IT Salaries: Are You Paid What You're Worth?: Page 2


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Boosting Your Tech Pay

Payscale’s Lee, after digesting reams of tech salary data, has come to a number of conclusions about IT pay levels:

Be “Revenue” if You Can
Software developers who work for companies whose main business is software development are paid far better than developers who work for companies whose product isn’t software. “I worked for a number of years for Microsoft,” he says. “Even in Microsoft, there were developers who were paid more or less based on whether they were in the product group, producing software for sale, versus HR or payroll.”

“So the general rule is, you want to be revenue if you can.”

Navigate Around Pay Ceilings
Every IT job, of course, has its own pay ceiling. “For example, if you’re a software developer, you can have a very high pay, like at Microsoft, but other than that there’s an upper boundary,” he says. “And if you want to break that $100,000 mark and go up, at most places you’ll want to move up to become a manager.” The point: boosting your paycheck may require a lateral or upward move that means leaving what you originally trained for.

IT is Still A High Paying Area
“We have done studies of high paying jobs by metro area. What’s fascinating is that if you look at the 20 largest metro areas, IT jobs always come out as well-paying jobs.”

In fact, Lee goes so far to put IT workers in a group with lawyers and doctors. “There are doctors, lawyers, IT professionals. Those are all jobs that, with enough experience, it’s possible to pull in $100,000 or more, pretty much in any major city, which is not true for other jobs.”

Information technology is one of the rare sectors that, with merely a Bachelor’s degree, typically allows highly experienced workers to rise to the top of the pay scale.

Researching Tech Pay Levels

The Payscale site has a research page for staffers who want to learn the pay of workers in related fields, or more advanced workers in their own field. “You can go there and type in ‘Linux’ and see what shows up,” Lee says.

Additionally, once a user registers, there’s a “what if” section, he says. “You can run [salary numbers] for any job, it doesn’t have to be your job.” A worker can find out, for example, “what will my [pay] be like ten years from now, or what if I move to New York City? Or what if I decided to become a manager rather than a developer?”

Having current knowledge of pay levels may help you negotiate your salary. "A friend of mine was working as a project manager in IT," Lee says. "He had been at the company for five or six years, and he thought ‘Gee, it seems like I’m underpaid, but I don’t really know.' He was being paid 70-ish, with about ten years of experience and fairly complicated projects. He went and looked, and found out that if he went to a company where IT is important, 90-95k is what he would be paid.”

Visit JupiterWeb's new site, IT Career Planet, for comprehensive news, advice and information on IT jobs, salaries and staff management issues.

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