Leadership

IT career: Moving into a higher-paying specialty


If you decide to stick with IT for the long haul, in order to move up the corporate ladder and make more money, you might look at the management tract. Although management has been the fastest growing tech category for several years, according to a recent article in InformationWeek, you might try moving into a higher-paying specialty for more prestige and money. According to Yoh, a leading staffing agency for high-tech talent that tracks the pay of thousands of staffers on short- and long-term projects, the average hourly wage for the average technology worker in Q1 2007 was $31.80.

But for those tech workers who specialized, things got a little more lucrative. Here's a breakdown of some of the highest hourly rates by specialty:

  • .NET Developer: $53.40
  • Database Administrator: $59.80
  • ETL Developer: $66.52
  • Hardware Engineer: $75.68
  • Java Developer: $57.27
  • Project Manager: $60.73
  • SAP Functional Consultant: $76.67
  • Technical Consultant: $83.72

Yoh's report also indicates that some of the emerging technologies that are fueling tech job growth are Web 2.0, SaaS, and social networking. Technologies with across-industry appeal like RFID and eCTD (Electronic Common Technical Document), are creating openings too.

So should one go out and immediately seek certification in any of these disciplines when and if they should become available? The InformationWeek jury seems to be out on that one. Their surveys indicate that "over the last 12 months, only 6% of staff and 4% of managers received a bonus that was tied to a certification or training. Just 3% of staffers and managers received a "hot skill" premium. Yet certification and education are part of moving into higher-salary jobs."

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

16 comments
Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

.Net developer isn't a specialist, it's a fad. next week it will be Ruby or CSS3, or some other thing. If you want a lengthy and lucrative career, specialise in doing the job well, not what some Gartner twit said was the upcoming tool, it will be the dying one by the tme you become competent and experienced enough to be called a 'specialist' in it. That's not counting getting your highly necessary CS degree, several certs... They aren't specialists they are simply rare. When you add in traning costs and time out of work when they don't know the new thing I bet someone like me who earns his corn clearing up after these 'experts' averages a much better income

Quackula
Quackula

Yoh is a choke. They are just a chop-shop for outsourcing IT work overseas. Those wages are a ferry tale, I know of no one who makes this much.

atsmar
atsmar

I'm currently working at a small Telecom company. I started out in Tech Support and was promoted about two months ago to the NOC department where I manage our Telecom switch and troubleshoot DSL, T-1 and DS3 issues. I also have a small IT consulting gig that I have on the side. I charge $75.00/Hr. This is where I can make some really good money. The telecom gig doesn't pay any where what you would think it should (I'm embarrased to even say what it pays), so that's why I supplement my income by doing the consulting work. I am involved in issues that run from one end of the spectrum (PC repair), to the other end of the spectrum (Network Admin), and everything in between. Despite the fact that the Telecom gig doesn't pay very well, the experience I'm garnering will only enhance my skill set.

TheGooch1
TheGooch1

I barely have time for my regular job, lol. I guess people stay busy in different ways. Plus you probably have more money than I do now :)

donlewispitt
donlewispitt like.author.displayName 1 Like

My advise, get out of IT. You will see rates starting to decline, less investment in workers from organizations and you will see many of our jobs leave the shores of USA. Do something for humanity that will be much more satisfying in life!

drowningnotwaving
drowningnotwaving

Linear salary is where I earn X dollars per hour. Even on high dollar earnings I am fundamentally limited by the number of hours I can apply. Leverage salary is where I earn money for something I had some part to play in establishing, but continues to earn me money just for waking up in the morning. e.g. trailing commissions, monthly retainers etc. The result is/should be that, as an individual, my 'per hour' salary has no boundary or limit. In fact, when it all works well, I can reduce my hours and increase my salary all at the same time. Personally I like the latter, both for the risk and the reward.

SlappyMcnasty
SlappyMcnasty

I wuld list most of these jobs as "average technology worker" jobs. For me it is skills in teh EAI, SOA, BPM space where you can make the most money. Being able to understand, explain and apply advanced technology concepts is the holy grail of tech skills. These people are nearly imposible to find and when you do, you are looking at a couple hundred bucks an hour for them

TheGooch1
TheGooch1

The Health Care industry is growing much faster than IT. I would seriously consider a career change! If you cannot do that, then consult or manage projects. The actual down and dirty tech work jobs have been demeaned thanks to offshore outsourcing.

pratibha.malhotra
pratibha.malhotra

What all technologies ETL comprised of? Can someone from the field please elaborate on the skills/technologies required.

VNCoder
VNCoder

Any works with BI is in demand at the moment. More so in Australia for the last 2 years. The BI system (that has ETL's) are Cognos, Hyperion, Pentaho, TM1, etc.... The most important thing in BI is understand the business (it's model and industry).

Starrdaark
Starrdaark

In regards to the titled subject of this reply (availability vs. pay), there is one IT position/skill set which stands out in frequency of posts by a long shot: - Any and all varieties of SQL admin/develop

MikeGall
MikeGall

Are these the top 10% in each field? This can't be the average IMHO. I've seen Money.com's best jobs breakdown, DBA was making 75k average, where as the salary quoted here is more like 130k.

JamesRL
JamesRL

These are the high end of the rates for these jobs, not an average. So I assume these are for senior staff with much experience and these make sense. As to the question posed by the author, I don't think people should necessarily jump at something just because it pays more. Tehy have to look at the fit - is it something they would enjoy and is it something that will last. Twenty years ago, I had a roommate who wanted a good paying cool job. He found a course for aerial photgraphic mapping, and it seemed interesting and there seemed to be jobs out there. But over the three years that the course took, the technology of the industry changed radically, and he found his training was obselete. He had to make other career choices and start again. Make a career change with a view to getting more job satisfaction or finding an interesting role that suits your skills and strengths. If you do that, the money will follow. James

fcarr
fcarr

What you're seeing is the 'retail' hourly price, what a contracting placement company gets per hour for a contractor placed at a client site. What you get in your paycheck is the 'wholesale' price. For example, in your scenario, the contracting company charges a company $65-70/hr for the DBA but the DBA only takes home $35-40/hr. If the DBA goes perm their salary (ie the wholesale price for their time) doesn't go up, just the retail price is reduced for the company.

mkurhan
mkurhan

These #s make no sense to me too. I think this are consulting figures.

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