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IT Salaries on the Rise

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After two straight years of wages remaining nearly flat, new research shows IT professionals last year earned their largest annual salary increases since 2008.

The 2012-2011 Salary Survey from Dice, an online career site for technology professionals, found that U.S. IT specialists on average garnered salary increases of more than 2 percent, boosting their average annual wage to $81,327, from $79,384 in 2010.

The average bonus, $8,769, and the number of technology professionals receiving bonuses, 32 percent, also saw increases from 2010, according to the study.

Industries most likely to pay out bonuses include telecom, hardware, banking, utilities/energy and software, the research showed.

“Compensation has mustered some momentum, as more and more top tech markets are notching increases in pay,” said Tom Silver, senior vice president at Dice. “The increasing popularity of bonuses shows companies are rewarding their top performers.”

In Silicon Valley, ranked second only to Houston as the best place for IT jobs nationwide, annual salaries topped six figures for the first time since the survey began about a decade ago.

Silicon Valley’s annual IT salary of $104,195 was the highest in the nation, and increased 5 percent from 2010, according to the study. Bonuses also are fatter and more frequent there, with 38 percent of tech professionals receiving an average of $12,450.

But it wasn’t just the IT-rich Silicon Valley that recorded a jump in salary increases. The research revealed Austin, Texas, saw the largest salary increase, with a 13 percent jump in pay, to an average of $89,419. Other cities experiencing increased salary growth include Portland, Houston, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Seattle, Denver, Dallas, New York City and Los Angeles.

“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,” Silver said. “Nationally, we’re seeing stiffer competition and higher salaries for tech pros with the right skill sets and the right experience level.”

The research was based on surveys of more than 18,300 technology professionals nationwide.

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who spent 10 years  as a newspaper reporter before working in public relations. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.

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