Salary Survey 2008
By Agatha Gilmore, Mike Prokopeak, Kellye Whitney, Deanna Hartley, Lindsay Edmonds Wickman, Brian Summerfield —1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
Dropping from the top spot in 2007 to No. 2 this year was storage design and implementation. U.S.-based techies in this field earned $98,400 on average, which, while not enough to put it at the pinnacle of IT specializations, still represents a respectable increase of nearly $2,500 from last year.
Information assurance, which covers the areas of data confidentiality and integrity, was ranked third with an annual income of $97,930. Because of the rising pressures around privacy compliance, secure systems and risk management, this discipline has stayed near the top since it was introduced in last year’s Salary Survey.
Another related field that typically places high on the list, security, came in fourth, at $94,740. This is a large rebound for this specialization, which fell from $93,500 (first place) in 2006 to $87,890 last year. Security also represents the largest segment of CertMag Salary Survey participants this year, with more than 3,000 U.S.-based respondents. The second largest? “Other.”
Finally, the fifth-place finisher was database design and implementation, which reported average annual earnings of $91,030. This field knocked Java development out of the top five on the strength of a $4,000-plus boost in income since 2007.
Other high earners in the U.S. included network design and implementation ($88,810), IT project planning and implementation ($85,580), database administration ($80,270) and IT instruction ($80,060).
In addition to this year’s top specialization, a couple of IT fields posted big gains in salary. Surprisingly, IT instruction went up nearly $10,000 this year from $70,290 in 2007. Furthermore, it was a big year for the networking space: network management came in at a healthy $76,760, up from $71,130 last year; network devices went from $63,130 last year to $68,470 this year; and network administration pros earned an average of $62,320, an increase of 4 percent from last year.
A few declines also were reported. Java development was the biggest: This field fell from more than $86,000 in 2007 to $75,670 this year. Software programming regressed, too, dropping from $70,210 to $67,940. Additionally, although it still places among the top-paying IT specializations, database administration fell approximately $3,000 from 2007.
In the lower tier of IT salaries, the best-performing specialization was IT generalist, which went from $55,370 last year to $62,570 this year. Other fields didn’t fare as well. Web development fell from $56,630 in 2007 to $55,030 this year, and help-desk support more or less stayed put, going from $46,880 last year to $46,560 this year.
Unfortunately, with U.S. economic conditions being what they are, many more IT specializations may be flat or falling during the next year or so. While it’s impossible to say with certainty how things will shake out, we might be looking at the worst year for salaries in the past five years. Here’s hoping that’s not the case.
– Brian Summerfield, firstname.lastname@example.org
Measuring IT on a Global Scale
As information technology remains ubiquitous across industries and IT continues to foster the development of professionals on a global scale, this year’s Salary Survey once again reflected a truly diverse set of respondents, hailing from more than 100 countries across six of the seven continents.
In fact, due to a rise in the number of respondents this year, we were able to count responses from seven countries that were rendered ineligible in 2007 because they had fewer than 50 respondents.
The data collected from this year’s survey, allows us to compare and contrast the average annual salaries of the highest- and lowest-paid countries as reported by IT professionals worldwide.
For a snapshot of this information and to determine how well your country fared this year, please refer to figure 8, which outlines a list of the average salaries of IT professionals reported by country.
Now to the question that everybody’s curious about: Which countries fared best and worst in terms of IT salaries in 2008?
Last year’s race for top honors was significantly tighter; this year, Norway crushed its competition and clearly emerged as the country with the highest-paid average salary, replacing Denmark, which dropped three places to the No. 4 spot this year.
However, what’s even more surprising than the ease with which Norway swept the other countries on the list is the remarkable increase in salary gains it has made in just a single year. The average salary in Norway rose by more than $35,000 — from $74,480 in 2007 to $109,660 this year.
The country with the second-highest average salary — Switzerland — trailed a safe distance behind despite registering significant improvements. Last year’s average salary for Switzerland was $79,920, compared with this year’s $92,640, a reported $12,720 increase in one year.
In third place was Australia with $87,380, which made its way back into the top five rankings this year, knocking the United Kingdom off the list.
Although the United Kingdom registered gains of more than $7,000 over the past year — from $72,740 to $79,820 — it still wasn’t sufficient to earn a spot on the highest-paid list.
Denmark and the United States rounded out the list, with its IT professionals earning average annual salaries of $87,010 and $81,520, respectively.
While average annual IT salaries appear to have risen across the board when compared to 2007, there was a bit of a shuffle among the five countries with the lowest average salaries reported in this year’s survey.
Jordan and Bulgaria, last year’s lowest and fifth lowest-paid countries, respectively, were forced to drop out of the race altogether this year, having each yielded fewer than 50 responses. Also, Thailand settled into eighth place on the lowest-paid spectrum with average annual earnings of $19,780 — up $6,890 from last year’s $12,890.
Replacing these three countries at the bottom of the list were Vietnam, Sri Lanka and the Philippines.
The country with at least 50 respondents that registered the lowest average annual salary this year is Vietnam, which surprisingly reported a drastic $7,700 decrease to $13,240 from last year’s $20,940. Even the number of professionals who decided to participate this year decreased from 125 in 2007 to just 54 this year.
Close on Vietnam’s heels is Sri Lanka, with an average salary of $13,390. This country also registered a decrease of $1,800 in average IT salaries compared to last year’s $15,190.
Despite its growth in the IT arena, India came in third place — dropping a spot from last year, as the average salary fell only marginally from $14,980 to $14,270 during the past year.
The Philippines ranked the fourth lowest with $14,710, a $4,940 decrease from last year’s average salary of $19,650.
Meanwhile, coming in at the fifth-lowest spot and making a reappearance on the list is India’s neighboring country, Pakistan, which — unlike its counterparts on the list — actually made small strides this year, jumping from $14,200 to $15,030.
- Deanna Hartley, email@example.com | 2 | 3 | 4 |