Tuesday, April 29, 2014

How Much Are You Worth?

"I have a CCIE. But why my salary is not as high as expected?"
"I've just passed CCIE. Why don't I get salary increase?"
"Why my salary as CCIE is far below the market's salary survey?"

Have you heard such questions before?
It's 2014 and I'm surprised I still get emails from time to time asking either one of those questions. I thought the answers are straight forward. But in case you are one of them who sent the email, please allow me to enlighten you.

Most companies pay you based on "perceived value". It's based on opinion of your value to the company. It may have little or nothing to do with the salary range in the market. And it depends on the your ability to satisfy company's requirements.

The opinion can be shaped based on the certification that you have. It may use the market's rate as guideline. It may include your experience into consideration. And usually the opinion is associated to the internal company's rank and salary range.

Now let's go through the following questions:

Do you think you deserve your CCIE?
Do you really have the skill set of a CCIE, or you just know how to pass the exam? Don't bother to answer or throw nasty comments here. If you don't deserve your CCIE, your employer will find it out. Either earlier during the interview process or eventually after you have to perform daily work. And honestly I have no further advice for you.

Are you in the right company?
Obviously if you are a CCIE but you work in company that does not require skill set defined by CCIE certification program, you should not expect much. Sample of companies that still require employees with CCIE skill set are: Cisco partners, Service Provider/Telecommunication companies, Large enterprise, training companies etc.

Are you in the right position?
Let's assume you are in the right company. You have multiple CCIE certifications. But you take a role in Network Operation Center to monitor daily operation. There is nothing wrong with the role, but such task can be performed even by someone who has lower skill set than a CCIE. Obviously to get raise or higher salary you have to move to more senior position in the NOC, or switch to another role like consultant for integration project that requires you to use your multiple CCIE skills.

Are you relevant?
Relevant can mean your skill set is updated with the latest industry's requirement. Relevant can also mean your skill set contributes directly to your company's business. For example: even if you work in large enterprise with complex network, even if your job is crucial to maintain the daily operation, but your company, while it indeed runs on top of the network infrastructure, it does not make money immediately from the network infrastructure but from other product or services, then unfortunately you may be considered as 'overhead' or 'cost center'. You may disagree, but compare the situation with a consulting company that sells your skill set to its customer and they charge based on the number of man days your perform the work. You get the idea.

In summary, if you can see direct link of your expertise and CCIE skill set with the business your company is doing, you should expect to get a better pay. Or you can simply move to another company that will value you more.

And my opinion about salary survey report?
"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."