Also see: IT Salary Survey, January 2009 (gives comparative numbers between '08 and '09.)
Although no one can know for certain how the economy will affect the overall hiring market, continued business growth in some sectors, combined with ever-growing reliance on the IT department to provide a competitive advantage, has prompted many firms to increase IT hiring activity.
At the same time, unemployment is still historically low for college-educated professionals, making it challenging to find qualified employees who have established track records in the IT industry.
Many employers are responding to this situation by increasing compensation levels to attract candidates. According to the Robert Half Technology 2008 Salary Guide, average starting salaries for the IT industry will rise 5.3 percent in 2008. Positions facing talent shortages will see even larger gains. They include:
Lead applications developer. This role is forecast to have the largest increase in starting salary of any position we surveyed. Base compensation is expected to rise 7.6 percent this year to between $80,250 and $108,000 annually.
Demand is growing for skilled professionals with experience developing applications for the desktop, the Internet and myriad mobile devices. Lead applications developers are master coordinators, guiding a team in the design, development, coding, testing and debugging of applications.
Messaging administrator. Messaging administrators also will see solid gains in starting salaries in 2008 as companies recognize the need to keep their employees, customers and clients connected. Base compensation is forecast in the range of $55,000 to $77,750 per year a 7.1 percent increase over 2007.
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These employees are the air traffic controllers of the IT world. They coordinate all communication through messaging systems, making sure that e-mail applications, hand-held devices and corporate networks function seamlessly, and deliver information quickly and accurately.
Data modeler. Companies are devoting greater resources to maintaining and upgrading their database systems, creating a need for additional database professionals. Data modelers structure and organize data and address data-quality issues. Their starting salaries are forecast to climb 7 percent to between $74,250 and $102,000 per year.
IT auditor. Auditing professionals also will see notable gains in base compensation in 2008. Starting salaries for senior IT auditors are expected to increase 6.9 percent, to between $86,750 and $114,750 annually, while IT auditors will see a 6.3 percent increase, to the range of $74,000 to $102,750.
IT auditors help firms ensure theyre in compliance with regulations and industry standards for efficiency, accuracy and security. These professionals test and evaluate IT systems and controls, and make recommendations for improvements.
Help desk. As technology investments grow, theres a corresponding rise in the demand for personnel who can support products purchased. Help desk tier one professionals take initial inquiries and manage simple hardware, software or network problems, while tier two analysts resolve more complex issues, and tier three individuals manage the most difficult challenges that couldnt be fixed earlier.
Starting salaries for help desk tier one are forecast to rise 5.8 percent, to the range of $29,250 to $39,000 annually; tier two is expected to increase 6.5 percent, to between $35,750 and $46,250; and tier three will see a 5.2 percent gain, to the range of $44,750 to $57,250.
For more information about compensation trends and job descriptions, request free copies of the Robert Half Technology 2008 Salary Guide and Glossary of Job Descriptions for Information Technology by visiting RHT.com or calling 1-800-793-5533.