Where Are The Best-Paying IT Jobs?

Where Are The Best-Paying IT Jobs?

If you work in IT, the amount of money you can earn is heavily influenced by two factors: the kind of work you do and the city where you work. Here’s what the latest statistics suggest are the hot areas and best-paying cities in Australia.

IT Recruiting company Peoplebank conducts a quarterly survey on payment trends for IT jobs in Australia. While the first quarter of the year normally sees a large amount of hiring, especially for contractors, that was less evident this year, in part because of delayed planning periods which meant that major projects kicked off later than usual.

In the chart below, we’ve compiled together some of the Peoplebank data to reflect the differing pay rates across six major Australian cities (Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane). For each position, we’ve listed the average annual salary for permanent staff, and the top day rate for casual staff. (Perth and Adelaide’s figures quoted an hourly rate, so we’ve assumed an eight-hour day; day rates weren’t quoted for Brisbane.)

The other inevitable question with salaries is: how much will they change? The table below (assembled by Peoplebank) shows average salaries for permanent IT roles over the past year. The first figure shows typical figures in March 2011 (green indicates an increase since the previous number); the second in black for August 2010; and the third in purple for April 2010. (Click for a larger version.)

Where Are The Best-Paying IT Jobs?

Since these are average figures, you won’t necessarily hit those exact numbers. But if you are in the market for a new job, they’re worth bearing in mind to make sure you’re not getting drastically underpaid.

There’s a bunch more job positions for each city listed in Peoplebank’s full survey documents, which you can access as a series of PDF files here.

Evolve is a weekly column at Lifehacker looking at trends and technologies IT workers need to know about to stay employed and improve their careers.


    • Nope. They come under the “That computer guy” umbrella. That is, the lowly IT helpdesk guy (i.e. me) who looks after anything even remotely computer related on this site. I’ve been sysadmin, webmaster, lead programmer

      • Also, Surgeons and nurses are now the same thing and pilots are the same as people who stick their arms and make “nneeeerrrrrmmmmmmm” noises.

        For reals though, Sysadmin was always a blanket term. A decade ago an enterprise environment wasn’t 1/100th as dense, complex and utilized as it is now. One senior guy could ultimately be responsible for it all, wear a lot of hats and do a lot of jobs.

        These days, not so much. Sysadmin has broken up into many specialist roles. Whereas you once had one or two Sysadmin you may now have a Desktop Services role, Application Packaging role, SOE role, Deployment role, Communications role, Mobile role, Network Admin role, etc.

        Sysadmin are also becoming project specialist and product specialist. Selling themselves as migration specialist or security specialist, or training up in SCCM or VMware.

      • I’m a sysadmin at the moment also. I do a little bit of everything and currently overseeing a server migration and complete overhaul of the IT infrastructure. I really wish this chart covered this position as I already know that I am grossly underpaid.

        Sysadmins have one major quality that many of the roles above don’t cover – the ability to do everything. And if we can’t do it we outsource to someone who can.

  • When does “Junior” become “Senior”? Is it age related? Experience related? I’ve been a programmer since I was 8 (I’m 24 now), but I doubt I’d be called a “Senior” programmer

    • How many years of paid work you have done, and how many completed projects have your name on it.

      there isn’t really a handed title of “now you are a senior”. you apply to a job as a senior with a resume saying “this is my i am a senior programmer, ect. and why you need me”.

      although “programming since 8 yrs old is experience so id leave that out unless u are a junior and you are trying to make a impression on your determination towards your career of choice

      • The standard for C/C++/C# programming is min 3 year on the job & 1-3 AAA Titles.

        but most companies will have a description of what they want in their senior staff.

    • Senior frequently means that you’ll be supervising others. Not as a direct manager, but as a more knowledgeable/experienced peer. This could additionally mean that you’ll delegate more and assist others, and take on responsibility for the ‘tricky’ stuff.

    • Yeah just base salaries, according to the survey “All Permanent salaries listed are base salaries only and do not include bonuses, superannuation, commissions or other benefits”.

  • I think I am confused with perm vs contract/day.

    Really? $600/day -> $3000/week. And even if I’m calculating 30 weeks, that’s 90k per year. There must be something wrong with how I’m reading this.

    Someone clarify for meeee before I rip my hair out.

    • That might actually be the billable rate. I know my company bills me out at $70-80/hour, which is around $600 a day.

      Now ask me what I actually take home an hour..

    • In general a contract wage will be much higher than a salary based position. Issue with contract is that you can never be certain of when your contract end. The only need to give two weeks notice with no severance package.

  • Had the pay argument with my employer before christmas. HR told me I was paid right. I provided evidence showing them they were shafting me. HR refused to budge. Mgmt are playing a different tune so I’m currently waiting for my Salary review results before I walk.
    And these figures just give me more incentive to do it regardless of what they offer.

  • I don’t see systems programmer listed anywhere (not in peoplebank’s survery either). How much do they earn? I have been offered 65k package in Sydney. Is that OK for someone like me who has 2.5 – 3.5 years of professional experience doing Python, Perl, C and Linux? I feel the position is a bit of rip-off especially given that I have numerous other skills such as sysadmin, virtualisation (Xen/VMware/OpenVZ) provisioning, API dev etc..
    – Do they even count?
    – Does being all-rounder even help?
    – Do I pack my bag and move to Silicon Valley to join some hi-tech start-ups?

    I am beginning to ask questions and feeling let down by IT industry in Sydney. Thanks.

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