If you want to improve your chances of earning a big salary in IT, take a degree in engineering, join a financial services company, change jobs frequently, and try to land a job in contract management or IT strategy.
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These are the findings of the first systematic analysis by the National Computing Centre, Computer Weekly and Gateway of what it takes to become an IT high flyer, based on the careers of nearly 3,000 IT professionals.
The survey shows that technical brilliance is no guarantee of a high salary - the type of business you work in, the sort of work you do, which degree you have and your gender can have a much greater impact on your salary.
The findings could give staff a guide on where to focus efforts to improve their chances of a higher salary.
The research has confirmed many people's fears that men have a better chance of earning the highest salaries in IT than women. It revealed that while 27% of men rank among the highest earners, only 18% of women are in the top bracket. By contrast, 42% of women rank among the lowest earners.
It also found that a degree in IT is not necessarily a passport to a good salary. Staff with degrees in engineering, for example, are more likely to be high earners than those with IT qualifications.