Dice recently released the results of their 2017 Tech Salary Survey. Some thoughts on the results:

Survey Methodology: 100% Online

The report describes its methodology as follows:

“The 2016 Dice Salary Survey was administered online by Dice.com, with 12,907 employed technology professionals responding between October 26, 2016 and January 24, 2017”.

I like to read through these reports while keeping in mind that an online survey of users in Dice’s database might be taken with a bit of salt.

The salaries skew quite high. Average salary in Government for example is $88,555 in this report, and that’s one of the lowest. Therefore, looking at dollar amounts in this survey is probably less valuable than looking at year-over-year changes.

Salaries

Average salaries dropped slightly year-over-year. This 1.3% drop in average salary is the first in the ten years Dice has run this survey.

Of those who managed raises, 40% did so with a new job or an internal promotion. 36% reported merit raises within their own companies.

The market was even worse for the inexperienced. The survey showed a 5.8% salary drop among those with less than a year of experience, and a 2.7% drop for those with one or two years’ experience. This may fit in line with the idea that a worker’s best method to get a raise is to switch jobs — employees with less than two years’ experience may not have the skills to do that yet.

The highest skill increase for a programming language was Drupal, the PHP-based content management system (CMS). Drupal still can’t touch WordPress so far as overall usage is concerned, but I’m surprised to see this reported as a sought-after skill in this survey.

Skill Development

15% of professionals were concerned about keeping their skills up to date. This was lower than I expected, given how quickly technology moves. I wonder what the results would be if they were asked how much time they put into skill improvement.

Again, the salaries skew high in this report: The lowest average industry pay reported was $86,669, which is higher than the average salary of participants with 6-10 years of experience ($82,223). It would’ve been interesting to know how worried people were by which level of experience. Are longtime employees less worried to get fired over a lacking skillset?

Advice on how to keep up is the same old, same old. “Pay attention to your industry”. Look at the topics presented at relevant conferences. Find a mentor. Stuff you’ve read and heard before, no doubt.

Top-Paying Skills

I question the usefulness of this final section of the report. The skills are presented essentially context-free.