Tag Archives: salaries

  • The Highest-Paying U.S. Tech Companies


    Technology companies dominated Glassdoor’s new list of the 25 highest-paying companies in America.

    The highest-ranked tech firm: Juniper Networks in third, with a median total compensation of $157,000 and a median base salary of $135,000. The company builds routers and network-management software.

    Google came in fifth on the list, with a median total compensation of $153,750 and a median base salary of $123,331. In sixth was VMware, with a median total compensation of $152,133 and a median base salary of $130,000.

    Amazon’s secretive Lab126 placed seventh with a median total compensation of $150,020 and a median base salary of $138,700. Lab126 is responsible for the Kindle e-reader, the Kindle Fire tablet, and the popular Amazon Echo.

    The entire back half of the Glassdoor’s list is technology companies, starting with Facebook (in 12th), and including Twitter, Box, Walmart eCommerce, SAP, Synopsys, and Microsoft.

    It should come as no surprise that, in an industry in which interns can earn an average of $6,800 a month, tech professionals are routinely pulling down six-figure salaries.

    Given the current demand for top tech talent, though, employers need to do more than merely offer high wages to experienced professionals—they also need to dangle some perks, including flexible hours. Responding to a recent Stack Overflow survey, 50.4 percent of developers said that work-life balance was a top priority when hunting for a new job, followed by company culture (41.8 percent), quality colleagues (39.9 percent), and flexible work hours (37.1 percent).

    For smaller firms without the enormous cash reserves of a Google or Facebook, such perks may be the only way to pull in the talent they need to build cutting-edge products.

    In the meantime, tech pros who manage to land a job at the country’s most prominent tech firms can expect to earn a hefty salary in the process.

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  • Competition for Cloud Pros Fiercer Than Ever


    Competition for tech pros skilled in cloud technologies is fiercer than ever, according to a new report in The New York Times.

    In Silicon Valley, six-figure salaries are common for those with backgrounds in cloud infrastructure; data from the Times suggests that anyone with five years of experience can earn an annual salary of $300,000 (if not more), sweetened with stock options and other perks. Workers with the right combination of skills, meanwhile, face a near-constant barrage of recruiting phone-calls and emails.

    As Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle and Google build out their respective cloud platforms, the demand for those skilled in building and maintaining cloud-system architecture may only increase. That makes things more difficult for smaller tech firms, which may not have the capital to offer highly skilled workers a competitive salary. (One startup co-founder, speaking to the Times, referred to stratospheric compensation as a “Facebook tax.”)

    According to Dice’s most recent salary survey, the highest-paying tech skills (by average annual salary) that relate to cloud include:

    • PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service): $140,894
    • OpenStack (used with IaaS deployments): $138,579
    • CloudStack: $138,095
    • Chef: $136,850

    In a highly competitive environment such as the Bay Area, however, salaries only go higher. Over the past year, other tech hubs such as Boston have undergone similar hiring binges, as companies large and small seek the cloud professionals who can help them build out next-generation services.

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  • What’s the Best City for Women in Tech?


    Washington, DC tops the list of best U.S. cities for women in tech, according to a new analysis by personal-finance site SmartAsset, followed by Kansas City, Detroit, and Baltimore, with Indianapolis rounding out the top five.

    SmartAsset bases its rankings on U.S. Census Bureau statistics, filtered for 58 of the largest U.S. cities. Using that government dataset as a foundation, the firm calculates the percentage of men and women in computer and mathematical occupations; the gender pay gap; income after housing costs; and three-year growth (or decline) in tech employment.

    SmartAsset then averages the rankings, according to a note on its website, “giving half weight to tech employment growth and full weight to the other three metrics.” It also computes an index score based on those averages: “Cities ranked first in each category would score a perfect 100, while a city ranked last in each category would score a zero.”

    This is the second year in a row that Washington, DC took the top spot on SmartAsset’s list; women in that city hold over 40 percent of all tech jobs, and earn around the same income as men. On a countrywide basis, however, things aren’t quite so rosy, with the ratio of women in computer and mathematical occupations at 26.5 percent. On average, women also earn roughly 85 percent of what their male counterparts take home.

    “There is a significant positive correlation (49 percent) between tech industry representation for women and pay equity in the 58 cities SmartAsset analyzed,” the firm noted. “While it is impossible to say what exactly causes this relationship, it is clear that some cities have a better overall culture for women in technology.”

