Leadership

Poll: If you could choose again, would you still go into IT?

Our new 2009 IT Skills and Salary Report reports that 78% of IT pros say they are satisfied with their jobs. So we thought it would be a good time to ask TechRepublic members a similar question: If you could choose again, would you still go into IT?

We have taken the wraps off our new 2009 IT Skills and Salary Report and it reports that 78% of IT pros say they are satisfied with their jobs. So we thought it would be a good time to ask TechRepublic members a similar question:

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

52 comments
gorman.mi
gorman.mi

Considering that IT emerged suddenly as an option here in the great land of Oz-around 1995 it began to be possible to gain positions as a 'troubleshooter', more so in 1997 the mystique of 'troubleshooting' began to wear off, and you were called an 'IT Support Officer' with contract rates around $25 p/h and salary around 38k. If you were smart and educated yourself you could get 35 p/h by 2000. since that time not much has changed rate wise; HelpDesk contractors still get 25-28 p/h. As a permanent 2nd tier support you can get about 70k with 4 weeks leave per year and 16 days sick. Depending on your spiel you can range between 25 and 70 p/h with Citrix/Cisco/Unix skills. Rates have not moved very much in 12 years. I'd do it again because it is 'different' and provides an opportunity to use different parts of your self than conventional jobs.

dominicsabol
dominicsabol

I love the IT field, and you can go as far as you want to learn. No job is perfect, just like no relationship is perfect, you have to work at it and react to things accordingly. I think the IT field is changing more now then ever and future technology will be even more amazing, there will be more opportunities but you will have to work to find them. I am glad I found my calling in the IT field.

luptonru
luptonru

I'd have gone into nursing/become a doctor. Everybody will always get sick. Or maybe mortician. Everybody will die.

grahamdwright
grahamdwright

It's more to do with the management of IT by larger corporations. There is more of a tendancy to exploit as IT people are generally involved & interested in their jobs.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

But if I wasn't working IT it would be in a similar type industry where there is a need for Technical Thinking and work to get the job done. As an Mechanical Engineer there isn't much of an opening in what I really wanted to do and unless you start your own business you are really unlikely to be doing exactly what you want to do. Don't even think about working as a Physicist as it's all either Government or Teaching and neither appeals to me. Dealing with the Bureaucratic Mind Set or students that are just there because they where told that they needed to be and couldn't care less is my idea of Torture. Working as an Electrical Engineer has some appeal but it's not really as much fun as working IT. So if there wasn't a IT position I'm not sure exactly what it is I would be doing but I just might have a quieter life and more time to spend with my play toys. Though I don't think walking around in a White Lab Coat caring a clipboard is that much fun either. :D Col

mike
mike

IT has become a repetitive, intellectually stunted semi-profession. It's become the newest version of the assembly line. Too bad. There was an opportunity for it to be much more.

John_Baines
John_Baines

It has been a wild ride for 40 years, but I wouldn't have missed it!

SKDTech
SKDTech

Yes I would, but then I am a masochist.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Of those who respond to such a poll, how many are capable of doing something else? I find that too many people these days are single faceted, 2-dimensional. People seem to have one trade, skill, focus, interest and that's where they focus all efforts. However, should that field fail them do they have the OPTION of making a career change or is it just a lateral move? The way I've always seen it is that (unless restricted due to a learning disability or physical handicap) you can do anything, because it only takes 4 years of college tobecome a lawyer, doctor, dentist,teacher, automotive tech, machinist you name it. 4 years of training will get you going, of course more specialized training will extend that but the initial degree is only 4 years away. That means I could go from being a lawyer to being a doctor in the same decade. As I am only just turning 40, that leaves me several decades (knock on wood) to go. In the next 24 years before I retire I could technically achieve degrees in 6 different areas! Why would anyone look to ANY field as thier sole career path with so much time and ability to change course? Lack of ambition, complacency, fear of change?

