Salary Surveys

2001 Salary Survey: True Value

Uncertainty and confusion define the current state of business, signaling a slow-down in high-tech hiring—and in the compensation of IT professionals. In this year's salary survey, we examine the outlook for salaries as well as the future prospects of certified professionals.

Uncertainty and confusion define the current state of business, signaling a slow-down in high-tech hiring-and in the compensation of IT professionals. In this year's salary survey, we examine the outlook for salaries as well as the future prospects of certified professionals.

As you dig into this year's Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine salary survey—the sixth one we've done in as many years—you no doubt have the obvious questions: How much compensation should you expect at this point in your career? What do others earn? How can you increase what you earn? What other perks can you expect? Will getting your Win2K certification really make a difference? And, quite important to many of you out there: If you're an MCSE, what should you be earning?

This year it's particularly important to look at the state of the certified professional. These times are turbulent. When the company next door is laying off a third of its workforce, can you really expect to negotiate a better salary this year with your management? Have economic conditions in the U.S. gotten to the point where you should simply be pleased to have employment? How can you inure yourself from possible workforce strife?

To examine these and other elements of IT employment, we've compiled the results of a survey answered by more than 6,000 MCPs at all age ranges, years of experience, job titles and geographical locations within the U.S. We've increased the depth of our coverage in order to understand not just what is but what people expect will be. The results are enlightening—and, we think, hopeful.

Reality Check
Here's the question people turn to MCP Magazine to answer every year: What's the average salary of the MCSE? Well, it's about what it was last year—if you're certified on Windows 2000. That's $67,100, to be exact (Chart 1 shows average salaries across all certifications). Here's where the money is.

If you're an MCSE on Windows NT 4.0, average base salary is $62,700. That's a $4,400 difference. The obvious reason for the gap is that there are fewer Win2K MCSEs out there, so those holding that skill set are in higher demand and, therefore, better compensated. We expect to see that gap grow even more in next year's survey.

Interestingly, last year, those who held Microsoft certification earned more than those who didn't. That's no longer true. Non-certified respondents tended to earn just slightly more than MCSEs on NT 4.0. How could this be? Every year we survey people who attempted but didn't pass a Microsoft exam. This year the respondents tended to have about six months more experience in networking than the typical MCSE who responded. That points out the crucial role experience plays in compensation of IT professionals; certification alone doesn't cut it anymore.

Average Base Salary by Certification
No Microsoft certification $63,000
MCP $53,400
MCP+Internet* $62,400
MCSE, Windows NT 4.0* $62,700
MCSE, Windows 2000* $67,100
MCSE+Internet* $72,800
MCDBA* $75,600
MCT* $78,600
MCSD* $78,600
*These individuals may also hold other premium certifications, such as MCSE, MCSE+Internet, MCSD, MCDBA or MCT.


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Chart 1. We asked all respondents to report their base 2001 income before taxes. Excluded are all forms of non-direct compensation (shown in Chart 2), salaries less than $27,500 and more than $150,000, and the incomes of the self-employed.

These MCSE salaries are both down from last year's $67,800. The slowdown we witnessed last year in compensation increases has finally reversed itself and become an actual decrease.

No surprise, right? Wall Street has kept the IT industry in a tizzy, the dot-com failures have put a dent in everyone's dreams of retirement by 40, and the recertification process has put us all in a state of upheaval. But is this downturn a nail in the coffin? We don't think so. Even though it appears the market is saturated with MCSEs who possess certification on NT, compensation is still holding strong, especially for those with a few years of experience under their belt. More on that shortly.

What it does mean is that now is an excellent time to consider building new skills, which will allow you to set yourself apart from the crowd, considerable as it is. Eventually, companies will begin the major migration to a new operating system. Firms will require knowledgeable network administrators to keep those servers humming, and they will pay premiums to obtain the right people.

Other Kinds of Compensation
Chart 2 shows what respondents expect to garner during 2001 beyond the base salary. This includes the value of profit-sharing, retirement plans, stock options, and training and education allowances to derive these amounts.

Total Non-direct Compensation
by Certification
No Microsoft certification $6,491
MCP $5,615
MCP+Internet* $7,368
MCSE, Windows NT 4.0* $7,352
MCSE, Windows 2000* $7,869
MCSD* $9,069
MCDBA* $9,133
MCSE+Internet* $9,413
MCT* $10,710
*These individuals may also hold other premium certifications, such as MCSE, MCSE+Internet, MCSD, MCDBA or MCT.


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Chart 2. We asked respondents to estimate the amount in additional compensation (monetary bonuses, profit-sharing, retirement plans, stock options, and training and education allowances) they expect to receive in 2001. Keep in mind that the survey was completed in April 2001, so the amounts shown are estimates of the total they'll receive in 2001.

