Salary Survey Extra: Comparing income and age
Posted on
February 1, 2018

Salary Survey Extra is a series of dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our annual Salary Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

When considering IT salary, is there a relationship between income and age?

You’re only as old as you feel, or at least that’s what people who don’t want to feel old say.  There’s no denying that certain things change for most of us as years pass, however, and not all of those changes are bad ones. For example, people who sell things feel sorry for old folks (er, or something like that), so senior citizens get a lot of discounts. Yay for old age!

It’s also generally true that, the older you get, the better you can expect to be paid at your job. Not because being older in and of itself makes you more valuable, of course. Getting older, however, does typically mean becoming more experienced, accumulating greater knowledge, making connections with others — all things that do actually make you more valuable.

IT workers constantly learn and adapt as technology changes, so the general trend is, or at least ought to be, amplified for those of us in the IT realm. Sometimes, it isn’t even new technology that really seals the value of older workers: Systems and processes that use technology don’t always turn over as fast as the technology itself, so familiarity with so-called “legacy” tech is often critical to maintaining business systems and processes.

So do older certified IT professionals actually earn more than their younger counterparts? Probably for most of the reasons you’d imagine, the answer is generally “Yes.” Not only is there a correlation between income and age, but it’s more or less exactly the one that you’d expect to find.

Let’s look at the data:

Age Percentage of Respondents in this Age Bracket (U.S.) Average Annual Salary (U.S.) Percentage of Respondents in this Age Bracket (Non-U.S.) Average Annual Salary (Non-U.S.)
18 or younger (Fewer than 2 percent) N/A (Fewer than 2 percent) N/A
19-24 (Fewer than 2 percent) N/A 8.9 percent $20,840
25-34 13.4 percent $84,260 38.2 percent $40,180
35-44 26.8 percent $113,590 34 percent $62,780
45-54 30.5 percent $122,140 14.7 percent $79,740
55-64 24 percent $125,900 4 percent $91,710
65-74 3.2 percent $117,720 (Fewer than 2 percent) N/A
75 or older (Fewer than 2 percent) N/A (Fewer than 2 percent) N/A

2017 Salary Data

As has been the case with past surveys, we didn’t hear from very many folks younger than their early twenties. And the young folks who did respond are mostly from countries outside the United States. Among U.S. respondents, there’s a definite skew toward middle age, while those in younger brackets are largely from other countries around the globe.

Both in the United States and abroad, certified IT professionals earn progressively larger annual incomes as they get older. There’s a fair amount of leveling off in the Unites States after one’s early 30s, while notable upward progress continues across the arc of an entire career elsewhere in the world.

In either case, it seems clear that certified IT professionals who are young enough to be just walking away from college, or a few years removed from high school, should expect to start in the lower echelons of salary, and move up from there.

About the Author

Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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