Also see: The 2011 IT Salary Guide
As I’ve posted the IT salary survey the last few years, I’ve had to struggle to find a positive spin. The economic downturn hasn’t been kind to IT salaries.
Last year, for instance, I was able to point out that IT salaries were headed upward. But really, they were just making up ground lost since the recession began. When you factor in inflation, growth in IT salaries has hovered between modest and anemic in recent yearss.
In contrast, 2012 IT salary levels are truly a cup of hot coffee. Application architects, for instance, see a healthy 5.8 percent boost in 2012. Database Managers store away a 4.3 percent raise, Developer/Programmer Analysts enjoy a 5.2 percent jump, and Lead Application Developers bring home 5.1 percent more. Not bad.
The hottest field – new to this list: Mobile Application Developers, a bunch of red-hot coders who are riding a walloping 9.1 percent boost. I’ll have another cup, please!
Based on a report from Robert Half Technology – the source of these IT salary numbers – “IT hiring has shifted into higher gear within many firms.” Companies are looking to recruit mid- and senior-level IT professionals, especially those who are savvy about business strategy.
This focus on recruiting applicants who offer both business and IT skills has been a key theme these past few years. In fact it’s been repeated ad naseum. That either means A) the suits want everyone to be like them, or B) IT professionals are now asked to do more and more – not just tech, but budgets and strategy as well.
Also in demand: systems and networking engineers (experts in cloud computing and SaaS and virtualization), developers (.NET, Java, PHP, Silverlight, Flex and MySQL), quality assurance professionals and business analysts (with more bucks for IT projects, quality and smart strategy are needed) data warehousing and BI pros (to handle and interpret the ocean of data) and – as always – security pros (a quarter of CIOs say security is their top concern).
Here’s another way to look at the top technical skills in demand. This list is based on a Robert Half Technology survey of more than 1600 CIOs:
64% Network administration
51% Database management
46% Desktop support
42% Windows administration
38% Wireless network management
35% Web development/design
28% Telecommunications support
22% Business Intelligence
15% ERP implementation
Here are the certifications most in demand when negotiating IT salary:
Cisco certifications (CCNA and CCIE), Linux certifications (RHCE), Microsoft certifications (MCITP, MCSE, MCTS, MCPD), Project Management certifications (PMP), Security certifications (CISSP, CCSA, CCSE), and VMware certifications (VCP).
IT Salary: A (Possible) Ray of Sunshine
A key indicator I watch appears to have turned positive: the number of tech job openings listed at Dice.com.
At its height before the downturn, it hosted some 90,000 jobs. That number slid depressingly all the way down to around 50,000 as companies got scared in the recession.
Now I see it’s rebuilt back up to 84,000 (last year at this time: 74,000). I’m not going to start cheering – it’s hard to cheer in this economy. But I’ll throw caution to the wind and say things appear to be heading in the right direction. At least at the moment.
Bottom line: IT salary levels show that IT pros are some of the better paid members of the working world. And they earn it!
To view average starting IT salaries, go to the 2012 IT SALARY GUIDE (list of IT salaries).