Here’s How Much Your Technical Skills Are Worth

February 28th, 2014 | Articles, Hiring Resources, Job Search | No Comments »

How Much Do You Make

Feel like you’re underpaid? You’re not alone. A study conducted by the American Psychology Association found that 46 percent of Americans feel they aren’t adequately compensated. Whether this gripe is founded in real disparity or unfounded assumptions, the results provide a valid question: do you know the market value of your skills? If not, you’re missing out on a valuable bargaining chip.

Most people are in the dark about the true market value ascribed to their technical skills. They often have an unreliable idea about the industry norm (from previous jobs or polling their peers) but with such a limited sample size, salaries can easily get overinflated or undervalued.

Plus, technical skills don’t exist in a vacuum. Geographic location and the prevalence of a given skill in the market can make exact numbers harder to peg.

So where do you begin?

Before you put each technical skill under a microscope, take a glance at the big picture. CNN Money releases an annual list of the Best Jobs in America which provides the median national salary for every position included. As of 2013, the list included 9 IT positions within the top 25 job categories:

  • Software Architect – $121,000
  • Software Developer – $88,700
  • IT Configuration Manager – $95,800
  • User Interface Engineer – $92,100
  • Database Administrator – $88,800
  • Video Game Designer – $72,000
  • Telecommunications Network Engineer – $85,900
  • Information Assurance Analyst – $95,700
  • Applications Engineer – $87,000

And those aren’t the only positions included. At least 15 other IT occupations are on the list and a cursory look at yours can give you an idea of your median compensation. From there, you can begin to map out what your technical skills can garner based on region and individual demand.

Regional Numbers

Where you are on the map makes a difference and there are a few tools to find out the median market value of your skills. Monster has a Salary Wizard application that uses statistics cultivated by to provide job seekers with a salary average based on where they live.

All that’s needed to chart your regional market value is your general job title (cut out any niche jargon) and the city where you work. With those two parameters, you match your responsibilities with a given position and see the bell curve plotting out salaries. The interface is simple enough that you can quickly find how your salary stacks up to those in your area and any other U.S. city.

Technical Skills

Narrowing down what each technical skill should earn is a bit more complex. With the speed that new technologies emerge and others fade into obsolescence, technical skills are one of the least predictable conditions when calculating your market value. CIO periodically releases lists of top technical skills. Whether its non-certified IT skills that are growing in demand or the top programming skills that will get you hired, CIO provides growth index and average salaries through industry reports.  

By James Walsh

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