    Here’s SmartAsset’s complete list:

    SmartAsset Women in Tech List

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  • 10 Most Lucrative Industries in Tech


    Which industries are the most lucrative for tech pros? According to the latest Dice Salary Survey, banking and finance is in first place—perhaps no surprise, given the segment’s reputation as a high-salary, big-perks environment.

    Here are some of the others:

    1. Banks/Financial/Insurance

    2015 salary: $106,913
    Year-over-year change: 7.9 percent

    Banks and financial-services firms have an intense need for tech professionals who specialize in data analytics, database management, and software development. Security-related skills are also in high demand.

    2. Aerospace & Defense

    2015 salary: $106,050
    Year-over-year change: 6.6 percent

    In states such as Colorado and Virginia, the defense industry has a robust presence—and it’s hungry for tech talent. Cyber-security experts are particularly valued in this arena.

    3. Entertainment/Media

    2015 salary: $105,418
    Year-over-year change: 15.9 percent

    With the advent of streaming and other cloud-based services for movies, music, and books, it’s no wonder that the entertainment industry needs (and is willing to pay for) tech pros.

    4. Utilities/Energy

    2015 salary: $103,736
    Year-over-year change: 6.8 percent

    Cyber-security and Big Data pros will play a big role in coming years as utility companies move to update (and harden) their respective grids.

    5. Professional Services

    2015 salary: $103,685
    Year-over-year change: 5.3 percent

    Consultants and others who fall in the ‘professional services’ category help companies with a variety of tasks, including the upgrading of IT infrastructure. Thanks to companies’ continual need for outside help, salaries in this category have risen over the past few years.

    6. Computer Software

    2015 salary: $101,097
    Year-over-year change: 5.6 percent

    Software is eating the world, as investor Marc Andreessen once said. With the Internet of Things and other burgeoning segments expanding software platforms to everything from fridges to cars, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which apps and cloud-based services don’t become even more ubiquitous in coming years.

    7. Medical/Pharmaceutical/Biotech

    2015 salary: $103,736
    Year-over-year change: 9.8 percent

    Evolutions in biotech are based on the ability to store and analyze massive amounts of information, making Big Data experts progressively more important to the field.

    8. Telecommunications

    2015 salary: $99,420
    Year-over-year change: 11.2 percent

    Just wait until 5G becomes the mobile telecommunications standard: it’ll kick off a paradigm shift in how people not only build apps and services, but also consume data.

    9. Computer Hardware

    2015 salary: $99,346
    Year-over-year change: 7.6 percent

    Software needs hardware on which to run; the tech industry needs hardware experts who can build lighter, faster, cheaper systems. Although the U.S. manufacturing industry has seen a steady corrosion in the number of jobs over the past few years, the need for hardware experts remains strong.

    10. Consumer Products

    2015 salary: $98,920
    Year-over-year change: 14.2 percent

    As consumer products become increasingly connected to the Web (thanks to the still-nascent Internet of Things movement), there’ll be a rising need for cloud and connectivity experts who can make those goods “smart.”

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  • Rising Salaries Equal Room for Negotiation


    Given the low unemployment rates over the past twelve months, it’s perhaps no surprise that salaries for technology professionals rose 7.7 percent between 2014 and 2015, the biggest increase in the history of Dice’s Salary Survey.

    That’s obviously good news for tech pros searching for a new position, or seeking a raise from their current employer. Based on salaries, the most popular tech skills on the current market include enterprise applications, programming, databases, operating systems, and cloud/virtualization. More and more companies want to crunch enormous amounts of data and build out substantial presences in the cloud—and they need the tech pros to accomplish those goals.

    Specialized Skills

    Taking things to a more granular level, highly specialized skills with generous payouts included:


    Despite rising pay, a full third of tech professionals (32 percent) told Dice they weren’t happy with their current salaries. Nor do many employers seem willing to propose other perks to keep their respective workforces engaged. Although 17 percent of employers offered increased compensation as a
way of keeping their employees happy, far fewer resorted to flexible work hours (9 percent), the option to telecommute or head to a flexible work location (13 percent), interesting or challenging assignments (12 percent) or training and certification courses
(3 percent).

    All of those percentages paled in comparison with the 33 percent of respondents who said their workplace had given them no “primary motivator” in 2015.

