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Culture is key
Mark Sadler has worked as a storage administrator for the last 18 years at Dillard's Inc., a chain of department stores. Based in Little Rock, AR, Sadler says he never expected to stay so long at the job. Early on, he started specializing in IBM products and liked that the IT department was ambitious.

There's a growing realization that experienced storage administrators are very valuable to their company. "Some people say I'm a tape specialist," says Sadler, "which is funny--because they think chimpanzees can run this--until someone's data is lost, and lawyers show up for ediscovery and you're expected to produce something."

Sadler is part of a dedicated storage team, and he says that shows him Dillard's understands the relevance of storage in the big picture. The likelihood of having a dedicated storage team increases when a company's revenue exceeds $500 million. For companies with revenue of less than $500 million, an average of 28% of respondents report dedicated storage teams. That number rose to 37% for companies with revenue of $501 million to $1 billion, and shot up to 47% for companies with sales of $1.1 billion to $10 billion. Overall, more than 40% of those surveyed work at companies with a dedicated storage group, while nearly 40% work in storage jobs that are part of a systems group.

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Another 14% work in companies where storage is organized within the networking group.

This year, as in years past, our Salary Survey reveals the value of time served on the storage front lines. The average salary for respondents with six years to 10 years of dedicated storage experience was an impressive $94,941. In comparison, the average salary for respondents with six years to 10 years general IT experience was $76,119.

Sadler, who works on a seven-member dedicated storage team at Dillard's, says his coworkers keep him intellectually engaged. "They are the best at what they do," he says. "It's cool working with people who are smarter than you. Being past middle-aged and still being able to learn things on a daily basis is a good thing."

We asked storage pros what they like most about their jobs and the majority said flexibility (such as working from home one day a week) and technically challenging work using cutting-edge technology (see "What storage pros love/ loathe about their jobs" below). Additional reasons respondents cited for feeling good about their jobs are respect for coworkers, autonomy and the ability to make decisions without having to navigate lots of red tape.



Click here for what storage pros
love / loathe about their jobs (PDF).



This was first published in November 2008

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