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Stats The Almighty Buck IT

Tech Salaries Had Biggest Year-Over-Year Leap In 2015 (dice.com) 125

Nerval's Lobster writes: Average technology salaries in the U.S. saw the biggest year-over-year leap ever, up 7.7 percent to $96,370 annually, according to Dice's new survey data. Bonuses and contract rates also rose from 2014, and tech salaries in seven metro areas reached six-figures for the first time since the survey began more than a decade ago. Contract workers saw a rise (5%) in hourly compensation, with contractors earning $70.26 per hour. Other Websites have shown similarly high salaries for tech professionals; Glassdoor, for example, called data scientist the best job in America, with an average salary of $116,840 and bountiful job prospects. But while everything might seem great on a macro level, that doesn't mean tech workers don't face their share of stagnant salaries, brutal workplaces, and annoying managers.
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Tech Salaries Had Biggest Year-Over-Year Leap In 2015

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  • Amazing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26, 2016 @11:27AM (#51373789)

    Amazing what can happen when Steve Jobs and his criminal conspirators don't collude to no-poach rob working families of billions of dollars.

    • Mod up. Apple and the tech companies are not your friend. Jobs was a scumbag, and so are the execs at Google, Microsoft and all those companies that colluded illegally to keep wages low.
    • Re:Amazing (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Shawn Willden ( 2914343 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2016 @12:44PM (#51374315)

      Amazing what can happen when Steve Jobs and his criminal conspirators don't collude to no-poach rob working families of billions of dollars.

      Didn't the no-poaching agreement end five or six years ago? I doubt it's responsible for much, if any, of salary increases in 2015. And I doubt that salaries in that very small (though high-end) segment of the IT industry can significantly move the nationwide mean.

      • Not to mention that it had bupkis to do with salary increases up here in Portland**, or further up in Seattle, etc.

        ** Portland has a "silicon forest" (the city's term, not mine), but the only F500 corp with any real presence here is Intel. The rest is a very wide variety of corps (large and small) who are either up-and-comers (like Puppetlabs and New Relic), branch sites for folks like HP and Microsoft, or huge local corps who need massive in-house tech assets, like Nike and Columbia Sportswear.

      • by Xel ( 84370 )

        This is Slashdot: I thought everything was bad except Apache and Babylon 5.

    • You misspelled "Large tech companies" up there - HTH.

      Seriously - nearly *all* of the big boys in Silly Valley had, at one time or another, written or unwritten, no-poaching agreements between 'em. Apple is just one glop of ooze in that particular morass.

      It all broke down when the startups kept coming, over and over; each of these were also fighting for the finite amount of skilled labor in the area, and trying to import (domestic or otherwise) anyone else that they could get a recruiter to lay hands on.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Amazing what people will tell surveys like this, knowing that hiring managers look at them when setting salary levels.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I was making $120,000 back in 2000 - that's $165,000 in today's dollars. That same job in the same area pays about $70,000 these days for an American; less for a H1-b. But I guess C++ programming is an outdated skill. /s

    • by ranton ( 36917 )

      I was making $120,000 back in 2000 - that's $165,000 in today's dollars. That same job in the same area pays about $70,000 these days for an American; less for a H1-b. But I guess C++ programming is an outdated skill. /s

      If you were making that much money 16 years ago, you were either grossly overpaid or in a fairly senior role. Fast forward 16 years, if you were concerned with career advancement you should be a VP / Director / etc by now and making well north of $165k per year. But if you didn't want to increase your level of responsibility why would you assume your pay would increase much faster than inflation?

      • Thinking the exact same thing... where the hell did he live?

        Also, a tangent: some skillsets depreciate over time; an HTML/JS webmaster type of job would pay $100k back in 2000... nowadays, you'd be lucky to get $60k for doing the same thing.

        In his case though, I'd call bullshit - an experienced C++ coder who knows what he's doing can rake in a six-figure salary out on the West Coast, no sweat. As a ferinstance, Intel wants/needs C++ codemonkeys occasionally, and are willing to pay six figures for someone to

        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          Actually, that's about what I was paying programmers and engineers at that point in time. I don't know what field they worked in but it was damned near impossible to find anyone even remotely familiar with traffic modeling. The ones who were were often in fleet management, cargo transport, trains, or air traffic. Finding, and keeping, quality people was essential to the business. I even had to send people to school, cross-train, and - at one point, hired a local university to do some research for us and the

      • by Anonymous Coward

        But if you didn't want to increase your level of responsibility why would you assume your pay would increase much faster than inflation?