    In another Dice survey in late 2015, some 45 percent of tech professionals said they wanted more of 
a work-life balance, even if their current position made that difficult. In light of that data, it’s easy to surmise that employees at jobs offering no perks or “primary motivators” may soon look elsewhere for opportunities, especially given the high salaries being offered at the moment.


    Whether you’re already working for a tech company, or looking to break into the industry, you can 
take advantage of the industry’s rising salaries by negotiating for higher pay. Given the rising salaries in many sub-industries and regions across the country, employers are acutely aware that good talent is valuable, and many are willing to pay accordingly.

    Before you enter into any sort of negotiation, however, make sure you do your research. What has your company paid in the past for tech professionals with similar skill-sets and experience? What does your field tend to pay? What did the person who previously held your job earn?

    While you may not learn the answers to all those questions, any salary-related data can give you
a better idea of what to expect as “fair” from an employer. As a tech professional, you should also engage in a periodic (and rigorous) self-assessment in which you list your professional assets (i.e., your achievements, skills, and experience) along with any liabilities (i.e., failed projects, gaps in experience and performance). When discussing salaries with employers and potential employers, your assets give you leverage in asking for higher pay or better perks; but you should also figure out how to best explain anything in your liability column.

    Despite the rising need for tech pros, especially ones with highly specialized skills, some employers may balk at offering higher pay. Fortunately, compensation is often about more than just money in the bank; your negotiations can extend to benefits such as flexible working hours or the option to telecommute. Although Dice’s salary survey suggests many employers aren’t offering those sort of motivators, that doesn’t mean perks aren’t off the table in a discussion.

    Whatever your salary goals, make sure that your requests are justified by your skills and experience. It might be great times for tech professionals, but you still need to demonstrate that you have what
it takes to succeed in a highly competitive and evolving environment.

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  • Will Your Next Employer Advance Your Career?

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    A lack of career progression is the No. 1 reason why people quit their jobs, according to a list of deal-breakers compiled last year by BambooHR. Poor work-life balance came in second, with pay dissatisfaction the third-leading cause of worker defections.

    If these complaints sound familiar, you may already be seeking greener pastures. But how can you tell if your advancement and earning potential will be any better at another company? Here are four ways to investigate your chances of boosting your career (and your paycheck) at your next potential employer.

    Check the Forecast

    Business conditions play a significant role in creating a favorable climate to advance. A company that’s grown at a pretty fast clip (which is relatively common in tech, especially among startups) may be forced to pump the brakes if it runs short of cash.

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    “A company that’s struggling financially is going to limit raises and bonuses and delay promotions,” noted Scott Kukowski, a former IT manager and systems administrator who now works as a technology career coach for Wolfgang Career Coaching in Austin, Texas.

    In other words, you want to see what industry analysts and executives have to say about the company’s near-term business prospects and technology plans. Kukowski recommends AtoZdatabases and ReferenceUSA because they provide a wealth of information on public and private companies; job seekers can access the databases for free through public libraries.

    Chart Your Individual Path

    An IT manager or recruiter may communicate his or her company’s broad commitment to promoting from within, but does that commitment apply to technical promotions or just managerial roles? And when might such opportunities arise?  If you’re a midlevel programmer, for example, it may take several years to advance if the company just hired two senior-level programmers.

    “Don’t settle for vague generalities or broad statements,” Kukowski said. “Ask the hiring manager to describe the career path and estimated timeline for the specific role or position you want to pursue.” 

    “Ask to see an org chart,” recommended Ada James, a career and life coach based in Mountain View, Calif. “Companies can’t just create positions out of thin air, an org chart can help you visualize potential opportunities. If a hiring manager denies your request, it’s a red flag.”

    Consult Future Teammates

    If the hiring process doesn’t include a meet-and-greet with your prospective teammates, ask for one. You can’t come right out and ask someone what they’re making, but you can certainly ask general questions about performance reviews and raises, the rate of internal promotions, culture and turnover. It’s also okay to ask a prospective teammate about his or her career path and the company’s track record on promotions.

    “Tech people are pretty transparent and truthful,” Kukowski noted. “So if the company is in the habit of making promises it can’t keep, cutting pay or filling promotional spots with external hires, you’ll probably hear about it.”

