ITCareerFinder analyzes wages and hiring data to identify the highest paying jobs in information technology.
This article will be updated annually with the latest jobs and salaries. Current year: 2021.
Pay may not be everything, but it’s very important. How important? According to a recent study by Indeed, 93% of tech workers cite pay and benefits as the most important factor when considering a new job.
What’s more, in a rapidly changing field like information technology, workers often need to reach into their own pockets to acquire new skills and maintain their marketability. In other words, to make money in tech, you need money to invest in professional development. Enough said.
To help you maximize your income potential, here is a look at 12 of the highest paying technology jobs, why they are so valuable to employers, and what you need to land a position.
Aspiring data architects should note however, that this is not an entry-level job. Most architects hone their skills in other IT positions. To get started, earn a bachelor’s degree then polish your skills in database design and management by working as a data engineer, data analyst or applications developer. Once you have some experience under your belt, you’ll be able to transition into a high-paying career in data architecture.
With demand outpacing supply, these modern-day gold miners topped RHT’s list of top earners for 2021, with median salaries of $166,500. FYI, big data engineer and data engineer are often used interchangeably to describe the same role, however titles may vary based on the size and complexity of the data sets and experience.
Why makes database managers so valuable? For one thing, it takes a lot to become one. Roughly 50% have bachelor’s degrees and nearly 23% have master’s degrees. Since a database manager is responsible not only for managing and updating the database environment but also for managing a team of professionals who handle tasks such as designing and configuring database systems or database programming, they need strong leadership and analytical skills. Relevant certifications in popular database technologies such as Microsoft SQL Server, IBM DB2, and MySQL will also help maximize earnings in this role.
To be clear, you don’t necessarily need a technical or engineering background to become product manager. However, you will need excellent communication skills and the ability to set priorities and shepherd a product from concept to release. To help you plot a path to a high-paying job as a product manager, check out these stories and tips from transitioners.
Given the similar salaries, choosing between the two roles often comes down to whether you like to design and plan (architect) or manage and monitor (engineer). Best of all you don’t necessarily need experience to launch a career in the cloud as long you earn a certification and build up your portfolio, possibly through pro bono work.
Best of all, many pros are self-taught. So if you want make a career pivot into tech without going into debt, web development is one of the best ways to get your foot in the door. Plus, adding mobile skills to your toolbox can boost your paycheck even more.
Breaking into this lucrative field can take longer for some than others, depending on your knowledge of computer science fundamentals and object-oriented programming. Here’s a deeper look at the mobile developer career path including marketable skills, credentials and programming languages for aspiring app creators.
If you get a computer science degree, acquire information systems knowledge and master fundamental programming languages, you can earn $75,000 to $100,000 or more right out of the gate as a software engineer.
However, software developers are increasingly self-taught, possibly as high as 60% according to studies from Stack Overflow and HackerRank. If you teach yourself or go the bootcamp route, it may take you a couple of years or more to reach a six-figure salary.
It’s no wonder that DevOps engineer is often heralded as one of IT’s most in-demand job titles. What’s more, because they help increase a company’s productivity, DevOps engineers earn a mid-point salary of $120,000 according to RHT's latest salary survey. Here’s a list of skills you need to become a DevOps engineer, but don’t worry, you don’t need to master all of them to land a lucrative position in this field.
These versatile professionals have a wide range of backgrounds and earned average salaries of $128,750 according to RHT. Indeed.com lists over 63,000 PM job openings, proving that there are plenty of opportunities to enter the field and move up. From intensive bootcamps, to hands-on training, self-paced online courses, seminars and certifications, there are numerous ways to become a project manager in the IT space.
Acquiring cybersecurity skills and certifications such as Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) or CompTIA Security+ can give you an edge in the market and help you land a position as an information systems security manager or even an entry-level job as an information security analyst. One thing is certain, there will be a huge need for cybersecurity workers over the next decade because the bad actors are not going away anytime soon.
IT directors usually earn their title after working as lower-level managers for at least five years, according to the BLS. Along the way, they work under mentors and gain experience with project management, budgeting, information security, planning, software development, staff management and more.
Then, with the right education, experience, skills and success, IT directors can be promoted to an executive position as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) or Chief Information Officer (CIO). While the median salary for a CTO is $210,125, CIOs take the grand prize at $237,875, according to RHT.
After all is said and done, there are plenty of opportunities to earn high salaries, top-tier bonuses and great perks with a position in information technology. However, to reach and sustain peak earning power, IT pros need to be committed to continuous growth and development throughout their careers.