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IT Salary Levels: Staffers vs. SuperstarsBy James Maguire
January 31, 2011
If youve worked in IT for any length of time, you know that IT salary levels can vary wildly between staffers with the same job title. As in any industry, in the tech sector factors like experience, specialized knowledge, and overall talent can and often do dramatically affect paycheck size.
In short, the difference in salary levels between a star IT performer and a regular, reasonably talented professional can be hefty. As youll see on the following pages, those IT experts in the top 25 percent the top quartile command a far more robust paycheck than their average (but still highly competent) tech colleagues.
For instance, the mean salary for all data warehouse managers in 2011 is $61, 452. Compare that to the salary for the data warehouse managers in the top quartile: $90,897.
Or, take a look at managers of Internet systems. Their mean salary for 2011 is $79,671. In contrast, the star professionals in this position earn an impressive $114,051.
Surveying the entire industry, the average IT salary in 2011 (at mid-sized companies) is $77,873. Those pros in the top 25 percent bring home an average of $112,062.
The fortunate top 25 percent are not only more skilled than the average IT pro. In many cases they have more aggressively sought higher paying positions by job-hopping on a regular basis. (Of course job-hopping has been far tougher as the job market has languished.) Additionally, these high wage earners typically started their career at a younger age, in a better first job, and had a more prestigious degree to propel them.
Yet regardless of those factors, the real point is that IT salary levels are negotiable. As you peruse the following salary figures, realize that no matter what your current salary, you can boost it. With added experience, more skills perhaps an IT certification and some judicious job switching, your paycheck can rise accordingly. Good luck.
All IT salary data and job descriptions courtesy Janco Associates, a management consulting firm focusing on Management Information Systems.
Note: All IT salary levels reflect pay levels at medium-sized businesses, which typically pay less than large businesses but more than small businesses.
1) Chief Information Officer (CIO)
Current Mean Salary:
2010: $162,303 // 2011: $163,106
Superstar Benchmark Top 4th Quartile Salary:
2010: $320,917 // 2011: $307,875
IT Job Description:The Chief Information Officer (CIO) is accountable for directing the information and data integrity of the enterprise and its groups and for all Information Service functions of the enterprise, including all data centers, technical service centers, production- scheduling functions, help desks, communication networks (voice and data), computer program development, and computer systems operations.
2) VP - Security (CSO)
Current Mean Salary:
2010: $128,828 // 2011: $129,705
Superstar Benchmark 4th Quartile Salary:
2010: $170,137 // 2011: $168,587
IT Job Description:The Chief Security Officer (CSO) is responsible for overall direction of all security functions associated with Information Technology applications, communications (voice and data), and computing services within the enterprise. At the same time the CSO must be aware of the implications of legislated requirements that impact security for the enterprise. This includes but is not limited to Sarbanes Oxley Section 404 requirements.