    Review Compensation Data and Philosophy

    Tangible factors such as turnover, supply and demand, and profit margins shape a company’s compensation program, as well as intangible features including philosophy and market positioning. If you really want to earn more at your next stop, you need to consider salary data as well as the company’s transparency and viewpoint on rewards.

    “Once you receive an offer, it’s totally fair to ask HR about salary increases, including percentages, timing and the compensation range for higher level roles,” James said. “If they balk or decide to hire someone else, you may have dodged a bullet.”

    Most of all, don’t be afraid to ask questions. “Discussing compensation and the opportunity to advance during the hiring process conveys what’s important to you,” she added. “If the manager gives short shrift to your needs, that company is probably not the best place to advance your career.”

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  • Why You Should Run Your Career Like a Startup


    Times are good in today’s technology job market. The IT unemployment rate is hovering below 3 percent and employers are scrambling to find developers and engineers. But that doesn’t mean a successful career is a foregone conclusion. Even in heady times, corporate needs evolve, the skills in demand change and some industries lose favor among consumers while new ones gain prominence. Business moves fast, and employer loyalty has all but vanished.

    “In today’s job market, nobody’s going to take care of you,” observed Ingrid Goldbloom Bloch, a career coach in Needham, Mass. “Companies are always changing and reorganizing, and you have to run your career as if you’re running your own business. If you’re always seeking advice, networking and seeing what’s in the market, you’re going to be a more marketable worker.”

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    Successful entrepreneurs have a plan for product development, marketing and finances. They build relationships across their industries and recruit a board of advisors to provide them with guidance and a sense of accountability. They track their progress closely, change approaches when they have to, and have an exit plan. It’s an approach that allows them to manage contingencies and leverage one success into another. You may not like thinking of yourself as a “product,” but taking an entrepreneur’s approach is a good model for effective career management.

    To start, organize your efforts along these lines:

    Define Your Product

    Yes, that’s you. The first step is to take a look at what you can offer employers. “This is about really understanding where you fit in the market,” Bloch said.

    Besides having a handle on your skills and how they stack up against your competition, you should have a sense of what you enjoy doing and where your long-term goals lie. There’s a difference between wanting to be an individual contributor and someone who seeks to move into management, for example. Both types of people offer real value, but they often solve different problems for the employer.

    Research the Market

    Don’t wait until you need a job to figure out who’s hiring or what’s happening in your industry, Bloch advised: “People work hard to get a job, but once they get it, they don’t keep their development going. It should be an ongoing process.”

    Keeping yourself up to date means you’ll always be ready to take advantage of new opportunities or make a move if circumstances change at your current job. In addition to following industry news and trends, use social media to keep an eye on where people are going—or leaving—and pay particular attention to organizations for which you’d like to work.

    Know Your Finances

    It goes without saying that you should know what kind of salary you need to pay your bills. You’ll negotiate better compensation for yourself if you follow the trends relating to pay, bonuses and benefits for people who have your level of skills and experience. Not only should you have a clear idea of what you want to make, you should know how your numbers compare to others in your industry and region.

    Create a Marketing Plan

    This is a good place to define the type of company you’d like to work for, including its size, industry focus and the type of culture it maintains. Identify specific organizations that seem like a good fit, research their business and operations, and plan the most effective ways to approach hiring managers on the inside.

    Undoubtedly, that will involve some networking. That’s a big part of job hunting, and it’s done more effectively when you have a plan. Think about which professional organizations you should join and your potential level of involvement in them. Look at your social media connections and create an approach to nurturing them so they’ll be more valuable. For some people, Bloch points out, this can be as simple as sharing an occasional article. For others, a date for coffee or lunch might make sense.

    Have a Development Plan

    Successful companies rarely survive long on a single product. They’re constantly updating and evolving to keep ahead of the market’s demands. The same is true of successful tech professionals.

    Each year, determine the skills you’ll need to refresh or learn, and don’t limit yourself to technical subjects. Soft skills are important, and if you need coaching in areas like writing or speaking, identify ways to get it, whether it’s through a coach, online course or community college. Once a quarter, step back to measure your progress.

    Form a Board of Advisors

    This needn’t be a group that meets formally, but rather a collection of people you can call on for advice and feedback several times a year. They’ll offer you different perspectives on challenges that arise at work or in your job hunt, and can help you spot opportunities or threats you might otherwise miss.

