Feature

Storage salaries edge up

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The data used in this report was gathered through an e-mail survey conducted in October 2004. The survey was sent to Storage subscribers. More than 220 people responded. Telephone interviews were also conducted with selected survey respondents and others who manage storage.
The sputtering economic recovery cast a shadow over this year's storage salaries and bonuses--they're higher than 2003, but not by much. While salaries and bonuses inched upward, hiring remained flat and, according to respondents to Storage magazine's second annual storage industry salary survey, 2005 is expected to be a better year for compensation than 2004.

In an effort to create the industry's only picture of hiring and salary trends for storage professionals, Storage has once again surveyed its readership about their salary and employment. In addition to the survey's more than 220 respondents, we interviewed a number of storage employees, IT managers and industry observers to get further insights into the storage hiring situation.

Storage professional profile
Through the survey, a profile of the storage professional emerges:
Approximately 40% spend three-quarters of their time or more managing, implementing or making decisions about storage.
Almost half of that time is spent on architecture, planning and primary operations.
Almost one-third is spent on backup and maintenance.
84% of respondents manage one to five people; very few manage more than 20.
43% manage 10TB to 99TB, 26% manage 1TB to 9TB; only a few respondents, 5.8%, manage more than 500TB.
Half are college graduates.
73% have three or more years of experience managing storage.
Like storage
Overall, respondents like working in storage. "I love it here. It's an opportunity to expand my horizons," says a senior systems engineer at a major Colorado defense contractor. The company just reorganized storage into its own department and may even hire more storage people next year.

But not everybody is thrilled. "My management doesn't care about storage. It doesn't get any attention until something breaks and then it's a crisis," says a WAN/LAN administrator at a New Hampshire-based government contractor. He'd like to move on, but "there's not much opportunity here. I was out of work for a year until I got hired here last year," he adds.

This year, salaries grew approximately 5% ($78,097 on average) over what this year's survey respondents reported for 2003. Still, the economy continues to be problematic for IT professionals. "Overall, IT has seen a bit of an expansion in hiring, but it has been more like two steps forward and one step back," says Terry Phillips, branch manager at Robert Half Technology, a national recruiting firm in Columbus, OH. Phillips' advice to storage professionals: Approach the market with caution.

But pockets of the storage community are experiencing an upturn. "We're seeing the need for storage steadily increasing," says Charlie Westling, president and chief operating officer at Datalink Corp., Chanhassen, MN. The storage consulting vendor hired approximately a dozen storage professionals this past year and expects to hire another dozen in 2005.

This was first published in December 2004

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