        With inflation, $120K is $165K in today's dollars - that is the pay necessary to keep up with inflation. To have the same buying power in 2016 you need to make that much more - today.

        Secondly, you missed the point entirely. The fact that pay is going down across the board shows that not only is there no shortage of workers but there is a surplus of workers. And couple that with the unnecessary H1-b program, pay is going to continue to decline.

        you were either grossly overpaid or in a fairly senior role.

        Hardly. Considering the ridiculous work schedules we have to de

        • by ranton ( 36917 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2016 @02:03PM (#51374945)

          With inflation, $120K is $165K in today's dollars - that is the pay necessary to keep up with inflation. To have the same buying power in 2016 you need to make that much more - today.

          Yes, I understand that. And someone who was making $120k in 2000 and hasn't let their career stagnate should have no problem making over $165k now. I'm a software developer who was making $40k in 2006 when I started, did a horrible job of curating my career until 2010, and I'm only one more poach away from making about $165k in the Midwest an hour outside of the closest major city.

          The software developers in their late 40's and 50's that I know who decided to advance their career instead of keeping the same job role are making much closer to if not above $200k now. The rest decided to stay as senior developers and make closer to $150k. Add 25-50% to these salaries if you are talking about Manhattan or Valley salaries.

          Just because you were not able to keep up with industry doesn't mean there aren't a lot of senior engineers / architects making or exceeding $165k in this industry.

          Secondly, you missed the point entirely. The fact that pay is going down across the board shows that not only is there no shortage of workers but there is a surplus of workers. And couple that with the unnecessary H1-b program, pay is going to continue to decline.

          You will need to come up with at least one reputable survey showing IT salaries are going down to make that assertion. The surveys my company uses show IT salaries going up just under 7%, and the Dice survey here shows closer to 8%. Whatever the real number is, it is not negative. That doesn't mean 100% of IT workers are seeing 7-8% salary increases, but it does mean a significant increase for most of the IT workforce.

          Hardly. Considering the ridiculous work schedules we have to deal with in this profession and having to be on call 24/7, we all should be making that as our starting pay. But since there are plenty of workers, there is downward pressure on pay.

          Save the sob story. My father (farmer) and uncle (construction) had tough jobs. Occasionally having the work all nighters at a desk in an air conditioned or heated office is not slave labor. If you are really working 70+ hour weeks regularly then you are being taken advantage of by a crappy employer. Either leave now or grow your skillsets if you are having trouble finding other work. There are plenty of employers out there for skilled IT workers.

          And if you really think there are plenty of skilled IT workers out there, you have obviously not had to hire for any position above mid-level tech support.

      • A 100 people working in 2000. Now they should all be VPs. Ya, life just doesn't work that way bro.

    • by creimer ( 824291 )

      I was making $120,000 back in 2000 - that's $165,000 in today's dollars.

      Sixteen years ago was the run up to the dot com bust. I worked for a video game company that went on a M&A spree. The company realized after the bust that it paid two to four times what each company was actually worth. Easy money inflated a lot of things back then, including salaries and egos.

  • For once I feel good about one of these reports. I'd need 50% more to have the same standard of living in SF as here in Cleveland but I'm at 10% above the High range for my position in that market. That means I'm effectively making 155% of the max range, add to that the 7.5% retirement give plus 2-3% 401k match and the package at the new place is looking really, really good.

    • Cheaply (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      50% more in SF? You must live cheap. When I go and visit my family in Berkeley, I look around and see that I'd need over 100% increase. In the paper there (San Fransisco Chronicle), a reporter said that to be able to have an apartment, eat, have a life, go out and so forth, you'd need to make at least $150,000 and looking at payscale, the average out there is about $120K - they're screwing you guys. All the free pizza and video games at work doesn't compensate for shit pay. But they count on geeks spending

      • When you buy a small house for $800k in the bay area versus a $200k home in a rural part of another state, it doesn't mean you need 4x the salary. It means you need 2x the income (spouse would have to work) and take out a bigger loan. Bigger loan means you build equity up slower because most of your mortgage payments go towards the interest (really, it gets ugly for any loan over $400k). But you aren't expected to pay off the house, that's not really the goal. You're expected to sell the house and apply you

        • When you buy a small house for $800k in the bay area versus a $200k home in a rural part of another state, it doesn't mean you need 4x the salary. It means you need 2x the income (spouse would have to work) and take out a bigger loan. Bigger loan means you build equity up slower because most of your mortgage payments go towards the interest (really, it gets ugly for any loan over $400k).

