Feature

Storage salaries edge up in lean times

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New challenges, promotions are key to job satisfaction

Regardless of industry or geographic location, our Salary Survey respondents agreed that income was the chief priority when considering a job in data storage management.

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Career advancement was next, followed by job responsibilities. Again and again, survey takers told us that new IT challenges, a growing skill set, and the opportunity to architect new systems and meet the demands of a growing business were chief contributors to overall job satisfaction.

"I've stayed so long because it's been a really great growth opportunity," the 36-year-old Hall said. "We've all been here a long time and we're a great team. We have developed, for the most part, a real intimate working relationship with the business."

Another respondent, a senior IT director at a national industry trade association, said he's stayed in the same job for nearly two decades due to the internal career advancement and recognition he has received. "I've been promoted several times and there are good opportunities for education," he said, such as workshops, seminars and conferences. Of course, a dearth of training time and money usually has the reverse effect, and several respondents cited those factors as what they like least about their current jobs. As one respondent told us: "Untold hours of personal unpaid time [spent] learning emerging technologies" was sinking his current job satisfaction level.

Another wrote that his current job was characterized by a "lack of training and qualified staff to support the growing demands of storage." And one spelled out his complaint in more detail, saying his job was hard to like because of "the horribly long, necessary, uncompensated hours due to our woeful staffing (two people to support 600 PCs, 40 servers, 40 switches and 2,500 users)."

Despite other similar scenarios, approximately 50% of our respondents plan to continue to work in storage; the others said they were more likely to leverage their data storage experience in another area of IT. Some, like Hall, believe their future might lie in managed services.

In a lot of shops, Hall said, "internal IT growth is negative. So I'll probably end up at a cloud provider somewhere." From his perspective, that's where "the market is going."

"I'd love to be a techie guy, and continue to architect large hardware and storage arrays -- but it's difficult because so much is going to service providers," he noted.

This was first published in December 2010

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