Salary Survey: Tech salaries and bonus pay are on the rise

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This feature first appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of Certification Magazine. Click here to get your own print or digital copy.

Certification salaries are going up.You don’t have to have a certification to draw a salary in IT. And measuring the dollar value of a given credential is an inexact science at best. On the other hand, who doesn’t like to speculate about what the guy in the building across the street is making? We’ve crunched the numbers and we have some encouraging findings to report.

For example, median annual household income in the United States for 2013 (2014 figures are not yet available) was $52,250. In 2013, the median annual income for Salary Survey participants was a shade less than $60,000, but that figure climbed to almost $65,000 in 2014. So those in IT are, generally speaking, a few rungs higher than the general population on the annual earnings ladder.

Regarding the coveted six-figure level of tech salaries, it’s comfortably within the grasp of some, and may soon be in reach for others. In 2013, roughly 18.5 percent of survey respondents took home at least $100,000 in total salary, while 22.2 percent checked in at that level in 2014.

The upward shift in median income suggests that many of those surveyed earned more in 2014 than they did in 2013, and secondary measures bear that out. Slightly more than 61 percent of those surveyed reported receiving a raise in 2014.

The pay bump was small for some, with about 21 percent of those who received a raise seeing their pay increase by 2 percent or less of total pre-raise compensation. A healthy 42 percent of those reporting a raise, on the other hand, got a bump of between 2 and 6 percent, and an additional 16 percent had their pay go up by between 6 and 10 percent.

If there’s any doubt that employers are willing to pay big to keep IT skills in house, however, consider this: More than 20 percent of those receiving a raise in 2014 drew a larger than 10 percent increase. So if you were right at the median income level in 2014, but also a part of the lucky 20 percent, then your annual pay increased by more than $6,500. Not bad for a year’s work.

The trend in bonus pay and incentives is more stable: Roughly 46 percent of those surveyed got some amount of extra pay in 2013, and a comparable 44.4 percent reported the same for 2014.

Finally, for those who are wondering whether getting a certification will directly impact your annual salary, we have some data there as well. About 39 percent of those surveyed received a raise in the first year after getting their most recent certification. Out of that group, about 40 percent say that certification played a part in receiving that raise.

Certification can also play a role in getting promoted. About 25 percent of those surveyed received a promotion in the first year after getting their most recent certification, and about 40 percent of those promoted believe that certification was a factor.

 TABLE TALK : Some certifications have fairly steady value, while other may dip slightly from one year to the next. Quite a few, however, are trending up. Please refer to this table from the print edition for further evidence that salaries are on the rise.

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CertMag Staff


Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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