Clearly, the 2010 IT Salary Guide reveals that average starting salaries are suffering a rough patch. It’s a bit grim to look at the list of IT salaries and see numbers that have fallen since last year: database administrator, down 4.1%; systems administrator, down 2.8%; IT manager, down 2.4%. Factoring in inflation, these modest declines represent true budget discomfort.

These slumping numbers are in contrast to 2009, when average starting IT salaries increased by 3.7% from the prior year. And the bountiful harvest of 2008 enjoyed a robust 5.3% increase over 2007.

If you’re seeking sunshine in the IT job market, realize that unemployment remains relatively low in the tech field. Moreover, the 2010 IT Salary Guide, published by Robert Half Technology, indicates that several IT skills remain in solid demand. These include network administration (where cloud computing and SaaS are boosting the complexity), virtualization, applications and Web development, and (as always) help desk and desktop support.

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