In case you're wondering what portion of the amounts shown in Chart 2 consist of monetary bonuses, charts 3a, 3b, and 3c detail those amounts for 2001. About two-thirds of all respondents (excluding the self-employed) expect a monetary bonus this year.
Expected Bonuses in 2001
MCT $4,922
MCSE+Internet $4,473
MCDBA $4,386
MCSD $4,229
MCSE $3,302
MCP+Internet $3,286
No Microsoft certification $3,115
MCP $2,465

How Bonuses Are Calculated
Based on company's profitability 23%
Based on personal performance 25%
Both 40%
Other 12%

When Bonuses Are Paid
Monthly 13%
Quarterly 21%
Semi-annually 13%
Annually 53%

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Charts 3a, 3b, 3c. We asked the 63 percent of total respondents who said they receive monetary bonuses what they expect to receive in 2001, as well as how bonuses are calculated and when they're paid. Only four percent expected part of that bonus money to consist of signing bonuses. The average signing bonus was about $6,062.

Although stock options were viewed with great interest at one time by IT professionals, these days, it doesn't seem as important in selecting whom you'll work for. Too often, we guess, options have proven valueless. In fact, only a quarter of respondents said they receive stock options. Of those (see Chart 4), the number of options received averaged about 4,382.

Stock Options Received
MCSD 6,138
MCT 5,617
MCDBA 5,466
MCSE+Internet 4,932
MCSE 3,852
MCP+Internet 3,559
MCP 3,393


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Chart 4. We asked the 26 percent of respondents who said they received stock options to provide a count

Other perks of the job exist, however. Chart 5 spells out the most popular ones.

Additional Compensation Offerings
401(k) with company match 65%
Paid medical/dental 62%
Paid training 61%
Bonuses 50%
Mileage reimbursement 41%
College reimbursement 39%
Paid technical conference attendance 36%
Practice equipment (computers, switches, etc.) 35%


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Chart 5. When we asked respondents what kinds of benefits their companies provide, we were surprised to find that 401(k)s with company match outranked some of the more traditional benefits, such as paid medical and dental.

We've reported in the past on the successful companies that recognize and support the idea of IT certification as a tool for staff retention. Yet only 39 percent of you report that your company has a formal program in place to do this.

Experience Up
As in just about any industry, a person's knowledge, skill and, therefore, value increases over time. IT is no exception, and it's reflected in this year's numbers (see Chart 6). As you serve longer in the field, you can expect to see a gradual rise in your compensation.

When we asked respondents how many years they've held a job that specifically involves computer networking or programming, we found that the length of time had gone up. The level of experience for all MCPs has risen this year, to an average of 6.7 years, up from 2000's 5.5 years. MSCEs have raised the ante as well, tipping the scale at an average of 6.5 years, up from last year's 5.9 years. It appears that the large numbers of newcomers to certification have stuck with the program and increased their levels of knowledge and experience. (And it may be that those networking pros who were holdouts to certification were browbeaten by sheer numbers alone into trying—and passing—at least a single exam.)

We're interested to see what happens to the count in our next survey, as more people achieve certification under Windows 2000. According to our results, those with Windows 2000 certification possess more experience in the field.

Salary by Experience
MCP MCSE MCP+I MCSE+I MCDBA MCSD MCT
1 year $40,600 $46,700 $46,300 $49,500 $58,200 $64,600 $54,300
2 years $46,700 $51,000 $52,700 $63,400 $61,500 $64,600 $64,600
3 years $49,000 $58,300 $57,300 $60,200 $64,300 $72,300 $67,000
4 years $51,400 $61,700 $62,700 $71,100 $71,700 $72,200 $72,100
5 to 9 years $60,600 $67,200 $65,800 $74,600 $78,700 $80,300 $79,200
10 to 14 years $64,800 $74,700 $72,900 $82,800 $86,100 $88,300 $87,900
15 or more years $75,300 $79,000 $77,900 $84,800 $86,400 $87,700 $88,800
Chart 6. These numbers represent only the average 2001 base salary. As expected, salaries rise as experience increases. The question we asked was, "How many years have you held a job that specifically involves computer networking/programming?" The answer doesn't reflect experience specific to Microsoft products.
 
Who Earns the Most?
Most of you—52 percent—believe others are better compensated than you are. Among those respondents who consider themselves better compensated, a slight majority believe that certification played a role in their success.

So let's look at what jobs bring in the highest dollars. It appears we have a tie. Both developers and trainers top the certification charts with an average salary of $78,600.

