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Lets talk about IT salaries(10 posts)

Lets talk about IT salariesKristin
Oct 6, 2003 6:17 AM
This is something that affects me dearly, since I'm a network administrator. I'm curious just what the future holds for IT salaries? Obviously, there are more IT workers than jobs currently. But I suspect that this will be the case long term. A reduction in the average IT salary will shake some folks loose--who will inevitably look for more fruitful work. What types of salaries will be paid once the market levels out again? Are there any speculations as to what percentage will be lost in the average IT salary? Lets divide it into groups:

Support:
Management
Sr. Tech (Network Admin/LAN II+/project leader)
Jr. Tech (Network Admin Support/LAN I/Team member)
Helpdesk

Dev:
Managment
Sr. Developer
Jr. Developer

Do you think that salaries be affected differently in various geographies? For instance, Network Admins in New York vs. Silicon Valley. Also, will the development sector be impacted differently than internal IT support? (i.e. network operations, internal software developement, etc...)

Final question. Will the IT world eventually be unionized? Big question. But I feel that I've been taken advantage of on a few instances. IT may also need some OSHA guidance. Injuries on the support side are not unheard of. The equipment is large, heavy and often sharp. I've seen several on-the-job injuries in the past 8 years. One was mine--broken wrist while moving 425 pounds of batteries.
as a developer ...sacheson
Oct 6, 2003 6:47 AM
... I think the development market is going in the crapper. Reduction of IT budgets in the States, and the recent surge in cheap, skilled development labor overseas, us "code poets" States-side are going to take a huge hit.

I feel I have a couple of niches that keep me marketable, but the average Windows desktop programmer will be on the decline.

As the development force declines, I see management taking a hit, as well.

As for customer support, network admins, and other positions that require more client interaction, I challenge whether their industry will follow the same path as development. Companies will most always need on-site administrators that can communicate effectively in English - no criticism to non-English speaking.

As for the market as a whole, I sometimes think this vortex we're in is self-induced. It seems to me (and as you pointed out), the unusually high salaries the 90s offered in this industry brought a lot of people in that were looking for a paycheck, not a career. I like to think we're in a 'flush out' mode right now and getting rid of those individuals that will jump career paths if it means more immediate gratification. With that said (and putting any frustrations on how this has affected my salary these last few years), I'm kind of glad this is happening. As someone who prides themselves in their work, I'm rather sick of career jumpers thinking they can take a crack at an IT job, B.S.'ing their way into an organization, then driving projects off-track, over-budget, and out of scope.

Unionized? No, I don't think so. One thing traditionally unioned workforces have going for them is a large capital investment by a corporation locally, or the need to keep workers local. IT has neither. A corporation can ship off a bunch of workstations anywhere in the world, rent some half-rate office space, and become a development shop. There's no need for IT companies to jump through union hoops.

As for OSHA, their fingers reach to any workplace within the United States. In the IT world, see ergonomics, workplace stresses, etc.
they just outsourced most of our IT departmentColnagoFE
Oct 6, 2003 8:06 AM
The IT org around here has so much red tape it's a wonder they get anything done. Basically that's why my org was originally created--because IT never got anything done. Now it's IBMs problem since that is who the outsourcer is. My advice? Get out of IT while you can. It's only gonna get worse.
Well, that's been an ongoing issue for internal support folksKristin
Oct 6, 2003 8:22 AM
I've been on the outsource roller-coaster before. I used to do corporate IT tech training. In a 3 year period of time it was changed from insourced to outsourced to insourced to a combo and then outsourced again. Talk about crazyness! But when IT is outsourced, the jobs really don't go away, they just get shifted to another company. The staff levels may be changed though. That is the trend I've been seeing.

