Tech Salaries Flat, But Jobs Still Hot

technology jobs You probably won't find a lot of sympathy for technology professionals who are disheartened because they had to endure a second straight year of nearly flat salaries -- especially since they garnered, on average, salary increases of about 1 percent*, which brought the average annual salary to $79,384, up from $78,845 in 2009. That's according to the 2011-2010 Annual Salary Survey from Dice.com, a career site for technology and engineering professionals.

At least half of of those polled said that they appreciate the fact that they have jobs, even if they're not getting raises. The survey found that 50 percent were "somewhat" or "very satisfied" with their compensation, an increase from 46 percent of respondents who felt that way last year.

It also appears that starting wages have dropped slightly across the tech-sector for entry level jobs. For the second straight year, the average salaries of technology professionals with less than two years experience have declined, and are 6 percent below what the peak average wages were in 2008.

Still, you can't deny that the technology industry is one of the best to be in, because of the high demand for workers. "Companies can no longer get away with paltry salary increases for their technology staffs based on the demand we are seeing for talent," said Tom Silver, SVP, North America at Dice. "Retention is the key to driving additional contributions to the business from technology staffs."

The hottest jobs and what they pay

By analyzing the frequency skills appear in job postings on Dice, a core set of essential skills emerges for technology professionals.

Currently, Oracle experience is requested in more than 15,000 job postings on any given day**, which represent nearly a quarter of all job postings on Dice. Demand for Oracle skills is up 57 percent. The national average salary for technology professionals with Oracle Database experience is $90,914 and the average for professionals with Oracle Application Server experience is $88,063.

Following Oracle is J2EE/Java experience, with 14,663 job postings (up 50 percent), and C-based language experience, with 14,123 job postings (up 46 percent). Technology professionals proficient in J2EE/Java earn an average of $91,060, while programmers specializing in the C-based languages earn between $85,500 and $90,350 on average.

The average salary for project managers is $100,143, but readers should note that listings requesting project management experience come combined with a wide variety of other skill sets. The number of listings requesting project management experience was 12,513, up 50 percent.

Rounding out the top five is SQL experience, with 11,875 job postings, up 47 percent, with an average salary of $84,375.

And the demand is not just in California's Silicon Valley. "The revival of employment demand for technology professionals started about this time last year in Silicon Valley. Very quickly, companies are facing higher compensation costs, retention troubles, and shortages in certain skill-sets," said Alice Hill, managing director of Dice.com. "This experience provides a road map for employers outside of Silicon Valley, because demand is strengthening across the country for tech talent."

Average tech salaries in New York ($87,298) and the Washington, D.C./Baltimore corridor ($89,149) inched higher, while average salaries in Atlanta ($82,944) and Philadelphia ($81,986) jumped 5 percent –- the strongest performance in any of the top 10 metropolitan markets. Two markets that showed declines in average technology salaries were Los Angeles which dropped 4 percent to $84,551, and Chicago, where average technology salaries declined 1 percent to $79,933.

* All percentages are listed in comparison to the previous 12-month period.
** All job posting numbers are in terms of average number of daily listings for the same 12-month period.

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George Dawson

The comment about companies only hiring kids right out of school is spot on. I have over twenty years experience in IT, and now stay current on internet technologies, yet can not find a job. The solution for the new IT elderly (over 30) is to freelance.

January 21 2011 at 9:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CK

I'd like to know where these jobs are at? I've been doing other work for about 2 years, and I'm a 15yr professional in PC support, desktop support, Tier 1, 2, and 3 support. I've been on Monster, Career Builder, and have posted and updated my resume every other month. Over the past 2 years, I've gotten 4 interviews, and submitted so many resumes, I can't even count. They aren't looking for experience anymore, they are looking for kids straight out of college so they don't have to pay the extra salary for experienced hands. Quite frankly, I'd rather have experience than a college graduate. Sad sad economy in Florida.

January 21 2011 at 1:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to CK's comment
CG

Same story here in NY, and now some big companies are talking more outsourcing...and I don't mean to Arkansas...

January 21 2011 at 8:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bob

SO where, are all these tech jobs at? I could sure use one. Not much happening for tech jobs in my area.

January 21 2011 at 10:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bob's comment
dexterpearson

May have to hit up a lot of resources on the web and consider whether or not you're able to afford relocation should you land one (unless the company pays for it). I was laid off for 8.5 months and had the darnedest time finding another tech job. I hit ClearanceJobs.com, Monster.com, Dice.com, and USAJOBS.gov. What I did was start in the local area, then fan out to other parts of the state I would want to live & work, then focus on states I would be able to afford to move to and live until I got my first check.

Also, don't be afraid to work for a small firm or company. Some of them are able to open doors that others can't or won't give you the time of day. I ran into that a lot, despite also being a service veteran. I've now been on the job 3 weeks with a small company that opened the door to a firm I've imagined working for that provides IT support to a major U.S. Army command.

Last, but not least, know what you want. Salaries are always negotiable within reason, but being able to train on-the-job with different technologies or techniques, for example, may be something you desire so you can stay current and not pay out-of-pocket so much for job training and education. Sounds a little stupid upon first glance, but some employers will offer this either upon your request or automatically as a company standard. Little things like this add into the bigger picture -- gainful employment and better-performing employees. Good luck and don't give up!!!

January 21 2011 at 10:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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