The ups and downs of the technology job market have a way of heightening IT professionals’ scrutiny of their own salaries. Even if you’re not in the market for a new job, you still want to know what you’re worth, when you should ask for a raise and whether another certification might boost your salary.
However, staying on top of the current state of IT salaries -- as well as the related issues of technology spending and hiring -- is easier said than done. The information technology scene is awash in data. Various sources offer reports, surveys and updates on salaries and hiring. Some of these, such as Computerworld’s annual salary survey, have been around for years, while others pop up now and then from recruiting companies, market research firms and other sources. A number of surveys excel in providing a broad picture of industry trends, while others specialize in one IT niche or another.
Before you rely on a particular survey, consider these issues when reviewing salary information:
- Know the Source: Find out as much as possible about the company behind the survey. Is it an objective publication? Is it an industry group trying to draw students to the profession? You may think differently about the data, depending on its source.
- Pay Attention to Job Titles: The world of technology is chock-full of job titles. Make sure you’re looking at the one that best matches your job responsibilities. Your company may call you an analyst, but a survey may define your job as technical support specialist.
- Learn the Ins and Outs of the Data: Salary surveys gather data from disparate sources. One survey may rely entirely on interviews with CIOs or technology hiring managers, while another may draw on telephone surveys of IT employees. You want to know who is behind the data, especially when a survey is predicting future demand (or lack of it).
In addition, don’t be surprised if you encounter what seems like incomplete data. Some companies sell their IT salary reports -- sometimes for thousands of dollars -- so the information they provide online for free is usually limited. Even then, you can often glean key results from the free information.
With all this in mind, here are some of the top spots to mine for IT salary and hiring information:
Computerworld’s annual salary survey is notable for being user-friendly, with plenty of articles and explanatory information. Whereas other surveys sometimes give you straight data, occasionally in hard-to-decipher formats, Computerworld excels in delivering context, even as the survey divides the results into categories such as entry-level jobs, middle management, senior management and contractors/consultants. If you’re looking for a quick take on IT salaries, start here.
Foote Partners, a management consultancy and IT workforce research firm, provides detailed compensation data, as well as an IT skills and certifications pay index survey of tens of thousands of technology professionals in the US and Canada. Though the firm charges for its reports, you can obtain a fair amount of information from its press releases.
The staffing company’s salary guide is an in-depth look at IT salaries and hiring. Though it’s not available online, you can request a free copy, which includes salary information for 60 technical positions in the US and Canada.
The career information site offers company-by-company salary information provided by insiders and other research. Paid membership is required.
This management consulting firm’s salary data covers 73 positions in 78 US and 23 Canadian cities. It charges for its full report, but you can learn about hiring and other tech trends by mining its press releases.
Monster Salary Wizard
Yes, we’ve saved the best for last. Powered by data from Salary.com, the Monster Salary Wizard lets you target specific job titles and regions to get a basic salary report for free or a more detailed salary report for a fee.