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Associate IT Consultant Salary?

By shanksmic ·
I don't even know how to begin, so I will just start with this. I am 23 years old, I have an Associates in Computer Networking Technology, a B.S. in Computer Science (Emphasis in information Management), a Web Site Development Certificate, and as of December 2006 I will have my M.B.A. Now I have two options, I can begin working as a Field Service Analyst (Help Desk) for Panera Bread for about 30k a year, or I can take a paid Internship with Daugherty Business Solutions and upon graduation they would hire me as an Associate my question is, how much do Associate IT Consultants make?

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I don't know your local job market...

... but $30k/year sounds INCREDIBLY low with those academic credentials! Especially for someone about to be getting an MBA. If you are still in school (you are working on your MBA, after all), I would recommend the internship. I have no idea what an "Associate IT Consultant" makes, not just because I don't know your local job market, but because I have no clue what that is. It sounds like a nonsense job title. Does that mean systems administrator? Networking engineer? Programmer? Business analyst? What are the responsibilities and functions of an "Associate IT Consultant?" Whatever they are, look at what you will be doing most, and expect to make about what someone with that job title (programmer, sys admin, etc.) makes in your area with equivalent experience and credentials.

You also do not mention your experience level. In the IT industry, a degree becomes less of a factor in salary as you gain experience. It is a rapidly developing field, and except for the fundamentals, everything you learned in school is obsolete after five years anyways.


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No Experience

by shanksmic In reply to I don't know your local j ...

Thats because I have NO experience, lol. I went from an undergradute to a graduate as soon as I could. But you are right about it being a phony bologna sounding title, it does sound phony because basically upon graduation they would spend 5 years grooming me. As an "associate consultant" I would be mentored to become a full time Technology Management Consultant. But I have to go to the gym, I will be back later.

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Where are you? Do you have experience?

by jmgarvin In reply to Associate IT Consultant S ...

a) That seems to be the average for help desk pya. 30k is neither great nor is it awful. If you are trying to break into IT, most of us had to cut our teeth for a year or two at help desk jobs.

b) I've not the slightest what an Associate IT Consultant is. I would guess it is some kind of everything IT, so I'll say 35k-45k.

c) If you have no experience, your education will hinder your pay. Take the Associate IT Consulant or help desk depending on what YOU want to do. Just eat the low pay for a year or two and consider it "character building." ;-)

Good luck!

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My ideas on pay are a bit skewed...

... I enteed the professional IT industry in the middle of the dot-com boom, plus I was in the north NJ/NYC area. I knew a guy who was 18 and a college freshman. He read "Teach Yourself HTML in 21 Days" in a weekend, put out his resume on Monday and by Friday he was signed to a $50k/year job. I also had worked professionall in IT since I was a sophomore in college (college Help Desk, got HD out of the way BEFORE I graduated), and I had done programming since I was 12 and sys admin work since I was 14. In college, I also did an internship and worked as a webmaster for a few places. In other words, I was considered "mid career" (or at the least, "beyond entry level") by the time I graduated college.

So yeah, my concept of pay rates is admitedly very skewed. I just toally skipped the traditional "graduate, get entry level position, work your way up from there" deal.

From the original poster's additional comments, it sounds like it is some sort of business analyst type position, on a management training track. No one "grooms" employees anymore, unless they're trying to build out their next generation of leadership, since the average length of stay for employees is now something like 3 years.

At the last place I worked, there were two types of employees: those with more than 10 years there (a shrinking portion of the workforce), and those with two or less years there. It was extremely rare to find someone with more than two years experience who wasn't an old timer. They had a rediculous manager to employee ratio, something like 1:30, so after two years, you figured out that you had to wait for someone to die or get hit by a train just to have a promotion chance, and even then you were in competition. That company lost a lot of great talent, simply because anyone who could survive two years there learned that they had to leave if they ever wanted to advance their careers. As a result, they had a management system filled with the unambitious who were content to be a low-level worker for ten years. Needless to say, I have little respect for that company. Lots of bright people in the lower ranks, with no way to reward them whatsoever.


