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2003 Salary Survey Extra: What Size of Company Are You In?

Seeking a higher salary? The company you keep can make a bit of difference.

This year's Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine salary survey, available online at http://www.mcpmag.com/salarysurveys/, points to an interesting fact: The larger your company, the more you'll be compensated, in general.

The following table shows average base salary by the size of the organization:

2003 Salary: Average Company Size
(Click image to view larger version.)

Let's drill down into the numbers. The next table compares the numbers by size of organization—at two extremes—for particular certification titles:

2003 Salary: Drilling Down on Salaries by Co. Size
(Click image to view larger version.)

(Some Microsoft credentials have been left out due to insufficient data.)

The largest percentage of employees reported that they work for either companies that have between 1,000 and 4,999 people (16.2%) or between 50 and 249 people (15.7%). The median size of company among all respondents is 1,529 people; the mean is 18,288.

Whereas other IT publications have suggested that older and more experienced workers tend to be employed by larger organizations, our results are different.

The average age for respondents across our entire survey is 36 years. That's also the average age of respondents who work for companies that have between 500 and 9,999 employees. The average age of people in companies with fewer than 500 employees is 35. The average age of people in companies with between 10,000 and 24,999 employees is 37.

The average number of years of experience in networking and programming among all of our respondents is 7.8. That's pretty much the same across the board, no matter how large the organization. It varies from 7.9 years of experience at the smallest organization to 8.1 years at the largest.

We offer two conclusions, which may be self-evident. If you're seeking a higher salary, no matter where you are in your level of experience, don't discount the value of working for a larger organization. However, if money isn't the most important consideration and you have no burning desire to specialize at that stage of your career, consider a smaller organization, since it'll likely prove to offer more varied work.

To read the 2003 Salary Survey, click here.

About the Author

Dian L. Schaffhauser is a freelance writer based in Northern California.

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Reader Comments:

Tue, Sep 9, 2003 asd asd

no need for so many admins,.
NT4 to 2000 sales point consolidation.
2000 to 2003 more server consolidation.

"do less with more" they mean. less servers, less administrative overhead, less work, less admins needed, lower wages. MS where are you leading us today, bankrupcy ? got MCSE.MCSA.MCP. MCSDBA. 6 years experience and cant even get a job any job. even got a master in computer science. did migration work for compagnies upto 100.000 workplaces and still no work. do more with less, they mean do more with less admins.

Tue, Sep 9, 2003 - Anonymous

no need for so many admins,.
NT4 to 2000 sales point consolidation.
2000 to 2003 more server consolidation.
"do less with more" they mean. less servers, less administrative overhead, less work, less admins needed, lower wages. MS where are you leading us today, bankrupcy ? got MCSE.MCSA.MCP. MCSDBA. 6 years experience and cant even get a job any job. even got a master in computer science. did migration work for compagnies upto 100.000 workplaces and still no work. do more with less, they mean do more with less admins. what is the vallieu for this mcse paper if there are more unimployed mcse admins then jobs.

Sat, Sep 6, 2003 Anonymous VA

I make 48K a yr and have only been in this field for 2 yrs. I have A plus, Net plus, and MCP certs. A friend told me a long time ago, that "if you want to move up, you have to move out". So, to all the peopel complaining about no work, MOVE. Take some classes on how to interview and get that job you want. You are your own salesperson. Sell yourself to these people and do a little research on the company as well. Good Luck.

Tue, Sep 2, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

Yeah, sure ya' are buddy!

Fri, Aug 29, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

I have no college degree, live in the Northeast, and have 6 years experience in networking and IT. I achieved the MCSE NT 4.0 certifications while working in IT in the late 90's. I achieved the CCNA certification while working for an ILEC which has since imploded. My peak base salary at that job was 60,000 with 88,000 in total comp - OT and Bonus. I was laid off from that job and spent six month on the bench. During that time I quantified my skillsets from my router days with the CCNP and CCDA. With my new job my base is 78,000 with 10% bonus. Total employees 200. It is a security company and I work with Netscreen based site to site VPN's. If you're not a developer then security/wireless and routings/switching is where to make your bread. Microsoft certs are a dime a dozen. Cisco and Checkpoint pay the bills. Based on the latest salary survey I'm right on target.

