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IBM Professionals Pursue Cross-Certification, Focused on AI, Cognitive Computing and Machine Learning

March 01, 2018
Ryan Day

By Ryan Day


Certifications matter. A lot.

That’s one of the major takeaways from the Global Knowledge 2018 IT Skills and Salary Report. The benefits, both personally and organizationally, are undeniable—certified professionals are more effective, complete tasks faster and are more sought after.

Of our certified respondents, 1,819 hold an IBM credential. These IBM-certified professionals have a strong confidence in training, are eager to cross-certify and remain confident in their skillset.


IBM-certified professionals are likely to hold multiple certifications

Of the 1,819 IBM-certified professionals who responded to our survey, 71% are cross-certified—meaning they hold at least one IBM certification and at least one non-IBM certification.

Digging deeper, the cross-certified individuals are much more likely to hold multiple IBM certifications too—15 times more likely, in fact. Those same IBM-certified professionals hold an average of 4.15 certifications apiece, well above the global average of 2.79. And impressively, 35% of them have six or more certifications.

So when IT professionals achieve an IBM certification, they’re highly likely to pursue several others in the future. This belief in certification training is likely why IBM-certified respondents are more likely to train existing staff rather than hire from outside when a skills gap arises. They know that training, and certifications in particular, can be a difference-maker.


Cross-certification areas of importance

IBM-certified professionals seek skills and expertise in many other areas as well. Of those that cross-certify, 26% have an ITIL® or IT service management credential and 21% hold a Microsoft credential.
Other popular cross-certification areas for IBM-certified employees include:

  • Database
  • Application development and programming
  • Cisco
  • Project management
  • VMware


More job experience with opportunities for higher salaries

Professionals holding multiple IBM certifications have over 15 years of job experience—that’s over a year more than the average of all our survey respondents. Three out of four are mid- or senior-level, with many holding managerial or budget responsibilities.

Thirty-two percent have at least a master’s degree or doctorate, which is 4% above the average for all certified professionals. So there’s no doubt—IBM professionals are well-educated and experienced.

When you pair tenure with IBM certification, the opportunities for higher salaries exist. North American IT managers and senior-level employees who cross-certify and hold multiple IBM credentials have average salaries of $96,172 and $119,061, respectively. Managers, in general, who have multiple IBM certifications make over $100,000 a year on average.


No rush to change employers

IBM-certified professionals are less likely to change employers than the average IT professional. Only 12% switched employers in the past year—3% below the global average.

In general, the more certification someone has, the more they’re likely to change jobs. That’s not the case with IBM, as the numbers remain relatively flat regardless of certification.


A greater focus on AI and machine learning

While cloud computing and cybersecurity were the top areas of focus of worldwide IT professionals by a significant margin, IBM-certified respondents expected to focus more on AI, cognitive computing and machine learning in 2018.

Other top investment areas of IBM-certified individuals include cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain and cybersecurity.

Overall, IBM is an important tech provider for many worldwide IT professionals—25.5% of all survey respondents expected IBM to be a focus area for their organization this year.


Related training

IBM Certification Training


Additional resources