ComputerSchools.com has newly reviewed several salary surveys for the computer and information technology industry, as published on the Internet, and has found that times have definitely changed for individuals in this field.
In our original article, "The Computer Industry Salary Guide" published in February, 2001, tech professionals were considered to be in the "driver's seat" when it came to landing high-paying jobs, or negotiating for higher pay and better benefits.
A slump in the economy over the past few years, coupled with the bust of the dot-com environment, caused high pay, great compensation packages, and the ever present signing bonuses to become a thing of the past. In addition, the industry has faced steep layoffs and a growing trend whereby many companies are now outsourcing mid to low-level computer jobs to workers in foreign countries.
Though this information may sound dismal for the IT professional, work-place analysts are now projecting that the IT sector has stabilized for the most part and a hiring increase in some positions will be seen in the near future. In addition, salary levels, which had stagnated or declined over the past few years, are increasing but at a much slower pace than they had during the dot-com boom.
The surveys consulted are listed below and provide a general idea about the current state of the computer industry. When reviewing these industry surveys, it should be kept in mind that they are not always in agreement about the range of salaries for particular positions and job descriptions. This can be attributed to several factors: the way in which information was collected, who was polled, variables in job titles (especially in those with overlapping responsibilities), experience levels, certifications acquired, age and gender differences, and even job location can play into the surveys' results.
Rather than trying to reinterpret the data found in these reports and cull it into one source, we have provided links to the resources and have included highlights of each survey as well.
2004 InfoWorld Compensation Survey: What Are You Worth?
Published in July, 2004, this survey shows that after several years of salary freezes due to budget cutbacks, IT professionals can expect income growth - though marginal - in the upcoming years. The article also offers several great charts representing different IT jobs and their associated average incomes, job satisfaction levels, staffing issues, and income levels by national location.
DataMasters Salary Survey
Last compiled and reported in 2003, this survey is broken down first by region (Northeast, West Coast, etc.) and then by job type, providing a range of pay scale from high to low with median incomes represented as well.
InformationWeek: IT Salary Advisor
Using the IT Salary Advisor, which pulls results based on InformationWeek's 2004 National IT Salary Survey, individuals can compare salary levels for various job functions. Position level and geographic area can be incorporated into the search to pull more accurate results, however, the geographic areas covered are limited to major markets (Boston, Denver, Kansas City, Philadelphia, New York City, etc.) or to a broader search by "United States."
The information in the survey is based on responses from approximately 15,000 IT professionals and excludes (in most cases) unemployed, freelance, and part-time IT workers. Respondents from outside the United States were excluded as well.
*Amounts shown are for total compensation including bonuses, stock options, etc.
Robert Half Technology 2005 Salary Guide
Robert Half's annual salary survey is based on an in-depth analysis of thousands of job orders managed by the company’s U.S. recruiting specialists which include job searches, negotiations and placements conducted each year.
According to this company's study, a projected increase of 0.5 percent in starting salaries overall will be realized in the coming year, with greater increases being offered to employees in high-demand sectors (ex.: quality assurance and information security).
I'm April Bailey, a freelance writer and editor for hire who has been writing about various topics for many years. Most of my early print work was destroyed in a major house fire. Luckily, I was able to pull some copies from an old PC and have posted them here. Other items on this blog reflect my current articles and blog posts written for online publications and copied here so I never lose my work again!