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IT Salaries 2012: $90,000, 1% Raise Typical

InformationWeek's 2012 U.S. IT Salary Survey shows IT pros doing OK in a slow-growing economy, with staffers typically making $90,000 and managers $116,000. Most wanted: People who blend business analysis and IT skills.

Learn Or Be Left Behind

IT pays well, but it's unforgiving for pros who let their skills get stagnant. It's a learn-or-be-left-behind profession. Like the bank data analyst who taught himself SQL and SAS, IT pros can't count on their employers to keep them up to date. About half of IT pros in our survey attended company-paid training, and a smaller percentage paid their own way for training (about 15%) and certification courses (6%). Thirty-eight percent of staffers and a third of managers received no training in the past year.

Andrew Young offers a reminder that an IT career requires a mix of skills, timing, and good luck. After Young graduated with an IT degree in 2007, he got a job with Cincinnati-based grocery chain Kroger, working to improve processes using Six Sigma practices. He enjoyed the experience but itched to get more directly involved with technology. We constantly hear CIOs talk about the need for people who understand both business and IT, so Young's Six Sigma experience and IT education would seem to be ideal. But Young had trouble getting back into an IT shop. Part of it was timing: This was 2009 and 2010, when hiring freezes, layoffs, and unpaid time off were de rigueur.

So Young enrolled in 2010 in an IT management master's program, which he's due to finish in June. As soon as he enrolled, employers got more interested in him--including Kroger, which moved him into a business analyst job. Young gets some tuition reimbursement, but only one-fourth of the IT pros who responded to our survey get that benefit. Only one-fifth get reimbursed for certification training.

Few IT pros are clamoring for college coursework. Only 10% of staffers and 7% of managers think taking college-level technology or business courses would be "most useful" to their careers. Fifteen percent of managers think an MBA would be most valuable. By far the most in demand is tech-specific training, sought by 76% of staffers and 54% of managers. Despite employers' great demand for analytics skills, only 6% of staffers or managers see statistics or analytics training as the most useful to their careers.

Whether it's formal coursework or on-the-job training, IT pros know they need to constantly add to and update their knowledge base. Even if IT salaries are up slightly, IT pros can't just wait for the economy to lift their boats amid the forces of automation, cloud computing, and outsourcing. IT is a diverse industry, and there's never been one path to professional success. Roles as diverse as architect, project leader, and information security specialist remain promising, as do those that blend business, technology, and analytical skills. --With Doug Henschen

chart: What managers earn

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Biggest IT Paychecks: Wall Street, And San Francisco

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User Rank: Apprentice
4/18/2012 | 9:32:38 PM
re: IT Salaries 2012: $90,000, 1% Raise Typical
So IT industry lobbyists go crying to Congress complaining about "IT skill shortages" and how this requires an increase in the H1B quotas. The only logical economic consequence to an industrywide skills shortage is that salaries for those very same skills should be increasing faster than the cost for a barrel of oil. Yet strangely, as the title in this article declares, the typical raise is only 1%. Such anemic raises point to an ample supply of employees and relevant skill sets and not a shortage, as lobbyists would have you believe.
User Rank: Author
4/17/2012 | 2:16:54 PM
re: IT Salaries 2012: $90,000, 1% Raise Typical
A breakdown by 13 metro areas is in the full report, which you can get to through the box at the bottom of the article or the link below. People in the greater NY metro area report base salary raises pretty much exactly in line with the national median -- .7% for staff and 1.8% for managers. (We don't break out total compensation raises by geography, only base salary.) So salaries are only inching up, meager raises are the rule.

Andrew Hornback
Andrew Hornback,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/17/2012 | 1:33:33 AM
re: IT Salaries 2012: $90,000, 1% Raise Typical
I'd really like to see a geographical breakdown of these numbers - it doesn't seem, from my personal experience, that salaries are going up in the NYC metro area, at least not that I've seen. I've heard of and gotten more "low ball" offers in the past 18 months than I really care to remember, and it simply seems to be getting worse.

Andrew Hornback
InformationWeek Contributor
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