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Ah yes!

by jmgarvin In reply to My ideas on pay are a bit ...

The dot com boom! Ah, the halcion days of getting tons of money for nothing ;-)

It's true. Companies don't want you to stay around. 5 years is a LONG time to them...They don't want loyalty and they don't want to promote you. ****, I'd go so far to say that companies would rather not have employees or customers...they'd rather they just magically got money.

Anyway, the IT field is a work you way up field now. A MBA might help, but it could cool your chances of landing a middle IT job if you don't have any experience...

/ cynical

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by shanksmic In reply to Ah yes!

but what makes me feel like this is more than just a couple year job is that this position is built for the long run and by the time I am completely trained in every aspect of the job and am able to a great consultant that they would just cut me and hire someone new to train for another 5 years? That really doesn't make that much sense to me.......but you are right about that magically getting money thing......but hey who wouldn't do that? lol

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I'm Afraid

by rkuhn In reply to Associate IT Consultant S ...

You're going to have to go out and prove yourself and work your way up.

I'm the exact opposite of you. No IT degree, few certs. I was a marketing major.

However, I do have 7 years experience. I've worked during the dot com boom and after. I've done everything from admin, to web design, to helpdesk.

I very much enjoy my job and making a decent living.

Just be careful that the consultant position isn't full of over promises that they won't fulfill.

Two things. One, don't forget small companies that will be more likely to take a chance on you and pay more. Two, if you go the larger company route, there may be more opportunities available if you prove yourself and get out of that entry level position.

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Don't listen to the negative and don't expect too much

by Matthew Moran In reply to Associate IT Consultant S ...

First, I apologize for the length and topic variance of this response. You are starting out, so I will offer a bit broader advice. I hope you and others find it helpful. Considering the time I took to write it all down, I hope someone finds it helpful.

The IT industry is a great place for performance based advancement. Unfortunately, a good number of people believe performance is working hard. Ditch diggers work hard but I wouldn?t expect a bunch of income to show up.

The real question is one of value. Either job will probably be fine to get you some experience. I might be inclined to go the consultant?s route because your hands on experience may be more varied.

Whether you make $30,000/year or $15,000/year is far less important than the opportunity to learn how to create value for the organization?s you serve.

Beware the concept that your education is worth anything much of anything other than as a topic of conversation. There is no true dollar value tied to it until the things you've learned are applied to projects of value.

I do not have a computer science degree and have no certs. In fact, I've never taken any computer related classes. I've taught a few. However, I have earned 6 figures since 1995, work out of my house, and work about 32 to 36 hours a week. But I started out working for a department in a large corporation (not in IT).

I was, based on salary surveys, underpaid for what I did. I turned down positions 3 times over 5 years that would have paid $10-20K more than I was making. However, I was in a position to program, run the network, train users, coordinate projects with vendors, architect solutions with the IT department, manage multiple projects, etc.

I traded the pay of a given year or two for the opportunity to be sent to training on time management, project management, and other ? soft skills pursuits.

My first year to leave that company I earned nearly 4 times as much as I did the year prior. I?ve never looked back.

The focus in that department was on, how does what you do impact the bottom line ? help us do more with less, create opportunities for better income, allow us to make decisions better and faster, etc.

The question of what people make when leaving college is meaningless. You need to gauge the opportunity not by its pay this year but by the long-term value skills you will learn. Anyone can program. Anyone can design an network. Really, IT is not all that complicated.

Tying those skills to a bottom-line perspective, identifying automation opportunities, understanding the business case for what you do ? that is a valuable skill and companies will pay a premium to those they discover that can do that.

Case and point. I met an IT professional who does a rather rote skill. I taught him some simple automation skills ? ways to streamline his job. His fear was that they would no longer need him. I explained that you must demonstrate that you can create value for users now that you?ve automated what you do.

He has been put in charge of special projects and earned a significant raise and promotion.

