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Announcements The Almighty Buck

SAGE 2003 Salary Survey Announced 103

MrRules writes "The 2003 SAGE Salary Survey is now open for business. Last year's survey (results here, slashdot articles here and here) was quite an interesting read. Last year saw over 10,000 participants, making it the largest global participation sysadmin salary survey ever. This year there is a separate survey for those who have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks, so we should be able to see some real information on what has been happening in the "jobless recovery", and what effect outsourcing has been having on this sector. The survey is conducted annually by SAGE, the professional association for practising system administrators." As a general rule, I *hate* linking to surveys, but SAGE's is one that's definitely worthwhile..
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SAGE 2003 Salary Survey Announced

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  • Jesus. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This year there is a separate survey for those who have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks
    Actually, there is a survey for those employed for more than 26 weeks in 2003, and another for those employed less than 26 weeks. Nothing to do with people who have been unemployed for over 26 weeks. There is an important but subtle difference between the two. -1, Dumbass Submitter.
  • Uhh, Hemos? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    As a general rule, I *hate* linking to surveys, but SAGE's is one that's definitely worthwhile..
    Why do you hate linking to surveys as a general rule? Fear of tainting the results by inserting a large number of results that won't give an accurate sample? Like, say: a large amount of traffic from tech news site?
    • Why do you hate linking to surveys as a general rule? Fear of tainting the results by inserting a large number of results that won't give an accurate sample? Like, say: a large amount of traffic from tech news site?

      Any self selecting survey like this is tainted by design and not reliable regardless predictor of anything, whether it's linked from a tech news site or not. For example:

      Self-selecting polls only report the results of people who cared one way or another to either call a particular number, repl

  • by drizst 'n drat ( 725458 ) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:15AM (#9172468)
    I will be very interested in seeing what the effect of outsourcing will have on the wages of US based tech firms. I suspect that they will tend to be lower and continue to do so for the near future. I know that outsourcing lower paid programming jobs is a good thing for business. However, I can't help feeling that in the long term it will have consequences beyond just salary.
    • by B'Trey ( 111263 ) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:28AM (#9172553)
      While not immune, it would seem to me that the sysadmin community is much less susceptible to outsourcing than other IT job fields, ie programming. Unless you include telephone support as part of the sysadmin field, it's difficult to do a sysadmin's job remotely. Certainly, you can telnet in or conect remotely and do some routine tasks, but that's slightly more difficult if the network goes down.
      • by drizst 'n drat ( 725458 ) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:39AM (#9172627)
        I would for the most part agree with you that a sysadmin is less susceptible however, with remote administration capability, it is not totally immune or off the plate. I have seen quite a push in my organization to do exactly that -- remote administer not only workstations, but servers as well.
      • Funny I do this all the time, besides hands on break and fix there isnt a whole lot of things you cant do remotly. It has a cost associated with it for the KVM switches the console over IP devices the Lights out cards etc. For Routers and Unix boxes it's easy enough to just use a serial term serv with a modem to get into anything you might need. Some of the better PC server MB's even have serial bios redirection allowing you to watch the device post.

        Sys admin stuff might be harder to overshore but it's not imposible with some one time costs.
      • The fact is that most good coders are at least mediocre sysadmins, and most good sysadmins are at least mediocre coders. Both jobs usually require a general CS background. I refer you to Fooker as an example.

        If you can code a network aware application, then you probably have at least the fundamentals of networking down, and if you are a capable network admin, then you probably can sling a mean scripting language, which means you have the fundamentals of coding like encapsulation, OOP, data structures, etc.

      • You know that, and I know that, but the people making these decisions wonder why email doesn't require stamps.
    • A lot of murmuring around me has been about big companies being burned by the high (hidden) costs of outsourcing. Especially in programming and IT.

      In software, companies are often dismayed by the fact that they get exactly what they ask for and have to pay for it even if it doesn't meet their expectations. So, many companies have had to hire a project manager and design specification developer team for any major project, and the extra salary from these jobs, along with the communications delays that goes with it has often been a break-even situation.

      For outsourced IT, those who need 'immediate help' will bother the few tech-savvy (a/k/a knows enough to be dangerous) co-workers instead of being berated for putting in an Outsourced IT ticket. This leads to a cut in those worker's productivity, and often leads to other problems when these folks make symptoms disappear instead of fixing the issue (Pop-Up blockers?).

      Some departments of larger companies have hired 'receptionists' that are actually IT people who answer the phone, so that immediate help can be had without being budget dinged by corporate for over-use of outsourced IT.

      Of course, the hidden bleed of paying $30k or more for someone who's official job is to answer the phone - just because a department is trying to get around the rules... well, it makes outsourcing a bit expensive all of a sudden.

      • Good, Fast, Cheap.

        Pick Two.

