The results of our third-annual SQL Server Magazine Salary Survey are in, giving us a composite view of a typical SQL Server professional and how factors such as age, experience, location, and job title affect your compensation. We determined that the average age of the SQL Server professionals who responded is 40 (the median age is 35); 84 percent of you are male; you most likely have the job title of DBA; and you work in the finance, banking, or investment industry. On average, you've worked 13 years in IT, eight of which have been in the database development and administration area, and 64 percent of you have spent six years working with SQL Server. In terms of education, most of you have a bachelor's degree or higher, and 52 percent of you have at least one certification.

Most of you (91 percent) are working full time at a company that has about 1000 employees, you've been at your present company for approximately six years, and your average total compensation is $81,710. Many of you are working longer hours; the reported work week was up 1.2 hours from last year to an average of 46 hours.

Figure 1 shows the top five job categories with the highest number of respondents and compares them with the results from the 2005 survey. It shows that the percentage of DBAs (37 percent) and consultants (5 percent) remained the same, but database developers (11 percent) moved up to third place, and IT directors or managers (9 percent) moved down to fourth place. When we looked at respondents' experience in their careers, we noticed an interesting anomaly. Although high numbers of respondents indicated that they have extensive experience in IT (from 6 years to 30 years), the same respondents said they have spent considerably less time working specifically with databases (from 1 to 10 years). These responses seem to indicate that people are coming into database work through other IT fields. We speculated that this trend is happening because businesses are placing increasing value on data and pressuring IT pros to manage and deliver data more effectively. A recent study by IDC indicates that over the next 15 years, businesses will be demanding even more specialized data-analysis and BI skills from database pros (see Douglas McDowell, "Listen to the Analysts: Microsoft BI Skills Are a Good Bet," InstantDoc ID 93343).

What's in Your Wallet?


Many factors influence your annual paycheck. Here are a few of the more interesting findings so you can see how you compare.

  • Region: As Figure 2 shows, if you live in the western United States, you're making more money than your counterparts in the South. And US workers typically are making more than their Canadian peers.
  • Job title: Of the five job categories with the highest number of respondents, consultants receive the highest average total compensation ($101,969), as Figure 3 shows, and application developers and programmers receive the lowest ($74,718) in this top-five-ranking. For a complete breakdown of salaries by all job titles, see Web Table 1 (http://www.sqlmag.com, InstantDoc ID 94012).
  • Experience: Not surprisingly, in general, the longer you've worked as a DBA, the larger your annual paycheck. In fact, if you've been a DBA for more than 30 years, you're making more than $150,000. Web Table 2 shows the complete results for total compensation according to years working as a DBA.
  • Industry: According to survey results, the most lucrative industry in which to be a DBA is the computer-related retail industry, followed by the computer-related manufacturing industry. The lowest paid DBAs are in the agriculture, forestry, or environmental services field. For a complete comparison of compensation by industry, see Web Table 3.