Strategic CIO // Team Building & Staffing
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4/14/2011
11:50 AM
Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy
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Tech Managers Make $115,000, Staff $87,000. Why Are IT Pros So Worried?

After a decade of hard knocks, IT pros earn modest raises, our annual U.S. IT Salary Survey shows, but they face plenty of uncertainty ahead.

Ryan Carr is living the IT dream, working on the cutting edge of big data analytics as global VP of data mining at Catalina Marketing, where real-time, monster number crunching and statistical modeling let retailers serve up coupons to their customers at checkout based on what people are buying. All Carr had to do to get there was get up at 4 a.m. three days a week over the past few years to drive into downtown Chicago to earn a master's degree in statistics while working in IT at Catalina.

Bentley Curran is a CIO who has spent much of the past decade refocusing an IT team at a midsize manufacturer from running servers toward more strategic IT, including a shift to cloud computing.

Karen Garcia moved up from programmer at BMC Software to run the vendor's project management office, then to a vague "chief of staff" role, where she got the wildly unpopular task of forcing change and discipline on IT operations. Garcia's job is indicative of the maturing of IT management, as she brought in budgeting practices, timekeeping, and lots of other operating disciplines IT pros don't have much interest in but companies increasingly demand.

Brian Siler thought he had weathered both recessions in keeping his six-figure corporate IT job at Hilton, only to be laid off in January 2010 as the hotel group outsourced much of its operational IT, after Hilton was acquired by private equity investors. Now he's at a four-employee startup, earning less than one-fifth the pay, working with his former CIO doing sales calls and revenue forecasts along with programming as they try to create a business around services and software to do marketing via smartphones.

And these are people who've stuck it out in IT, while many thousands of others have left the field over the past 10 years. Pure programming jobs have gone offshore by the thousands. Cloud computing looks poised to alter the work that corporate IT does. Our 2011 salary survey suggests the wild and sometimes painful journey continues.

chart: Skimpy raises Median percentage change in total cash compensation?

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