The next time you poke fun at the techies, consider that IT workers can expect starting salaries to increase an average of 5.3 percent in 2008, according to the “2008 Robert Half Technology Salary Guide.” Base compensations in high-demand positions are also expected to rise as high as 7.6 percent.

“Business expansion and the increased reliance on technology within all sectors has resulted in a competitive environment for skilled IT professionals,” says Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology. “Many companies are raising base compensation for new hires and offering additional perks, including signing bonuses and equity incentives, to recruit and retain top candidates.”

Thinking twice about a career in technology? Here are the top 10 jobs in IT, based on increases in salary offers, according to the salary guide.

Lead applications developer
What they do: Manage software development teams in the design, development, coding, testing and debugging of applications. **
What you need: Bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field and three to five years experience in specific technologies.
Salary range: $80,250 – $108,000
Salary change*: 7.6 percent

Applications architect
What they do: Design components of applications, including interface, middleware and infrastructure; comply with employer’s design standards.
What you need: Bachelor’s degree in computer science or information systems; a master’s degree is desirable. Employers request a minimum of eight years related work experience and specific software skills.
Salary range: $87,250 – $120,000
Salary change: 7.5 percent

Messaging administrator
What they do: Control e-mail and groupware systems, including associated servers, operating systems, and backup and recovery programs; fix system problems and attend to service requests.
What you need: Bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer information systems or a related field, plus two to three years or more of experience working with the messaging systems used by the employer.
Salary range: $87,250 – $120,000
Salary change: 7.5 percent

Data modeler
What they do: Analyze organizational data requirements and create models of data flow.
What you need: Bachelor’s degree in computer science, IT or mathematics, and several years of data management experience.
Salary range: $74,250 – $102,000
Salary change: 7 percent

Network manager
What they do: Direct day-to-day operations and maintenance of the firm’s networking technology; collaborate with network engineers, architects and other team members on the implementation, testing, deployment and integration of network systems.
What you need: Ten years (or more) experience in a networking environment combined with several years of experience managing technical personnel. Professional certifications are also valuable.
Salary range: $74,500 – $98,500
Salary change: 7 percent

Senior IT auditor
What they do: Establish procedures for audit review of computer systems; develop and apply testing and evaluation plans for IT systems and ensure compliance with industry standards of efficiency, accuracy and security.
What you need: Bachelor’s degree in computer science, information systems, business or a related field, and an average of five years experience in IT auditing.
Salary range: $86,750 – $114,750
Salary change: 6.9 percent

Senior Web developer
What they do: Plan and implement Web-based applications; coordinate with product development, marketing, product management and other teams in bringing new applications online.
What you need: Bachelor’s degree in computer science, electrical engineering or a related field, plus a minimum of five years of experience working with a mix of Web technologies.
Salary range: $76,250 – $108,250
Salary change: 6.6 percent

Business intelligence analyst
What they do: Design and develop company data analysis and report solutions; review and analyze data from internal and external resources; communicate analysis results and make recommendations to senior management.
What you need: Bachelor’s degree in computer science, information systems or engineering, and several years of experience.
Salary range: $78,250 – $108,250
Salary change: 6.6 percent

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