Data Pros Move to the Front of the Payroll Line


Where did the year go? It's not even Labor Day yet and people are talking about budgets and the like for 2017. However, if you get depressed about how quickly time flies, take heart, you might be just a bit better off than the dweebs in the finance department.

Keep that in mind the next time they bounce your expense report for a missing receipt.

Yes, it's already time to look into 2017 and talk salary. Those of you in the data analytics space may not be getting rich but your paychecks should be a bit bigger than your peers in other technology and business areas.

The hiring experts at Robert Half Technology have released their 2017 Salary Guides, finding starting salaries edging higher by 3.8% over 2016. That beats out the finance guys by a slim one tenth of a percentage point. As they say in sports, it's whether you win or lose, not by how much.

However, when Robert Half looked at the more specific salaries -- based on starting pay -- the big money is going to the data team and the information security experts. You can't really begrudge the security pros because you really need them to protect the work that you do, and they have to respect you because your data give them reason for being.

No surprise, "data scientist" is the top tech title in terms of year over year compensation with a bump of 6.4% to hit a range from $116,000 to $163,500. For five years we have been hearing how valuable those unicorns have become. Joining the data scientist at the top of the pyramid -- and beating the data scientists in raw earning power -- was "big data engineer," up 5.8% to a range of $135,000 to $196,000.

"Network security engineer" (up 5.7% into the $115,500 to $162,500 range) followed the two data titles. Other members of your analytics project team showed up in the top 10 tech salary increases, including "database developer," "software developer," and "software engineer." They were listed with starting salary increases ranging from 5.0 to 5.2%.

In a press release, Robert Half said, "Upgrades and implementations, as well as big data, mobile, and security initiatives, are top of mind for many organizations, and these business priorities are reflected in their hiring decisions. With a shortage of qualified technology candidates, in-demand positions, including data scientists, big data engineers, and network security engineers, are projected to see even greater salary gains in the coming year. "

Of course, having this data in hand when it's time for your salary review might make you feel valued, but it doesn't mean that your manager will recognize that value. But, at least you will have a talking point when the boss opens with, "Grumble, grumble...you know it's been a tough year...uncertainty in the market...sales down...investment in other departments..."

You can counter with data. Heck, it's worth a try. What can they do, fire you? Never mind.

James M. Connolly, Editor of All Analytics

Jim Connolly is a versatile and experienced technology journalist who has reported on IT trends for more than two decades. As editor of All Analytics he writes about the move to big data analytics and data-driven decision making. Over the years he has covered enterprise computing, the PC revolution, client/server, the evolution of the Internet, the rise of web-based business, and IT management. He has covered breaking industry news and has led teams focused on product reviews and technology trends. Throughout his tech journalism career, he has concentrated on serving the information needs of IT decision-makers in large organizations and has worked with those managers to help them learn from their peers and share their experiences in implementing leading-edge technologies through publications including Computerworld. Jim also has helped to launch a technology-focused startup, as one of the founding editors at TechTarget, and has served as editor of an established news organization focused on technology startups and the Boston-area venture capital sector at MassHighTech. A former crime reporter for the Boston Herald, he majored in journalism at Northeastern University.

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Re: Increasing salaries for data and security
  • 9/9/2016 11:04:31 AM
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Yep, I would say having tho competitive bid and maybe an issue of time's running out, might be the most useful negotiation tools. The boss probably already knows what the competitition is doing and won't be swayed by salary surveys most likely.

Re: Increasing salaries for data and security
  • 9/1/2016 1:32:27 PM
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@Seth. Robert Half does have breakdowns available on a regional basis (maybe even city level). There's a tool on their site that lets you look at your role, location, etc. Of course, any numbers like I cited in the article are nothing more than averages, which means there are always people above and below those lines. It's funny how in this time when data and analysis get so much attention we tend to fall back on the same approaches (averages) that we have relied upon for decades.

Re: Increasing salaries for data and security
  • 8/31/2016 11:59:34 PM
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@PredictableChaos I know people who've done that, and they weren't data scientists. They just brought one thing to the negotiation: a better offer from another company. That's really all it takes.

Re: Increasing salaries for data and security
  • 8/31/2016 11:44:59 PM
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@ rbaz,  I'm one of the lucky ones also.   Being self-employed I have several streams of revenue and I was blessed by San Francisco standars a great apartment with low rent. 

My friend lived in Oakland by 12th st with a very large two bedroom condo.  The management company gave her two options at the end of the lease.  Sign a new lease and only pay $4500 per month or go month to month for only $8000 a month/$96,000 a year.  

So if you are living in an area similiar to San Francisco, workers are paying a high price to live for these high income jobs.  The end result is that the only winners are the landlords because that is where all the money goes.   The benefit of living in San Francisco is that high income will increase your social security checks.  And it reallly is a great city.   But unless you are one of the lucky ones, $100,000 will keep the llights on and that's it. 

 

Re: Increasing salaries for data and security
  • 8/31/2016 11:11:28 PM
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Maryam, loyalty is a two way street. I've known people that worked at HP and IBM for their entire career. But that was in days gone by, when the HP way breathe loyalty and IBM had a no layoff policy. The atmosphere has soured and has become almost adversarial.

Re: Increasing salaries for data and security
  • 8/31/2016 10:55:33 PM
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rbaz that seems to be the story in many hot areas. I had a friend tell me that they were openly looking for more seasoned employees to fill roles because younger employees were constantly job hoping and lacked any loyalty to the company. It was causing business disruption and soaring HR costs.

Re: Increasing salaries for data and security
  • 8/31/2016 10:49:25 PM
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Seth, I hear you about san Francisco's cost of living. I am in the south Bay area, better known as silicon Valley and the work culture here is constant job hopping, long hours and dreadful commutes to just keep up. Salaries are good but mostly contracts basis. I consider myself extremely lucky having been established here for a long time.

Re: Increasing salaries for data and security
  • 8/31/2016 10:47:44 PM
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I'm working with one financial company in S.F., a very nice company and great benefits I'm told and 80% of the workforce has been there less than two years.  While the company is expanding and growing a lot (not everyone has their own desk), it seems these pay increases come from changing jobs rather than yearly pay increases. 

 

 

Nice Site. Who Did It ?
  • 8/31/2016 10:26:43 PM
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Nice to see Front-End Web Development in demand, especially since  I am expending energy in this direction. 

Re: Increasing salaries for data and security
  • 8/31/2016 10:24:32 PM
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Great advice PC, and I might add that 'other Data' you take with you might best be in the form of another job offer.

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