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InformationWeek released its 2008 U.S. Salary Survey, and it shows the first decline in salaries for business technology professionals in its 11-year history. So is it time to panic?

While I haven't laid out the $300 for the full report, there is a small amount of detail on InformationWeek's website. That snippet, at least, shows there's probably no need to have a meltdown, given that the two examples it cites had drops of only $1000, but perhaps there are still some steps to take to ensure not only your job security, but your salary security as well.

First, make sure your skills are up-to-date and relevant. You may be indispensable now as the go-to guy for all the legacy systems in your division, but if those systems are phased out, what will you be needed for when they're gone? Instead of being phased out yourself, update your skills to the latest needs your company has -- or presumably will have in the near future.

What next?  Specialize.  Stephen Morris, in his excellent Digital Short Cut Moving Your Career Up the Value Chain, argues that to keep moving forward you must "acquire and apply relevant new skills and knowledge and use them to rapidly solve difficult problems." His work shows how picking an area of specialization, finding mentors, and improving your time management skills can help you stay ahead of the career curve.

Other insight can be found in the InformIT Reference Guides, many of which recently focused on careers:

There will always be risk, especially in an industry as rapidly changing as this. But with continuous learning and some career planning, you don't have to be the one who loses out.

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