Data Professional’s Salaries Stable in 2011

It always seems that when I write salary-related articles and blog posts that they tend to be one of the more popular topics. So whenever I hear about some new survey or news related to salaries I fire up the blog and get to posting.

Today’s salary comes from a recent Computerworld IT salary survey.  This is the 25th such salary survey that Computerworld has conducted, so they’ve been at it awhile, to say the least.

This particular survey was conducted online during the 4th quarter 0f 2010. A total of 5,343 people responded to the survey, with 4,852 respondents being employed full- or part-time, and therefore eligible to complete the entire survey. The margin of error for this sample size is 1.4 percentage points.

So what were the results? As my readership is data- and database-focused, I will speak to the data-related positions only. And the news is so-so.

The total compensation for DBAs came in at $89,316, which represents a 0.7% increase from the prior year’s survey (2010).  This breaks down as an average base salary of $86,808 with an average bonus of $2,508. Of course, salary is a highly variable thing and a lot depends upon the industry of your employer, company size, and your location. For example, a DBA in New York City will likely be paid a higher salary than a DBA with the same experience in a less costly city (e.g. Cleveland).

DBA was not the only data-related position on the salary survey. Business intelligence analysts saw their average total compensation drop by 2.6% to $79,218.

The survey also listed Database Analyst, which at some shops means the same thing as DBA. Evidently, though, a database analyst is a junior position to a DBA at most shops because their total compensation is decidedly lower than the DBA. But on the positive side, the Database Analyst saw his/her salary increase by 5.7% to $75,857… not bad.

And then at the top of the salary structure for data-related positions we have the Database Architect, whose average total compensation came in at $117,135. But this was a 0.4% drop over the prior year.

Finally, we see the salary results for Database developer / modeler, who experienced a 2% raise with average annual compensation of $74,140.

So the survey tracked five data-related job positions and two declined wile the other three increased. But if you take a closer look the two declines were both by less than a full 1%. So, all in all, salaries are not that bad for the data professional.

What about managers? Well, focusing in on the data-related managerial slots, the Computerworld survey reported resutls for a Data Warehousing Manager and a Database Manager (which I assume to be a DBA Manager). Both experienced slary gains:

  • Database Warehousing Manager saw average total compensation increase by 1.2% to$120,253
  • Database Manager saw average total compensation increase by 0.9% to $106,048

So another takeaway from this survey is that if you want to increase your salary level, consider trying to move into a management position…

As a final thought, it would be interesting to find out how many out-of-work data professionals there are “out there.” Given the state of the economy (albeit improving) and the unemployment rate, there have to be at least some unemployed data folks among us. And there were  491 respondents to this survey who were not employed either full- or part-time, according to Computerworld…

I guess the good news is that when you eventually find unemployment you can expect a reasonable salary…

What do the readers of this blog think? Are these numbers reasonable? Is this what you are experiencing “out there” in the world of data? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment!



I'm a strategist, researcher, and consultant with nearly three decades of experience in all facets of database systems development.
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