          The proportion of your payment going to equity depends on the duration of the loan, not the size. If you borrow 4X as much money under the same terms (say, 30-year fixed) your payment will be 4X as much, and you'll be paying 4X the interest and stacking up 4X the equity. So in dollar terms, you build equity faster... assuming real estate prices stay unchanged (more on that in a bit).

          So, if you can make enough extra money to buy that $800K house, you'll eventually be forced to save more money. However, if

          • most people don't do 15-year fixed for their first home loan. 30-year is the standard.

            A loan can be a real estate investment, but it's not a very good one if you add the complication of living in the home. Once you're living in it, you give up enough flexibly in terms of selling it to write it down as an asset. If you sold your home when the market is high, what would you do with the money? Probably buy another home immediately, while the market is high. Not much opportunity to translate that "investment" i

            • If you borrow 4X as much money under the same terms (say, 30-year fixed)

              most people don't do 15-year fixed for their first home loan. 30-year is the standard.

              Were you responding to someone else? I actually expected a response quibbling about terms, because in very high-cost areas like Silicon Valley 40-year terms are pretty common, and that, of course, does reduce the rate at which equity grows. But you quibbled in the opposite direction :-)

              A loan can be a real estate investment, but it's not a very good one if you add the complication of living in the home. Once you're living in it, you give up enough flexibly in terms of selling it to write it down as an asset. If you sold your home when the market is high, what would you do with the money? Probably buy another home immediately, while the market is high. Not much opportunity to translate that "investment" into profit.

              Not true, because houses come in a variety of price ranges, or instead of selling you can do a reverse mortgage. You can cash out your investment by relocating to a cheaper area or by buying a smaller, cheaper house. Retireme

  • by The-Ixian ( 168184 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2016 @11:38AM (#51373907)

    You are probably making more money.

    When I did the contractor thing, I was increasing my salary by 6-10% every time I moved to a different company.

    I then landed a very secure full time job where I am not really challenged and ended up taking about a 20% cut for that security. I am basically back to where I started before contract work.... but, I have serious job security, good retirement plan + matching, great health coverage, yearly raise + bonus, free metro transit and a bunch of other perks...

    So, I guess it is all about what you are willing to handle.

    I do miss the days of challenge and uncertainty a little bit. I sort of feel my skills slip a little bit more every day as I get more and more comfortable in this job.

    • by creimer ( 824291 )

      I then landed a very secure full time job where I am not really challenged and ended up taking about a 20% cut for that security. I am basically back to where I started before contract work.... but, I have serious job security, good retirement plan + matching, great health coverage, yearly raise + bonus, free metro transit and a bunch of other perks.

      I've done I.T. support contracting for the last ten years. I currently have an IT job with the government on a contract that's funded for the next five years. So I'm going sit tight and earn my next round of certifications. If I was willing to get back into contracting, I could get an extra 40% in pay because many of the San Francisco hipsters are unwilling to commute more than 30 minutes away from the city and recruiters are having a hard time trying to find workers for southern Silicon Valley (San Jose, S

    • I'm in the exact same situation. I've worked in Silicon Valley and got paid significantly more than I'm getting paid now, but I went through 3 jobs in 2.5 years. I'm now at a very stable job with decent pay, annual raises, excellent insurance and vacation time, a great retirement plan, and job security. After the turnover that was part of the bleeding edge IT industry, a stable position is very nice to have. I'm also able to do a lot of IT tasks at my current job including systems administration, programmin

  • What's the difference when the cost of living is spiraling out of control where the majority of tech workers live? Also, how can I be sure you haven't included in that figure gaslighting asshole managers who contribute nothing but stress, confusion, bullshit, a profusion of buzzwords, and the sexual harassment and discrimination that's chasing women out of the field in spite of the best efforts of people who come here and to the red site?

    Sorry, Dice. You're not fooling anybody here. Getting into tech now

    • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2016 @11:56AM (#51374025) Journal

      Nobody's ever called me a sexist for making a good burger.

      You're a sexist for making a good burger.

