Dice Salary Survey Casts Rays of 2016 Sunshine on IT Pros

Businessman fistful of dollars

Based on Q4 employment numbers and a record-low unemployment rate (2.9 percent) in the Information sector for that period, I'm feeling more bullish about employment and salary prospects in IT for 2016 than I've felt since 1999. That was just before the dot-com bubble went dot-bomb. This latest Salary Survey from online job listing and job placement firm Dice.com only underscores that feeling.


There had been a recent near-correction in the stock market: The Dow Jones Index started the year on a down note at 17,148 and has been falling pretty much ever since; the number is 15,944 as I write this blog post, down 7 percent from the first trading day of the year. Yet even so, I'm still feeling optimistic that IT in particular, and the economy in general, will be on an upward trend for 2016.


Ed Tittel Figure 1 1 29 2016

Source: Dice.com 2015-2016 Salary Survey


The Dice report essentially illustrates what happens when unemployment drops sufficiently in a market sector to change its dynamics. The dynamic from 2008 until last year was a buyer's market for IT jobs, which gave those doing the hiring more power. Employers had the edge in negotiations and pricing for salaries, as well as the ability to be uncommonly picky in choosing those lucky enough to land their jobs.


That pendulum is now — finally — showing signs of swinging the other way. Here are some factoids from the Dice Survey to buttress this assertion:


? Bonuses and contract rates were also up from 2014.
? Tech salaries in 8 metro areas hit six figures for the first time ever since the survey began in the early 2000s. These areas are identified in descending order as Silicon Valley, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Seattle, Baltimore/Wash DC, Minneapolis, and Portland, OR.
? 62 percent of IT Pros reported earning higher salaries in 2015 than they did in previous years.
? Nearly half of survey respondents indicated that they received salary increases resulting from "upward mobility" at their current companies.
? 38 percent of respondents reported receiving merit increases, while 10 percent reported receiving internal promotions and raises.
? 23 percent of those reporting a salary increase also changed employers to get that bump in pay.
? The average bonus reported was $10,194, an increase of 7 percent over the 2014 figure, where 37 percent of technology pros received a bonus.
? Bonuses are correlated with job tenure, so that longer-term employees are more likely to receive them. Those with less than two years of on-the-job experience are less likely to get bonuses than their longer-tenured colleagues.
? Dice President, Bob Melk, is quoted in the report as saying "The competition for tech talent today is undeniable. Demand for skilled talent and low unemployment rates for tech professionals aren't making the hiring landscape any easier. Employers realize offering competitive pay is a necessity. What's promising is the tech industry recognizes the need to fill open seats as well as to reward tech talent for their hard work."
? Contract workers reported a 5 percent increase in hourly rates, with average 2015 hourly compensation at $70.25.
? Salary satisfaction for technology professionals is up by 1 percent from 2014, with 53 percent reporting themselves satisfied with their pay for 2015.
? Confidence in job prospects is unchanged at 67 percent who believe they could find favorable new positions, and 39 percent intended to change employers in 2016.


A table of top paying skills is included in the report and reproduced here:


Ed Tittle Figure 2 1 29 2016

Source: Dice.com 2015-2016 Salary Survey


Notice the sectors involved, reproduced in order of occurrence: Cloud (4), Databases (2), Programming (2), and Big Data (2). These are very much in line with what I've been tracking all last year and into 2016, and establish excellent niches toward which entry- to mid-level IT professionals can and probably should aspire. (Additional forward-leaning items are Internet of Things (IoT), network virtualization technologies like SDN and NFV, and hyperconvergence.)


There's a lot of interesting data to be gleaned from this report, so you might want to download and read the summary for yourself (if I can find a link to the full report, I'll add it here). Dice has done a nice job of digging into the data it obtained from the 16,301 IT professionals who completed their survey between Oct. 6 and Nov. 25 last year. (Full disclosure: I completed this survey myself, as I have done for the past half-dozen years or more.) The bottom line really seems to indicate that things are looking up, both employment and payment wise, for IT pros in 2016.


Would you like more insight into the history of hacking? Check out Calvin's other articles about historical hackery:
About the Author

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran who's worked as a software developer, technical marketer, consultant, author, and researcher. Author of many books and articles, Ed also writes on certification topics for Tech Target, ComputerWorld and Win10.Guru. Check out his website at www.edtittel.com, where he also blogs daily on Windows 10 and 11 topics.