Discussing the strengths he brings to the job, the senior director says, "When I talk to my clients, I know the business but I also speak the technical language, and that helps very much."
Lorenc, the senior infrastructure security architect who got a 30% pay increase after his company split into two, says his broad set of skills helped earn him that big raise. "I'm a security architect who's very broad but very deep, too," he explains.
In his seven years total at the original and spinoff companies, Lorenc has implemented or run many security systems, such as application firewalls, security information management tools and a vulnerability management program. He also served as head architect in securing voice and telepresence systems. His biggest project was architecting the network security design for the original company's $22 million data center, which was later split into two for the two companies.
His advice to IT pros looking for big raises is to beef up communication with IT managers, business units and company leaders, and be willing to take on challenges. "Be flexible, research those new technologies, and reach out and work across different towers of the business," he says.
The road to a better salary
Despite strong compensation gains overall in 2015, slightly more than half (54%) of Computerworld survey respondents said that they feel underpaid based on their roles and responsibilities -- up slightly from 52% in 2014 and 51% in 2013 and 2012. That sentiment may be the result of years of corporate belt-tightening, when salaries barely inched up while IT staffers were asked to take on more responsibilities and heavier workloads.
"There are many people who have been hunkered down at their current job, maybe since the last economic downturn, and they don't know what's happening in the marketplace," Reed says. "They might be worth much more than they're receiving."
If you're looking for a big raise, it's important to do some research and know what your value is. "Look at job listings online, see in what ranges companies are paying, talk to your peer network -- that's where it all starts," Reed says.
If, after doing the research, you've decided you're worth more than you're earning, try approaching your current employer. "Before throwing yourself out in the marketplace, go to your existing employer, armed with your salary research, and ask for a raise," Reed advises. "There may be an opportunity to get a pay increase where you are."
But don't challenge your employer with big demands, he cautions. "Just because the market is paying higher than you're making doesn't mean you're necessarily going to find a new job that pays you that much," Reed says. Issuing an ultimatum "is a huge mistake that has blown up on people many times."
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