New demands, higher salaries for storage pros


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"There are procedures you have to follow, but there's less bureaucracy in general," says Belfield. At the same time, he says, monitoring the nonprofit and academic worlds--which rely heavily on sharing data--can be challenging. "These are scientists," he says, "and you can't lock them down as to where they can go and not go."

Belfield's team manages approximately 4TB of storage and is about to embark on a project to replace its legacy equipment. The surprise, says Belfield, is that he has to justify projects--from an ROI perspective--more now than he did before. "Your projects are not just given to you," he says.

When it comes to IT budgets, it's not true that high salaries track with big budgets. For example, our survey shows the average salary for respondents in shops with budgets greater than $10 million to be $99,727--approximately the same as that for shops with budgets ranging from $1.1 million to $5 million ($99,442). And that's higher than the $88,647 salary paid in shops with a budget in the $5 million to $10 million range.

The good news, according to our survey, is that salaries swell as storage demands increase. Respondents at companies that had storage demands grow by more than 50% over the last year have an average salary of $94,480 vs. $67,000 in shops where there was no storage growth. Nearly half of our respondents saw their storage needs grow somewhere

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between 10% and 30%.

Since John Hill, 39, arrived at Jack Henry & Associates Inc. in 2006, the company's storage needs have grown 112%. The company, located in Monett, MO, automates business processes for more than 8,700 clients, including Bank of America and a vast majority of U.S. credit unions. "The nice thing is that Jack Henry is growing," says Hill. "We'll be hiring another three people [in IT] before the end of the year."

Hill sought out the job at Jack Henry because of the company's generous health plan and he hopes to remain there a long time, where he says the flat organizational structure provides opportunities to grow as a storage manager. Like 66% of our respondents, he plans to continue to pursue a career in storage. The remaining 34% of those surveyed say they plan to leverage their storage experience to move into another area of IT.


This was first published in November 2007

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