key product and service differentiator among customers
who are insisting on better protection for their data whether in servers or
transported across networks,” says Foote. “Companies are working actively to
better secure virtualized environments now that the differences in threats to
physical and virtual computing environments have become more apparent.”
Virtualization, the study finds, is the top-value networking and infrastructure

The top five non-certified IT skills are:

  • Java, EE, SE, ME
  • Linux
  • Virtualization
  • Microsoft .NET
  • NetWeaver (SAP)

The top five certifications are:

  • GIAC Certified Incident Handler
  • EMC Proven Professional Technology Architect
    – Expert
  • Citrix Certified Integration Architect
  • HP/Master Accredited Systems Engineer
  • Cisco Certified Security Professional

The survey also found that while average median pay for certain skill sets
declined among non-certified IT skills, “Management, methodology and process”
grew in value by 8.3 percent over the last 12 months and 0.6 percent over the
last three months. Web and e-commerce development gained 0.8 percent over the
last three months, and SAP and enterprise
business applications gained 0.2 percent over the last three months.

Average median pay for professionals holding certifications in architecture and
project management increased by 4.1 percent over the last 12 months. It
increased by 2 percent for IT security over the last 12 months and by 0.5
percent over the last three months.