A few weeks ago we looked at the annual MCP salary survey from Redmond Magazine. Today we are reviewing another good one that comes out annually, the Robert Half Salary Guide. Robert Half is a Fortune 500 company with annual revenues of over $4B and they are a global leader in professional staffing and consulting services. Their I.T. salary survey is based on quarterly surveys from more than 1400 CIO's, and it is more comprehensive than the RedmondMag survey.
One of the key points in this year's survey is the list of the ten most wanted technology skills. In uncertain economic times, it can be difficult to find an I.T. position at a good company, and you can certainly increase your chances if you have a skill that is in high demand. Several Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) skills made the top ten most wanted list, so I thought it would be interesting to review those:
1. Windows Systems Administrator
Most companies have at least one Windows server for every 50 employees. So even a relatively small company with a couple hundred employees will typically have several Windows servers (Domain Controller, File & Print, Email, Web, Database). And a company large enough to be publicly traded will usually have at least a hundred servers across their enterprise network. The proliferation of Windows servers at almost any company, whether small or large, assures that there will be strong ongoing demand for skilled Windows Systems Administrators. In fact, systems administration was rated as one of the most recession-proof jobs in a recent report by Jobfox.
2. Desktop Support Specialist
Given Microsoft's 90% market share of the desktop market, it's no surprise that Windows Desktop support is one of the most wanted tech skills. This area includes desktop support analysts, Help Desk Support (Tier 1, 2, and 3), and PC Technicians. A typical employee to desktop support ratio is 100 to 1. So a 1000 employee organization would typically need around 10 desktop support specialists. Desktop support personnel who can also do either Training or Systems Administration can more easily advance and can often increase their salary by 10-20% by virtue of these complimentary skills. Despite the strong demand in general in this area, if a company does a large employee layoff, desktop support specialists could also be laid off because the 100 to 1 ratio mentioned above applies to contraction as well as expansion.
This area has cooled off a little, but is still on the most wanted list. To be fair, the Robert Half survey was talking about database administration in general, and not just SQL Server. However SQL server has an 18% market share, and has been gaining recently on IBM's DB2 product (21% market share). Both of them trail Oracle by a long ways (Oracle's market share is 48%). SQL Server is a most wanted skill because it is a major player in the market, and it is gaining in popularity due to its feature set and affordable price.
4. .Net Application Developer
.Net application developers also made the top ten most wanted list. The demand for .net developers is steady, but not increasing. The median starting salary for experienced .Net application developers is $91k. The $91k is a national average, and does not include bonuses, benefits, or special incentives. This is up 3.8% compared to last year.
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Andrew Mikols is an IT consultant, career coach, and founder of MCP-Careers.com. This site is 100% focused on Microsoft technologies, and helps MCP job seekers to advance their careers and to connect them with employers and recruiters. Prior to his current role, Andrew ran a computer service business and also worked in several different corporate IT roles.