How University Makes A Difference To IT Pro Salaries

How University Makes A Difference To IT Pro Salaries

How much more will you earn in IT if you finish a postgraduate university qualification? A report from Graduate Careers Australia suggests you’ll end up earning more by doing a postgraduate course, but that going as far as a masters or PhD might not make a significant difference.

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The Postgraduate Destinations 2013 report suggests that university qualifications beyond a basic degree definitely lead to a higher salary overall. People with a higher degree saw their salaries rise by 5.3 per cent in 2013, compared to an overall rise of 2.6 per cent.

The study is based on survey responses from 139,000 postgraduates. It also specifically breaks out salaries for ICT professionals who have completed various types of post-graduate study, both for people in their first jobs and people who have worked for longer. Here’s the data, showing median salaries and the number of people in that category:

Qualification Median salary # in category
Postgraduate diploma/certificate (any employment) $85,000 141
Postgraduate diploma/certificate (first employment) $90,000 17
Coursework masters (any employment) $85,000 351
Coursework masters (first employment) $68,000 68
Research masters/PhD (any employment) $80,000 54
Research masters/PhD (first employment) $74,500 20

Because the numbers are relatively small, you need to be cautious when comparing types of employment or qualifications. However, completing a Masters or PhD doesn’t seem to improve your salary.

[via Business Insider]


  • Make sure you work in IT during your university years part time, or don’t be surprised when you finish up and end up working for 45-55k a year in a call centre to start. Experience is valued more when you start than your degree, but you will grow quicker and find less limitations with it.

    • Pretty spot on. I haven’t got a degree myself but luckily have a specialisation that is on a good market rate right now. Life would be easier if I did have that degree, thankfully 10yrs professional experience is an aid. I wish I did do / was motivated for uni back in the day though. It would make understanding concepts a lot easier. I think I will be heading to remote learning to at least do certain units so I can get into software programming in the near future.

      Bias is ever-present in the industry – certs mean you can study for an exam, uni means you can excel in academia. Until you can provide practical solutions to your field of choice, you’re really a trainee. A few projects experience, and working in a team is valuable.

      Another thing I’ve learned: it’s much easier in the long term, and better for morale, to train someone of good character and a level head, than to rely on someone who doesn’t have those characteristics but has high levels of knowledge. Being able to fit into a team is very important. This is why companies have referral bonuses. That probably goes without saying though.


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