Mon, Aug 25, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

You know what would be more interesting? What does the average Microsoft employee make in yearly salary? ... And then compare these figures to the figures posted on what the average MCSE/MCP/whatever makes. Yeah, yeah, everyone knows that several hundred (at least) people who were with M$ from the beginning became stock option millionaires, but what about the current crowd in Redmond? I'm sure that the average salary for any given current Microsoft employee (excluding people like Gates and Ballmer, to be fair) blows their MCSE certified clone army out of the water, and the funny thing is, having every Microsoft certification under the sun would not enable anyone to even dream of employment at the company's headquarters. Oh, and for the people who post to these boards and are making some ungodly sum of money right now, as in 6 figures+, maybe you're part of the reason so many in the field are unemployed and no one can find a way back into IT, because instead of splitting that $100,000 three different ways between 3 people who would be happy to make a little over 30 grand a year, you're hogging a disproportionately large chunk of company funds. But congrats to you for continuing to pull in the riches in this lackluster economy!

Mon, Aug 25, 2003 Brian Ohio

Serious question for those of you pulling in the income that this survey reflects. What do you feel is making the difference? I'm making 38K in a desktop support position (3 years experience) with an MCSE-NT and 2 exams passed in 2K. Ive asked around just to see what some of our competition is paying someone with my background: $13-15 per hour.

If there is someone with 3-5 years making $60K in the midwest, Id be curious as to your opinion as to what got you at that spot.

Thanks, Brian

Sat, Aug 23, 2003 Anonymous New York

Well well well, these table are low but average, sure thats true because i make alot and some dont. When I first started in this field I had nothing but a lie and a convincing story. I worked for IBM when they were huge and had nothing but highschool. As time went on I learned the job and then I was able to make money to go to certs. I make 120k annually and its because I know business, managing skills. Not the certs. If they knew then that I had no certs or degree I would be slinging ice cream cones form an old truck right now. Its not some dumb class and test its brains and knowledge that help, by the way I am 29 years old. I consider my self lucky and talented. As far as these charts go, really retain the information you learn from the certs, make good business, save the company money, and that money you save will find its way into your pockets, GUARENTEED!!!!!

Fri, Aug 22, 2003 Anonymous Florida

MCSD, MCSE, MCDBA, MCT, SCJP and no income under 6 figures for over 6 years now - mostly in permanent positions. It's not about the certs (they help), it's about what you offer as a package - do you understand business needs, can you present ideas well in presentations and in written form, do you have the background (not from just passing a test - real world hands-on), how much money did you save your last company. Certifications have shortcuts (they're called braindumps), the business world doesn't. Pay your dues, realize it's not just about the technology, give your employer more than they expect, don't wait to be discovered - stand out. Forget about the guy who doesn't know what he's talking, every kingdom needs a court jester, just be secretly satisfied that you get thats what he is. If your just in this field for the money, consider be coming a nurse - the pay is good, you can work flexible hours, and your nursing certificate means you will automatically make at least $25 an hour. Of course there's the bed pan issue, the spit baths, and oh yeah most admins average more than $50k. :)

Fri, Aug 22, 2003 Columbus SysAdmin Columbus, OH

I am an MCSA-MCSE: Security with 5 years of systems administration experience and I have to ask where you come up with these numbers? I have been laid off three times and spent a year and a half unable to find work in IT. After sending thousands of resumes I finally got a job making a whopping $40,000 a year. I don't know any MCSE's making what this survey claims.

Fri, Aug 22, 2003 Anonymous MD-VA-DC Metro Area

I do not think your salaries are off. I have always met or exceeded the scale.

Thu, Aug 21, 2003 anonymous Anonymous

lying

Thu, Aug 21, 2003 Just another IT guy L.A.

It would be curious if MCP.mag did a job security survery (regarding how many are worried about being laid off or replaced) or maybe a unemployement rate survey to see just how bad it really is! I think everyone would be interested to see that!

Thu, Aug 21, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

95K plus 5K in Possible Bonus in Mpls

When I see the Salary Survey's I'm amazed at how low they seem.

Just lucky I guess but the work isn't exactly stimulating these days

Thu, Aug 21, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

The Cert will not land you the job you still need talent.

MCSE-NT making 88k in Boston.

Thu, Aug 21, 2003 A Dallas,TX

I have been an MCSD for 8 years now both in Visual Studio 6 and now .NET. I have worked in both LA and Dallas. I have never had any problem meeting or exceeding the salary quotes in this magazine. I will say that I do spend on average 5 hours a week expanding my knowledge of technology. What I have seen is that as technical people we don't have some of the "people" skills that we should and are maybe not assertive enough when interviewing and negotiating offers. Remember that the figure the employers offer you can be negotiated.

