Have you ever glanced at a mirror and suddenly noticed something about yourself that you've never realized before? This month, we hold up a mirror to our audience to give you insights into yourself and your community and reflect how you compare with your peers. We hope the reflection you see here will not only provide interesting information but, more important, will equip you to ensure your salary is fair for your situation, find out how outsourcing is affecting your industry, assess your priorities, and review your job satisfaction. We also hope you'll have a little fun learning about what fellow IT pros like to do in their spare time and how widely your political views are shared.

What We Surveyed
So, let me tell you about how this issue and the survey behind it came about. In mid-August, we sent our first request for you to take our inaugural Windows IT Pro Industry Survey 2004. The survey collected data in five areas: About You Professionally, Your Employment Outlook, About Your Company, About You Personally, and Your Beliefs and Opinions. In About You Professionally, we investigated job titles and responsibilities, how long you've been in IT, your current job priorities, what keeps you up at night, key factors affecting your job satisfaction, and professional organizations and events that you participate in.

On the employment outlook front, we probed into how long you've been with your company and how long you plan to stay there, the key factors you consider when you look for a new job, and the employment outlook at your company. We also asked quite a few questions about outsourcing—your company's current and future plans for outsourcing, what kind of jobs your company outsources, where those jobs are going, and your level of concern about outsourcing.

Questions about where your company is headquartered, the location you work out of, the industry your company is in, and your company's size, gross annual revenue, and current desktop and server installed base helped us complete a profile of who you work for. Questions in the About You Personally section provided demographics such as age, gender, race, nationality, education, compensation, and how you like to spend your leisure time.

Your beliefs and opinions came through loud and clear in the answers you provided in our final survey category. We asked about your political and social beliefs, the five most pressing problems your country faces today, whether you'd recommend the IT profession as a career choice for young people, and which high-tech companies you admire most and would like to work for.

Who Is the Typical IT Pro?
Coming up with a profile of a typical IT pro was challenging due to the diversity of companies and people that make up the IT industry. The following snapshots present some of our key findings about the IT workforce. For more details, be sure to drill down into the specific stories and graphs throughout the magazine.

Where do you work? Of the 2722 respondents, 65 percent work in the United States. Twelve percent identified Europe as their place of work, followed by Asia/Pacific (9 percent) and Canada (7 percent). The remaining 7 percent work in other parts of the world. Within the United States, 56 percent work east of the Mississippi River versus 44 percent to the west. Almost one in three respondents work in Mid-Atlantic or South Atlantic states.

What's your job title? One in two respondents claim a systems administrator, network administrator, or IT management job title. Other job titles span developers, architects, help desk or desktop deployment professionals, consultants and trainers, and executive management (e.g., president, CEO, CFO).

What industry do you work in? No surprise here—all types of industries rely on the services of IT pros. Several groups of industries tallied double-digit stats, including consulting/professional services (13 percent), computer-related industries and IT services (13 percent), manufacturing (11 percent), finance-related businesses (10 percent), and government (10 percent).

Demographics. Well more than half of IT pros identify themselves as white (88 percent), male (78 percent), less than 40 years of age (60 percent), experienced in their profession, well-educated, and earning $50,000 or more on the job. They average 38 years of age, have approximately 11 years of IT work experience, and have worked 6 years for their current employer. Fifty-six percent hold a bachelor's or higher degree, another 14 percent have an associate degree, and one in four IT pros has pursued graduate studies.

So, does the data imply that IT pros are satisfied with the career choice they've made? That's harder to gauge. Turn to "Hard Work—Is It Worth It?" page 39 (and to the rest of our magazine), to draw your own conclusion.

See associated figure — Respondents by Region

See associated figure — Respondents by Title

See associated figure — Respondents by Industry

See associated figure — The Typical IT Pro