As MCTs provide a foundation upon which many MCPs build their careers, it only makes sense that their experience, knowledge and talent are amply rewarded. This is a significant jump in salary for MCTs, who were earning 18 percent less (an average of $65,100) in 2000. It could simply be a matter of supply and demand. With the Win2K certification program there has been a growing need in the last year (and, therefore, a greater reward) for those who teach. Another effect on the higher numbers may be Microsoft's requirement that MCTs also possess a premium certification. That may have forced MCTs without those qualifications out of the program, thereby drawing up salaries for those remaining. It could also mean that employers hiring trainers may have been forced to up the ante to prevent their MCTs from going elsewhere with their titles.

Those trainers who have management in their titles tend to bring their salaries up to about $93,400.

When it comes to MCSDs, who have a tradition of earning top salaries in our surveys, it appears that being the lead on a programming team is the way to go. The average salary for MCSDs jumps from $78,600 to $97,100 when respondents claim a management title. The gap may be a result of the level of responsibility between those who write code and those with more experience, who lead and manage projects or divisions. Our survey shows that MCSDs with titles such as Programmer/Analyst bring in an average of $71,700. That jumps to $87,100 when "Programming Project Lead" is added.

This is the first year we've been able to do much analysis on the MCDBA title, and that's worth a mention. After MCT and MCSD, your best bet currently for a lucrative field is to consider becoming a database administrator or developer. The average base salary for that is just above $75,000.

Another way of evaluating the question of earnings is by looking at average base salary strictly by job title no matter which certifications are held. (See Chart 7.) In that case, the highest salaries are earned by programming project leads at $87,100. The lowest salary by title—$47,900—is earned by the help desk/user support professional. You'll find a breakout of job titles by certification at the end of this report.

Salary by Job Title
Project Lead/Programming $87,100
Management $81,400
Database Administrator $72,100
Project Lead/Networking $71,900
Programmer/Analyst $71,700
Webmaster/Web developer $70,300
Trainer $66,400
Network Engineer $62,300
Help Desk/User support $47,900


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Chart 7. One of the many determining factors in salary is job title. We asked respondents to choose one of nine titles that best described their position. Project lead is non-supervisory, but management is supervisory. Numbers are 2001 average base salary.

The Impact of Certification
Fifty eight percent of respondents told us that certification will probably help them land a job promotion in 2001—if it hasn't already. The other 42 percent said that achieving certification resulted in no job promotion. Yet only a third of respondents said that certification had no impact on their salary. In other words, even if obtaining a new certification doesn't lead to a promotion, it could lead to a better salary.

More than a third of MCTs and a quarter of MCSE+Internets reported a higher-than-25 percent jump in their salaries due, in part, to their certification. Overall, respondents said they expected about a 15 percent raise due to certification. (See Chart 8 for a breakdown of salary increases.) About two-thirds of respondents said this change in income will be the same as or higher than they expect.

Effect of Microsoft Certification on Salary
No change 31%
Up to 10% increase 28%
11% to 15% increase 10%
16% to 25% increase 14%
More than 25% increase 17%


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Chart 8. Although many respondents expect that Microsoft certification will have no effect on their salaries in 2001, 17 percent anticipate reaping an increase of more than 25 percent.


Nearly a quarter of respondents who expect an increase in salary in 2001 said it could be because they have changed or expect to change employers during the year.

Does certification really have an impact on how well you do your work? We asked how many servers and workstations respondents managed. On average, you support 23 servers and 580 workstations. Those of you who don't hold Microsoft certification reported supporting 28 percent fewer servers and 24 percent fewer workstations.

Multiple Microsoft Certifications
Frequently, people contact us wanting to know what impact multiple Microsoft certifications should have on their salaries. Although after a certain number of titles, there's a diminishing return, the numbers do look favorable.

If you possess an MCSE under NT 4.0, as you've already read in this survey, you can expect an average base salary of around $62,700. When you add an MCSD to that, the average goes up to $85,200. Or, if you add the MCDBA to the MCSE, the average is around $73,200.

The average base salary for an MCSE+Internet is $72,800. Adding an MCSD to that cranks up the average to a handsome $90,200.

Other Certifications
The most commonly held certification outside of Microsoft was CompTIA's A+. Generally considered an entry-level designation, A+ jumped in popularity this year, with 47 percent of respondents holding it, up from 20 percent in 2000. Of course, those holding that title tend to fall between the MCP and the MCSE in the salary heap because that's an entry-level certification.

Novell came in second, with 33 percent of respondents claiming a certification. Next in line is Cisco, with 29 percent earning some sort of designation, typically, the CCNA. Rounding out the top four is CompTIA's Network+, with 16 percent earning certification. (See Chart 9 for Salaries by Other Certifications.)

