Dice Tech Salary Survey Results

Released January 24, 2012.

Tech professionals see pay jump.
Bonus popularity on the rise.

Download a printable PDF of the Dice Tech Salary Survey Results.

Technology professionals enjoyed their largest annual salary growth since 2008, according to the latest Dice Tech Salary Survey. After two straight years of wages remaining nearly flat, tech professionals on average garnered salary increases of more than 2%, boosting their average annual wage to $81,327 from $79,384 in 2010.

A more considerable jump was noted in both size of average bonuses, up 8% to $8,769, and the number of technology professionals receiving bonuses: 32% in 2011, compared with 29% in 2010 and 24% in 2009. The industries most likely to pay out bonuses: Telecom, Hardware, Banking, Utilities/Energy and Software.

“Finally! Compensation has mustered some momentum, as more and more top tech markets are notching increases in pay. Silicon Valley’s compensation moved first and wrote the playbook for highly qualified tech professionals to ask for more – whether that be in Seattle, Houston or Raleigh,” said Tom Silver, SVP, North America at Dice. “The increasing popularity of bonuses shows companies are rewarding their top performers. While everyone loves a bonus, anyone who has been through a cycle knows that bonuses both reward and punish. In fast-changing markets, it’s imperative for highly skilled tech professionals to capitalize on their career and compensation options.”

Six-figure Silicon Valley

In Silicon Valley, annual tech salaries topped six figures for the first time since the survey began about a decade ago. The highest in the nation, Silicon Valley’s annual salary of $104,195, increased 5% year/year. In addition, bonuses are both fatter and more frequent in Silicon Valley – with 38% of tech professionals receiving bonuses at an average of $12,450.

While the Valley’s resurgence is well documented, other tech markets did exceptionally well too. In fact, 12 of the top 20 cities for tech jobs had above average wage growth. Austin had a 13% jump in pay to average $89,419. Portland, OR showed an annual wage increase of 12% to $82,055; Houston saw 7% growth ($89,307); and Washington D.C./Baltimore experienced nearly 6% growth ($94,317).

Chicago and Seattle each garnered 5% increases in average tech salaries, Denver and Dallas/Ft. Worth managed 4% growth, while New York, Los Angeles and Raleigh, North Carolina each increased 3%.

“Conventional wisdom says that as Silicon Valley goes, so goes the tech world. That’s true, and Silicon Valley is going well, but it doesn’t tell the entire story when it comes to tech employment,” added Mr. Silver. “Nationally, we’re seeing stiffer competition and higher salaries for tech pros with the right skill sets and the right experience level.”

Difference makers: skills and experience

While salaries are on the rise among technology professionals, entry-level salaries continue to be pushed downward, according to the survey. The professionals who generally saw their wages increase were those with 11 or more years of experience in their field.

The skills that commanded six-figure salaries and had above average year/year growth are:

“This looks like a push towards enterprise java — with WebSphere, JBoss and WebLogic showing outsized gains,” said Alice Hill, Managing Director, Dice.com. “Not to mention, a continuation of the trends we’ve seen toward tech professionals helping their companies gain more insight into their cost structures, customer behavior and emerging trends. If tech professionals spark companies to win by harnessing their data, that’s when the tech department is no longer seen as a cost center, but a strategic partner in meeting companies’ goals.”

Additional valuable salary tables

Dice Salary Survey Methodology

The Dice Salary Survey was administered online with 18,325 employed technology professionals responding between September 19 and November 21, 2011. Respondents were invited to participate in the survey through a notification on the Dice home page, and registered technology professionals were sent an email invitation. A cookie methodology was used to ensure that there was no duplication of responses between or within the various sample groups, and duplicate responses from a single email address were removed.