The Future's So Bright ...

RHI Consulting looks at IT's growing salaries for 1999.

At least for many of you it will be, according to the newly released RHI Consulting 1999 Salary Guide. The Guide, which projects its figures for 1999 by extrapolating actual 1998 survey results, includes salaries for IS directors, applications development managers, systems analysts, programmer analysts and programmers. In addition, it provides a hiring outlook for 1999.

To compile its data, RHI Consulting ( -- an international consulting services firm headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif. -- conducts its own research, including regional employment data gathered throughout the United States and Canada. In addition, RHI tallies industry research from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics and Statistics Canada.

Not surprisingly, implementing new technology initiatives is a top priority for industries across North America. With this need comes the obvious need for people trained and skilled at implementing and maintaining these systems. However, the issue for management is not just getting the quick fix in; but rather finding staff who can develop and implement a long-term strategy.

And potential employers aren't just looking at the staff's track record for retention. Over 90 percent indicated that the proven ability of a manager to retain IT personnel was a "key factor in landing a management job." Some retention strategies managers use, other than compensation, include providing training on new technologies, regular praise and recognition, casual dress, flex hours and equity incentives.

And although specific technical skills rank the chief priority when hiring, many organizations (68 percent) will be anticipating cross-trained specialists who have additional "soft skills" in business, management, and written or verbal communication skills. When reviewing an IT candidate's resume, 41 percent of the CIOs responding indicated specific technical skills were an important consideration, 28 percent were looking for IT experience in their firm's industry, 17 percent sought progressive job responsibilities, and 11 percent felt stability was an important trait.

The need for networking talent remains number one across all industries surveyed, with 33 percent of CIOs indicating a demand. Experience with UNIX, Windows 2000 (formerly NT 5.) and, yes, Novell remain high on the list of requirements.

Internet/intranet development skills followed closely at 28 percent. In fact, CIOs reported that Internet and intranet development was a leading growth area for the IS department, and Web site developers and programmers skilled in Visual Basic, C++ or Java are "particularly marketable."

Show Me the Money ...

According to the survey, IT experts can expect average salaries to increase between 2 percent and 6 percent in 1999. Internet positions can expect a 10 percent increase in starting salaries in some "specialty areas." In addition, the survey suggests that college and tech school graduates may expect multiple job offers in 1999, while qualified IT professionals may receive "several offers within days of submitting their resumes."

Some categories and starting salary ranges include Administration: CIO: $113,500 to $180,000; VP of IS: $101,750 to $155,250; Chief Technology Officer: $85,000 to $122,750; and IS director $88,000 to $115,000.

An applications development manager may expect to start at $69,750 to $89,250; and a developer at around $55,000 to $72,250. A help desk manager is looking at $67,500 to $85,500; with help desk tier one expecting to start at $38,000 to $52,000. The survey indicates a database or data warehouse manager will start at about $71,000 to $91,000. And a data modeler will range at $54,500 to $76,500 starting salary.

A telecommunications manager should start at $68,250 to $86,250. An operations senior manager should get $57,750 to $72,500, and a manager about $20,000 less. A console operator is predicated to earn $26,000 to $35,500 in 1999. Systems audit managers range from $63,500 to $79,250 and staff at around $39,500 to $50,750. A consulting or SI director will start at $72,000 to $98,000, and a staff consultant may expect a range of $47,250 to $62,500. Finally, a software development project manager will range from $67,750 to $100,000, and an installer or developer $50,000 to $65,000.

The survey provides another five or six titles and salary ranges for each of the examples I mentioned above, as well as a geographical breakdown of the opportunies.

An interesting side note from the survey indicates that 70 percent of the CIOs surveyed have restricted employees internet access to adult or graphic material, 34 percent to chat groups, and 13 percent have been denied access to career or job seeker sites. With the projected numbers for salaries and openings, I think we'll see the last category move up the scale in 1999, as a perceived Internet threat to today's corporate community.