Salary by Other Certifications
Cisco CCIE $91,900
Citrix CCEA $87,600
Compaq Master ASE $87,300
Sun SCJP $85,600
Oracle OCP-DBA $81,800
Cisco CCNP $80,700
Lotus CLS $79,600
Novell MCNE $78,000
Compaq ASE $75,400
Lotus CLP $74,600
Red Hat RHCE $74,600
Novell CNE $72,000
Cisco CCNA $71,700
CompTIA i-NET+ $71,600
Prosoft CIW Associate $70,900
Novell CNA $65,200
CompTIA Network+ $65,000
CompTIA A+ $59,200
Chart 9. We asked respondents what other certifications they held besides Microsoft's. Numbers are 2001 average base salaries. As with many skill comparisons, there are a variety of factors (such as experience and multiple certifications) that influence salary other than the title itself, which may explain some of the large salary differences.

The Year of the Upgrade
Results this year suggest that the majority of certified professionals intend to achieve their Win2K certification in the next year. MCPs with NT certification are extremely motivated to get their Win2K MCP (88 percent). Fifty eight percent also plan to reach for the top and attain a Win2K MCSE. In addition, a whopping 92 percent of Win2K MCPs—who have already started the process—are planning to attain their MCSE title this year.

MCSEs on NT, for good reason, are studying just as hard, with 83 percent going for their Win2K title before the end of the year.

Among those who hold the MCSD title, 63 percent expect to achieve an MCDBA this year and 34 percent want to obtain an MCSE under Win2K.

Who's Footing the Bill?

On a positive note, it appears that companies are back to taking a greater interest (and paying for) continuing education for their IT personnel. (See Chart 10.) The percentage of companies completely footing the bill for certification has risen to 46 percent from just 39 percent last year (which was down from 50 percent in 1999). Perhaps companies are trying to find other ways to keep their best and brightest. Employees tend to consider training a great benefit, which makes it a good retention tool for managers.

Again this year, salaries for those whose companies paid for certification were higher (averaging $69,700, down from $71,400 in 2000) than those who paid for certification themselves ($60,000, up from $58,500 in 2000). When compared to 2000, it appears that those candidates who fund their own certification have closed the salary gap a bit.

The average amount of paid training allotted to certified professionals comes in at just more than a week and a half per year. The exception to this is for MCTs, who expect to get, on average, two and a third weeks of paid training this year.

Who Pays for Training
Self 41%
Company 46%
Jointly (self and company) 13%


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Chart 10. This year the percentage of companies paying for certification training increased to 46 percent from last year's 39 percent. The percentage of respondents that named training as a benefit is also up this year to 61 percent (compared to last year's 35 percent).

The average amount you and your companies expect to spend in 2001 on materials and training related to certification is about $2,121. It took about two months on average for respondents to prepare for their latest exam and a little longer than six months to get through the latest certification title, such as MCSE. Overall, respondents expect to spend about 227 hours—almost six full-time weeks—on study and certification efforts this year. Since that count was about 188 hours for 2000, we expect a lot of certified professionals are preparing to tackle their Win2K exams before year's end. (The number is highest among current MCPs under Win2K.)

The most popular means of obtaining certification show up in Chart 11. Book publishers will be glad to hear they're at the top of the list; Ninety five percent of you rely on books to get you through the process. Unfortunately, about 40 percent of you still rely on braindump Web sites as well.

Means of Certification Preparation
Books 95%
Exam simulation products 74%
On the job training 69%
Disk or CD-based software 51%
TechNet 41%
Braindump sites 40%
Authorized practice test vendors 29%
CTEC training 27%
Web or magazine articles 24%
Other instructor-led training 19%
Web sites 19%
Study groups 14%
Conferences 10%
Boocamps 9%
College or university courses 9%
AATP training 9%
e-training 9%
User groups 7%
Videos 6%
Chart 11. We asked respondents to list all methods they've used in the last year to prepare for certification

A Matter of Service
We asked respondents which type of organization they worked for: a company that supplies services to external customers (solution providers, value-added retailers or systems integration firms) or internal customers (corporate IT/IS). Of those who aren't self-employed, 40 percent work for a solution provider-type firm; 60 percent supply internal IT/IS support.

Interestingly, professionals supplying external services averaged $72,400 in base salary, which is about 15 percent more than the $61,900 earned by those who provide internal services. Likewise, monetary bonuses were higher for those who work with external customers ($4,336) than for those who work with internal customers ($3,036). The reason for these differences is most likely the fact that companies supplying outside services tend to employ more experienced, more highly skilled professionals.