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

I'd like to stay in or near the technology field. Does that mean I'm 2d? I don't think so, I prefer to play with the cool toys and be a techy. With that being said, I've moved from Dev to PM to Sys Admin to Training...so I suppose that means I've done my career changes???

jck
jck

I would not go into IT again, knowing how the trend has gone from technical people being in charge of technical implementations...to the accountants and executives deciding if infrastructure/support is needed based on cost-to-profit analysis. As for the salary report, I would be interested in seeing the demographics of who they asked, what markets, etc. I don't think they're questioning many people in places like Seminole, OK, Brooksville, FL, Johnson City, TN, or Joplin, MO. They probably questioned people mainly from larger markets where they can get higher respondency. Because, I would not believe (with the turnover rate in IT in the past few years and the influx of people in the last 10-13 years) that the average career for a respondent was 15 years. I do think some of the numbers are skewed. As for bonuses, most big corps pay IT people bonuses based on goals met.

ericswain
ericswain

I have always belived that if you are not happy with what you are doing and this goes for life in general then change it! This career has it's ups and downs like any other career but something about IT that most people don't get is that you have to have a passion for IT if you ever want to become successful at it. I fought my entire life against what I knew was going to be were I was eventually going to end up, fixing things that my brother would break, clearing the VCR from PB&J Sandwiches, building my Erector Set to transport stuff from my room to my brothers. Everything pointed to me being in IT and I wanted to be a FireFighting, FighterPilot, SuperHero.... but then I realized that although I could have been the first two the last was going to be a little tougher. I found that helping people with their computer issues made me feel somewhat like a superhero and so off I went to gain the knowledge that I so needed to help me become in my own way a "Super Hero". Without the passion for what we do I don't think anyone can be in a career that deals with so many different types of people with a vast range of knowledge in anything technical. I have learned now that we really don't offer anything more than a service to those who need our thinking caps. But there are those moments of glory,(cape flapping in the wind) that make this all worth while!

SilverBullet
SilverBullet

I would have choose to be a Major League Baseball Pitcher, I would have taken steriods, and a big contract, maybe could have been a team mate with A-Rod on the Yankees!

Slvrknght
Slvrknght

The Yankees... :) Sorry, Red Sox man to the bone. Actually, my only issue with that is you said you would actually want to be teammates with A-Rod... I kid. I agree with your assessment though. Given a choice I'd rather play pro-hockey.

mjd420nova
mjd420nova

I don't think it was so much that I chose IT but that it was just the natural progression of my career from the beginning of solid state electronics to todays computer professional. Having a complete grounding in component level electronics and following its advancement allowed me many oportunities to branch off into one of many directions. However, I decided that concentrating in one specific area would confine me, I remained in the mainstream service industry and attended many manufacturers schools and classes. Attending courses at local universities afforded me many more learning skills and exposure to a large cross section of programming languages. Hardware being my first and primary love, programming was a secondary but neccesary requirement to understanding the true nature of the optimal hardware functions. It's more like IT chose me instead of the other way around.

Kam Guerra
Kam Guerra

The Base Salary from the Participant Profile is about $30K higher than reality. I haven't seen any company dole out bonuses to IT folks since the dot.com days. The Salary Range of Respondents is purely made up. $100K? $120K? Really? Where? Show me a company paying that and can actually prove it. Great report - except for the accuracy of the inflated salary information.

nsmurali
nsmurali

In clintonian style I would say it depends on what the meaning of IT is...

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

Those are the three factors (geography, industry, and company size) you have to consider when you're looking at salary and I think our report does a good job of bearing that out. As for the average being inflated, you have to remember two things: San Francisco and New York skew the number higher and people tend to round up when you ask them how much they make. Our number was not derived from surveying people in Fantasy Land, it came from YOU (plural), the TechRepublic members.

