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Systems Designer Earnings

Industry earnings. Workers in the computer systems design and related services industry generally command higher earnings than the national average. All production or nonsupervisory workers in the industry averaged $1,265 a week in 2006, significantly higher than the average of $568 for all industries. This reflects the concentration of professionals and specialists, who often are highly compensated for their specialized skills or expertise. Given the pace at which technology advances in this industry, earnings can be driven by demand for specific skills or experience. Workers in segments of the industry that offer only professional services have even higher average earnings because they employ fewer low-skilled, lower paid workers.

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As one might expect, education and experience influence earnings as well. For example, in May 2006, hourly earnings of computer software engineers, applications ranged from less than $2250 for the lowest paid 10 percent to more than $58.59 for the highest paid 10 percent. Managers usually earn more because they have been on the job longer and are more experienced than their staffs, but their salaries, too, can vary by level and experience. Accordingly, hourly earnings of computer and information systems managers in May 2006, ranged from less than $31.36 for the lowest paid 10 percent to more than $70.00 for the highest paid 10 percent. Earnings also are affected by other factors, such as the size, location, and type of establishment, hours and responsibilities of the employee, and level of sales.

Benefits and union membership. Workers generally receive standard benefits, including health insurance, paid vacation and sick leave, and pension plans. Unionization is rare in the computer systems design and related services industry. In 2006, only 1 percent of all workers were union members or covered by union contracts, compared with 13 percent of workers throughout private industry.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition

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