New demands, higher salaries for storage pros


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Experience matters
Overall, it's the number of years on the job that matter most. Survey respondents with between six years and 10 years of experience--regardless of whether they held a high school diploma or a college degree--earn about 45% more than relative rookies with just two years or fewer under their belt. In our survey, college graduates with fewer than 24 months of experience earn $68,898. With three years to five years of experience, the average salary jumps to $83,685; and with six years to 10 years of experience, the average is $92,752.

In storage, the value of certifications is tough to nail down, and the same is true throughout the IT industry. Indeed, one survey respondent says he knows people who are careful not to list too many storage vendor certifications on their resumes.


Taking a pay cut--gladly
Despite the whopping storage growth at Jack Henry & Associates Inc., John Hill's salary is nowhere near some of the highest earners who completed Storage magazine's annual Storage Salary Survey. Hill, whose annual salary is $61,000, accepted a significant cut in pay so he could take advantage of the exceptional health

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benefits at the Monett, MO, firm. Hill and his wife have four children; the youngest three are autistic.

"Jack Henry pays your entire medical bills" without employees making any contribution, says Hill. "And my co-pays are very, very low. That about sealed the deal for me."

Hill did the math and figured that Blue Cross Blue Shield benefits paid in full by Jack Henry could save him up to $20,000 annually. Without medical benefits as comprehensive as the ones Jack Henry offers, says Hill, he would pay approximately $600 a month for a single prescription required by one of his boys.

Hill, who describes his job satisfaction as "extremely high," says his job is best described as storage and system administrator, although "the company really doesn't have titles," he explains. "It's a Jack Henry corporate culture kind of thing."

Steve Camps is a storage professional who took a big pay cut at Michigan Tech University in Houghton so that he could escape the round-the-clock demands of a large corporation.

At a prior job, Camps was manager of a data center and had a dedicated storage team--and, like his technology systems, he had to be available 24/7. But then the 52-year-old Camps had an opportunity to move home to Michigan, where he and his wife now live a short drive from Camps' parents.

The catch is that Camps earns $57,965, about half what he used to make. "I got away from the rat race," he says. "I fish regularly. I ice fish. I snow ski. I live in the woods and I watch the bears in the backyard. We are a little short-staffed, so the stress is a little high, but it's manageable. It's not like the old job where I left for the day and I had to take a laptop."


This was first published in November 2007

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