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I've done some research on entry-level salaries in this industry. Are these figures accurate?

How offend do these salaries happen ?

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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, Jaylynn !

Your initiative in reading about various salaries for IT or any career is impressive but there is no one who can determine what your entry level job salary would be. It's usually interesting to see what resources say about salaries of various careers, but there are way too many variables for the information to be anywhere close to what you will or can make.

The reason I say this is because those statistics are usually from the prior year, salaries change a lot over the years, it depends on the region, country, state, town, city and company you work for. Also factor in the possibility that a person could work for one or more companies at the same time, plus free lance, plus be on the Board of a company, plus have a side gig (in a different field of work). Since you do not know yet where your particular career will lead you, is it realistic to rely on former information and not knowing more accurate details about the future of your own career experience ? So although reading statistics can be interesting, my advice is that you can take it for what it is, sort of just a guess at what possibly could be for your future or what previous companies have paid employees. You may earn less, but you may earn a lot more, so are the statistics really helpful for you four or six years from now ?

The way you will know what your income will be in the future, as we all find out, is when you are working years from now and know all of the details surrounding your working situation(s). As I've mentioned, there are so many ways an IT career can go. The time you will find out your salary is actually at the time you are ready for that job, are invited to interview and the employer will let you know the salary if the job is offered to you, or at the interview, or stated in the job notice itself. There is no other real accurate way to tell other than waiting for the time you are ready to apply for work and are interviewing. As well, you can expect to make more money if you freelance your services out, write articles for journals and other things that IT people do simultaneously in that career.

During your college experience, you will get to know a lot of people and be guided with information about various employers, business ideas and contacts to promote yourself to. All of this cannot be predicted beforehand. IT is a very available field so just generalizing, you should be able to do very well. Your education and experience will also be factors in obtaining jobs with a salary that is acceptable to you.

So for right now be assured that IT is one of the good fields to pursue and focus on schoolwork, doing projects and getting to know your IT community and seek volunteer work. The more experience you have, the better.

I hope that this is helpful and I wish you all the best moving forward with exploring IT careers !
Thank you comment icon Thank you for taking the time to help. Jaylynn
Thank you comment icon You are very welcome, Jaylynn ! Michelle M.
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Charles’s Answer

Jaylynn, great question. One of the most common answers people give for IT related questions is ‘it depends.’ This is one of those times. The other responder, Michelle, gave some great reasons why it’s difficult to pin down a starting salary (location, type of entry level work, education, experience, size of business and industry, etc.)

Some of those salary sites and resources are more accurate than others, so I’d take a blend of several of them to try and get a sense of it. Another approach is to look at job posts for entry level jobs you’d consider in your area (or nationally) to see what typical salary ranges are. That may be faster and more accurate.

There are a few other things many people don’t realize about IT and salaries. An entry level job in a big corporation will typically pay more and have additional benefits (medical/dental insurance, continuing education, bonuses, etc.) Working for a ‘big corporation’ can also sometimes make getting jobs at other places easier later in your career. The assumption some people make is that if you worked at a big successful corporation for a period of time, you must know what you’re doing and would be a good resource for the next company. Sometimes this is true, but a good/experienced interviewer will usually figure it out regardless of who your previous employer(s) were.

This may make you think you should only try for jobs with big corporations. There is a down side to working for a big corporation, particularly for entry level people. Big corporations are very structured and employees tend to work in one area doing one type of work. As you get trained on the job and work your way up, people often get deeper into that one type of work and specialization. This isn’t necessarily a negative, or an issue, but it’s something to be aware of if you want to get hands on experience and learn about many different things. IT people in smaller companies tend to ‘wear many hats’ which means they do a lot of different things throughout the day. They may not have the same depth of knowledge/experience with a particular tool/technology as someone who just works with that, but they do get a broader understanding from working directly with a wider range of tools and objectives.

I came up through IT from working at smaller companies where I learned (and got hands on experience) with a wide range of technologies and areas in IT. I’m now with a big corporation and that wide range of knowledge/experience is something that helps me in my current role. Even if you decide to start an entry level role with one corporation, you can also find other jobs and opportunities within the company or outside, especially if you pursue training and education in different areas of IT and want to work with those other types of jobs.

Company culture is also a big factor for employee happiness that many people don’t realize. Bigger companies tend to be more structured with more rules compared to smaller companies. Some people thrive on clear and defined structure and roles, others need the opposite. It’s good to have some experience in both areas to find out what kind of environment suits you.

Last thing to consider, some industries are harder to get into than others. As an example, banks and other financial organizations tend to strongly prefer people who have already worked at other banks and financials. If you have the opportunity to work for a bank/financial organization that is similar to another opportunity in a different industry, you may want to factor that in since it could give you more options in the future. Financial organizations also tend to pay better and have more technology/equipment than other industries. Not everyone enjoys working in a highly regulated (by governments, laws, and standards) industry like financial services, but there can be some benefits if you do.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for the advice. Jaylynn
Thank you comment icon Jaylynn, you're welcome. You've been asking some very interesting questions about the IT field. It seems like you're trying to figure out what it is, and if it may be right for you. If you love using and learning about technology, it's probably a good field to consider. Charles Brodsky
Thank you comment icon One of the difficulties is figuring out what IT is since it's so big and varied. You can write code, help others use it, keep technical systems running, analyze information, connect computers/systems/cloud, audit it, design hardware/software/networks/programs, etc. The reality is that it's almost ANYTHING dealing with technology. It may be helpful to know what you like to do and what you feel you are good at regarding technology, and what you think you may be interested in doing. In my opinion, there is an element of technology in every industry/job, so even if you don't want to stay/work in IT, anything you learn or do while exploring IT can help you regardless of where you want your career to go. Good luck and keep asking questions. Charles Brodsky
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