Bill Detwiler: Whether you're just starting your IT career, trying to move-up the IT ladder, or looking to reinvent yourself after a layoff, learning the right skills and getting the right certifications can give you an edge on getting the job or the promotion you want. But, which skills and certs are likely to earn you top dollar?
I'm Bill Detwiler, and in this IT Dojo video, I'll reveal several factors that can increase your base salary -- including the five most valuable technical certifications.
For the second year in a row, Global Knowledge and TechRepublic partnered to create and distribute a comprehensive IT salary survey. From October 20 to November 11, 2008, over 14,150 U.S. IT professionals answered questions about their overall job satisfaction, base salary, benefits, bonuses, certifications, and more.
In February, we released the result of this survey in our 2009 IT Skills and Salary Report.
Despite the current economic downturn, IT salaries posted a small gain over the results reported in our 2008 IT Skills and Salary Report. The average base salary of participants in our 2009 report was $81,600, compared to $73,900 in our 2008 report.
Unlike base salaries however, the number of participants who reported receiving raises or bonuses was slightly lower. 70 percent of 2009 participants reported receiving a raise, compared to 80 percent in our 2008 report. And 46 percent of participants reported receiving a bonus, compared to 49 percent in our 2008 report.
Although a lower percentage of participants reported receiving a raise or bonus, the average amount for each actually rose. In our 2009 report, the average raise was 6 percent compared with 4 percent in our 2008 report. The average bonus in the 2009 report was $8,575 compared to $3,937 in the 2008 report.
Now, let's break down the base salary numbers by job role and technical certification.
Looking at job role first, it should come as no surprise that senior and executive positions have higher base salaries than middle-management or entry-level position.
For example, the average base salary for all IT staff is $69,600. But, when we look at executive management the average base salary is $128,200, for senior managers it is $106,000, for middle managers $86,200, and for supervisors $79,000.
Of the 20 specific participant job roles, here's a list of the top 10:
CIO tops our list with an average base salary of $134,600, and IT Director is next with an average of $100,900. Consultant is third, with and average base salary of $96,300. Project Manager is fourth with $93,200. IT Project Manager is next with a $90,500 average base salary. IT Manager is sixth with $88,200. Computer Software Engineer is seventh with $81,600. Database Administrator is eighth with $81,000. Business Analyst is ninth with $79,000. And Systems Engineer rounds out our top 10 with an average base salary of $78,200.
While job role and responsibility are often the most significant factors for determining base salary, training and certification also play an important role. According to the report, 64 percent of participants stated that training had a measureable impact on their salary, and 67 percent of hiring managers believe that certifications affect the salaries of potential employees.
With that in mind, let's look at the technical certifications that garnered the highest base salary:
Topping our list is Cisco Certified Design Professional or CCDP with an average base salary of $103,800. In close second is the Certified Info Systems Security Professional or CISSP certification at $103,500. Third is the Cisco Certified Networking Professional or CCNP, with an average base salary of $96,400. Forth is the Cisco Certified Design Associate or CCDA with an average base salary of $94,400. Fifth on our list is Cisco's CCNA voice certification at $89,100. Sixth is CCNA Security with $87,500. Our first Microsoft certification makes the list at number seven with the MCSE of Windows Server 2003 at $81,800. Eighth is Cisco's CCNA Routing and Switching certification at $81,300. Ninth is the CompTIA Security+ certification at $75,100. And Microsoft's MCSA on Windows Server 2003 rounds out our top 10 list with an average base salary of $74,400.
Before wrapping up this IT Dojo episode, there are two other factors that play a critical role in determining your salary -- company size and geographic location.
There are benefits to working for a small company, but according to our survey participants, pay is not one of them. IT professionals working with an IT staff of less than five people earn an average base salary of $68,800, while those who work with over 500 IT staff earn and average $97,700.
Not only is number of IT staff related to salary, but so is total number of employees. As the average number of employees increased, so did the base salary.
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 cost reported higher salaries than those in the South or Midwest.
Looking at individual states, participants from New Jersey, Washington D.C., Maryland, Connecticut, and California reported the highest salaries, while participants from Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, Mississippi, and Montana reported the lowest.
So, what can we take away from all these numbers?
First, even during difficult economic times, IT professionals believe training and certifications can positively affect their salaries. Likewise, hiring managers believe that certifications affect the salaries of potential employees. Whether you're looking to climb your company's IT career ladder or looking for a ladder to climb, you must develop the skills and knowledge that employers want and are willing to pay for.
Second, geography and company size can definitely affect your salary. If you're not earning what you want, you may have to be flexible in where you live and who you work for.
Now, I've pulled just a few highlights from our 2009 IT Skills and Salary Report. The full document contains information on job satisfaction, employer benefits, and a breakdown of salary by industry. You can download the complete report as a PDF document from TechRepublic.com.
And as always, for more teachings on your path to becoming an IT Ninja, visit itdojo.techrepublic.com. And please let us know if this tip was helpful.
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I'm Bill Detwiler. Thanks for visiting TechRepublic's IT Dojo.