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Hot skills and pay scales: Network pros are in demand

Jan 04, 20063 mins
Data Center

* Recent employment and salary surveys

I’d thought I’d start off the New Year with some good news. According to survey results released last month from Robert Half Technology, 13% of the 1,400 CIOs interviewed said they planned to add to their roster of full-time IT workers in the first quarter of this year. Just 1% anticipated staff reductions.

The net 12% hiring increase compares with a net 9% forecast in 2004, and is unchanged from the fourth quarter of 2005 when the net hiring increased was at its highest level in 14 quarters, says the technology staffing firm, in a statement.

The hottest skill in demand was Windows administration, which was cited by 81% of respondents, according to the research. This was followed by wireless network management (50%), SQL Server management (46%), Cisco network administration (40%), and Check Point firewall administration (33%).

Overall, network specialists were most in demand as 22% of technology executives said this specialty was experiencing the most growth. This was followed by help desk/end user support at 13% and application development and database management, both cited by 11% of interviewees.

You can read more about this survey at the Robert Half Technology Web site. At the Web site, you’ll also find hiring projections based on metro areas.

With potential job openings in the air, it’s also worth taking stock of your net worth, particularly if you hold certifications. According to Certification Magazine’s 2005 Salary Survey, storage and security commanded the largest salaries, along with Cisco networking, project management and Java development skills.

The magazine says that five certification programs reported salaries of more than $100,000: the (ISC)2’s Certified Information Systems Security Management Professional (CISSP-ISSMP) program commanding $116,970 annually, the Certified Information Systems Security Architecture Professional (CISSP-ISSAP) ($111,870), Brocade Certified SAN Designer (BCSD) ($108,170), the Information Systems Audit and Control Association’s Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) ($105,900), and the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) ($104,020).

Read all about the survey at the CertMag Web site.

As you begin the New Year assessing your salary potential, it’s worth checking back at the annual salary survey that Network World published in July. In the survey, which analyzed responses from 2,430 respondents, Network World found that the average base pay for LAN/WAN/network managers was $76,280, a 4.1% increase from 2004. The manager earned a bonus of $3,310 in 2005, a 14.5% hike from 2004, with stock options of $1,240, an increase of 6.9%. This brought the average total compensation package for a LAN/WAN/network manager to $82,850.

You can read the full article here, while a table of average salaries for a range of jobs including entry-level positions and staff roles such as network architect and network operator can be viewed here. From the main article, there’s also a link to a salary calculator for a more personal salary estimate.

In October, Computerworld published its 2005 Salary Survey, which studied the compensation and bonuses of 14,253 IT workers across the U.S.

In 2005, the average salary for a network manager was $65,991, plus a bonus of $2,831. Total salary was $68,822, a 3.9% increase from 2004.

At the Computerworld site, you can find career articles and data about average salaries for senior IT managers, entry-level positions, compensation by region, plus an interactive “smart salary tool.”

I hope this information has given you food for thought.