Also see: IT Salary Survey, January 2009 (gives comparative numbers between '08 and '09.)
The 2008 IT Salary Guide indicates that the average starting salary will increase by 5.3 percent over 2007 levels, with some high demand positions commanding 7 percent. This healthy increase is due to a talent crunch in the IT industry the demand for talented tech professionals is higher than it's been in five years, according to Robert Half Technology.
This scarcity of tech talent is caused by various factors. College students are veering away from IT careers, perhaps scared by headlines about outsourcing; the number of freshman planning on majoring in computer science plunged by a whopping 70 percent between 2000 and 2005, according to a UCLA study. At the same time, the IT industry is expanding. The Bureau of Labor forecasts that 1 million new IT jobs will be created between 2004 and 2014. In fact, that number zooms to 1.3 million new jobs when you add the retirements of aging Baby Boomers.
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On the other hand, tech execs concede that they're being cautious about hiring: having excess staff causes its own headaches. Consequently, hiring managers are attempting to use contract workers until they're sure that they can offer a stable long term position.
The level of demand for each tech speciality, of course, varies constantly. A survey of 1,400 CIO's by Robert Half in August 2007 asked the question: "Which technical skills are most in demand within your organization?" Leading the pack was Windows administration (73%), followed by Network administration (70%), Database management (60%), Firewall administration (55%), Wireless network management (52%), Business intelligence (34%), ERP implementation (22%), Microsoft .NET development (22%), CRM implementation (18%), Linux administration (18%), Unix administration (18%), and XML development (18%).
Several trends are expected to drive IT hiring in 2008. Foremost among these are network and desktop security, wireless, business intelligence, and database management. Web 2.0 and social media are particularly buzz-worthy, especially as the difference between what's resident on the desktop and what lives online continues to lessen.
IT Salaries by Specialty
Based on data from Robert Half Technology, the 2008 IT Salary Guide lists a broad range of IT salaries, from software developer to CTO to help desk manager. The Guide also provides data about pay levels for regions across the U.S., and the salary incentives for related tech skills (such as VoIP expertise, or Visual Basic experience).
The Salary Guide also lists salary levels going back (in some cases) to 2005, which allows IT staffers to compare rate of pay increases for various jobs.
To view the average salaries for todays tech jobs, GO TO 2008 IT SALARY GUIDE.
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