Salary Survey: IT Workers Continue to Flourish

IT workers continue to ride a strong wave of increasing experience to a third straight year of high earnings, according to Redmond magazine's 12th annual Salary Survey.

The survey, published in the September issue of Redmond magazine and available online, found that the average base salary for an IT pro was $71,988. Story author Michael Domingo summed up the survey results: "Whether on their own or punching the corporate clock, the IT forces are problem solvers, work long hours and are well compensated for their efforts."

(Editor's Note: Redmond magazine is owned by the Redmond Media Group, which publishes this and other IT-related Web sites).

The three critical salary-related categories -- salaries, raises and bonuses -- all saw at least modest gains over the previous year.

Concerning bonuses, Domingo reported that "Respondents said they made significant gains from [surveys in previous years] of $3,223, with an average bonus of $5,985. That represents a bonus payout that's bigger by almost 86 percent."

Salaries, in general, have maintained pace with inflation.

One reason for the rosy figures is that the IT workforce is maturing. While the average age of an IT pro has remained fairly constant over previous studies, at about 41 years, the average years of work experience jumped a substantial amount, from 12.1 to 12.8 years.

As is normally the case, leaders make the most money. IT managers had the highest average salary, at $87,103. Next came programming and networking project leads, at $84,004 and $82,725 respectively. Database admins, Webmasters, programmers and network engineers averaged salaries in the low to mid-$70,000s, while help desk/user support personnel brought up the rear, with an average salary of $52,824. That makes sense, as those are usually entry-level jobs.

The value of certification, at least as it relates to salary, is murky. While certain specialized certifications, like MCDBA (Microsoft Certified Database Administrator) on SQL Server 7 ($86,225), or MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer) on Visual Studio .NET ($91,124) can lead to high salaries, the overall salaries don't reflect the same value. The base salary for those with no Microsoft certifications was $78,158, significantly above the average base salary of $71,988.

As for what the future holds, the outlook remains good for staying in, or entering, the IT field. The U.S. Department of Labor forecasts growth in IT jobs of between 18 percent to 26 percent between now and 2014. Those numbers are reflected in Redmond's salary survey as well.

"IT professionals continue to draw exceptional pay....With a strong U.S. economy to boot, they can't help but feel upbeat about their job prospects and the money they'll be making in the coming year," Domingo noted.

About the Author

Keith Ward is editor of Virtualization Review magazine. You can contact Keith at [email protected].