Seeking the IT Professional

Windows IT Pro’s IT Industry Survey 2005

In Windows IT Pro's second annual IT Industry Survey, we set out to get to know you, the IT professional, better. We gathered responses from 1,728 of you to learn more about how you function in the world of IT, what your job responsibilities are, and how you're performing on the salary side. We gathered demographics on your tenure in IT, your compensation, and your job satisfaction. We calculated the averages and then looked beyond those averages to see which factors influence salary and job satisfaction the most.

Weighing Averages
Our initial review of the survey data painted a picture of the average IT pro. As Figure 1 shows, 89 percent of our 1,728 survey respondents are male. Figure 2 presents the job titles that most of you identified as corresponding to your actual title. We discovered that 41 percent of you possess a bachelor's degree. You're likely to work an average of 45.4 hours a week, and it's not unusual for you to spend an average of 7.3 of those hours working at home.

You're a reasonably stable group of workerswho have spent an average of 6.6 years with your present employer and 12.6 years in IT. In fact, very few of you, fewer than 1 percent, are IT rookies with less than 1 year of IT experience. Figure 3 presents a breakdown of the number of years survey respondents have worked in IT.

Eighty-four percent of you have the same job responsibilities you did at this time last year, and you identified all of your job responsibilities. Among those responsibilities, the following five were listed by more of you than any others:

  • Providing IT systems administration
  • Supporting end users
  • Providing network administration
  • Performing systems analysis
  • Deploying desktop hardware and software

However, the complete list of job responsibilities you identified is exhaustive. In addition to the five areas above, you also train end users, administer databases, architect networks, develop software, secure networks, back up servers, develop budgets, repair PCs, research emerging technologies, and, as one reader put it, "do everything—I'm IT."

Although the IT pros we surveyed share similar job descriptions, their work location, the industry they work in, and the size of the company they work for vary widely. As Figure 4 shows, respondents represent all regions of the world, with 76 percent of respondentsliving and working in the U.S. and Canada. (Figure 5 shows the distribution of IT pro respondents within the U.S. and Canada.) The most common industries respondents reported working in include accounting, construction, data processing, education, government, manufacturing, transportation, and health care. You represent organizations that employ from 1 to more than 25,000 workers. The median company size is close to 750.

Sixty percent of you hold Microsoft certifications. But among that 60 percent, only half believe that their certifications have helped their career. Nevertheless, a majority of respondents place value on training as a way to stay up-to-date in their position and to build their career. For example, 78 percent have attended a technical conference in the past 12 months, 69 percent have read white papers, 62 percent read free email newsletters, 60 percent read free magazines, and 60 percent subscribe to print newsletters.

Community is another common thread for our IT pro respondents. More than 90 percent of you participate in a user group, whether for Windows, SQL Server, Exchange, developers, or other IT interest. You also stay active in your field: 58 percent of you participate in Windows newsgroups and forums.

The Salary Scene
Questions about your salary and other forms of compensation are a key part of our survey. From your answers, we learned that IT salaries seem to have crept up a bit in comparison with the numbers you reported on last year's survey. Senior Editor Jason Bovberg immersed himself in the compensation data you gave us, and you can read what he discovered in "The Money You Make, and How It Compares," on page 27.

Job Satisfaction
Every job has its ups and downs. But you probably want to know if your peers share the same joys and frustrations you do. You are not alone if the top five professional issues that keep you up at night include:

  • System stability and reliability issues
  • Spending time dealing with problems instead of planning for improvements
  • Data and system security
  • Career development
  • Dealing with the challenges of new and emerging technologies

In"AreYou Satisfied?" on page 31, Senior Editor Dianne Russell explores the survey results to determine why the average IT pro is somewhat dissatisfied with his or her job.You might be surprised to find that, for many IT pros, the numbers on their paycheck aren't necessarily the greatest factor in their career satisfaction.

How Do You Compare?
With a new year around the corner, it's time to take stock and see where you fit in the universe of IT pros. Do you fit the profile of the average IT pro I described above, or are you an "outlyer," as survey professionals are fond of saying? Our annual IT industry survey gives us an opportunity to help you evaluate how you're placed in the IT field. We hope the insights we've gleaned from the information you gave us helps you see how your compensation measures up. We also hope that sharing your peers' thoughts on job satisfaction will give you a head start on your New Year's resolutions.

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