Spotlight on skills: Networking salaries

Salaries for IT professionals who work in the system administration, network administration, and network security fields continued to grow in 1998, according to a survey by the SANS Institute.

The average salary plus bonuses for the 7,189 respondents was $US60,991. Of the three types of professionals surveyed, security professionals came out on top, reporting average salaries of $67,943. Of course, some metropolitan areas reported average salaries much greater than the overall average: Salaries in northern New Jersey and San Francisco were close to $80,000.

The overall average salary increase reported from 1997 to 1998 was 11.9 per cent.

"The growth rate is actually down from last year," says Alan Paller, director of research at the SANS Institute, in Bethesda, Maryland. "It's still huge, but it looks like people are beginning to cope with the shortages."

The survey also asked respondents which operating systems they used and how many operating systems their companies used. The responses suggest that the complexity of working with multiple operating systems leads to higher salaries. A respondent's principal OS also affected both salary and salary increases.

"Linux had the largest increase in salary, and it was already at the average," Paller says.

Finally, respondents were asked what employers needed to do to retain their best administrators.

"Training" was a frequent response, although respondents wanted training to be relevant.

"Once they get training, it isn't satisfying unless it's useful and they can put it to work," Paller says. "People are concerned about making use of the time they spend in training, not just getting out [of work] for the perk of education."

Unix expertise pays off

Salary increase

Main OS used Salary in past year

AIX $63,111 11.7 per cent

HP-UX $63,873 10.4 per cent

Linux $61,027 16.5 per cent

NetWare $55,439 8.4 per cent

Silicon Graphics $61,115 10.4 per cent

Solaris $66,205 12.6 per cent

Windows NT $59,311 12.3 per cent

Source: SANS Institute

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