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Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

Jobs With SOA Skills Second Highest-Paid Category in New Salary Survey

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I recently had the opportunity to speak with Tom Silver, Senior Vice President, North America at career site Dice.com, about the results of a compelling new IT salary survey the company just published. The survey, based on the input of 19,000 IT professionals, carries a lot of credibility due to its large base of responses, along with the fact that it has been conducted annually for about a decade.

The survey found that employers place a premium on SOA-related skillsets. The average rate for IT positions involving service-orientation work at $107,827 a year. This is 37% over the average for all the IT positions covered - $78,845.

SOA skills are the second-highest paid skills found in the survey. Leading the pack were professionals versed in ABAP, or Advanced Business Application Programming ($115,916).

There are other areas where SOA-based practices add to premium skills as well. For example, applications server skills JBoss and WebLogic joined the $100,000 salary ranks with annual salaries topping $101,869 and $100,313, respectively.

Keep in mind that this salary average is a blended average -- covering both staff professionals and managers/executives. Information on professional versus management salary breakouts was not available at the time I spoke with Silver, but, conceivably, managers with SOA in their job descriptions may be making up to 20% more than the $108,000 average, and professionals may be making up to 20% less.

This is the first year that Dice measured the impact of SOA skills on IT jobs, so historical comparisons were not available. Silver noted that SOA was a part of many job classifications, from security engineer to development engineers to IT managers.

He also observes that jobs calling for SOA skills is a relatively small but growing sector of the IT world. "The number of jobs that are looking for SOA skills is still relatively small - we have about 2,100 jobs on the site right now that call for SOA skills," he points out.  "That's 2,100 out of roughly 50,000, so gives you an idea as far as the percentage of jobs, which is still relatively small, four percent or so. But this number is up eight percent versus a year ago. The overall number of tech jobs on Dice for the same period year over year is down about 12%."

No data on cloud-related salaries was available at the time of my interview with Silver.In fact, the number of job listings calling for cloud skills was minisculer, about 300 openings at this time. "It didn't pop to the top of our top 10 list, which is a little bit surprising for us," he says.

While much of the Dice survey is based on technical positions, Silver pointed to the fact that he was seeing more demand for business-related skills. "We're seeing more demand for  program or project management skills," he says. "And those individuals that have business skills matching and mixing with technology skills as those that are also in demand. It's great if you know how to run the code; but you're even more valuable to your organization if you know how that tech skill fits into overall business strategy."

Silver also has a word of caution for IT employers - the economy is beginning to expand again, and there's a great deal of disenchantment among the IT ranks. "Not surprisingly, coming off of a year like we just came off of, where many tech professionals were asked to do a lot more with a lot less. They're not happy about it. And dissatisfaction overall with their jobs has gone up."

As a result, Silver says, "as the job market starts to improve, those that have particularly in-demand skillsets -  like SOA - are going to be looking around. There's a real good chance as the market opens up, those that have those kinds of skills will walk."

"Employers really pushed their people in the last two years. We're warning employers now that retention will become one of the biggest issues in terms of making sure they have required tech professionals they need in order to meet their goals. Retention will become a much much bigger issue going forward."

In this blog (formerly known as "SOA in Action"), Joe McKendrick examines how BPM and related business and IT approaches can promote business transformation.

Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is an author and independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. View more

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