I started in my current position 5+ years ago. There were 6 people on my team: 1 manager, 1 proj. leader, 4 level 2/3 support staff. The project leader and one staff member quit and they eliminated the positions. Then they laid-off 2 more positions. I survived the last cut by the skin of my teeth (I was slated to go, but the co-worker they planned to keep blew up a server at the last minute--talk about bad timing). Now there are just 2--me and my right-wing nut boss. Workload has not changed. I expect this anywhere I go. I do plan to get out, but not quite yet. I need 2-3 more years.
Live Steam is your boss? (nm) ;-)sacheson
Oct 6, 2003 10:31 AM
Did you get a new CIO??Kristin
Oct 6, 2003 8:28 AM
Just curious. I often see changes like this occur with a change of leadership at the top. Some CIO's believe in insourcing, others believe in outsourcing. Of course there are a plethora of political and economical issues that surround how a company chooses to deal with their IT. Outsourcing may look good on the books in the short-term, so beware of an upcoming sale. It also depends on the size of the company. I stick with the fortune 500 because its next to impossible to eliminate all internal IT. The organizations are just too complex for that to be practical.
a year or so agoColnagoFE
Oct 6, 2003 10:56 AM
i doubt anyone would buy at this point. hint...i've probably mentioned it before in some post or other but the company i work at starts with a Q and ends with a T--big telecom. stock was over 50 when I started...now you're luck to crack 5. guessed it yet?
Went threw a similar dealKristin
Oct 6, 2003 11:44 AM
I worked for a conservative Christian fortune 500 company based out of Chicagoland. It actually began as a clothing preservation/storage business. We went through a series of significant leadership changes before my entire division was sold to a new company 2 years ago. When I came on board, our stock was at $32 and then re-adjusted to $12 in a 3/1 split. That is the most its been worth since 1998. Its been funny to see the cultural changes. The new company made it clear that the former corporate objectives--which included a reference to God--were not part of the sale. For the first time ever, alcohol was served in our lobby durning the Christmas party. And our annual meeting was held at a casino in Las Vegas. Jesus used to hang out on our front lawn, but he moved to Memphis a year ago...I think just after the party.

I admit that did pursue work with my former employer because of the companies Christian values. What I learned in the end, is that lots of people have different ideas of what it means to be a Christian. And I learned that man truly only has one master. Woman... No, no. Just kidding. Honestly, the daily battle with my former employer was trying to grow a fortune 500 company while claiming that money and status were the lowest of their priorities. In the end, I don't believe that they really lived the corporate objectives. How can you claim to value people over profit, yet cut jobs to make your books look good for a sale? It doesn't bother me that they valued profit over people. Just that they were hypocritical about it. I was niave when I took the job, but I've learned a lot--not all of IT related. :-)

I've been watching the dedicated IT industry dry up, much like your company. On my commute to work I pass both TelLabs and Lucent, which are mostly attractive, EMPTY office buildings now.
re: Lets talk about IT salariesDuane Gran
Oct 6, 2003 9:13 AM
I have been doing software development for seven years and for part of that time owned my own company. These days I have transitioned into project management for some software projects a University. I have done most of my professional work around the Washington DC area (live in Charlottesville VA now).

I think that IT is going to continue to be important and will be funded, but the boom of the 90s simply created an excess of IT trained people. It will take a while for equilibrium again. I think the junior programmers who pulled 80k salaries don't expect to make that wage until they become senior and the economy rebounds some.

In spite of this optimism, I have acted in defense for myself by transitioning from development to management, where I can make more of a lateral movement within an organization. Globalization has been great in many ways, but it means that you have to compete with someone in another economic zone, which is hard when you are paying a mortgage in an expensive place. My advice to software developers would be to differentiate yourself in some way. Pick a niche or focus on a market segment that requires face to face interaction. Contracts requiring security clearance come to mind.

As for unionization, I have mixed feelings about this. If you mean a union like the teamsters or some group that defends a person's right to work a menial job for an arbitrary wage, I don't think that will help us. However, I would like to see software development and IT in general adopt certification levels akin to what engineers have done. It may not immediate affect salaries, but certification (and I'm not talking about A+ or MSCE) would create a barrier to entry that may help.
Globalization == cheaper resources but ...sacheson
Oct 6, 2003 10:29 AM
it can present a whole new set of problems for an organization. The company that laid me off (and subsequently closed its doors) tried to outsource a development project to SAIC. Whereas they were extremely competent on the development side, the organization I worked for did not display the equivalent competency with the development specifications we provided.

The result of not explicity defining every facet of the app with upmost detail were requirements not being implemented as the client anticipated, components not integrating with existing objects as planned, and several 1AM conference calls to account for the time difference (I was fortunate enough to not be on the project). There was also an interprettation of time or calendar or something cultural, but I can't remember exactly what it was, so I won't elaborate.

Anyway, we ended up finalizing the application internally and the whole company came out of the globalization exercize with a pretty negative taste - even IF we (IMO) were the source of the headaches.

That story reiterates my point above - IT was a lucrative profession for many years, and it drew in a bunch of people that don't have the core knowledge or care enough or want to work hard enough to maximize on best practices.