No matter which type of work environment you're in, on average, you've been with your current employer for about three and a half years.

Getting a Life
This year IT professionals are taking things a little bit easier. The number of people who reported receiving income from outside sources was down from last year's 66 percent to just 42 percent. The average was $2,906. As the number of years of experience went up, so did the amount respondents earned from outside sources. Those with fewer than two years of experience reported bringing in about $2,000. Those with more than 15 years of experience brought in an average of $3,770.

In addition, it appears everyone is working hard to get home at a decent hour. In an industry typically known for its long hours, the average number of hours worked per week stood at 43 (from 45 per week in 2000). This finding was fairly consistent across all certifications, job titles and skill sets.

However, the higher the average salary you reported, the more hours you tended to put in on the job. A third of respondents told us they work more than 46 hours a week. That group earned about 22 percent more income than those who worked fewer hours.

Also, many of you seem determined to "get away" this year, with 58 percent of you planning to take all your vacation time. The average amount of vacation reported by respondents was 2.6 weeks a year.

The Consulting Life
Nine percent of our respondents are self-employed, and we asked them to provide some insight on how that affects compensation. The average salary for the self-employed respondent was $78,900.

More than half (55 percent) contract directly with clients (they're responsible for filling out 1099s, filing their own taxes, and covering all overhead costs) and take home an average salary of $83,500. Those who work through a broker/placement firm or IT staffing company (10 percent) make about $76,500 per year. Those who combine both (35 percent) top the scale at $87,800.

When that's broken down, it equates to $87 per hour for all self-employed professionals. The typical placement or staffing firm charges about $105 an hour. The certified professional working through that firm receives an average of $71.

Although a fifth of respondents work 51 or more hours a week, the average is 38 hours. Self-employed respondents expect to take less vacation this year and they enjoy fewer perks such as paid medical/dental or classroom training.

Gender Gap
Women in IT—10 percent of our respondents—make less than their male counterparts across the board. The titles in which women are least represented are the MCSE+Internet at seven percent and MCT and MCP+Internet at nine percent. On the upside, the percentage of female MCSDs stands at 11 percent this year. The highest representation of women is still the MCP designation, with 14 percent. In addition, we can hope that number will grow; 15 percent of women currently make up the Win2K MCP designees.

When it comes to salary, women are beginning to close the gap. In 2000, there was a $10,000 difference across all certification titles, whereas this year the chasm has narrowed to a difference of $7,100, with men bringing in an average of $66,500 and women earning an average of $59,400. (The gap is wider among those respondents who had no Microsoft certification.) The difference is smallest when it comes to the MCP title, with women making about $51,200 and men earning an average of $54,000—a $2,800 disparity.

Value of Education
As is typical in IT, formal education isn't the most important income factor. Those with a high school diploma reported earning slightly more ($60,700) than those who attained a two-year college degree ($58,900). This may be because those who dove into the IT industry directly out of high school got a jump on their college-bound counterparts.

Although not the most important variable, this year's survey shows that education does play a role (see Chart 12). Most common among our respondents was a four-year college degree (33 percent), with an average salary of $67,200. A master's degree garners about $75,600, with a doctorate bringing the average up to $82,700.

Salary by Education Level
Doctoral degree $82,700
Master's degree $75,600
Post-graduate study without degree $70,100
Four-year degree $67,200
Attended some college $61,100
Graduated from high school $60,700
Two-year degree $58,900


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Chart 12. Although not the most important factor in salary, the level of formal education does play a role for the 55 percent of respondents who hold at least a four-year degree.

Outlook on Work


Certified professionals tend to be more satisfied with their co-workers than with their pay. When we asked how happy you were with various aspects of your work environment, on a scale of one to three (with three being very satisfied), you scored salary and bonuses at 1.66, overall job at 2.13, and co-workers at 2.26. The higher the number of years of experience and the more premium the certification, the more content you were with your compensation.

When it comes to how you see the future, our survey showed cautious optimism. While 69 percent of you feel the U.S. is headed for an economic downturn and 87 percent think that a downturn would affect the number of available IT jobs, 62 percent of you still generally feel that your individual prospects look good for the future.

