The following is a look at 12 of technology skills in storage, application development, operating systems, databases, and networking as well as the national averages for salaries using those skills. The data was provided by Dice.com based on an online survey of nearly 20,000 IT professionals from Aug. 13 to Nov. 15, 2010.
Java/J2EE and related technologies, such as JSP and JDBC still commandeer the highest salaries, on average. Despite taking up three slots in the top 10 for programming languages, IT Pros should consider expanding to other languages while strengthening their Java capabilities. Average salaries for JDBC, JSP, and Java/J2EE declined between 1.4 percent and 3.9 percent since 2009. C is also relevant, but there are almost as many C programmers as there are Java programmers. Average salaries: JDBC $98,100; JSP $93,813; Java/J2EE: $91,060; C $90,346; Visual C++ $88,227; C++ $86,648; C# $85,501.
- Apex Cloud Programming
Easy to adopt for developers familiar with Java or C#, Apex is the Salesforce.com programming language that runs in the cloud in a multi-tenant environment. A relative newcomer to the Dice survey, there are a two advantages to brushing up on Apex skills: There aren’t a lot of people with this skillset– for the second year in a row. Furthermore, the survey reported less than 100 respondents with Apex—and salaries are going up. Average salaries for Apex professionals had the biggest growth from 2009 to 2010, soaring 10.2 percent to $95,192.
- Phyton Over Ruby
Python is a versatile programming language that sometimes gets overshadowed by Ruby, especially when combined with Rails, the popular Web framework. Despite all the excitement around Ruby on Rails, IT professionals with Python skills reported average salaries of $90,208, a smidgen higher than those by RoR folks, at $89,973. What’s more significant, is that Python jumped 7.1 percent from last year, while RoR declined 0.6 percent. The number of people with experience in those languages are still pretty low, but learning Python may be the better investment at this point. Average salaries: Python $90,208; Ruby on Rails $89,973.
- Windows Tech
Having the “.Net” in the name didn’t make a lot of difference for developers in 2010. Despite its popularity in the marketplace and its use on Microsoft platforms, .NET developers were relatively low on the scale, compared to Java, C, and even ColdFusion developers and their salaries are declining. However, ASP.net developers had slightly higher salaries on average than ASP, and Visual Basic.net developers were higher than Visual Basic. So if your skills are with Microsoft platforms, focus on the .NET component of the technology. Average salaries: .NET $83,288; ASP.net $83,268; ASP $82,670; Visual Basic.net $79,646; Visual Basic $77,994.
- Perl and COBOL
Despite the popularity of newer languages, Perl remains in demand. Even as Web application developers adopted PHP and Ruby on Rails along with Python for general programming, Perl developers on average reported higher salaries. In fact the average salary jumped from 2009. There is still demand for developers with COBOL background, with salaries staying at about $85,847. Average Salaries: Korn Shell $96,886; Perl $94,210; Shell $88,918; COBOL $85,847.
- Knowing Mac, Windows and Red Hat
Demand holds more or less steady for the major operating system with average salaries for professionals with Microsoft Windows Server, Mac OS, and Red Hat Linux skills holding firm to 2009 levels. Mac OS showed the most change increasing by 1.7 percent. But that may be a reflection of more businesses allowing Apple products inside the workplace. Average salaries: Red Hat $88,223; Microsoft Windows Server $76,915; Mac OS $74,199.
- Specialized OS Expertise
Solaris professionals topped the chart with the highest average salary for operating systems, at $94,429, but this sector also showed one of the biggest declines since 2009. Whether or not Solaris can regain market share under Oracle will determine future demand, although experts will always be required to keep existing systems going. HP-UX had the third highest, at $92,662, but had the biggest decline. Average Salaries: Solaris $94,429; AIX $93,684; HP-UX $92,662; DOS $72,637.
- Security Professionals
Professionals with “Security” in their title did well in 2010, as companies started investing in security technology to prevent data breaches, defend against malware and comply with data security regulations. Average Salaries: security architect $117,387; security engineer $95,146; security analyst/architect/engineer (Combined): $89,620; Security Analyst $78,288.
- Specialists for Networks
Network managers and engineers held their own in 2010, but the biggest winners were the specialists, with titles like Network Design and WAN Specialist. Average Salaries: WAN Specialist $108,842; Network Design $90,378; Network Manager $60,134; Network Engineer $70,681.
- Data Management Skills Most in Demand
Data warehousing skills are most in demand and earn good money, according to the salary survey. The top three skills for databases were Informatica, Extract/Transform and Load and Data Warehousing. However, salaries for skills in the major databases, SQL Server, Oracle and Sybase, showed slight decreases from 2009 while MySQL stayed stagnant. Average Salaries: Informatica $101,898; ETL $100,983; Data Warehouse $96,613; Sybase $92,855; Oracle $90,914; DB2 $89,159; SQL Server $80,773; MySQL $79,629.
- Demand for Fibre Channel
Storage professionals were well-represented across the board in the Dice survey. However, regardless of the storage product brand or category—EMC, NetApp, SAN, iSCSI, NAS—all reported some salary declines, except Fibre Channel, which stayed the same. Average Salaries: EMC $91,079; NetApp $87,920; Fibre Channel $87,161; SAN $83,956.
- Cloud Computing Decrease
The excitement around virtualization and cloud computing resulted in high salaries, but it doesn’t appear to be sustainable, with some of the biggest declines. Telephony and unified communications professionals saw a bit more stability. Average Salaries: Software as a Service $94,188; Cloud Computing $88,995; Xen $81,713; Virtualization $81,611; SIP $80,635; Unified Communications $89,862; VMware $79,199; Telephony $76,925.