WindowsNetworking.com - Monthly Newsletter - February 2014

Welcome to the WindowsNetworking.com newsletter by Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MVP. Each month we will bring you interesting and helpful information on the world of Windows Networking. We want to know what all *you* are interested in hearing about. Please send your suggestions for future newsletter content to: dshinder@windowsnetworking.com

1. Survey Says: IT Salaries are Going Up – If You're in the Right Place

For the past few years, it seems as if many IT professionals have been in a state of depression over what's happening in the industry. As more and more companies have made their move "to the cloud," the fear mounts that IT pro jobs are going to just become obsolete.

Certainly it's happened to other occupations. Remember when desktop publishing was one of the hottest specialties around? Now, thanks to the decline in print publishing, the number of jobs in that field is decreasing steadily. The once high-demand job of Novell certified engineer fell by the wayside as Netware lost the server OS battle with Microsoft – and Microsoft's formerly coveted MCSE is no longer a magic bullet on the resume. Seen many ads for dBase programmers lately?

IT has never been a good career choice for the inflexible; with the world of computer technology constantly evolving and changing, it's all about adaptability. But for those who are able to "go with the flow" and keep their skill sets up to date, it can be rewarding, both in monetary compensation and in personal job satisfaction.

The Dice annual tech salary survey results for 2013 indicate that's still the case, although the pay increase this past year was only about half what we saw last year. In fact, according to their statistics, the average IT pro salary is now up to almost $88,000 per year, a $20,000 increase over the past decade despite a few not-so-great years (2010's increase was only 0.7 percent over the preceding year). Compare this to the average U.S. household income (which in many cases includes the income of two or more people) of around $70,000. Of course, education ups the ante. According to Forbes, engineering and computer science degrees still command the highest starting salaries for new grads, at $63,000 and $60,000 respectively.

Getting back to the Dice survey, it seems the above-average compensation isn't enough to keep techies happy. Only slightly over half (54 percent) are satisfied with their pay levels. That was down from 57 percent in 2012. Of course, there are many factors that can affect how much a particular IT pro is paid.

Salaries vary significantly depending on what part of the country (or what country) you're in. In the U.S., it's no surprise that the highest salaries were in Silicon Valley, where not only was the 2013 average $108,603 but that also represented a 7.2 percent increase over 2012. Down at the bottom of the list of U.S. metro areas is Pittsburgh, with an average of just over $68,000, which is a 10.6 percent decrease. Ouch. I guess the real estate folks are right; it really is all about location, location, location.

Want to take a guess at what the top-paying skill set was, according to this survey? You got it: big data. Specialists in Hadoop, Cloudera, R, NoSQL, Hive, Cassandra, MongoDB and Hbase all pulled in average salaries of over $100,000. Cloud specialists (Azure, Amazon, OpenStack) are right behind them, also in the six figure category. The bottom-dwellers on the skill set/specialty list are VisualBasic .NET, iPad and IBM mainframe – although they still come in with average salaries in the high $80,000s. The lesson here seems to be: do develop a specialty.

The highest-paying job title after management (CEO, CIO, CTO, etc.) is Systems Architect, with an average of $125,467. There's a pretty large gap between that position's salary and the average for PC technicians ($38,932). Both network engineers and programmers fall somewhere in the middle ($81,944 and $83,211).

Whether the trends indicated by all these numbers gives you reason to celebrate or mourn depends on exactly what you do in IT and where you do it – but either way, whether you're currently in the job market or not, it's valuable knowledge that can help you plan the next steps in your career in IT.

By Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MVP
dshinder@windowsnetworking.com

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Quote of the Month - It's not going to do any good to land on Mars if we're stupid. – Ray Bradbury
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3. WindowsNetworking.com Articles of Interest

4. Administrator KB Tip of the Month

Use PowerShell to Find Last Run Time of a Scheduled Task

Here's a tip from my colleague Ed Wilson (the Microsoft Scripting Guy) about how to use Windows PowerShell to find information about the last run of a scheduled job:

Question: You want to find out when a scheduled job last run. How can you use Windows PowerShell to do this?

Answer: Use the Get-ScheduledTask cmdlet to retrieve a specific scheduled task. Then pipeline the resulting object to the get-ScheduledTaskInfo cmdlet. This technique appears here with the Proxy task.

PS C:\> Get-ScheduledTask -TaskName proxy | Get-ScheduledTaskInfo

Ed Wilson is the bestselling author of eight books about Windows Scripting, including Windows PowerShell 3.0 Step by Step, and Windows PowerShell 3.0 First Steps. He writes a daily blog about Windows PowerShell called Hey, Scripting Guy! that is hosted on the Microsoft TechNet Script Center; for more PowerTips check out the Hey, Scripting Guy! blog.

For more great admin tips, check out http://www.windowsnetworking.com/kbase/.

5. Windows Networking Links of the Month

6. Ask Sgt. Deb

QUESTION:

Hi Deb,

I'm currently running a Windows Server 2008 R2 based datacenter and I've been testing Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2. I think I'd like to run Windows Server 2012 in production now, and if that goes fine, upgrade those machines to Windows Server 2012 R2. However, what I'd really not like to do is have to install new Windows Server 2012 and try to migrate applications and data to the new machines. Is it possible to do an in-place upgrade from Windows Server 2008 R2 to Windows Server 2012? If so, are there any specific limitations or things that I need to consider?

Thanks! – Wayne.

ANSWER:

Hi Wayne,

Yes! You can do an in-place upgrade from Windows Server 2008 R2 to Windows Server 2012. This is fully supported. However, there are a few things to consider before you proceed:

  • As you know, Windows Server 2008 supported both 32- and 64-bit versions, while Windows Server 2008 R2 only supported 64-bit. That 64-bit only support continues with Windows Server 2012.
  • You can only upgrade to the same language; you can't upgrade to a different language version of Server (not that many people would want to do this, but just so that you know).
  • While you can upgrade domain controllers, make sure you review the information on how domain controllers are improved in Windows Server 2012 at: http://technet.microsoft.com/library/hh994618.aspx
  • You can switch from server core to full GUI during the upgrade as a single step. However, the good news is that after you've upgraded the server, you'll now be able to switch from server core to GUI mode. This is a tremendous advantage, as you won't be forced to use PowerShell for everything.

I think you're going to like Windows Server 2012 and after you spend some time with it, I highly recommend that you upgrade to Windows Server 2012 R2. Good luck!