Thu, Aug 21, 2003 developer Montreal, Canada

I'm a MCSD (VS 6.0 & .NET), MCT and MCP (SQL Server 2000). I have to agree that certification doesn't necessarly means money. But I do believe that it gives you an edge over those who don't have any (at least for us developpers). I keep hearing that the IT market isn't what it used to be and I believe it. So I guess that makes me one of the lucky few who have a job. But then everyone I know who works in this field is currently employed with a very decent salary. I make $56K (base salary -> around $74K after bonuses and overtime) and I know others who make $60K, $75K or even more for those who do contract work. So there is still work out there, or maybe we're just lucky up here in Montreal and the situation isn't as bad as it is in other cities. In any case, go ahead and get certified, it can't hurt!

Thu, Aug 21, 2003 A Dallas, TX

I have been an MCSD for 8 years now both in Visual Studio 6 and now .NET. I have worked in both LA and Dallas. I have never had any problem meeting or exceeding the salary quotes in this magazine. I will say that I do spend on average 5 hours a week expanding my knowledge of technology. What I have seen is that as technical people we don't have some of the "people" skills that we should and are maybe not assertive enough when interviewing and negotiating offers. Remember that the figure the employers offer you can be negotiated.

Wed, Aug 20, 2003 kimhwee Sg

i have MCSE, MCDBA. Currently taking CISSP.
I have to agreed that certification indeed increase my knowledge but is totally irrevelant to my pay.
I was given more responsiblity when i had proven to be able to lead projects and the knowlegde obtain from the certifications proved to be invaluable helping me. I had a vast job scope which including planning project, design systems architect, coordination etc... but had nothing about getting promotion and higher pay or better life. I am force to believe that certification and technical knowledge is completely irrevelant to your pay and all this salary survey is a lie. Better learn from those senior engineers who can talk and bullshit their way to get higher pay than study/work like an ant and died humbly like one.

Wed, Aug 20, 2003 Oronde New Jersey

I have my CCNA, MCSE, MCSA, MCP plus Internet, A plus, Net plus and a BS in Electrical Engineering. At my peak, I made $130,000 a year plus benefits (yr. 2000). At my most recent job I made $80,000 a year as a computer specialist working in a permanent position for the goverment. I was laid off and have been out of work for about 20 months. I disagree with the people who say certs don't mean anything. I became a better engineer and had a better understanding of computers and network engineering once I completed my MCSE. I have about 12 years experience. I see the problem in tech support (network engineering) is that there are not so many stability issues in the software besides virus issues and a few vendor software bugs. There are no more Y2K problems that require countless teams of engineers that made us a lot of money. Windows 2000 Server is a very stable and complete product. It is not like the Windows 3.51 and Windows NT 4.0 days when there was no plug and play so an upgrade was required. A properly installed network does not fail therefore eliminating the need for a full time networking support staff. We have to remember the golden rule of staying in business. "Keep the customer coming back". I also disagree with the person who said young white males get the jobs. I have seen many white males get turned down for jobs but white managers.

Wed, Aug 20, 2003 Lies Anonymous

Yeah the more I get these rediculous magazines the more extra toilet paper I have. Hey, at least have some morals mcpmag, there are alot of people out of work and suffering because they were led down this path.

Wed, Aug 20, 2003 Paul So.Cal

I am one of the lucky ones. I have been an MCSE NT 4.0 for 5 years, but I also have 18 years UNIX admin experience. I am making 73K a year in a company of 90-100 employees. However, those salaries listed here are grossly inflated. I was making 90K a year 4 years ago till my previous company lost a big contract.
Recently there was an ad in the local paper wanting certs (MCSE, CCNA, Comptia) PLUS a BS in computer science.
The starting wage : 17.00 per hour !!!!
And this is California, where salaries are usually higher because of the high cost of living. I have no clue where you people get those figures from. 1999 maybe ???

Wed, Aug 20, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

These salary survey are nothing but lies. If you are in an average city anywhere in the US you will not get this kind of money no matter what certs or years of experience. It might happen in places Silicon Valley or NY City but not everyone wants to live there.

Wed, Aug 20, 2003 Steve Milwaukee

I have been an MCP in WinNT and Win2000(the entire core) and find your survey of wages to be drastically exaggerated. I know more than most MCSE's and haven't even landed a job in IT as of yet. I feel as though I have been led down the wrong path.

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