The Forecast for IT Employment in 2007

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If you’re thinking of making a job change or already have started your search, you probably have many questions about what’s ahead in 2007.

What will the employment market be like for IT professionals? What skills do companies seek? Will employers be eager to recruit you? And, perhaps most important, what type of salary offer can you expect?

According to the “Robert Half Technology 2007 Salary Guide,” prospects are bright for IT professionals in many specialties. Firms continue to expand and, as a result, increase their investments in IT products and services. Here’s a peek at what the new year holds.

Network Security
Network security has become a high priority for most organizations, particularly in light of legislation such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act that mandates better safeguarding of sensitive data. Because of this, companies are hiring technology professionals skilled in firewall administration, encryption technologies and virus prevention strategies.

Starting salaries for network security administrators are forecast to rise 3.7 percent in 2007 to the range of $69,750 to $98,500 annually. Systems security administrators can expect a 2.3 percent increase in base compensation to between $70,500 and $99,750. Data analysts will see starting salaries of $72,500 to $99,250 a year, up 2.2 percent from 2006.

Network Administration
Skilled at managing wireless communication products such as portable e-mail devices, tablet computers and smart phones? Companies are investing in these technologies, creating demand for individuals with networking skills.

Network managers can expect a 3.5 percent increase in starting salaries in 2007 ranging from $68,750 to $93,000 annually. Base compensation for network architects is forecast to rise 3.1 percent, making the range $78,000 to $112,250. LAN/WAN administrators should see starting salaries between $51,000 and $71,500, up 2.3 percent over 2006. Network engineers will be offered 1 percent more than last year, with a range of $65,750 to $90,250 a year.

Web Development
Many firms are modifying their Web applications to enhance communication with customers and support operational strategy. Firms need developers to support Web 2.0 initiatives and provide technical assistance to Web administrators, integrate Web sites with back-end systems and write test plans and results.

Starting salaries for Web developers are expected to rise 4.2 percent in 2007 to between $54,750 and $81,500 annually. Senior Web developers will see base compensation climb 3.9 percent, with a range of $71,000 to $102,000.

Software Development
The Web has become integral to nearly every aspect of business because it provides enhanced levels of collaboration, customer service, customization and standardization. Therefore, software developers skilled in .NET, ActiveX, C#, Visual Basic and Java will be in high demand.

Base compensation for software developers is projected in the range of $60,250 to $94,750 a year, a 5.1 percent increase over 2006. Software engineers will see a 3.3 percent gain in starting salaries to between $66,500 and $99,750. Base compensation will rise 2.3 percent for product managers, making the range $79,000 to $108,750 annually.

The starting salary ranges provided above will vary, depending on your region and area of expertise. For example, in major metropolitan areas, where the cost of living is considerably higher than other areas of the country, base compensation for top IT professionals might exceed these ranges.

Individuals who are not only skilled in the hottest specialties but also possess strong oral communication, interpersonal and writing abilities will be well-positioned in the job market. Companies want IT professionals who can play a key role in projects throughout the organization, who understand broader business issues and possess the ability to collaborate with diverse personalities.

Firms also value candidates who have a history of success at previous employers. In particular, firms need candidates who can keep initiatives on track and on budget, which is often an indicator of future job performance.

To request a free copy of the “Robert Half Technology 2007 Salary Guide,” visit

Katherine Spencer Lee is executive director of Robert Half Technology, a provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis. She can be reached at editor (at) certmag (dot) com.

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