    • Getting into tech now is a fool's errand

      Translation: tech industry hype has settled down to the point where you actually have to be good at it to get a good salary. Getting into IT when it is not your natural aptitude because you think it is an automatic 6 figure salary is a fool's errand. As far as I am concerned, this is an improvement.

  • For the first time in eight years I got a Christmas bonus: a $25 gift card. Woo-hoo!
    • I have heard tales from the elders of this "bo-nus."

      • by creimer ( 824291 )

        I have heard tales from the elders of this "bo-nus."

        When my father worked for three generations of owners of the same company for 50 years, he typically got a $500 bonus every Christmas. Of course, that was a different era.

  • ...then they wouldn't be managers. Even if you have a great one, managers are there to get you to do some stuff that you don't want to do that's good for the company anyway.

    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
      Depends on the company. Some of them [wikipedia.org] get you to do stuff you don't want to do that's really bad for the company, too.
  • The increases seem to be on the low end. Companies try to hire college grads, to replace senior IT folks.
  • by Coisiche ( 2000870 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2016 @12:13PM (#51374129)

    It seems the report is only available after registration and I'm not going to bother but there's a question on my mind.

    This was based on response entries on a website devoted to linking job seekers with employment. So the majority of users, who will be the job seekers rather than the employers, will want employers to have the expectation that greater salaries are required to attract, motivate and retain staff...

    ...so how likely is it that a proportion of the responses were wishful thinking rather then accurate?

  • I saw this back in the late 90s. People I knew with very shaky skills were getting paid 6 figures to design website back-ends, simply because the demand was so astronomical. Come 2001, a lot of those people were unemployed or were being paid a lot less. The point is that the bubble is coming to an end:
    - CS enrollments are at an all time high (just in time for grads to get out into the nonexistent job market...)
    - Companies are paying insane salaries due to the bubble and hype around apps, social media, etc.
    -

    • Yeah we had a bunch of 'Dreamweaver Developers' and I was supposed to use their templates for .jsp sites. The html was all crap and the way the images were cut up was no good so I had to redo everything they gave me. Those were the days.....
    • +1. Saw it play out live in San Jose, watched people take jobs at vaporware companies, plan their lives, then watched people lose everything. Next they ramped up the HB1's claiming no Americans were qualified, when in reality they just wanted the slave labor to maintain whet had just been built for them.
    • by creimer ( 824291 )

      CS enrollments are at an all time high (just in time for grads to get out into the nonexistent job market...)

      As the baby boomers retire over the next 20 years, there won't be enough skilled IT workers to fill all the positions available. That was forecasted back in 2000. I went back to school to learn computer programming and get my certifications during the dot com bust to prepare myself for this time. I'm making more money today than I was in 2000, and I expect to make a lot more money in the next 20 years before I retire.

  • I remember when Web Master was the hottest job on the market with six figure salaries and bountiful job prospects. Then we realized that part of their job was better handled by sys admins (setting up and maintaining the web server infrastructure) and the other part has better handled by a combination of software developers and designers (with some HTML chops).

    Data science will go the same way. Half the job (gathering, transforming, processing data) will go back to traditional analysts (what data scientists

    • by laffer1 ( 701823 )

      But then they turned around and created devops roles that overlap. It's a cycle.

      I almost always get looped into sys admin work in addition to development because I know how to do it. It just happens.

  • A wise man once told me, in the midst of the fallout from the 2000 tech bubble bursting, that it was a buyer's market because supply of skilled labor was bigger than demand, but not to worry, eventually it would be a seller's market. Be ready to take advantage of the market when you can. We where happy to be employed and getting a paycheck though those dark times, knowing it would change. Change is here...

    Personally, I just switched jobs and got a nice 12% raise and a 5% signing bonus, I'm working 30 min

  • "Contractors" are just a term of convenience; what about real independent contractors working directly for multiple clients?

    In Los Angeles, I am dying to find a good consultant that can handle a couple projects (server and networking replacements) and ongoing support of say 4-8 hours per month; I assume a pay rate of $125-135/hour (even $150/hour if I can actually find someone that can implement Samba 4 rather than Windows).

    • what about real independent contractors working directly for multiple clients?

      If they're smart...they are getting onto long term Federal contracts, so that they don't HAVE to have multi. clients and constantly looking for new clients.

      You can be independent AND do long term contracts with mostly only 1 client if it is the Feds.

