RHT 2005 Salary Guide Outlines Trends

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After fleshing out the numbers from Robert Half Technology’s (RHT) 2005 Salary Guide, Jeff Markham, director of RHT’s San Francisco division, has three words of advice for IT pros considering certification: “Go get ’em.”

Companies have begun to boost salaries of current employees and are increasing the number of IT professionals on staff, Markham said, and more and more businesses are looking at certification as they consider who to promote, who to give raises to and who to hire. “A lot of people did the right thing while they were unemployed (during the recession),” he said. “They found the resources to go to free classes, they found the resources to get certified, they found the resources to study. If someone proved that they were staying with the industry, that they went out and got these certifications, and are showing interest in certification, it’s helping them get a job. They’re beating out candidates that didn’t.”


According to the RHT study, which involved hundreds of companies, system auditors, quality assurance/testing managers, network security administrators and business systems analysts are projected to be among the hottest areas of expertise in IT in the coming year. In addition, financial services, real estate and business services likely will have exceptionally strong demand for IT professionals.


“It’s really just the law of supply and demand, in that companies are starting to hire again, or they’re starting to do projects again, or they’re starting to take products off the shelf that were shelved during the downturn,” Markham said. “It’s like the stock market—a lot of it is psychological. People are starting to hear about projects, they’re starting to hear about jobs and they’re asking for more money.”


“People think, ‘Gee, the economy’s growing, employment numbers are slowly getting better,’ but they’re just getting back to pre-boom, mid-’90s levels,” he added. “Companies went so crazy during the upturn—they just hired and hired, and just figured out where to put people—and went the downturn hit, they cut so deep that I think a lot of companies over-cut.”


Because of the economic roller-coaster ride of the 1990s, there is an underlying atmosphere of prudence amid all of this current growth. “It’s definitely a cautious growth, a cautious optimism,” Markham said. “The old adage, ‘Cash is king,’ is much more prevalent during this upturn. The CIO or IT director has to report to the CEO and the CFO that what they’re doing, and the initiatives they’re undertaking are doing one of two things: adding revenue or decreasing costs. If an initiative or a project is not doing one of those things—or they can’t prove it’s going to—they’re not going to do it. That parleys into the hiring. If a company can’t prove that this network engineer can’t help with security, virus patches, routing or e-mail uptime, which ultimately will lead to better productivity, better profits or lower costs, they’re not going to hire him.”


“It all comes down to increasing revenue or decreasing cost,” he said. “People have to prove that they can make this IT department, or any department they’re trying to get a job in, better, faster and stronger.” Markham also said that certification is a good way for job candidates or current employees to demonstrate that they can add value to an organization.


Want a second opinion on how certification could impact your income? Then check out the “2004 Salary Survey” in the December issue of Certification Magazine, to see what 35,000 IT professionals in 160 countries have to say about salaries and certification. CertMag’s 2003 Salary Survey results are available online at http://www.certmag.com/salaries. The 2004 survey results will be available at the same URL in mid-November.

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