Posted by: Ed Tittel
Career planning, IT careers, IT certification, IT salaries, MCP, Work background
In the latest issue of Redmondmag.com, you’ll find a story entitled “IT Salaries on the Rise.” It begins by observing that in times of recession, as goes the economy, so also go salaries–namely, down, down, down. But according to this latest study recent global macroeconomic events “…haven’t made any such visible impact on IT compensation–at least, so far…” Of course, it’s not clear if this is genuinely good news for IT Professionals or just a function of the lag between when the survey was conducted and when its results are published. Only time will tell. But according to this latest report “for a fourth year in a row salaries have risen, as have raises, bonuses, and job stability, sidestepping any rising recessionary tide.”
Industry observers and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics attribute this phenomenon to a function of supply and demand. That is, salaries continue to go up because there are more jobs looking for IT professionals than there are IT professionals looking for jobs. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? But alas, the picture isn’t completely rosy, though the situation is improving across the board for IT professionals, so that even entry level positions should be starting to open up. That said, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics also forecasts losses of 13,000 IT jobs for June (which gives you a good idea of when the survey was conducted) with total IT job losses for 2008 at 44,000. With the latest report from the same agency in early September raising unemployment to a higher-than-expected 6.1 percent, these number may also be on their way up as well.
To me one of the most interesting data points from this survey is that average age and number of years in IT has increased by more than one year since the previous survey in 2007, which indicates that the population being surveyed is pretty static. By extension this means that very few, if any, newcomers at the entry level are feeding into this population. As the survey’s analyst/reporter observes “That’s disconcerting if it provides some evidence that…fewer college graduates will fill IT roles as older workers retire.” An aging demographic poses all kinds of interesting problems, particularly as a cohort (demographics talk for a group of people about the same age, or within 5 years to either side of some midpoint) ages toward the retirement. With the average age of IT professionals surveyed at 42.7, figuring on a retirement age of 67 (by the time we get to 2033, it may be even higher than that!), that means we could be facing serious staffing issues in about 25 years.
Also, quite interestingly, the mean salary for individuals with MCP certification or better is about $7,500 less than that for individuals with no certifications (which I have to believe vindicates my recent blogs and contentions that soft skills play an important role in job success and pay, perhaps more so than do certifications nowadays). That said, I also see very interesting and sometimes surprising numbers for those who’ve already earned some of the new MS credentials: $82,420 for the new MCTS on Vista/Office Desktops, $92,017 for MCTS on SharePoint Services 3.0 Configuration, and an astounding $97,608 for an MCITP on Computer Support Technician. Those interested in MS credentials, particularly the new ones, will want to dig into Chart 4 (link below).
Of the charts in this story, readers are likely to find the following of great interest:
1. Chart 3: Average Base Salary by Job Title
2. Chart 4: Average Base Salary by Microsoft Certification
3. Chart 5: Average Salary by Microsoft Product Expertise
4. Chart 6: Average Salary by Technology Expertise
The section on “Why Certification Matters” is probably also worth a quick read. I’ll be discussing some of these points, and my own perspective on same, in my next blog, in fact.
Thanks, and enjoy!