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Storage experience counts
Education can play a big role in determining compensation, but not necessarily in the way one would suspect. While it's true that respondents to this year's survey reported average salaries that climbed relative to the number of years of post-high-school education they had, a single anomaly flies in the face of your mother's warning that if you don't go to college you won't amount to anything.
This year, unlike in years past, respondents who said their formal education didn't go beyond a high-school degree had an average salary of $85,875--approximately $1,000 less than respondents who said they attended graduate school. Perhaps spending less time in school allowed those high-school grads more time to build their careers and gain experience (see "Education vs. salary").
For storage careers, the kind of education you get from doing storage seems to be more important than studying computer science in college or grad school. Nearly 70% of our respondents say they have 10 or more years of IT experience (vs. slightly more than 65% in 2005), which nets them an average salary of $85,469. Those with less than 10 years of IT experience averaged $70,490 per year. And practical storage experience is an even hotter commodity that translates into higher pay. For the 25.2% of respondents with five or more years of dedicated storage experience, the average salary is $91,283, which is considerably higher than the $77,428 average for those who have been focused on storage for less than five years.
This was first published in November 2006