IT Career JumpStart

Sep 29 2008   7:20PM GMT

The Next Microsoft Cert Generation Takes Wing

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel

To me, some of the most interesting things abut the recent article in Redmond Magazine entitled “IT Salaries on the Rise” appeared in the various charts that accompany the story. Today’s blog springs more or less fully-formed from the forehead of Chart 4 “Average Base Salary by Microsoft Certification.” Because of the preceding link, I’m not going to reproduce its results wholesale; rather, I’m going to reproduce the numbers from the latest crop of MS certifications–at least, where they’re available. Let me precede that data with an important level set, however: the average base salary from all respondents who lacked any Microsoft certification of any kind was $84,775, so it should be clear that the responding population is older, more senior, better educated, and more experienced than somebody right out of school looking for a first job. In fact, these numbers probably apply best to those at mid-career stages or higher.

With those caveats in mind, here are some numbers to chew on:

Certification AvgSalary
MCTS: SQL Server $88,110
MCTS: .NET Web $86,846
MCTS: .NET Windows $91,438
MCTS: .NET Dist Apps $84,567
MCTS: BizTalk 2006 $87,467
MCTS: MOSS 2007 $78,033
MCTS: Exch07 Config $84,157
MCTS: SharePoint (all) $92,585
MCTS: Vista Config $77,071
MCTS: Vista/Offc desk $82,840
MCTS: SharePoint 3.0 $92,071
MCTS: WinServ08 App $87,849
MCTS: WinServ08 AD $88,274
MCTS: WinServ08 NW $89,143

MCITP: Ent Admin $86,825
MCITP: Ent Msg Admin $79,727
MCITP: DB Developer $84,714
MCITP: Cnsmr Support $97,608
MCITP: Ent Support $72,649

MCPD: Ent App Dev $94,333
MDPD: .NET Windows $91,438
MCPD: .NET Enterprise $94,333

Let me expand the preceding initialisms, so those who may not already know them can understand the hierarchy. MCTS represents the entry-level MS certs, and stands for Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist. MCITP is the admin/application mid-level tier and stands for Microsoft Certified Information Technology (IT) Professional. MCPD is the developer mid-level tier and stands for Microsoft Certified Professional Developer. There’s even a Master tier above the MCPD on the development side and the MCITP on the admin/application side, but it’s still being rolled out (it hasn’t even earned a slot in the chart of MS certifications on their own site yet).

What does this single collection of salary numbers have to tell us? I’m not sure anything I say next should be considered Gospel, but I feel safe making the following claims anyway:

1. The new Microsoft certs are clearly on the radar. They’ve been out for almost three years now and are starting to build momentum, attain name recognition, and are acquiring definite value in the marketplace.
2. Old-line MS topics related to network and server administration, and even Exchange, appear to be taking a back seat to newer applications and technologies, especially SharePoint. I have to think that some of this reflects a way to acquire expertise in new areas quickly and directly, and guess that this balance will change over time.
3. Demand for Windows Server 2003/2008 and new-line technologies must be very strong and pretty new, or I don’t think we’d see the MCTS credentials matching (and in some cases, exceeding) MCITP and MCPD credentials in pay. I’m guessing that this balance will shift over the next couple of years as more companies and organizations jump onto the Server 2008 bandwagon, and more IT professionals draw on more experience in these areas to advance from MCTS to MCITP status.

No matter what your take on these numbers and what they mean might be, you have to admit that something interesting is going on here. I hope this helps give some impetus to read, and some interest in reading, my upcoming series of blogs on the MCTS, MCITP, and MCPD certifications that will follow soon.


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