    Bloch recommends recruiting former bosses who have backgrounds similar to yours and are familiar with your work. In addition, consider asking a colleague who can help you read your company’s political tea leaves, or people from your network who hold positions like the ones you aspire to.

    Though many people find it difficult to actively plan and monitor their career beyond what’s involved in their day-to-day work, Bloch believes the dynamics of today’s job market make it important to do so. “We grow up trained to be externally driven, by grades, praise from our parents, ratings at work,” she said. “This whole approach means you have to be internally motivated. You’re doing it so you can be in charge of yourself.”

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  • Dice Salary Survey: Good Times for Tech Pros

    Dice Five Year Salary Trend

    Technology pay in the United States saw another year of hikes with technology professionals earning $89,450 on average annually, up 2 percent from 2013, according to Dice’s annual salary survey.  

    More than half (61 percent) of technology professionals earned higher salaries in 2014, most frequently citing a merit raise as the reason for the increase. Another 25 percent say they received higher wages due to changing employers within the year.

    Also, technical recruiters saw a significant jump (19 percent) in salaries in 2014, making $81,966 on average annually compared to $69,102 in 2013.

    In addition to salaries rising, tech bonuses were both more frequent and higher. 37 percent of tech pros cited receiving a bonus in 2014, slightly more than the 34 percent who said this last year. The average bonus in 2014 was $9,538, up 2 percent year-over-year.

    diceSalarySatisfactionWhile salaries rose slightly, satisfaction with wages declined. Half (52 percent) of technology professionals were satisfied with their compensation in 2014, down from 54 percent in 2013. In fact, satisfaction with salaries has dipped each year since 2012, when it peaked at 57 percent and salaries saw the biggest year-over-year jump to 5.3 percent.

    “As demand for technology professionals rises and highly-skilled talent is harder to find, the pressure is being reflected where it counts: paychecks,” said Shravan Goli, president of Dice.com. “Still, tech pros are less happy with their earnings, signaling to companies that in order to recruit and retain the best candidates, offering more will be necessary.”

    Tech professionals are more confident than ever (67 percent) that they could find a favorable new position in the year ahead and 37 percent anticipate changing employers for better opportunities.

    With compensation rising, tech professionals are slightly less likely to relocate for a new job this year (30 percent) as compared to last year (28 percent).

    Wages Rising Again in the West

    The Pacific region as a whole received the highest salaries and tech professionals in Silicon Valley are again the highest paid in the country, earning $112,610 on average, up 4 percent year-over-year. The second highest paid talent is in Seattle, where tech pros earned $99,423, up 5 percent, in 2014. Sacramento tech salaries rose 14 percent to $96,788, with more experienced professionals earning more from last year driving the growth. Professionals in Portland, Oregon earned $91,556 on average, up 9 percent year-over-year, and in San Diego, tech salaries rose 4 percent to $94,121.

    Money Markets

    Several key markets saw above-average pay increases including Boston and Chicago, up 3 percent year-over-year to $97,288 and $88,866, respectively. Dallas ($91,674) and New York ($95,586) professionals earned a 2 percent increase. Washington, D.C. tech salaries rose 1 percent to $98,323 on average making them the third highest paid professionals behind Silicon Valley and Seattle.

    Skills to Pay the Bills

    Big Data and cloud dominate the skills which earned the highest paychecks in 2014.


    “Cloud is not new to the tech world but as more companies—large and small—adopt the technology, tech professionals with this experience will enjoy opportunities,” said Mr. Goli. “Big Data made a big showing last year and we’re seeing it this year too. Tech professionals who analyze and mine information in a way that makes an impact on overall business goals have proven to be incredibly valuable to companies. The proof is in the pay.”

    For additional information on top paying skills in product, design, mobile, cloud and other categories, please visit www.dice.com/salary.

    Dice Salary Survey Methodology

    The 2014 Dice Salary Survey was administered online, with 23,470 employed technology professionals responding between September 29 and November 26, 2014. Respondents were invited to participate in the survey through a notification on the Dice site and registered technology professionals were sent an email invitation. A cookie methodology was used to ensure that there was no duplication of responses between or within the various sample groups and duplicate responses from a single email address were removed. The Dice Salary Survey was adjusted for inflation in 2014:  technology professionals earning salaries of $250,000 and above were not automatically eliminated from the survey if they met other criteria.

