>> Bill Detweiler: Whether you're just starting your IT career or trying to move up the IT ladder, learning the right skills and getting the right certifications can give you a leg up on your competition. While, I'm Bill Detweiler, and during this episode of "TR Dojo" phonetic, I'll reveal several factors that can increase your base salary and the ten most valuable IT certifications.
>> Bill Detweiler: For the fourth time, Global Knowledge and Tech Republic have partnered to create a comprehensive IT salary survey. Starting in October 2010, over 12,000 IT pros from around the world answered questions about their overall job satisfaction, base salary, benefits, bonuses, certifications, and more. Now, in March, we released the results of this survey in our 2011 IT Skills and Salary Report, and before we look at some of the individual statistics, let's look at the overall numbers. Now, the average salary for survey respondents was $79,579 U.S. This is 3.2 percent less than the $82,115 reported in our 2010 report, but it's still eight percent higher than the $73,900 reported in our 2008 study. Unlike base salaries, however, the number of participants who reported receiving a raise was slightly higher, 54 percent in 2011 compared to 43 percent in 2010. Unfortunately, this is significantly less than the 70 percent who reported receiving a raise in 2009. The same trend was seen in the number of people who reported receiving a bonus. Although a higher percentage of participants reported receiving a raise or a bonus, the average amount for each actually fell. In our 2010 report, the average raise was ten percent compared with only seven percent in our 2011 report. The average bonus in the 2010 report was $8,654 compared to $7,926 in 2011. Now let's break down the base salary numbers by job role and technical certification. Looking at job role first, this should come as no surprise, but senior and executive positions have higher-based salaries than middle management or entry-level positions. For example, the average base salary for VP's was $126,693, and for other executive level IT personnel it was just above $122,000. On the flip side, those identified as managers had an average salary of $89,636 while job roles like sys admin and support had an average base salary of $65,749. While job role and responsibility are often the most significant factors for determining base salary, training and certification also play an important role, and according to the report, 45 percent of the participants stated that they earned an IT, project management, or business-related certification in the last five years. Now with that in mind, let's look at the certifications that garnered the highest base salaries. Now topping our list is the project management professional, or PMP certification. Now in close second is the certified info systems security professional, or CISSP certification; third is the Cisco certified design associate, or CCDA; fourth is the Cisco certified networking professional, or CCNP; fifth and sixth on our list are two idle certs, idle V2 foundation and idle V3 foundation; seventh is VMWare certified professional; and eighth is project plus; ninth on the list is VOiP and telephony; and rounding out the top ten is Microsoft's MCSE. Before wrapping up this IT Dojo episode, I'd like to discuss two other factors that play a critical role in determining your salary, company size and geographic location. Now, there are benefits to working for a small company, but as our previous surveys have found, pay isn't really one of them. IT professionals working with less than 10 team members earn an average base salary of $69,962 while those who work in departments with 100 or more IT staff earn an average $91,236. Now that's a difference of 31 percent. In addition to your job role, skills, training, and company size, geographic location also affects how much you earn. As you can see here, those living on either coasts reported higher salaries than those in the South or Midwest. Looking at individual states, participants from Washington, D.C., New Jersey, Maryland, Connecticut, and Virginia reported the highest salaries while participants from Idaho, Maine, South Dakota, Vermont, and Nevada reported the lowest. So what can we take away from all these numbers? Well, first, you must develop the skills and knowledge that employers want and are willing to pay for, and this may change over time. For example, there were no virtualization specific certs in our top 20 list of our 2009 report, but VMWare certified professional was number seven on this year's list. Also, you may need to branch out beyond a purely technical skills set as illustrated by the PMP certification's top spot on this year's list. Second, geography and company size can also affect your salary. If you're not earning what you want, you may need to be flexible in where you live and whom you work for. Just remember that when moving to a new city or region of the country, your cost of living may also increase, which may offset any salary gain. Now, I've pulled just a few highlights from our 2011 IT Skills and Salary Report. The full document contains information on job satisfaction, employer benefits, and a breakdown of salary by industry. I'll provide a link to the full report in the "TR Dojo" blog. And as always, for more teachings on your path to becoming an IT ninja, visit TR Dojo dot tech republic dot com. Sign up for our twice-weekly e-mail newsletter, or you can follow me on Twitter. Thanks for visiting the "TR Dojo."
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