Salary by Skill MCP MCSE MCP+I MCSE+I MCSD MCT
E-commerce $70,600 $77,200 $73,800 $82,800 $83,200 $87,500
Oracle $67,200 $74,200 $70,900 $82,100 $85,400 $89,000
Strategic planning $66,200 $72,800 $70,700 $80,100 $87,000 $85,900
Software design $66,000 $77,500 $71,900 $81,600 $79,400 $86,900
Research/ development $65,900 $73,800 $69,700 $79,800 $84,700 $89,800
Web (other than e-commerce) $65,200 $73,500 $70,700 $80,700 $81,100 $86,200
Outsourcing/ASPs $64,200 $78,200 $76,000 $83,300 $83,300 $91,000
Extranets $64,100 $75,800 $73,500 $80,500 $86,700 $84,100
Web site development/ management $62,100 $70,600 $67,600 $78,800 $80,700 84,500
Database development/data warehousing $61,400 $73,300 $70,100 $80,300 $80,600 $84,600
Unix $61,200 $68,700 $84,600 $79,100 $82,900 $84,600
Hardware design $61,100 $68,700 $69,300 $76,700 $87,300 $82,900
Systems integration $60,200 $70,100 $69,400 $77,500 $82,600 $83,500
VPN/remote management $59,900 $67,900 $67,500 $75,700 $87,300 $82,300
Security $58,700 $67,800 $67,000 $76,300 $83,900 $82,800
Wireless $58,500 $68,100 $67,400 $80,000 $82,100 $87,500
Systems management $57,900 $67,400 $66,600 $75,200 $82,300 $80,900
Intranets $57,600 $66,400 $65,400 $75,100 $79,600 $80,900
Data warehousing $57,500 $75,800 $71,500 $82,200 $83,000 $89,500
Windows 2000 testing/planning/ pilot $57,200 $67,500 $66,600 $75,300 $80,200 $81,200
Telephony $57,200 $66,400 $67,100 $76,500 $80,300 $81,300
Messaging/e-mail $56,800 $64,900 $65,300 $73,900 $81,100 $80,000
Training $56,500 $65,500 $64,100 $77,100 $$82,400 $79,100
Routers and switches $55,700 $64,700 $65,300 $74,000 $86,900 $80,200
Linux $55,600 $66,100 $66,000 $74,000 $86,500 $77,900
Backup and storage management $55,500 $65,200 $65,000 $73,200 $78,600 $81,100
Novell $55,200 $63,000 $63,200 $72,800 $89,200 $78,500
Customer relationship management $53,500 $64,700 $63,800 $73,700 $81,300 $78,600
Chart 13. We asked respondents which of a multitude of products or technologies they've worked with for at least six months and then sorted that information by salary. The large difference between MCPs and MCSEs most likely has more to do with experience and other factors than certification alone. Note: MCDBA salaries unavailable for this chart.

Salary by Microsoft Expertise
.NET $84,700
Visual Interdev $79,200
Visual Basic or VBA $77,400
Site Server $77,300
Other developer tools (ActiveX, Visual C++, FoxPro, Access) $76,600
ISA Server $76,300
SQL Server $74,300
SMS $73,000
IIS $69,000
Proxy Server $67,600
Windows 2000 $67,600
Exchange $66,600
Other Internet products (Internet Explorer, FrontPage, IEAK) $65,400
Windows NT $64,200
Windows desktop $62,400
Chart 14. When it comes to compensation by Microsoft expertise, newer, more sophisticated technologies, like .NET, top the charts. It's probable that the professionals working with these technologies also have more experience and are, therefore, better compensated.