Michael Jay
Michael Jay

did not get asked for their numbers? Only TechRepublic? Since they are sister stations I would think that there is some crossover.

chris.pratt
chris.pratt

Kam is absolutely right, I thought the 2008 one was ridiculous and this one is even more fancifull

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I wasn't one of those thick tw@ts who did it for the money.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

I thought that got sorted in the 90's...apparently not ;-)

reisen55
reisen55

My rants are mostly about outsourcing and several years ago I worked for a major Manhattan based insurance firm downtown and damn near died on the job. I mean that literally, 101st floor of the South Tower. Our IT department was back at work, mostly, in 24 to 48 hours following that trauma and this firm gave us a $500 bonus and then outsourced out for H1B visa types in 2005. I had a little award on my desk for being part of the dedicated "team" which means nothing to me now. I am bitter about outsourcing American jobs overseas and despair always that our talent ranks are being decimated in favor of Bangalore.

jck
jck

Experienced IT people in DC or Los Angeles or Manhattan who still have their job make $90k and up. It's too expensive those places to be a senior DBA with 15 years experience and not make six figures. Hell if I put in enough time here where I work in government as a top programmer, I can peak out at about $80k a year in rural Florida. So six figures in big cities is not too much to ask when you have the experience and know-how to draw that.

jdclyde
jdclyde

Because pay is based upon the cost of living in that area, for a large part. To say a makes $XXX without taking into consideration WHERE they are making that much, it is comparing apples and french fries. It means nothing to the average person not living in CA or NY.

jck
jck

you just have to use additional data to find out what you should make. it just requires more work...more than i'd wanna do :^0

mdhealy
mdhealy

I live in Connecticut, and make over $100K myself, which puts me in about the same place financially as somebody making $75K in Omaha. I am fortunate in this regard that I work in the private sector: my residence is within 75 miles of NYC but my office is a little more than 75 miles from NYC -- and Federal employees whose workplaces are less than 75 miles from certain major cities get paid more than those whose workplaces are more than 75 miles from a major city. Federal employees whose offices are a little over 75 miles from NYC must really love this rule!

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

$90 in Dallas is a HELL of a lot more than $90k in the Bay Area. However, I assume that enough people responded to water down the higher ends (but from the data maybe not?) I'd guess the average pay for IT folks is really in the 60k-70k range and the work experience is probably about right.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

You do realize that people live in other places and don't work for the government, right? You also realize that it depends on WHAT you do in IT. I'd say the salary report is dead on. Based on what I was making in Albuquerque and what I'm making now (in the Bay Area) it sounds right.

Second and Goal
Second and Goal

Agreed. I work in Boston, and live in the suburbs, and the numbers looked dead on to me. Many of my friends are in the same industry, though in many different segments, and though I don't know their exact salaries, I'd guess the report is pretty close on them as well.

BFilmFan
BFilmFan

I can name 2 companies that pay over 100K for system engineers that pay bonuses to employees. Allied Signal, which is a federal contractor that provides work to all kinds of federal agencies. Time Warner, which is a well known media conglomerate pays excellent salaries and has a profit sharing plan. As for making the magic 6 figure a year salary, do you know Exchange, Active Directory and Citrix? Can you get a top secret clearance? Want to work for the department of Justice? http://seeker.dice.com/jobsearch/servlet/JobSearch?op=101&dockey=xml/8/9/8918161300deee22ccd5a382534f352c@endecaindex&c=1&source=20

Kam Guerra
Kam Guerra

In DC and with TS/SSBI. Have worked for several TLAs and their OPDIVs. The quality of the recruiters and companies that use Dice is pretty low and usually have had IC3 submissions for online fraud.

jck
jck

Um, that must be in their VA location near DC or something, BFilm. I can tell you that no one (except maybe the head of IT) in the Tampa office as of a few years ago made that before TWC changed into BrightHouse Networks. Network guys were starting at about $30k a year and peaking at $45k. I know. I looked there cause my friend's sister was a manager and wanted me to come to work for them. So, it might just be based on location and cost of living. But I know in FL (Tampa Bay and Orlando/Central Florida) was never that generous with even their senior network guys or programmers.

