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Open source and scripting technologies may be capturing the headlines lately, but Java and Microsoft language skills still put developers top in salary talks with bosses.

Next year, application developers and senior web developers skilled in Java, Java Enterprise Edition and Microsoft's C# and VisualBasic.NET look likely to have more leverage in salary negotiations and pull in more cash than those armed with Linux, Apache, MySQL and Perl/PHP/Python (LAMP) or AJAX, according to a new salary survey.

IT employment specialist Robert Half Technology's 2008 Salary Guide found application and senior web developers versed in Java and Microsoft's languages can add another 10 to 12 per cent on top of the salary range for developers. Those skilled in LAMP and AJAX can add around five per cent.

As a group, software developers can expect to be among those IT professionals getting the largest salary increases in 2008 - beating businesses systems analysts, database managers and program managers.

Senior web developers and application developers can expect 6.6 and six per cent respectively. Application architects can expect a raise of 7.5 per cent, taking their average salary to between $87,250 and $120,000.

Database managers can expect the lowest increase, just 2.6 per cent, although they will command a significantly higher average salary range than developers of between $88,750 and $122,750.

On the plus side, database managers experienced in Microsoft's SQL Server and in Oracle can tack on the most to their salary expectations - 12 per cent.

Outside development and databases, messaging administrators should see starting salaries increase 7.1 per cent to between $55,000 and $77,750. Robert Half rated messaging administrators' importance by calling them organizations' "air traffic controllers" in charge of vast amounts of information that must flow between employees, clients and customers using email, corporate networks and mobile devices.

Robert Half, whose survey is based on analysis of "thousands" of job placements across its US offices, said employers are raising base compensation for new recruits and throwing in perks such as signing bonuses and equity to attract and retain top candidates in a competitive environment. The company pointed to particular strong demand for IT professionals in financial services, healthcare and commercial construction.

You can sign up for an emailed copy of the Robert Half Technology 2008 Salary Guide here or read results the here

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