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2010 IT Salary & Jobs Outlook

The New Year May Bring Improvements for Some, But Not All

2010 IT Salary & Jobs Outlook

If you’re hoping to see your IT salary rise in 2010, chances are you’re going to be disappointed. Across the job market as a whole, IT salaries will decrease by an average of 1.3 percent, according to projections from Robert Half Technology in Menlo Park, California.

While the average IT salary is heading down, yours could be heading up if you’re positioned to take advantage of trends related to security, social media, network administration, global business expansion and managed services, or if you have a secondary specialization.

IT Security Jobs

“Security is the place to be in 2010 and for the foreseeable future,” says David Foote, CEO of Foote Partners, an IT research firm in Vero Beach, Florida. At a time when the average values of most certifications are falling, security-related certifications have continually increased in average value and pay, he says.

Job growth in this area has also been driven by corporations separating operational security and strategic risk management tasks. “All of a sudden, you have to have IT people in the room when you’re talking about overall enterprise risk,” Foote says.

Robert Half Technology data suggests the starting salary range for an information systems security manager will be $96,500 to $130,750 in 2010. Foote’s data says the job is averaging $102,200 to $143,700.

Social Media on the Rise

Application developers and Web developers will be in demand in 2010 as companies try to leverage social media and interactive Web sites.

Starting salaries for senior Web developers will be $78,000 to $109,500 in 2010, Robert Half Technology predicts. The hottest skills related to social media include: Microsoft Commerce Server, Java, SOAP, Python, Microsoft SharePoint, C, SQL and Sybase Adaptive Server, Foote says.

Social media initiatives also generate jobs for support technicians and help-desk pros, says Kathy Northamer, Robert Half Technology senior vice president. The staffing firm's survey projects starting salaries of $28,500 to $39,000 for entry-level help-desk jobs, while Foote says the range will be $38,600 to $54,250.

Cloud Computing, VoIP and SaaS

Cloud computing, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Software as a Service (SaaS) have significantly increased the complexity of networks. That trend will continue in 2010.

Chief information officers interviewed for the first-quarter Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report cited network administration as the most in-demand skill set.

Network administrators can expect to see starting salaries ranging from $54,500 to $80,250 in 2010, Robert Half Technology predicts.

Global Expansion

An immense need to build global capabilities will increase demand for IT professionals who can consolidate Enterprise Resource Planning systems in different countries, says Michel Janssen, chief research office for The Hackett Group, a Miami-based strategic advisory firm.

Three SAP specialties -- SAP Supplier Relationship Management, SAP Supply Chain Management and SAP Strategic Enterprise Management -- made Foote Partners’ Noncertified Hot Skills list at year-end 2009.

Another trend Hackett identified is the integration of IT professionals into brand development and marketing teams.

“Everything a company produces has a higher technology component,” says Erik Dorr, Hackett’s senior IT research director. “You need the technologist to design it, to integrate it into the supply chain and to build it.” That integration of technology into the business process will create jobs that go beyond traditional IT roles of supporting administration via an IT department.

To take advantage of both trends, try to find an international position, where you’re embedded into a product line and stay away from any skills that can be commoditized.

If you’re toiling at a routine back-office job, now is a great time to map a career path out of there, because companies will continue to lay off in the US as they replicate your job in a high-skill, low-cost market, Janssen says.

Managed Services Poised for Growth

The rise in managed services is increasing employment options for technologists. Foote estimates that the $30 billion managed services market of 2009 could double by 2012. “There’s a lot of momentum building toward job opportunities you’ll see in 2010 in the professional services segment,” he predicts.

Foote says areas that will be most affected by growth in managed services in 2010 include networking and telecommunications, PC/desktop services and security.

Work a Secondary Specialty

Having a specialization outside of IT is another way to increase the chances that the job market in 2010 will be kind to you. Two particularly hot areas are bioinformatics (the application of computer science to the realm of molecular biology) and location-based services for cell phones (finding the closest pizza place to your current location), says Jack Molisani, president of ProSpring Technical Resources, an IT recruiter in Los Angeles.

“It’s not enough to have a computer science degree,” he says. “Have a minor in biomedical engineering, organic chemistry, finance or an MBA. You want breadth of knowledge in your [IT] field and depth in the industry in which you want to work.”

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