        Every engineering shop should have that and a copy of the "Blinkenlights" poster.

      • So, many companies have had to hire a project manager and design specification developer team for any major project, and the extra salary from these jobs, along with the communications delays that goes with it has often been a break-even situation.

        So, before outsourcing, these companies were embarking on major projects *without* a project manager?

        • No.

          I've had an experience with contractors on my projects very similar to what people are experiencing with outsourcing. The outsourced workers (or contractors, in my case) have little or no knowledge of the company's culture, the business, etc. (I do internal apps for my employer). So, they look at the spec and do exactly what's written. Some of these "specs" are little more than back of the napkin but they just take it and do what it says.

          OTOH, I've worked with these folks for a couple years. I know t

        • I was specifically speaking of cross-time-zone, as opposed to in-house outsourcing.

          When doing remote outsourcing, it's often difficult for a traditional project manager to develop a good working rhythm with the development process. So, specifications and timelines must be planned out much more precisely and more ahead of time than when doing in-house work. Further, a remote project manager has to be very good at communicating the vision and expecation that doesn't necessarily translate well into the func

  • Skew Survey? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dbretton ( 242493 ) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:15AM (#9172469) Homepage
    Could linking this to all slashdot readers possibly skew the results of the survey??

    • Re:Skew Survey? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Willeh ( 768540 ) <rwillem@xs4all.nl> on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:18AM (#9172488)
      I doubt it. They're asking sysadmins, not some kind of demographic like women barbers. The disproportionate amount of slashdot readers who are in fact sysadmins will be (on average) just as well paid as non slashdot reading sysadmins (is this making it sound like a cult to anyone yet?).
      • Re:Skew Survey? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by B'Trey ( 111263 )
        This doesn't take into account the number of trolls who'll enter bogus info just to screw up the survey. I suspect a link from /. may very well significantly increase the number of invalid responses and thus affect the accuracy of the survey.
    • It would "skew" it only if the survey were slashdotted this year but not last year. The second "here" link in the parent was the announcement of last year's survey, though, so the populations of the two surveys should be comparable.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:16AM (#9172474)
    Though I don't make as much now as I did when I was lead web designer and FuFuKachu.com, I get all the donuts I can eat now.
    • Although this was modded as funny, I have to agree that the type of place you work at can make a difference with the perks. I work at a uniform service place and they give me stuff to wear, clean it and press it. Break a button, they fix it. Tear a shirt, they replace it. The ammount of time and money this saves me is worth a lot in my opinion. I also get an unending supply of nice barmops to clean computers off with at work, and free rags for home use =P

      I am however glad that I don't work at Krispy Kr
  • This year SAGE extended the survey to Bangalore, India. I've been moded down. ugh.
  • Hello there! In a similar vein, http://www.engineersalary.com/ [engineersalary.com] provides salary statistics for many, many types of engineers. All you have to do is answer a few questions about just what precisely it is you do, and it will do its best to pull records of similar people.

    [SNIP]
    The Engineering Salary Calculator searches over 253,000 records in our database, and returns your salary result based on degree, experience, position, industry, skills and location (within a 50 mile radius). Your result is obtained from a minimum of 100 matching profiles. If you search a location that doesn't have at least 50 matching salary records, the area expands from 50 to 75, then to a 90 mile radius. Records older than 360 days are excluded.

    In the case of a unique skill set combination (if the database can't locate more than 25 matches for the location using the 50-75-90 rule), it will expand the boundaries to state, then region... and finally nationwide. In densely populated metros like San Jose or Boston, your salary result is compiled using hundreds of records (in most categories)... but in less populated areas (parts of Montana as an example) the search has to expand to a wider area to provide a relevant comparison.

    The calculator is designed to always return a result. There are cases where it will not return a local result: MS in Mechanical Engineering, working as the Chief Engineer for a Nanotechnology company in AK. In cases where a search produces too few salary matches nationally (threshold <250), the result is compiled by performing an interpolation of all available data. An unreasonable set: Nuclear Engineer, working in RF with skills in Aerodynamics - will generate a result that is not credible.

    [/SNIP]
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Kanye West had it right.

    "I'm telling you when it falls - [sysadmin salaries] all fall down!!!"

    At least he's good for something, eheh.
  • Could someone...? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Otter ( 3800 ) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:27AM (#9172546) Journal
    Could someone taking the survey please post the questions? Or a link to them that I may have missed? I'm curious but don't want to click through and spoil the results with my non-admin footprints.
  • by Nathaniel ( 2984 ) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:31AM (#9172576) Homepage
    I wonder if anyone will admit to having a SCO certification....
    • A while ago, some a-hole in my area went around installing SCO-Unix in a bunch of local government and health industry offices in my area - police stations, small hospitals, etc.

