After seeing average paychecks shrink in 2002, salaries for IT professionals inched up in 2003, according to a new report by Dice Inc., which surveyed 21,000 visitors to its online job recruitment site from January to December 2003. The average IT salary in 2003 reached $69,400, up about 2% from $67,900 in 2002. This boost is a reversal compared with the previous year, when Dice's survey reported that average pay for IT pros fell in 2002 by about $500, to $67,900, from $68,400 in 2001. Looking ahead, Dice president and CEO Scot Melland says 72% of Dice's employer clients plan to increase hiring during the first six months of this year. That's almost a complete reversal from the 70% in 2002 who said they'd be hiring less in 2003.