If you are an IT professional and looking to add certifications in order to advance and make more money, think again. According to Foote Partners, a boutique IT benchmarking firm, as reported by CIO blogger Meridith Levinson, the pay premiums for 82 specific IT skills and 88 IT certifications are falling. What they are seeing is none other than a sea change in how tech professionals are valued.
As technology continues to change in the blink of an eye and often in surprising directions (the death of the desktop?), companies are looking for people who don't simply have the certification de jour. Instead, they are demanding a much broader skillset, one that isn't limited to technology. For instance, they are looking for folks who have technical depth but a business perspective. People who can foster innovation, drive revenues, help evolve the organization in ever leaner, more profitable directions.
Foote reports, "...the restructuring of IT departments that took place during the recession, which in some cases continues today, is driving demand for business skills and contributing to the devaluing of pure tech skills." Pure-play technical expertise is becoming "a dime a dozen." In other words, technical skills are becoming a commodity. And, like other products and services that have been commoditized, their price goes down.
What should tech professionals managing their careers do to avoid becoming a commodity? Develop value-adds, such as another area of proficiency in a business function (i.e., marketing, accounting) and an abiity to continually apply business concepts (strategy alignment, product and service innovation, bottom-line growth) to the activity of IT.
"They're looking for walking Swiss army knives," says Foote. It can sound daunting. But the more aware you of these seismic shifts in your profession and the more you shape your professional identity in the direction of market requirements, the more you will have an edge in your IT job search, now and in and for the (foreseeable!) future.