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Does $100k + jobs in I.T. exist or just a unicorn?

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Anyone here work in I.T.?


Any $100K+ jobs out there if you have solid IT certifications (A+, N+, S+, CCNA etc etc) but not a college graduate?

I hear that CCNA is a great all-round certification... but what are certifications that are above CCNA that can guarantee at least $100K pay?
post #2 of 2
I'm an IT manager.

Look here: http://www.salary.com/

The short answer to your question is yes, but not as a desktop or network technician without experience. Examples of roles that can be paid $100K+ are:

- Database Administrator (DBA) for a major SW package like Oracle or MS SQL Server. Usually requires a degree, but not always - applicable certifications and experience can be substituted.
- Functional Business Analyst for a key business area like Finance, Sales & Marketing or Manufacturing & Operations. Usually requires a degree, but deep experience in the business area and/or a major SW package like SAP, Oracle, etc can be substituted.
- Senior Infrastructure Engineer or Architect. This is where the Cisco, vmWare & Microsoft certs can come into play - but to get to $100K, you need to have significant experience in enterprise-scale systems - I would say 10 years in corporate IT or a well-known consulting firm.
- IT Management. Managers can make $100K+, but managing people requires experience - just having certs or a degree isn't going to get you a management job.

I live in fairly expensive part of the country. I have guys on my staff with 6 years of experience, college degrees and A+ & Network+ certs that are hourly and making less than $65K + benefits. I would probably be offering a newly minted A+ technician well under $50K.

Here's the real answer: The temp & consulting companies determine the value of an IT role. If I can call a temp agency and get a certified desktop technician for $20-$25/hr ($41,600-52,000/yr) without benefits, then I'm not going to pay a full-time employee more than that to do the same role. The same goes for more specialized and experienced roles that might be filled by an outsourced consulting company. If I can pay under $50/hr for an experienced contract network engineer (which is actually not too likely), then I might not hire a full-time employee - especially if I'm a small shop that doesn't really need a full-time network engineer. If I only need 10 hours a week of a Cisco engineer, then I'm better off paying $150/hr ($78K/yr) for a contractor than I am hiring a full-time engineer for $100K/year.

Of course, this also means that you might be better off working for a consulting company. That's the easiest way to get a higher salary. Of course, there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. You would be traveling constantly and if they can't get you on a contract, you will be let go - your job security is only as good as your ability to have billable hours.

IT isn't the golden goose it was 15 years ago...

My advice: Get your degree!! Even if you have to get a full-time job for $40K now, and take classes at night for the next 10 years - do it!! It will pay off in the long-run. Don't make the mistake of having short-term vision. Think about being 40 years old, without a college degree, and still having to clock-in & out as an hourly employee, with little hope of breaking into management. You will see younger, less experienced guys that have Bachelor degrees and MBAs get promoted above you. They will get an office, salary and stock options, while you are still stuck in a cubicle piled with cables and old Cisco switches, telling war stories about the old days. Who do you think gets paid more, the guy that wires and configures the Cisco switches & routers, or the guy that goes to lunch with the Cisco sales rep and signs the contract to purchase the Cisco switches & routers? Hint: I do enjoy the lunch more when someone else is paying...
Edited by billybob_jcv - 3/17/14 at 8:45am
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