Salary for IT: I can't find a title for what I do, so I can't research whether I'm underpaid or not. Help?
June 27, 2008 6:42 PM   Subscribe

Salary for IT: I can't find a title for what I do, so I can't research whether I'm underpaid or not. Help?

I made good money last year, but that's because I worked enough overtime to nearly double my salary.
I won't be repeating that again this year, but I don't want to take a killer pay cut because I refuse to work myself to death.

I got agreement on the less hours, and a raise.
But I have a feeling I'm still underpaid - but I can't be sure.
I'm having trouble finding a job title that matches what I do on salary-comparison websites, so it's hard to calculate.

So here's what I do:
Employer is 45 employees in 3 sites spread around the SF bay area.
Apart from 6 hours a week getting "warm body" level help from their old consultant, I'm the entire IT department for all 3 sites and the firm in general.

I do helpdesk, hardware and software maintenance, training, etc. for 45 staff and their workstations/laptops/remote connections.
There are 8 servers to maintain, configure and back up. MS 2003, Exchange, Terminal servers.
I do all the purchasing, licensing, research for alternatives, etc on all hardware and roughly 25 pieces of specialized software.
I meet directly with the Managing Partner of the firm weekly to prioritize work scheduling and plan out IT strategies, policies, and design workflow and processes for the firm.

BUT: I'm the whole team, so I'm not a manager. I moved into this from a clerical position with no prior training or IT certifications. (I was clever enough to figure out the basics on my own; the understanding was that I'd be given time to go out and get trained/certified, but the workload and the lack of an alternate to cover for me hasn't allowed for that.) So I can't use a metric like "an MCSE supervising 5 staff averages $X a year".

What would be a job title for "(solo) all-around general IT guy who knows more than he should, but holds no certifications"?

mail me at
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
IT manager.
posted by bitdamaged at 6:56 PM on June 27, 2008

You're either the IT supervisor or a senior systems administrator, I suspect.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 7:07 PM on June 27, 2008

You are a System Administrator and no, you don't get paid enough.
posted by Static Vagabond at 7:15 PM on June 27, 2008

I went through this recently. I was in the same exact boat as you - THE IT dept for 60-odd people. They me the IT Manager title (and pay) when I hire an underling in 2009, but until then, it's senior sysadmin, so I would say you're a sr. sysadmin as well.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 7:18 PM on June 27, 2008

titles don't mean anything, the scope of responsibilities for the same title can be very different between companies, especially when you're an all-around guy.
That said, the job you're doing is IT manager. but IT manager for a big multinational and IT manager for a 45 employee company won't get paid the same.
posted by anto1ne at 7:29 PM on June 27, 2008

Go out and get job offers from other companies- that's what you're worth.
posted by gjc at 7:57 PM on June 27, 2008

Well, you could just ask for a raise and see if they give it too you. If the company is growing you could try to make a business case that they should hire at least one assistant for you, and give you a raise. Come up with some projects you think would make the company money over the long haul.
posted by delmoi at 8:15 PM on June 27, 2008

You're a Systems Administrator. I think calling yourself a Senior Systems Admin is stretch. A Senior SysAdmin either leads (but not supervises) a team of SysAdmins, leads projects and/or has extensive experience.

In the Sacramento area I'd put your base salary at mid $50's to low $70's, with the $60's most frequent. My guess is that you should add a 20% to 30% premium on to that salary for the Bay Area.
posted by cnc at 8:31 PM on June 27, 2008

IT Manager, $80k+. It doesn't matter if you don't have underlings to manage, an IT Manager manages the technology (which you're doing). Sr. Sys Admin won't get you the same level of respect from people like the Managing Partner. And you're anonymous, why not lay some numbers down here?
posted by rhizome at 8:50 PM on June 27, 2008

Nthing get another offer, and take it to them and explain you're not looking to leave but the market is paying more than they are.

For better or for worse, you are the IT Manager, in general depending on the scope of responsibilities the position is usually salaried at around 85k depending on experiences. Certifications are worthless unless you are trying to weave your way through an HR department.
posted by iamabot at 9:17 PM on June 27, 2008

You have my job, 8 years ago. At the height of the dot-com boom I was making $72K at a non-dot-com company. I was under-paid then, and you are now if you aren't making at least the same.
posted by TDIpod at 10:16 PM on June 27, 2008

As the most senior IT person at the company you have decision-making responsibilities that the head of IT would have, and that a junior system administrator wouldn't have, even if you have no subordinates. I'd suggest that IT Manager is the right title as well, although would expect to be paid on the low end of that title.
posted by grouse at 1:11 AM on June 28, 2008

Do you actually have decision making power, or do all non-trivial decisions flow through the Managing Director?
posted by gjc at 6:51 AM on June 28, 2008

Whatever they call it it should be worth at least $70 k plus a bunch of benefits. At least 75k if the benefits aren't so great. Oh and the overtime is expected, and usually not compensated.
posted by Gungho at 7:02 AM on June 28, 2008

You manage IT? Then you're an IT Manager. Doesn't matter if you have staff under you, any more than it would for a Project Manager, Office Manager, Service Manager, etc.

Don't fall into the trap of presenting yourself as an "all-around general IT guy who knows more than he should, but holds no certifications". Forget about certs entirely, in fact, unless you want to go into a particular specialization. Your market value isn't in your technical skills, but in the fact that you're responsible for the IT infrastructure, and that you can work effectively with management as a manager. A lot of incredibly talented techies would run screaming from the job you do, because it's hard and stressful as hell.

As far as your market rate? Put yourself on the market and find out. To fill the position you described, they would need to pay $75K + bonus, and more for someone who was actually good. But sadly, a lot of employers in this business never connect the dots between "what we'd pay a replacement" and "what we pay the poor bastard now". In other words...the only way up is out.

(regarding the Senior Sysadmin title...I tend to think that would overstate your technical skills and understate your management skills. I mean, you consult weekly with the Managing Partner. If it was a bigger shop, you'e be called a CTO!)
posted by a young man in spats at 12:39 PM on June 28, 2008

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