The perception that it is you versus the greedy corporation is career suicide. It is poison. Everyone is in a partnership and agreement with the company they work for. Whether you are employed by them or are a consultant, it is all about trading items of value. (your skill and time for their money, insurance, office space, etc.). The more value you tie to your time and skill, the more you can ask them to trade back to you.

When you work for a company you will very quickly find people with that perception huddled together. If you do not join their loud and chirpy group, you will be ostracized. If you relate well with management, they will label you a sell out, a brown nose, a (can I say it) kiss ***. It is like the punk rockers all dressed the same to show that they are unique. That self-defeating group is actually the sell out.

Being able work with management, holding in esteem those who have achieved and emulating their skills, etc. ? that is being an individual ? few people do it. That is how you build your reputation. You will hear people from the Us versus Them group talk about people who advance rapidly. They will say things like, ?they were lucky.? ?Management is stupid and only advances stupid people.? And similar, meaningless statements. DON?T BUY INTO IT.

Beware Salary Surveys. They have a way of breeding discontent and do not reflect opportunity. I would gladly trade pay for opportunity any time. In fact, when I wanted to add writing to my list of skills, I did jus that. I asked my clients to allow me to take a stab at writing some marketing for them. I did this for free just for the opportunity.

Within 2 months they were paying me to write marketing copy. I then wrote articles for little pay, identifying some sites that had a high visibility. This led to my book deal. My editor found some articles, found my site, bought my self-published book, and contacted me about publishing it.

I blogged this topic back in 2005?

Finally, if you can get both the pay and the opportunity ? go for it. Just be careful. Especially when starting out. Often, people look at three job offers - $30k/year, $35k/year, and $40k/year. They see that $40k/year is $10k more and that becomes their determining factor. I?m not saying it isn?t important but I know too many high-performers who made $10k less a year than others for 3-5 years and then made up the difference in a single year.

Finding a job is easy. Finding opportunity, slightly more difficult.

At least that?s my perception.

And just to be clear, I sometimes get the "but you don't work in the industry any longer - you are a writer." My pay distribution is as follows:
- 90% - IT Consulting
(high-level strategy down to DOT.NET development)
- 10% - Speaking and Writing

I am working to change that - just because the repeatable income nature of published product but I am "in the industry" as it were.

Matthew Moran
Blog: Notes From The Toolshed

The IT Career Builder?s Toolkit

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Great points!

These are some great points here. Like Matthew, I do not have a CS degree or certs (I took three CS classes in college). I have found that employers love what I majored in (liberal arts), because it means that I know how to read and write effectively, skills that many CS students lack.

On the job, I always work at least 1 pay scale above what I am getting paid. By showing my worth to management consistently like this, you do get advancement whenever it is possible.

Was I a bit negative about promotion opportunities though? Absolutely. The simple fact is, even when management sees your worth, and wants to promote you, there is simply nothing they can do about it, in far too many companies. The example I quoted, I started there as a contractor. Upon transferring to a different department, in my first months I was awarded a "Top Performer for the Month" award. Management told me that I was in line to be brought on as a full time employee. I was there almost two years total before they could convert me. Why? Headcount. Because some VP somewhere decided that the stockholders would be happier if they only officially hired a few people a year, and just employed armies of contractors. On a side note, their use of contractors was in *direct* violation of federal law. Not only did they own the contracting company itself, but they frequently had contractors managing FTEs, which is entirely illegal. After being made a FTE, I was in the pipeline for over 6 months to officially be promoted to the job that I had been doing (without being asked) for quite some time. Again, it was beuracracy holding that back. The positions had been vacant for some time, but since upper management saw that things had been going so well without replacing those people, they saw no reason to fill the spots. Of course, the reason why everything was going so well was because myself and one other lower level employee were actually performing the job function, on top of our other functions, without being paid. Our direct managers knew this and fought hard for us. In a nutshell, unless we went on unofficial strike to demonstrate that they really did need to fill those spots, upper level management would never see this. I simply was not going to do this. To the best of my knowledge, a year later, the other person is still busting his butt and being told "they still won't let me fill that spot." Happy I didn't wait around for 18 months to get that promotion!