Salary by Metropolitan Area MCP MCSE MCP+I MCSE+I MCSD MCT
Albuquerque * $55,700 $56,200 * * *
Atlanta * $67,700 $66,000 $72,600 $88,000 $85,200
Austin $62,000 $63,300 $61,100 $73,900 * $92,200
Baltimore * $70,700 $60,300 $67,700 * $76,500
Birmingham * $61,100 $56,600 * * *
Boise * $55,000 $53,400 * * *
Boston $57,700 $73,900 $68,800 $72,800 $80,700 $94,100
Buffalo * $46,400 * * * *
Charlotte $51,700 $66,200 $61,300 $70,500 $74,200 $77,800
Chicago $52,900 $67,600 $67,300 $75,700 $84,700 $86,200
Cincinnati * $67,100 $61,000 $71,500 * $91,700
Cleveland $59,800 $62,200 $57,200 $67,500 * $79,200
Columbus $52,500 $64,800 $65,100 $69,400 $71,500 *
Dallas/Fort Worth $58,900 $65,000 $68,100 $78,600 $94,700 $83,900
Denver $49,600 $67,000 $68,900 $89,000 $82,500 $96,200
Des Moines * $53,800 $50,500 * * *
Detroit $55,000 $63,500 $64,100 $70,200 $77,900 $76,200
Honolulu $58,200 * $61,200 * * *
Houston $56,500 $65,900 $64,400 $67,300 $82,800 $73,900
Indianapolis * $60,900 $63,400 $72,900 * $78,900
Kansas City * $62,100 $69,700 $90,000 $* $69,300
Las Vegas * $54,800 * * * *
Los Angeles $52,300 $64,400 $62,200 $71,300 $87,900 $76,800
Memphis * $54,800 $58,600 $72,200 * *
Miami $51,200 $59,800 $54,800 $82,000 * $89,200
Milwaukee * $57,200 $56,300 $67,100 * *
Minneapolis $59,000 $60,900 $61,000 $67,100 $79,200 $76,800
Nashville * $60,900 $56,800 $65,800 $71,000 *
New Orleans * $52,000 $56,600 $58,900 * *
New York $64,500 $73,000 $71,600 $85,200 $88,200 $98,200
Oklahoma City * $61,500 $52,900 * * *
Omaha * $55,700 * * * *
Orlando * $56,500 $55,500 $64,300 * $66,900
Philadelphia $48,200 $65,200 $63,900 $73,300 $76,400 $79,700
Phoenix $48,700 $67,900 $58,800 $66,200 $75,500 $79,600
Pittsburgh * $58,900 $54,000 $69,800 * $84,200
Portland, Oregon * $59,200 $54,200 $61,700 $78,000 *
Sacramento * $64,900 $72,000 $91,000 * *
Salt Lake City * $53,800 $53,000 $66,200 * $70,100
San Antonio $51,000 $57,300 $55,900 * * *
San Diego $56,700 $62,300 $62,200 $78,100 * $78,800
San Francisco $62,900 $75,000 $75,100 $85,700$ $95,700 $88,900
San Jose $$81,100 $83,500 $80,800 $84,500 $100,000 $89,200
Seattle $52,100 $64,100 $61,700 $73,500 $72,700 $80,500
St. Louis $53,000 $58,500 $62,100 $75,500 $75,000 $68,200
Tucson * $49,800 * * * *
Washington D.C. $57,000 $71,400 $70,900 $80,400 $86,300 $89,000
*Indicates insufficient data
Chart 15. Proximity to a large, metropolitan area can have a positive effect on salary, as companies in large cities tend to compensate for the higher costs of living. These are the top major metropolitan areas represented by respondents. Note: MCDBA salaries are unavailable for this chart.

Salary by State No Microsoft
Certification
MCP (NT 4.0) MCP+I** MCSE (NT 4.0) **
Alabama
*
*
$54,000
$58,600
Alaska
*
*
*
*
Arizona
*
$47,500
$58,800
$63,800
Arkansas
*
*
$48,300
$46,100
California
$69,100
$56,500
$67,700
$66,800
Colorado
*
$50,400
$66,100
$64,600
Connecticut
*
*
$70,100
$72,500
Delaware
*
*
$67,900
$63,200
Florida
$74,700
$45,200
$55,200
$56,700
Georgia
*
$62,200
$64,600
$66,200
Hawaii
*
*
$61,200
*
Idaho
*
*
$53,000
$57,900
Illinois
*
$48,200
$65,500
$64,500
Indiana
*
*
$60,600
$57,200
Iowa
*
*
$52,200
$48,800
Kansas
*
*
$69,800
$57,500
Kentucky
*
*
$55,400
$56,100
Louisiana
*
*
$55,100
$50,500
Maine
*
*
*
*
Maryland
*
$54,500
$66,100
$71,900
Massachusetts
*
$56,100
$68,800
$73,400
Michigan
*
$49,000
$62,900
$61,000
Minnesota
*
$47,000
$60,300
$59,200
Mississippi
*
*
*
*
Missouri
$54,200
$48,600
$60,100
$57,600
Montana
*
*
*
*
Nebraska
*
*
*
$54,800
Nevada
*
*
$54,800
$49,000
New Hampshire
*
*
$68,700
$66,000
New Jersey
$62,500
$64,800
$69,700
$73,300
New Mexico
*
*
$55,000
$57,500
New York
$67,900
$48,200
$65,000
$64,900
North Carolina
*
$50,500
$60,900
$61,400
North Dakota
*
*
*
*
Ohio
$67,200
$48,400
$59,900
$61,400
Oklahoma
*
*
$47,500
$59,700
Oregon
*
*
$53,800
$57,600
Pennsylvania
*
$45,700
$59,400
$62,100
Rhode Island
*
*
*
$56,500
South Carolina
*
*
$60,600
$56,900
South Dakota
*
*
*
*
Tennessee
*
$48,000
$57,900
$61,700
Texas
$56,500
$49,400
$63,900
$61,800
Utah
*
*
$52,500
$53,000
Vermont
*
*
*
*
Virginia
$70,000
$52,500
$65,800
$64,300
Washington
$68,600
$48,600
$61,100
$63,300
West Virginia
*
*
*
*
Wisconsin
*
*
$57,400
$56,200
Wyoming
*
*
*
*

