Thursday, August 30, 2007

Labor Day: Salaries, Part II

This three-part Labor Day special report focuses on three salary surveys.

Part I examines the 2007 AIGA|Aquent Salary Survey.

Part II examines the 2007 InformationWeek IT Salary Survey.

Part III examines the 2007 Redmond's (Microsoft) IT Salary Survey.

InformationWeek IT Salary Survey

The national median compensation for information technology (IT) staffers is $78,000. In the Boston metro area median compensation is $100,000, a 28% premium over the national average.

Not all IT job functions are valued at the same level. Here are the base salaries for several Web-related IT functions:

  • Web design/development [ $63,000 ]
  • Web content development [ $65,000 ]
  • Internet/intranet [ $68,000 ]
  • Web security [ $75,000 ]
  • Web infrastructure [ $83,000 ]

Note: These salaries reflect the national averages and adding a 28% premium might more accurately reflect the median compensation in the greater Boston area.

According to an overview of the findings:

"Experience with new technologies such as Ajax, Web 2.0 applications, SOA, and wireless is critical to future success in IT."

"IT professionals need to take a good hard look at their skill sets. More than half come from a technology-oriented background, whereas most companies are looking for people who can balance technology initiatives and business needs."
A slide show is available for quick review of the data. The survey is also available for download in pdf format.

For an overview of the findings in video format check out InformationWeek TV.

Web professionals can use the survey data to benchmark job opportunities as the post-summer job market shifts into full gear.

Additional Surveys

Labor Day: Salaries, Part I examines the 2007 AIGA|Aquent Salary Survey.

Labor Day: Salaries, Part III examines the 2007 Redmond's (Microsoft) IT Salary Survey.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Labor Day: Salaries, Part I

This three-part Labor Day special report focuses on three salary surveys.

Part I examines the the 2007 AIGA|Aquent Salary Survey.

Part II examines the 2007 InformationWeek IT Salary Survey.

Part III examines the 2007 Redmond's (Microsoft) IT Salary Survey.

AIGA|Aquent Salary Survey

Data from nearly 5,000 design professionals were compiled earlier this year in what is believed to be the most comprehensive national compensation survey of its kind.

The data reflects the following:

  • 2006 wages/salary
  • 2006 total cash compensation*
* Total cash compensation includes not only wages and salary but other forms of cash compensation such as bonuses, profit sharing, incentives and partners’ profits.

Here are a few demographic highlights:

  • work in the for-profit sector (87%)
  • work in organizations smaller than 1000 employees (78%)
  • work as freelance or self-employed (solo designer) (17%)
  • work in the greater Boston area (229) (5%)
The following median salaries were reported in the greater Boston area:
  • entry level designer [ $36,000 ]
  • designer [ $47,500 ]
  • senior designer [ $65,000 ]
The following categories did not provide enough data points to offer statistically significant compensation results:
  • Web designer
  • Web developer
  • Web programmer

Beantown Web will explore these salaries in Part II of this Labor Day salaries series.

The Survey of Design Salaries website provides Definitions for 16 job categories along with a Salary Calculator for comparing compensation across job functions and geographical regions. The entire 44-page 2007 Survey of Design Salaries document (pdf) is available for download.

The survey is commissioned annually by AIGA | the professional association for design, with the support of Aquent, and in cooperation with Communication Arts magazine.

Design professionals can use the survey data to benchmark job opportunities as the post-summer job market shifts into full gear.

Additional Surveys

Labor Day: Salaries, Part II examines the 2007 InformationWeek IT Salary Survey.

Labor Day: Salaries, Part III examines the 2007 Redmond's (Microsoft) IT Salary Survey.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Sun Tech Days

The emerging world of Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) keeps getting richer -- and more complicated. The following technologies are competing for Web developer's time and interest:

Last week Adobe was in Boston showing off its technologies. Now its Sun's turn.

