Career Watch: Noncertified skills pay still has edge over certs

Ask a Premier 100 IT Leader:Raman Mehta

The CIO and chief process architect at EWIE answers questions about working under a bad boss and more.

[ FREE DOWNLOAD: IT certifications -- why, which, and when ]

I like my company. I like my job. I hate my boss. He's always covering his you-know-what and taking credit that he doesn't deserve. So far I've told myself that two out of three (company and job) isn't bad, but I think I'm going to need a better way to cope. Any advice? Try to be visible a layer above your boss, and seek recognition outside of your job. There are many ways to achieve this; writing for internal newsletters and speaking at industry seminars are two. Some organizations offer formal skip-level meetings, where you can network with your boss's superiors. That makes it easier to move to a different group. You also need to do an effective job of managing your boss; upward communication is an art. Have an open dialogue and make your boss understand that recognition is a major motivation factor for you.

I was on an extended maternity leave in 2010. I don't like to disclose this to prospective employers because I'm concerned about possible gender prejudices. How can I explain this resume gap without deception while still protecting my privacy? What CIOs care about most when hiring is potential value to the organization. I like to see evidence that someone with a resume gap remained connected and stayed abreast of developments. Most employers would feel the same. It's very common these days to see gaps due to rightsizing, entrepreneurial pursuits or other reasons. Be honest if the topic comes up, and highlight some of your business knowledge and skills that have no impact from the extended leave.

Having worked in IT in two dying industries (newspapers and U.S. manufacturing), I figure I should set my sights on a sector with a brighter future. What seems promising? First of all, the manufacturing industry, especially in the high-tech industrial manufacturing sector, has shown a lot of promise in the past couple of years. The publishing industry is undergoing a makeover, with a focus on delivery through mobile applications. IT plays a very important role in transforming such industries, and that sort of experience is quite valuable to other up-and-coming industries, such as alternative energy, smart utility grids and bioengineering. One area with promise is the market made up of companies that bring social media into an enterprise. With your prior stint in publishing, mobile advertising on social media may be a smart move.

If you have a question for one of our Premier 100 IT Leaders, send it to, and watch for this column each month.

Noncertified Skills Still Have Edge in Pay Premiums

Foote Partners continues to track a disparity in the premiums companies are willing to pay for certified vs. noncertified IT skills. In its latest quarterly IT Skills and Certifications Pay Index, Foote reports that in the second quarter, bonuses for noncertified skills were averaging about 8.6% of base salary, while those for certified skills languished at about 6.5%. What is striking is that this is roughly the reverse of the situation in late 2004, and it has now been six years since noncertified skills gained the upper hand.

In his report, chief analyst David Foote goes into great detail about what has driven this change. His analysis, which can't be adequately summarized here, says in part that "more and more employers have chosen to value employees more highly based on their level of experience and demonstrated expertise regardless of whether they have earned available certifications to support what they can do with their skills and expertise." Here's a look at what has happened over the past six months in broadly defined skills areas:

Changes in Skills Premiums Over Six Months

Source: Foote Partners' IT Skills and Certifications Pay Index, Q2 2012

Read more about management in Computerworld's Management Topic Center.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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