      These people are more upgrade-phobic than you'd believe (the desktops often still run Win95 or even 3.2). So it actually does come in handy, yes.
  • ...to me how a voluntary survey is in any way scientific?
    • As opposed to what? Are you joking? You can't force people to take a survey. All surveys (with the exception of a census, I guess) are voluntary.
      • If I remember what I learned in stats correctly, in order for a study to be 'scientific,' the sample can't be self-selecting. In this case, every sysadmin would have to have an equal random chance of being selected.
        • Consider this scenario:

          A study wants to find participants. They place an advertisement in the local newspaper, asking people to participate in their study. The study consists of surveys, mailed to the participants every year. Two-hundred people respond.

          This is a typical scenario that takes place in thousands of University psychology studies all over the country. My fiancee is a PhD student, and this is how most of them work.

          There are factors to consider, though. Your analyses rely on certain variables, w
        • I think you are confusing 'scientific' with 'globally applicable'. If they claimed that the results of a survey like this represented all sys-admins everywhere in the US they would be lying. If they say that it represents sys-admins who read slashdot and who decided to take the survey then it is fine.

          This is why scientists always say things like, "The color red seems to cause anxiety", or "it appears that flys are attracted to white noise". They have to put that "appears" or "seems" in there because thei
    • by djeaux ( 620938 ) on Monday May 17, 2004 @10:01AM (#9172865) Homepage Journal
      Aside from surveys given to captive audiences (e.g., student surveys or evaluations of faculty done in classrooms), surveys are generally voluntary.

      A good "scientific" survey has a carefully designed target audience & would likely use a stratified sampling design as well to ensure that relevant subgroups were appropriately represented. Of course, respondents themselves become the actual survey population & properly presented survey results emphasize that the results represent "X percent of survey respondents." In a scientific survey, "return rate" or "response rate" is an important measure of the effectiveness of the survey & should be used to examine how well the intended sample panned out.

      I think what you might mean is an open survey that anyone may take. About all that can be done in an open survey is to set up some system whereby folks don't "stuff the ballot box" & if the survey is anonymous, the technologies used for that (IP tracking, cookies, etc.) can be circumvented by anyone who is determined to stuff said ballot box. Read the disclaimers on any Slashdot poll [slashdot.org]...

      • Aside from surveys given to captive audiences (e.g., student surveys or evaluations of faculty done in classrooms), surveys are generally voluntary.

        Well, if the surveys (research surveys especially) are being done at the University level, it is done with the express and explicit understanding that one of the participants' rights is to voluntarily withdraw from the study at any time, no questions asked.

        Now, if there are folks not doing this, then it raises some really harsh questions there.

        Primary and

  • by truffle ( 37924 ) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:58AM (#9172836) Homepage

    Article header did not mention this salary survey only applies to system administrators. I got to page 2 before I figured it out myself. This is what you get when you let system administrators submit articles.

    Neither the header nor the survey itself mentions if this is US only. This is what you get when you let system administrators create surveys.

    • Wow! Not reading instructions or having any common sense. I guess that's what you get when you're not a sysadmin?

      The survey is run by The System Administrators Guild. Maybe that's a clue.

      Yes, it is an international survey, with the spots to select currency, location, etc. I guess the bit of the article that says "largest global participation sysadmin salary survey ever" wasn't clear enough for you.

      Warmest regards,

      -g.

    • You mean apart from where it says: the largest global participation sysadmin salary survey, and the bits of the survey where they ask which country you're in, your nearest metro, and what currency you're reporting your salary & benefits in?
    • The survey is conducted annually by SAGE, the professional association for practising system administrators.

      Try reading before posting.


    • Article header did not mention this salary survey only applies to system administrators


      Which part of
      "The survey is conducted annually by SAGE, the professional association for practicing system administrators."
      (emphasis mine) did you not understand?
  • Rob Kolstad, the listed contact on that page, is also the Head Coach for USACO, the US Computer Science Olympiad team, if anybody thinks that could possibly be significant.

    http://oldweb.uwp.edu/academic/mathematics/usaco /
  • Taking surveys on the web like this can't be a good method, especially if they're slashdotted. There's no guarantee you're getting any kind of representative cross-section, and if it's slashdotted, you're pretty certain to get an unrepresentative cross-section (e.g.: who has more time to read slashdot, employed or unemployed people?).
  • Bad Filters (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 17, 2004 @10:52AM (#9173390)
    I am a 21 year old IT geek who's been working in the field as a consultant since I was 11. Though my clients at that time didn't know my age (did everything online or used older friends as intermediaries), I still managed systems, wrote code, and even taught some online programming courses. The survey is bouncing me as it refuses to believe that a 21 year old could have 10 years of experience!

