by Meridith Levinson

New Research Reveals Highest-Paid IT Skills and Certifications During the Recession

Jan 29, 20094 mins
CertificationsIT LeadershipSalaries

Foote Partners' latest IT Skills and Certifications Index shows that pay for IT professionals with Netweaver Portals, Apple OS X and PHP skills ballooned during the fourth quarter of 2008, while pay for extreme programming, certain SAP, and networking skills dipped.

Foote Partners today released its latest research on IT skills pay. Foote Partners’ IT Skills and Certifications Index shows the individual IT skills and certifications that increased and decreased in value during the final quarter of 2008. This latest data reflects for the first time the impact of the financial crisis and economic recession on IT skills and what companies pay for them.

The specific non-certified IT skills that increased in value during the fourth quarter of 2008 include:

  1. NetWeaver Portals (SAP EP)
  2. PHP
  3. Apple OS X/Tiger/Leopard
  4. ITIL
  5. Java/J2EE, SE, ME
  6. NetWeaver PI (SAP XI)
  7. Master Data Management
  8. Unified Communications/Messaging
  9. Database Management
  10. Microsoft SQL Server
  11. Oracle Developer Suite
  12. SAP Solution Manager
  13. NetWeaver BI (SAP BW)


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Of these seven IT skills that increased in value during the fourth quarter, NetWeaver, SAP Solution Manager, Oracle Developer Suite, Microsoft SQL Server, database management and master data management skills ranked among the highest paid non-certified IT skills in Foote Partners’ research.

Though not among the highest-paid IT skills, PHP, Apple OS X, ITIL and Java/J2EE/SE/ME know-how showed some of the biggest pay increases: Pay for IT professionals with PHP and Apple OS X skills jumped 16.7 percent. Pay for ITIL and Java/J2EE skills rose 11 percent. Pay for IT professionals with NetWeaver Portals skills grew by nearly 30 percent.

The pay increases in some non-certified skills were offset pay decreases for other skills. The non-certified IT skills that decreased in value during the fourth quarter of 2008, according to Foote Parnters:

IT Skills that Decreased in Value

Percent Decrease
ATM 32%
Novell Netware 30%
Tie between: Visual J++ and Perl 28.6%
SMTP 25%
Tie between C and AIX 20%
Tie between Accelerated SAP (ASAP) and SAP PM 16.7%
Tie among Windows Vista/XP, WAP, WML 14.3%
Tie among JavaBeans/EJB, RAD/Extreme Programming/Agile Programming, SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) 12.5%
Tie among Microsoft BizTalk Server, SAP KW, Tivoli 11%
Microsoft Identity Integration Server 10%
SAP FI-Travel Management 9%
Tie between SAP SEM and SAP Web Application Server 8.3%

Notably, some of the SAP skills that are among the highest-paid, such as SAP Web Application Server and SAP SEM (Strategic Enterprise Management), according to Foote Partners’ research, are on the decline. Rapid application development, extreme and agile programming skills, which also rank among the highest-paid IT skills, are on the decline, too.

Highest-Paid IT Certifications

The highest-paid IT certifications that commanded pay increases in the last three months of 2008 include:

Highest-Paid IT Certifications That Increased in Value

IT Certification
Percent Increase
Brocade Certified SAN (Fabric) Designer 42.9%
Cisco IP Telephony Design Specialist 25%
Microsoft Certified Solution Developer 25%
Microsoft Certified Trainer 25%
Cisco Certified Design Professional 25%
HP/Accredited Systems Engineer 12.5%
Planet3 Certified Wireless Security Professional 11%
Microsoft Certified Architect 10%
EMC Proven Professional Technology Architect-Expert 10%
SNIA Certified Storage Networking Expert 9%
IT Certified Architect (ITCA/Open Group) 7.7%
Certified Information Security Manager 7%
Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert 7%

Other IT certifications that aren’t among the highest paid, but that saw pay increases are:

Other IT Certifications That Increased in Value

IT Certification
Percent Increase
CompTIA Security+ 46.7%
GIAC Security Essentials Certification 46.7%
Certified Ethical Hacker 40%
Planet3 Certified Wireless Network Administrator 40%
Cisco Certified Design Associate 40%
CompTIA Certified Technical Trainer 33.3%
EMC Proven Professional Technology Architect-Specialist 28.6%
RedHat Certified Technician 25%
HP/Certified Systems Administrator 20%
Brocade Certified Fabric Professional 14.3%
GIAC Certified Incident Handler 14.3%
Sun Certified Network Administrator for Solaris 14.3%
Check Point Certified Security Administrator 14.3%
Citrix Certified Enterprise Administrator 12.5%
SNIA Certified Systems Engineer 12.5%
Cisco IP Communications Express Specialist 12.5%
Security Certified Network Architect 10%
SNIA Certified Architect 10%

Among the highest-paid IT certifications, pay for Cisco Certified Voice Professional, Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and GIAC Security Expert certifications is on the decline. Pay for those certifications declined by 9.1, 7.1 and 6.7 percent respectively.