BFilmFan
BFilmFan

I like to think my real job title should be systems analyst, since that isn't specific to one particular OS or even technology. I consider myself a lapsed electrical engineer, if anything.

jck
jck

you have one of those "tech evangelist" titles that Microsoft likes to hand out!!! *puts fingers up in crucifix shape* Just say that you design the interworkings of Windows systems. :^0

BFilmFan
BFilmFan

I actually reside in Powder Springs, which is a suburb north of Atlanta and west of Marietta and east of Dallas and right near Lost Mountain. I've never changed my bio since sticking in the Consultant tag, but my real title is Windows Infrastructure Architect. I should start a new discussion called "One Killer Cool Thing About My Job."

jck
jck

a) Atlanta is pretty expensive, depending on what area and how far out it is (downtown/buckhead vs douglasville or jonesboro) b) If you're consulting like your bio description says, you're gonna make more than the staffer anyways by usually about 15-60% depending on length of contract, specialty, and experience. I contracted for a place once as an Implementation Analyst. I basically (benefits and all) got paid about 32 an hour. They were billing upwards of $175 an hour for me. Talk about getting screwed!!! :^0

BFilmFan
BFilmFan

I've heard stories about low pay in some units, but have to admit that my experience with TW has been totally positive in regards of pay and bonuses. I have noticed that Florida seems to always have lower wage scales, as I was brought in as a contractor for BlueCross BlueShield in Jacksonville for a year once and was making nearly 2.5 times what their salaried employees were. I seem to recall most of the upper-end IT people were in the 70's.

Slayer_
Slayer_

.

arignote
arignote

Sometimes IT is just legal prostitution. For example in response to a few particularly bad managers I've been told: "I don't care what they want me to do as long as they keep paying me", "It's the job of the employee to take the blame for the manager" and "Maybe you should wear a dress. [name withheld] likes women in dresses"

rob mekel
rob mekel

that's merely a question of geografie as ... Jason puts out in: http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-13416-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=302513&messageID=3022813 Oh yeah, that was on salary ... Actually in NL, GER, ... it isn't any more. So that puts it back to: it's merely a question of geografie ... into the prostitution business it is then for you ?:| ;)

rob mekel
rob mekel

is like euro fl or euro versus guilder ;) if we put it to Euro? versus $ it's depending on the date or even the time of the day on how much 1$ wil be to the Euro? at the moment $1.28 is ?1Euro end of sept. 2008 it was as much as $1.6 to ?1 Even the pound? is 1 on 1 to the ?Euro. Britain is getting pretty cheap these days :) Around Christmas London was very nice to go shopping for your daily groceries, bit time consuming but otherwise even including flight-/boatticket cheep. [i]dang the Euro and Pound sign don't work in TR :( [/i]

cgracia
cgracia

GEOGRAPHY would definitely help. NYC area is still pretty decent, but the market is quite rough for backoffice folks. But you can still see 6 figures at the right place and time. Definitely a lot of guilders... :)

jck
jck

Let's move to Nevada. I'll be your pimp! ]:)

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

No it didn't Pimps need to advertise to get ongoing business and [b]New Business.[/b] You would send your Hooker broke in no time at all and that is just unsuitable. :^0 Col ]:)

jck
jck

you gotta pay to play, playah...and if i don't see no benjamins, i have ta ask you to step off. can ya hear me? (did that sound pimpish enough? lol)

BFilmFan
BFilmFan

I will personally rent a bus and come out to see you doing a pole dance and load it up with TR peeps... Wait till Miss S shows up with her web cam and makes that the highlight of the Out Loud video.

jck
jck

I'll bring my purple velvet suit complete with butterfly collar and hat with a long feather, my snake head pimp cane, and all my bling to wear. can ya dig it??? :^0

Slayer_
Slayer_

I'll see you there :)

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