    I admire their attention to detail in data validation, but I can't be the only geek out there who started young.
    • Moot, its not really considered professional until you're about 16. Case and point: I started programming simple text adventures when i was 7, animated games when i was 9, and wrote a 3d engine when i was 11. I have written several games with a storyline, multiplayer capabilities, and (at least in my opinion) many intresting twists on gameplay. Before I got my current job I was turned down for a programming position for a graduate student who had no clue what he was doing (but he had a degree and was wor
  • My salary (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anne_Nonymous ( 313852 ) on Monday May 17, 2004 @11:07AM (#9173520) Homepage Journal
    I'm a 107 year-old woman from Azerbaijan, who's interested in paint-ball and hang-gliding. Last year I made $476,513.50 as a systems admin.

    Oh no, wait, that's for the New York Times registration.
    • What I find funny is that this weekend i went both paintballing and hang gliding, and my girlfriend going to Azerbaijan next week for work.

      • >> paintballing and hang gliding

        Cool! I think you need to combine those hobbies. He who lands with the least amount of paint on his personage and glider, wins.
    • I purposely lie when I fill out those surveys too, but I inflate my income to benefit them. A poor graduate student probably isn't all that attractive to advertisers, but if the website I visit thinks I am making $100,000+ (or whatever is the highest listed), they can get more advertising money. Oh, and I use Adblock [slashdot.org], so that I don't actually see any of those high-priced ads, although they are fetched, so that they think I did. It is a good arrangement for everybody but the advertisers, but that is okay, be
  • by mrdogi ( 82975 ) <{mrdogi} {at} {sbcglobal.net}> on Monday May 17, 2004 @11:11AM (#9173550) Homepage
    OK, so do they mean employed as an admin? I haven't done that in about 1 1/2 years, but I am employed at Target. So do I take the employed version, or the unemployed version? And yes, I'm trying to find an admin job.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    They seem to blur skill and responsibility. It's hard to tell the difference between a senior system adminstrator and a CIO by their definitions.
  • I started to take the survey, it is like 20 minutes long. I hate long surveys. Oh well. They seem to ask the same questiosn over and over and ask questions where I say "i dunno" and I just guess. Making the survey totally useless.
  • What is the point? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shihar ( 153932 ) on Monday May 17, 2004 @02:00PM (#9175104)
    I sure hope no one draws any conclusions from this survay, or if they do, they are damned careful about it. A good survay always tries to randomize who is asked within a certain selection of qualified people. In this case, the results will without a doubt be skewed. I wouldn't believe a single number produced about this survay, and I would not draw any conculsions about the 'jobless recovery' from it either.

    The argument might be put forward that slashdotting the place is the perfect way to make sure the right people answer the survay. I would utterly disagree though. I would bet my eye teeth that slashdot's demographics are horribly skewed.

    The average slashdotter is more likely to be out of work simply because people who are out of work have more time to read slashdot. It might also be that slashdotters are more likely to be working because they are generally more interested in their field of work and hence more dedicated. I couldn't tell you how it is skewed, but I can tell you that it WILL be skewed. I would take the survay results with a grain of salt. I would call them interesting, and perhaps even an interesting in relation to the employment of people visit slashdot and other sites that link to the survay, but the utterly meaningless in terms of the population as a whole.

    So, enjoy the survay, but I wouldn't get upset if you see that your job prospects suck or that everyone else is making more/less money then you.
    • >>this survay >>good survay >>the survay *cough* If you learned English as a second language, you are doing wonderfully, but your word for the day is 'survey'. If not, someone needs to beat your parents over the head with the 'Hooked on Phonics' they made you use (or just make them proofread all your posts). >>The average slashdotter is more likely to be out of work simply because people who are out of work have more time to read slashdot. Um... Am I the only one that reads Slash
  • Surveys (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mr. Piddle ( 567882 ) on Monday May 17, 2004 @02:29PM (#9175375)

    I'm somewhat torn over salary surveys. While they are of a little use to see the extreme boundaries, I can't help but think they really don't measure the market value of the jobs they say they measure. For one, after the last two years of IT chaos, can anyone really say what IT salaries should be? Two, these surveys typically are not adjusted to eliminate cost of living as a variable. Three, they really don't fully factor out the differences between independent contractors and regular W-2 employees (what about employer payroll tax contributions, 401K contributions, office utilities costs, pizza at meetings, etc.).

    In short, are these surveys worth anything at all in negotiating for a new job? In other words, newbies are still torn over whether to ask a modest $35/hour as a contractor or take the plunge and ask for $60+/hour.

  • The winners of the "Favorite Job Properties" were things like casual dress, challenge, and good co-workers. The survey is obviously flawed, because only 1.7% of the responses cited "Free or cheap food, drink at work" as a plus.

    I will gladly turn in my health coverage, wear a tie, and do data entry all day long in exchange for "drink at work" capability.

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