I have worked for some big companies, and I have worked for some small companies. Small companies are great on a lot of levels. They give you a chance to do lots of different things, are more willing to take risks on someone without perfect credentials, and are often much more flexible about "the rules." Big companies have more things to actually do, if you can network and what not properly. Big companies do also offer a lot more room for advancement. Currently, I work for a five person company. I love the company, I love my job, I love the people, and the pay is good. But I also know that I will start to stagnate there very soon (I have been there a year). With only five people, there are no promotions, there is no ladder for me to climb. Unless we go out and get different types of business, my job will never change, I will never learn new skills, and I will be doing the same things that I am doing now until I leave. Is that a bad thing? Not neccessarily. The company treats me very well, and I am getting paid a fair salary for what I do. But at the end of the day, I am simply not growing, so I know that my time there is limited. Am I looking to leave today? No, but I probably will be in another year or so.


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I have to agree, but what is the next career step?

by TechTitan In reply to Don't listen to the negat ...

I have to agree. I admit I am slightly envious of this post as I am in the process of discovering the benefits of such a decision, but I am delighted that I appear to have made the right choice- that is to say, I am also in that group of underpaid achievers that sacrificed pay for opportunity.

Here is my situation... I have a mixed educational background, a BB in finance, a BS in Computer Engineering and 3 years system security experience with the DOD. Add to that a side business that focused on network installations, security, and server installs. You would think finding a steady day job would be easy right??? Jack-of-all-trades, master of none would be more appropriate... and that means- not too desirable apparently. I also never felt the need for technical certifications. I felt quite confident I had mastered the knowledge in a practial environment- opinions seemed to differ in the job market there as well. That was two years ago.

I didn't need the knowledge, the educational pedigree, but what I lacked was specific, project driven experience. I was also an accomplished technical writer, but I had no portfolio to "show my wares" so to speak. Then opportunity knocked. I had impressed one small business so much, the executive staff offered me a position as Director of Technology (reporting the the VP of Operations). Whoah, big jump from part time consultant and recent grad. However, they added, the budget was tight and the salaray would be well below par for such a position. The benefits: a lofty title to put on a resume and opportunity to gain considerable and documentable experience. The down side... well, the pay sucked to be quite honest. I could not say no, however...

I am happy to admit the pay off has been considerable. I have spearheaded several large integration projects, I have managed a departmental budget and handled all aspects of requisitions and purchasing, I have worked on both the IT and accounting side of the business and have even put on the hat of CIO and worked as auditor for the job costing system (we are a manufacturer). This is in addition to the day to day operations of our network, end user training, technical documentation development, lots of web work, etc. My resume looks nothing like what it did two years ago and I look forward to the pay off.

So, was the 40% (give or take) underpay worth it? I think so. At least the payoff in experience is realized and I have an established track record for several large projects. I never worked long hours and my side business kept living expenses in check, so over all, no complaints.

So my story pauses here....

This leads me to my own question. I see that I was blessed taking this route but what is the next step? Several factors, including the current profitability of the company I am with and its new management model have sparked my interest in scouting opportunities elsewhere. I am in Austin Texas and the IT boom is still very active BUT... my inexperience with the job search is slowing me down!!!

The easy question is: How do you reap the most out of the low-pay-for-opportunity choice?

And even harder, how do you translate what could be considered an executive level title into a "next step" in the career path? I have no expectation that my skill set is equal to that of a director of a large company, however, this should not detract from the fact that I did have a lot to do with the shaping of business decisions and the profitability of recommendations I have executed. Not to mention, the extensive experience gained on the IT/IS side.

Has anyone reading this had experience here?... making the transition from small business to medium/large?

It is also worth noting that of all the activities I feel I have truly mastered at this point, training, web work, and consulting is where my true passion is. I don't know if two years in this position would be considered enough to have "payed my dues," but I would like a higher paying job now that is more in line with my own interests and likes. I want to start enjoying my career now, if that's even possible!!!

I would truly appreciate any response to this!!!

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