      • by creimer ( 824291 )

        You can be independent AND do long term contracts with mostly only 1 client if it is the Feds.

        My two-hour investigative interview for my security clearance took four hours because I had to list every contract job that I had in last seven years. The interviewer thought it was weird that I had so many jobs after being out of work for two years and filing for Chapter Seven bankruptcy, especially when I worked a regular weekday job and a weekend job for two years. Staying at the same studio apartment for ten years instead of moving around every two to three years was also frowned upon.

      • But what is the billing rate on those contracts? $70-80/hour, no PTO/vacation days? How many billable hours per year?

        I would think 30-50% more pay and 20-30% fewer hours (or more hours/more pay if you prefer) would be attractive to more people, but people's priorities vary.

        In my business, if you can work for $40/hour as an employee, you would be $80 as 1099, and $120 as a corporation.

  • My Argument (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DaMattster ( 977781 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2016 @02:24PM (#51375183)
    If salaries did really indeed go up, then the amount of productivity expected by the employee has gone up disproportionately thereby negating the value of any salary increase. Looking at dollar figures alone tells only half of the story. You have to look at the average hours per week that an employee puts in. 95,000 a year sounds amazing until you realize you have to put in 80-90 hours a week to earn that money and maybe be on-call 24/7 too. Then it is out and out slavery. I left a Systems Engineer job that required punishing and brutal hours for 95,000 a year. I averaged 75 hours per week over 50 weeks. Now, that 95,000 dollars a year is really around 64,752.00 per year when you estimate taxes. Let's break that down further: it is about 17.33 dollars per hour that you actually net. That's a paltry sum of money considering I gave up my life. Now, I work as a bus driver for gross 17.00 per hour and I net about 15.00 per hour. Suddenly, that 95K a year salary looks like slavery.
    • by unimacs ( 597299 )
      If you're happy driving a bus that's great. There's something to be said for having a job that you can leave at work.

      Like you I had a job where I worked ridiculous hours for a salary that seemed good until you calculated what I was making per hour. What I figured out though is that certain skills are in demand and that I could afford to be particular. There are places, even in the tech world, where going home at a reasonable hour is the norm. Initially I took a small salary hit but over time that's ticke
      • I love driving the bus. I'm so much happier with less consumerism in my life and more enjoyment. The 95K a year wasn't enough money to buy enough toys to make Monday morning ANY easier.
    • I've worked in I.T. for most of my adult life.... At this point, I really only still do it because I can't find anything else that interests me. (Well, I have other hobby interests like photography, but not interested in the uphill battle it takes to make such a thing a profitable career.)

      I've never seen salaries like this claimed "average", although I make enough to get by. (I've always worked for smaller companies that just don't pay nearly as well for I.T. support as the big guys. And that does tend to b

      • I too worked for smaller companies where I was Desktop Support, Server Admin, DBA, and Server Engineer. NEVER again. Happiness is not necessarily equal to money.
    • Clearly then, productivity is going down, not up... working longer hours is not an increase in productivity, which means that the metric is broken. It IS slavery, and I'm amazed that you put up with 75 hour weeks for a year without bailing. I've run into people who were proud of doing that; they weren't just incompetent, they were outright destructive, partly because they were so completely incompetent, but also because the management measured competence by the number of hours people were working.

      More pe

  • by Yebyen ( 59663 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2016 @02:43PM (#51375435) Homepage

    Did anyone else notice that none of the links to the report in TFA from the headline link actually _go_ to the Dice_TechSalarySurvey_2016.pdf report at all?

    It's good marketing for Dice, I mean I didn't have a Dice profile before, and I do now, but... man was that sneaky. I thought that once I had an account and logged in, I'd get the link, but no... fill out your profile! Then I assumed that if I had a filled-out profile, then I'd get the PDF, but noo! Finally took myself over to el Goog and found the actual salary report, which was behind another separate e-mail collecting form: www.dice.com/salary [dice.com]. For anyone who did actually want to read the whole report. All three of us...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Google is your friend to get to the report and noscript is your friend to bypass the form.

  • 1) Does it take into account lower tier developers who have lost their jobs recently, via mergers, layoffs, etc?

    2) Does it take into account the fact that so many have seen their out-of-pocket healthcare costs go up $10K?

  • We own a job portal www.HireTale.com and going by the job postings and recruitment done, salaries in IT sector are showing no sign to slow down.

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