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  • The Highest-Paying States for Tech Pros

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    The average technology professional made $89,450 in 2014, according to the latest Dice salary survey. That’s an increase of 2 percent over 2013, and yet another sign of the technology industry’s robust health.

    When it comes to salaries, however, not all states and cities are created equal. Those tech pros living and working in Silicon Valley are the highest-paid in the country, with an average annual salary of $112,610—but that salary grew only 4 percent year-over-year, lagging behind cities such as Portland (up 9 percent year-over-year, to $91,556) and Seattle (up 5 percent, to $99,423).

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    As you click around on the map above, note how salary growth is particularly strong in parts of the West, the Northeast, and the South, while remaining stagnant (and even regressing) in some middle states. If anything, the map reinforces what many tech pros have known for years: that more cities and regions are becoming hubs of innovation. Expect that growth to likely continue through 2015.

    Dice Salary Survey Methodology

    The 2014 Dice Salary Survey was administered online, with 23,470 employed technology professionals responding between September 29 and November 26, 2014. Respondents were invited to participate in the survey through a notification on the Dice site and registered technology professionals were sent an email invitation. A cookie methodology was used to ensure that there was no duplication of responses between or within the various sample groups and duplicate responses from a single email address were removed. The Dice Salary Survey was adjusted for inflation in 2014: Technology professionals earning salaries of $250,000 and above were not automatically eliminated from the survey if they met other criteria.

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  • Smaller Tech Firms Paying More for Top Talent

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    How much is a good software engineer worth?

    If you’re Weeby.co, here’s the answer: $250,000 a year plus equity. As company CEO and co-founder Michael Carter framed it to CNET in an interview, the competition for the best talent is so fierce, smaller tech companies have little option but to pay top dollar, especially in areas such as Silicon Valley where the cost of living is so high.

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    Whereas talented engineers at a tech giant are just one of hundreds contributing to a massive, often pre-existing product, Carter added in his CNET interview, “that same engineer at a small company could be the difference between failure and a billion dollars.”

    At Weeby, engineers aren’t handed that $250,000 all at once; from a starting salary of at least $100,000, their paycheck increases by $10,000 per month until they hit that magical quarter-million figure. Over four years, an engineer could potentially make a cool million—and that’s before you factor in equity. But all that lucre isn’t simply handed out; engineers face monthly performance reviews and the constant pressure to perform above and beyond.

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    For those who aren’t walking into a company with a much-publicized starting salary, a couple simple tips can help secure the paycheck you deserve. After an offer’s made, take the time to review the salary, equity offer, agreements, and any other materials offered by the potential employer. Ask yourself how the deal compares to others you’ve received in the past, or the average salary for people with your years of experience. If the offer isn’t quite to your liking, but you think you’d enjoy the job, prepare to negotiate for more money.

    The average tech salary hit $87,811 in 2013, up a bit from $85,619 the year before, according to Dice’s annual Salary Survey. Developers skilled in R, NoSQL, MapReduce, Hadoop, and other popular languages, frameworks, databases and skills can earn a comfortable six figures. With that in mind, Weeby.co’s offer isn’t that much of an outlier, even if it does underline how competitive things have become.

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  • IT Services Providers Pay Well for Advanced IT Skills

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    The next time IT professionals with advanced skills go looking for a job, chances are good they’ll discover that IT services providers will pay them about 15 to 30 percent more than a traditional enterprise IT organization.

    IT services vendors and traditional IT organizations have always competed for the best IT talent. But because IT services providers build their business around the talents of their in-house IT staffs, making sure they have the best and brightest people is a critical business requirement. With the general economy improving and enterprise IT becoming more complex, finding those people has evolved into a major challenge.

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    “We have a number of senior architects that emerged from our storage and data center practices,” Jerry McIntosh, senior vice president for advanced technology at IT-services provider ePlus Technology, said in an interview. “But we’re starting to have to look further afield in order to find people with, for example, programming skills.” He believes the people who can combine business skills with technical acumen will be the ones that rise to the top.

    Because IT people with the latest advanced skills are in such high demand, CompTIA, the industry IT association, reports that IT services firms have already noticed an uptick in the cost of IT labor. In fact, CompTIA reports that salaries for IT professionals who work in IT services firms are considerably higher than in traditional enterprise IT organizations.

    For example, CompTIA data shows that computer network architects make about 32 percent more when working for an IT services firm. Network and systems administrators typically make as much as 17 percent more.

