Top 10 Jobs in Information Technology

Information technology (IT) professionals don’t always get the best rap. Employees grumble about the help desk, how IT workers think they’re so smart – heck, “IT nerd” is even a searchable phrase on the Internet.

Cut these folks some slack. Pause for a second to imagine the number of phone calls and e-mails IT probably gets per day – whining that this isn’t working and neither is that. Consider their responsibility for keeping databases, phone lines, computers and security programs for entire companies up and running. And you really want to nag them for being smart?

Suit yourself – but the next time you poke fun at the techies, consider that IT workers can expect starting salaries to increase an average of 5.3 percent in 2008, according to the “2008 Robert Half Technology Salary Guide.” Base compensations in high-demand positions are also expected to rise as high as 7.6 percent.

“Business expansion and the increased reliance on technology within all sectors has resulted in a competitive environment for skilled IT professionals,” says Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology. “Many companies are raising base compensation for new hires and offering additional perks, including signing bonuses and equity incentives, to recruit and retain top candidates.”

Thinking twice about a career in technology? Here are the top 10 jobs in IT, based on increases in salary offers, according to the salary guide.

1. Lead applications developer
What they do: Manage software development teams in the design, development, coding, testing and debugging of applications. **
What you need: Bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field and three to five years experience in specific technologies.
Salary range: $80,250 - $108,000
Salary change*: 7.6 percent

2. Applications architect
What they do: Design components of applications, including interface, middleware and infrastructure; comply with employer’s design standards.
What you need: Bachelor’s degree in computer science or information systems; a master’s degree is desirable. Employers request a minimum of eight years related work experience and specific software skills.
Salary range: $87,250 - $120,000
Salary change: 7.5 percent

3. Messaging administrator
What they do: Control e-mail and groupware systems, including associated servers, operating systems, and backup and recovery programs; fix system problems and attend to service requests.
What you need: Bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer information systems or a related field, plus two to three years or more of experience working with the messaging systems used by the employer.
Salary range: $87,250 - $120,000
Salary change: 7.5 percent

4. Data modeler
What they do: Analyze organizational data requirements and create models of data flow.
What you need: Bachelor’s degree in computer science, IT or mathematics, and several years of data management experience.
Salary range: $74,250 - $102,000
Salary change: 7 percent

5. Network manager
What they do: Direct day-to-day operations and maintenance of the firm’s networking technology; collaborate with network engineers, architects and other team members on the implementation, testing, deployment and integration of network systems.
What you need: Ten years (or more) experience in a networking environment combined with several years of experience managing technical personnel. Professional certifications are also valuable.
Salary range: $74,500 - $98,500
Salary change: 7 percent

6. Senior IT auditor
What they do: Establish procedures for audit review of computer systems; develop and apply testing and evaluation plans for IT systems and ensure compliance with industry standards of efficiency, accuracy and security.
What you need: Bachelor’s degree in computer science, information systems, business or a related field, and an average of five years experience in IT auditing.
Salary range: $86,750 - $114,750
Salary change: 6.9 percent

7. Senior Web developer
What they do: Plan and implement Web-based applications; coordinate with product development, marketing, product management and other teams in bringing new applications online.
What you need: Bachelor’s degree in computer science, electrical engineering or a related field, plus a minimum of five years of experience working with a mix of Web technologies.
Salary range: $76,250 - $108,250
Salary change: 6.6 percent

8. Business intelligence analyst
What they do: Design and develop company data analysis and report solutions; review and analyze data from internal and external resources; communicate analysis results and make recommendations to senior management.
What you need: Bachelor’s degree in computer science, information systems or engineering, and several years of experience.
Salary range: $78,250 - $108,250
Salary change: 6.6 percent

9. Help desk (Tier 2)
What they do: Resolve difficult issues that derive from Tier 1 support and require five to 15 minutes to settle; decide when to create work tickets for issues that can’t be solved by phone or e-mail and require a visit to the user’s workspace.
What you need: Besides patience and a positive attitude, requirements depend on your position level. Tier 2 positions call for two to four years work experience, and a bachelor’s degree or a two-year degree and additional work experience in a help desk setting.
Salary range: $35,750 - $46,250
Salary change: 6.5 percent

10. Staff consultant
What they do: Assist with project planning and requirement specifications; create prototypes and alternatives with colleagues.
What you need: Bachelor’s degree in computer science, business or a consulting-related field. Industry-specific proficiency, plus business experience and two or more years of consulting experience are also typical requirements.
Salary range: $59,250 - $82,250
Salary change: 6.4 percent

*Percent changes are from 2007 to 2008.
** Job descriptions are from “Glossary of Job Descriptions for Information Technology,” by Robert Half Technology ( Descriptions include but are not limited to all job duties.

Source : MSN