Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Thursday, April 18, 2024

IT Salaries Rise Along With Infrastructure Expansion 

Companies, especially U.S. companies, investing the most in servers and other infrastructure also are investing more in IT managers, a new salary survey found.

The DevOps salary report released Wednesday (Aug. 24) by IT automation software specialist Puppet also found that U.S. enterprises with mature DevOps practices typically pay IT "practitioners"—defined variously as system administrators and DevOps engineers—at least $100,000 annually.

Forty-three percent of IT managers in the U.S. are earning at least $150,000, up 26 percent over the previous year. Annual salaries for U.S. IT managers also were higher than their counterparts in Western Europe and Asia, the survey found, emphasizing that the jump in IT managers' salaries is "almost off the chart."

Stressing the need for "frictionless delivery of high-quality software," Puppet CIO Nigel Kersten said the annual salary results show "that organizations are realizing the pressures of these dynamics and are pushing to hire, retain and manage the best IT teams."

While wage disparities widened between IT managers and "practitioners," the survey also reveals that salaries for hands-on IT personnel jumped about $25,000 over the last year with typical compensation for organizations with more than 5,000 servers now in the $100,000 to $125,000 range.

The steady enterprise shift to the cloud and the delivery of more distributed business applications via virtual platforms has placed a premium on reliable IT infrastructure. Hence, the survey found that the highest salaries for system administrators, developers and DevOps engineers were in the financial and healthcare sectors along with technology companies.

IT specialists working in education or for government agencies were paid less, typically $25,000 behind sectors such as retail and media and entertainment.

Within the U.S., California led the way with 75 percent of system developers and engineers earning at least $100,000, up 7 percent from the previous year. While California salaries also reflect higher living costs, IT managers and practitioners in Virginia and Washington reported salaries comparable to California.

This year's Puppet survey also attempted to correlate salaries with the number of servers managed by IT professionals. That metric provided a window into infrastructure deployments as enterprises embrace hybrid cloud strategies. Nearly half of those surveyed provided data on server deployments along with salaries. Salaries tended to parallel the size of IT infrastructure as enterprise hyper-scale architectures emerge. The survey found that 20 percent of those polled said they managed 5,000 or more servers.

"The proportion of respondents making more than $150,000 is nearly twice as high at organizations with more than 10,000 servers (13 percent) than at organizations with fewer servers (6 percent)," the survey author's noted.

Puppet, Portland, Oregon, said its fifth annual salary survey is based on data gathered from more than 4,600 respondents. The number of male respondents dropped a percentage point to 94 percent, but the company said its sample size remained too small to gauge wage disparity among men and woman.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).