    The challenge that IT professionals often face with applying for these jobs is that many of them are customer-facing. Not only do IT professionals need to have advanced skills to land these jobs, IT service providers want to make sure that the IT professionals they hire have the “soft skills” required to keep customers satisfied.

    Charles King, principal analyst for Pund-IT, suggests that, with the rise of software-defined data centers (SDDCs), it’s going to be a lot easier for IT services organizations to remotely manage IT. Combine that capability with advances in IT automation, and King notes that it’s quite likely more IT in the years ahead will be under the management of external IT services providers.

    With the rise of SDDCs, King said, it’s increasingly clear that application programming interfaces (APIs) will be exposed that will allow data-center infrastructure (along with the applications running on it) to be managed from anywhere in the world: “We’re heading towards a future where traditional back-end management of the data center is being commoditized… The effect that automated operations have on IT is something vendors have historically always talked gingerly about.”

    Right now, many data center operations lack people with the programming skills necessary to turn the vision of SDDCs into everyday reality. But the IT operations specialists who do have those programming skills are likely to command a significant salary premium for years to come. As for those IT specialists who don’t learn to program, the number of career opportunities they can pursue will continue to shrink as IT operations become more automated.

    Even if IT operations specialists don’t know how to program today, the probability that an IT services provider is going to be willing to invest in training is considerably higher than a traditional enterprise IT organization. The IT service provider is trying to monetize IT skills to the fullest extent possible; the average enterprise IT organization tends to view training as either an expense to be minimized or, worse yet, a cost to be absorbed by the employee.

    With the costs associated with acquiring those skills rising, IT professionals who want to stay current on advanced technologies that will pay consistently better might want to go to work for an IT services provider. After all, IT services providers tend to have the financial wherewithal to actually deliver on that salary promise.

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  • 6 Resources for Salary Research

    Good Salary

    By Rob Pritchett

    When it comes to negotiating your pay at work, you’ve got to arm yourself with current salary data and research or you could be selling yourself short. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got the best negotiation skills in the world—if you don’t know what comparable professionals in your industry are earning, you won’t know where to begin.

    Of course, there are popular comparison websites like Salary.com and Payscale, but you can improve your chances of getting a higher salary by taking your research efforts further. Check out these five lesser known resources for salary research.

    Occupational Outlook Handbook

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics produces the Occupational Outlook Handbook each year, which offers details on pay for different occupations. Filters allow you to break down your search by median pay or level of education. You can also get information on the number of projected new jobs and growth rates, two key stats that can serve you well in your negotiations.

    Bureau of Labor Statistics

    If you want more detailed information, the Bureau of Labor Statistics also produces reports on national wages, breaking down the data by region, state and metropolitan area. This is a great way to get salary information about your position, specifically in your locale. If you’re considering a move or job transfer, this can help you figure out how your salary may change.

    Society for Human Resource Management

    The Society for Human Resource Management has something called the Compensation Data Center, where you can buy reports on salary research if you’re a paid subscriber. These reports are based on either job level, function or specific position. A professional membership costs $185 per year, or $35 if you’re a student.

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    National Association of Colleges and Employers

    Although this resource is generally directed toward recent college graduates, the National Association of Colleges and Employers does offer a job seeker calculator to anyone. Simply enter your state of residence, region, years of relevant work experience and level of education to get customized median salary results.

    Your State’s Department of Labor

    There’s no sense in quoting the average national salary for your position when pay patterns specific to your location may differ significantly. Most states offer information about the local labor market and economic conditions as well as average weekly wages broken down by county and industry.

    Dice Salary Survey

    Last but certainly not least, investigate the Dice Salary Survey, which features average tech salaries in various metropolitan areas, sortable by job title and employment type. In addition, there’s a rather extensive section on average salaries based on technology skill.

    Now that you have more weapons in your arsenal for salary research, let’s talk about effective ways to negotiate. If you’re asked to give a proposed salary figure, don’t state a specific number. Instead, offer a pay range. Let the person on the other side of the desk throw out the first figure. If you can’t get your prospective employer to budge on salary, try negotiating extras, like more time off, a flexible schedule or telecommuting. Salary research is important, but so is fine-tuning your negotiation skills so you can make the most of your research.

    Rob Pritchett, a writer for Money Crashers, produces tips for job hunting, career advancement, and technology.

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