Salary by State MCSE+I** MCSE (Win2K) ** MCSD** MCT**
Alabama
$65,600
*
$71,000
*
Alaska
*
*
*
*
Arizona
$64,800
$74,400
$77,300
$76,500
Arkansas
$67,000
*
$62,500
*
California
$78,200
$88,800
$82,000
$80,200
Colorado
$84,900
$85,500
$74,800
$92,500
Connecticut
$84,500
*
$94,800
*
Delaware
*
*
*
*
Florida
$69,800
$84,200
$70,500
$75,500
Georgia
$71,800
$87,500
$72,300
$81,800
Hawaii
*
*
*
*
Idaho
*
*
*
*
Illinois
$72,900
$85,300
$79,500
$77,700
Indiana
$75,400
$67,500
$75,200
$76,300
Iowa
$63,400
*
*
*
Kansas
$79,600
*
*
$65,200
Kentucky
*
$58,800
$76,100
$67,500
Louisiana
$61,200
*
*
$55,800
Maine
*
*
*
*
Maryland
$73,100
$85,900
$86,400
$85,500
Massachusetts
$73,800
$80,700
$86,500
$103,600
Michigan
$69,300
$77,500
$80,800
$76,300
Minnesota
$66,000
$77,500
$66,100
*
Mississippi
*
*
*
*
Missouri
$74,200
$68,300
$73,200
$65,700
Montana
*
*
*
*
Nebraska
*
$67,000
*
*
Nevada
*
*
*
*
New Hampshire
*
*
*
*
New Jersey
$83,400
$93,600
$88,100
$97,600
New Mexico
*
*
*
*
New York
$76,600
$81,300
$87,800
$90,500
North Carolina
$67,500
$75,400
$76,000
$73,500
North Dakota
*
*
*
*
Ohio
$67,800
$81,200
$73,700
$83,700
Oklahoma
*
*
$62,500
*
Oregon
$60,700
*
$78,000
*
Pennsylvania
$69,800
$76,000
$78,100
$77,100
Rhode Island
*
*
*
*
South Carolina
$71,400
*
*
$68,000
South Dakota
*
*
*
*
Tennessee
$63,600
$70,700
$69,200
$70,600
Texas
$73,800
$83,400
$76,800
$79,300
Utah
$66,200
*
$55,200
$70,100
Vermont
*
*
*
*
Virginia
$80,800
$79,200
$77,000
$84,200
Washington
$72,100
$73,500
$68,900
$79,300
West Virginia
*
*
*
*
Wisconsin
$64,300
$67,800
$70,000
*
Wyoming
*
*
*
*
*Indicates insufficient data
**These individuals may also hold other premium certifications, such as MCSE, MCSE+I, MCSD, MCDBA or MCT.
Chart 16. Location is one of the largest factors affecting compensation. We asked respondents to report their base 2001 income before taxes. Excluded are all forms of non-direct compensation and the incomes of the self-employed, as well as salaries less than $27,500 and more than $150,000. Note: Two columns have been excluded from this chart, MCP (Win2K) and MCSE (Win2K). All states had insufficient data to show results for the MCP (Win2K). Only two states had enough respondents for the MCSE (Win2K): California ($68,300), and Texas ($66,000).

It's Time to Get to Work
Good jobs and good salaries are out there and—although the future appears uncertain—the IT industry remains strong If your salary doesn't match what we've published, keep in mind that there are a variety of factors that influence compensation. As this year's results have shown, the most important of these is experience. The more experience you have, the more highly skilled you're likely to be and the more valued by employers. Unfortunately, this doesn't allow for a quick fix; you can't jump from being a neophyte to being a veteran.

And, of course, there's location. If you're in or near a metropolitan area where costs of living are higher, chances are you'll be better compensated than if you've chosen to live in a more rural setting. Finally, the level of responsibility is a factor. Those who have taken leadership roles within their organizations (managers and team leads, for example) are more likely to garner the higher salaries.

You also can't forget about certifications and job skills, which are tightly connected. MCSEs tend to bring in higher salaries than MCPs—not only because of the power behind the higher certifications, but because MCSEs tend to have a greater number of years in the business and more hands-on experience.

Finally, this year's survey—while it may have raised as many questions as it has answered—shows that professionals working with Win2K are making (and, we suspect, will continue to make) more than those who have yet to immerse themselves in the newer OS.

So there's your direction: Update your certification, get as much experience in the field as you can, and take a leadership role whenever possible. The economic rewards are within reach.

About the Authors

Kristen McCarthy is Senior Editor, Reviews of MCP Magazine.

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

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