University Day

The fall leg of the Sun Tech Days world tour begins in Boston before leaving for Italy, China, Japan and Germany. The two-day workshop is designed to help Web professionals "develop skills and advance your career in a Web 2.0 world."

The first day, Tuesday, September 11, offers three separate tracks:
Of the three, University Day offers the most promise for those new to Sun's technologies. It is designed specifically for the academic community, including students and faculty. At the end of this session, participants will learn more about career opportunities using Java technologies in the IT industry.

Two of the topics covered in the University Day session are NetBeans and JavaFX Script. To learn more about these technologies access the following introductions:
The second day, Wednesday, September 12, features Keynote Speaker, James Gosling, affectionately known as "The Father of Java."

UPDATE: Lucky attendees will have an opportunity to have lunch with James Gosling. All you need to do is register to enter the drawing! The names of 15 winning attendees will be announced during the morning demo sessions on September 12.

Register for this FREE event at the Boston Sheraton now. Space is limited.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) Bus Tour

The recent release of Adobe Creative Suite 3 (CS3) has created buzz around related Adobe products. Two of these products are Adobe Flex and Adobe AIR.

According to Adobe's Website . . .

  • Adobe Flex is a cross-platform development framework for creating rich Internet applications (RIAs).
  • Adobe AIR (formerly code-named Apollo) is a cross-operating system runtime that allows web application developers to use their existing web development skills (HTML, Javascript, Flash, Flex, Ajax) to build and deploy Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) to the desktop.

If you are confused as I am, help is on the way.

Get on The Bus

An 18-city road show travels up the I-95 corridor this week starting in Washington, DC and visiting Baltimore and Philadelphia before arriving in Boston on Friday.

The Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) Bus Tour will open its doors at 9:15 am Friday and conduct technical sessions, showcases and discussions. The bus will be parked at the Artists for Humanity EpiCenter in South Boston. [Directions]

InfoWorld offers two articles to help you get up to speed on these latest technologies:

The Web continues to change faster than the Boston Celtics starting lineup. Get on the bus this Friday or risk being left behind.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Your Job: How Satisfied Are You?

When it comes to job satisfaction, employees and employers sometimes view their work experience through a different lens according to a recent survey.

The top five contributors to job satisfaction, according to employees, are as follows:

  1. compensation/pay
  2. benefits
  3. job security
  4. flexibility to balance work/life issues
  5. communication between employees and senior management

When human resource professionals were asked to predict the top five contributors to job satisfaction, here was their ordered list:

  1. relationship with immediate supervisor
  2. compensation/pay
  3. management recognition of employee job performance
  4. benefits
  5. communication between employees and senior management

Show Me the Money

Employers underestimate the value of compensation and benefits in attracting and retaining high quality employees.

Employers overestimate the value of supervisory relationships and employee recognition programs.

A summary of the survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is available at

What to Do Next

So, what if you feel your current employer is not making a significant contribution to your job satisfaction? It could be time to identify another employer. Two recent articles in The Wall Street Journal shed some light on effective job search strategies.

Stand Out: Join the Crowd

The first article encourages passive job seekers to become more visible by joining and participating in professional organizations. To learn how networking can lead to job referrals access If You Want to Stand Out, Join the Crowd.

LinkedIn: The Right Way

The second article explores the value of expanding your network via a service such as LinkedIn. The Right Way to Use LinkedIn offers advise for developing your contacts and enhancing your reputation in the marketplace.


Here is Beantown Web's four-step (JADE) plan to increase your job satisfaction:

  1. Join a professional network
  2. Attend networking functions
  3. Develop your professional contacts
  4. Enlist your network to help you find a more satisfying job

Mark's Guide provides a listing of technology-related professional networking events in the greater Boston area. The most promising upcoming event for Web professionals is Ignite Boston 2 on Thursday, September 6 in Cambridge.

