Most IT pros who want to make a bigger salary feel as though the only way to do it is to move into a management role. Unfortunately, that's often the only avenue in many companies. But what if you're an IT pro who smartly realizes that he or she may not have the skill set for management? Or what if you enjoy the technical aspects of the job and don't want to move away from that? Here are some things you can do to boost your salary in the position you're already in:
Be a thought leader in your specific technical area
Create an online presence. Soup up your LinkedIn presence with affiliations with some prestigious companies and technical organizations. Create your own blog in which you write about technical issues that you're an expert in. Or contribute to online tech publications. Blogs not only showcase your knowledge, but search engines like the frequent stream of fresh content.
Give speeches. You can do this in tech organizations that you belong to. Send speech topics to event organizers and maybe they'll take you up on one.
Be the primary contact for the company's most important software application
Many tech pros consider it a good day if they don't have to interact with anyone. But if you're willing to help end-users with the software (addressing problems but also training them how to use it), you become the go-to person and your name that floats into conversations most often. And while I don't recommend hoarding important information as a way to make yourself indispensible, being the company expert on an application does make you more important.
Become an expert in the technical direction your company is moving
If a company is moving into unknown territory (like the Cloud), the stockholders will want to learn everything they can. If you're the person who can answer all the questions, you'll become prominent on the radar screens, and thereby raising your professional profile. This is particularly effective if you're in an industry that uses a particular kind of technology. It's a smaller pond in which to become the big fish.
Toni Bowers is the former 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.