How to get the job you want in 2014's hot IT job market

Whether it's remaining with your current employer or finding a new one, IT pros hold all the cards in 2014. These tips will help you further your career, skills and earning potential.

I heart my job

The bottom line of the 2014 Dice Tech Salary Survey:

There are plenty of jobs and lots of money to be made in IT. But what can tech pros do with that data? Shravan Goli, Dice president and former IT pro himself, breaks down survey results into key takeaways that will help you further your career, skills and earning potential.

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Relocation not always a must

You may not have to relocate to a big city to earn big money

"The demand for tech professionals is widespread," Goli notes, citing the fact that 14 U.S. metro areas offer tech salaries above the national average of $87,811. 24 cities boast tech salaries that average $80,000 or more.

Large paychecks are no longer restricted to traditional hot spots, such as New York, Seattle or Silicon Valley. Smaller metros such as Charlotte ($90,352), Minneapolis ($87,227) and Cincinnati ($83,537) are offering strong compensation. Atlanta ($90,474), Charlotte, Philadelphia ($92,138) and Austin ($91,994) all saw average the tech salary rise above $90,000 for the first time.

Industries, top salaries

You don't have to work at a tech company for big challenges and paychecks

"Historically, thinking about a tech pro at a retail company, that may not have been very attractive," Goli says. "But now these guys are creating innovative apps and setting up great projects that are giving them the opportunity to be excited."

The Dice survey finds that 11 industries are paying IT pros above the national average. The Top 5:

Utilities / Energy - $100,848
Aerospace & Defense - $98,357
Bank / Financial / Insurance - $97,612
Entertainment - $95,961
Medical - $94,365

sell yourself

You may not need the advertised skills to get that new job

When he's hiring new staff, Goli says he not only examines a candidate's current skill set, but also potential. He may have an applicant with a strong Java background, yet doesn't know Hadoop. A question he would ask: "What are you able to do today and do you have the skills and potential to learn Hadoop 3, 4, 5 months from now?"

"I'm taking a tactic to invest, give guys an opportunity to learn these and build their resume," he adds.

Given the high-demand for IT pros, Goli says other employers may follow suit.


You will get more perks

There are too many open jobs and not enough qualified pros, which means employers will be looking beyond high salaries for ways to retain staff. "As competition is intensifying, the need to expand beyond salaries has grown," Goli says.

Training, massages, free food, tickets – they're all making a comeback as organizations work to keep their IT experts from seeking greener pastures.

However, Goli notes that behind salary, the No. 1 motivator for IT staff is the work. "They want to be able to work on cool stuff and feel like they're growing their skills," he adds.

You are in control: Get the job you want

You are in charge of your career now more than ever

The opportunities are there, Goli says, be it in jobs, skills, industries, benefits and geographical areas.

"The responsibility is on the tech pro because the number of opportunities in the industry have amplified three or four times and it's not going away," he adds.

While areas such as mobile and cloud computing may be out of their explosive hyper-growth stage (again, hello big data), they're still growing at a normal rate.

Whether it's remaining with your current employer or finding a new one, IT pros hold all the cards in 2014.