This FREE event is sponsored by O'Reilly Media, Inc. In addition to learning about Web 2.0 start-ups and making new LinkedIn contacts, you can register to win $300 worth of O'Reilly books of your choosing! Simply send an email to IgniteBoston at oreilly dot com.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Interactive Media Awards -- Q2, 2007

The Interactive Media Awards™ recognize the highest standards of excellence in website design and development and honor individuals and organizations for their outstanding achievement.

The awards are annual, but are judged on a quarterly basis, with categories rotating every three months.

Judges evaluate websites based on the following five criteria:
  • Design
  • Content
  • Feature Functionality
  • Usability
  • Standards Compliance
Web designers and developers can benchmark their projects against these award-winning sites to stimulate creative thinking.

The Categories and Best in Class Award winners for the second quarter of 2007 are listed below:

Consumer Services:


E-Zine / Newsletter:

Financial Information:
Real Estate:
Search Engine/Directory:
Training / Vocational:
Created by the Interactive Media Council, Inc. (IMC), a nonprofit organization of leading web designers, developers, programmers, advertisers and other web-related professionals, the competition is designed to elevate the standards of excellence on the Internet.

Awards for Outstanding Achievement and winners in other categories and previous years can be accessed by using the Interactive Media Awards search engine.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Boston Market -- August

"Among the most sought-after talent right now are project managers, Web developers, and business analysts," according to a representative of Hudson, a professional staffing firm, in an interview with InformationWeek.

The Hudson Employment Index, which had been on the decline for three months, bounced back in July. The Index is a monthly measure of U.S. worker confidence in the employment market. Hudson has an office in Waltham.

This month's Boston Market analysis confirms the continuing tend in favor Web development skills over Web design skills, both in number of job opportunities and compensation.

$20,000 Pay Differential

According to job title and type of employer can mean a difference in annual pay of up to $20,000. Here is the breakdown of average salaries factoring in Web discipline (design vs. development) and type of organization (nonprofit vs. for profit):

Web Designer:

  • $48,350 (nonprofit)
  • $56,300 (for profit)

Web Developer:

  • $60,650 (nonprofit)
  • $69,000 (for profit)

These salaries are national averages. Boston area salaries are generally higher. "Average Salaries in Boston" have been updated and appear in the right-hand column.

Top 10 Web Technologies

The skills required to attain a higher compensation rate have also been updated for August and appear in the right-hand column under "Top 10 Web Technologies in Boston." This evaluation represents keyword searches of job postings at for common technologies used in Web design and development.

The one minor surprise in this month's list is the demotion of CSS from the Top 10 list. It was replaced by Photoshop. Job Trends

It is no surprise that programming and database skills (Web development) occupy many of the Top 10 spots as database-driven Web 2.0 activity continues to expand. offers a valuable trending service that confirms this Beantown Web analysis. For example, let's look at demand for traditional Web design skills using Adobe's Creative Suite as a proxy for demand.

This analysis confirms the demand for professionals with Photoshop skills over other Creative Suite program training.

Now, let's look at the three "front-end" or "client-side" Web design skills:

JavaScript, a programming skill, continues to outpace CSS by nearly two to one in marketplace demand.

When we look at "back-end" or "server-side" Web development skills, confirms the relative demand for C# Web developers:

C# and VB.NET are the primary programming language options used in ASP.NET applications. Web developers new to ASP.NET should choose C# over VB.NET because of the far greater market demand and the upward trend. Demand for PHP developers is stagnant and continues to lag in the marketplace behind Microsoft's server-side offerings.

Finally, the core database language, SQL, leads all Web 2.0-related skills.

The ability to construct and execute SQL statements to update a database (Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL, etc.) in a Web environment remains the skill that every Web developer should highlight on their resume. Job demand for open source database options such as MySQL remains sluggish, at best.


Go to the Indeed Job Trends search engine and type in three technical skills you are most proficient in. Add in a fourth "wish list" skill that you feel you need to develop. will provide you with a profile of the relative job market demand for your current skill set.