10 Highest-Paying Jobs in Tech

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by Nalea Ko
Published on October 28, 2021
Reviewed by Brian Nichols

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The workforce does not offer many guarantees, but you can usually count on the tech industry to offer above-average salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), tech professionals often earn much more than the national average salary, which was $56,310 per year in May 2020. In a 2017 press release, professional tech organization CompTIA reported that technology workers often make double the national average salary.

The BLS reports that computer and information technology jobs paid a median annual wage of $91,250 in May 2020. The highest-paying jobs in tech include applications architects, information systems security managers, and mobile app developers. These positions pay average salaries of over $100,000 per year.

While many other industries struggle to rebound from the pandemic, the BLS projects that computer and information technology occupations will grow 13% between 2020 and 2030. According to those projections, tech employers will add an estimated 667,600 jobs in that time, hiring for roles such as computer and information research scientists, computer network architects, and software developers.

Computer and information technology jobs often pay above-average salaries, but the following 10 occupations pay some of the highest wages in the field. Keep reading to see what jobs award the highest salaries, learn what these professionals do at work, and gain insight into their educational backgrounds.

Highest-Paying Tech Jobs

Applications Architect

Applications architects lead teams that design, create, and deploy software applications. They monitor applications for security issues and help to improve the user interface. Architects need good interpersonal skills to communicate with senior business managers and junior developers. This senior role often requires proficiency in programming languages like SQL, Java, and C. Most positions require at least a bachelor's degree in computer science.

National Annual Average (October 2021): $140,790

Artificial Intelligence Engineer

Artificial intelligence engineers have a firm understanding of statistics, probability, and linear algebra because they use algorithms to build AI models. This job requires at least a bachelor's degree (and sometimes a master's degree) in computer science, data science, or information technology. AI engineers use Python, Java, and R. They also have experience building AI models using machine learning frameworks such as K, PyTorch, Theano, and TensorFlow.

National Annual Average (October 2021): $164,770

Data Architect

It takes a degree in computer science or a related field to become a data architect. Data architects design data models by coordinating with teams of data scientists. Their responsibilities may include creating and implementing database solutions, documenting data structures, and meeting with stakeholders. The job requires experience in data transformation, software development, and relational and NoSQL databases.

National Annual Average (October 2021): $132,620

Data Engineer

Data engineers design and build data systems to optimize data collection and analysis. Engineers build data pipelines to connect information systems. Their work helps data scientists to pull and analyze data. The job requires using Python, Java, and R, as well as database systems like NoSQL and SQL. Specific job duties depend on the company's needs. Data engineers may build data warehouses, data lakes, or BI solutions.

National Annual Average (October 2021): $121,940

Data Scientist

Companies need data scientists to gather and interpret data. Data scientists pull data and use their findings to help improve business operations. They use cluster analysis, regression analysis, and outcome predictions to prepare datasets.

National Annual Average (October 2021): $119,410

Database Manager

Database managers, sometimes called database administrators, make sure databases function properly. They oversee data accuracy, data integrity, and data cleansing. It is also the job of a database manager to set database policies. Companies usually require database managers to hold bachelor's degrees in computer science. Employers often want database managers experienced in AWS, SQL, PL/SQL, and Oracle.

National Annual Average (October 2021): $142,470

DevOps Engineer

DevOps engineers manage and improve the software development process by implementing best practices and using tools and resources. The job requires flexibility and experience in coding and designing infrastructures and/or software applications. Engineers may also need scripting experience in Bash or Python. Employers often look for DevOps engineers with bachelor's degrees in computer science.

National Annual Average (October 2021): $114,360

Information Systems Security Manager

Information systems security managers oversee security operations for computers, networks, and databases. Professionals in these roles often delegate tasks and train team members. They monitor, test, and assess security safeguards and alert senior management of potential risks. Many information systems security managers have bachelor's degrees, and some have master's degrees.

National Annual Average (October 2021): $126,990

Mobile App Developer

Mobile app developers develop, test, and launch mobile apps. They work in finance, healthcare, and other areas of the public sector. With product and design teams, mobile app developers meet end-user needs and execute applications. They may also enhance current iOS and Android apps. These professionals have experience in OOP design, JavaScript, and APIs such as Angular, JQuery, and React.

National Annual Average (October 2021): $101,900

Software Engineer

The daily assignments for software engineers include designing and building software products and applications. They may create business solutions, mobile apps, or games. Software engineers must have experience in front-end and back-end coding. They design back-end series and APIs and various front-end features. Software engineers have proficiency in Python, Java, Scala, and/or C++.

National Annual Average (October 2021): $99,730

Frequently Asked Questions About Tech Jobs

What is a good salary in tech? true

According to the BLS, workers in computer and information technology earned a median annual wage of $91,250 in May 2020. However, your exact salary can depend on several factors, including your specific occupation and your level of experience.

Computer programmers make median wages that range from $88,510-$103,710 a year, depending on whether they work in software publishing, finance and insurance, manufacturing, or computer systems design. The lowest 10% earned less than $51,440 annually, while the top 10% made $146,050 per year.

Salaries typically increase with work experience, certifications, and education. Popular credentials include certified information systems security professional, certified in risk and information systems control, and project management professional.

Many of the highest-paying jobs in tech go to senior staffers who usually, but not always, hold higher degrees and more experience. According to PayScale, senior software engineers typically earn between $88,000 and $160,000 a year, with the average worker making $119,770 annually (as of October 2021).

What is the easiest tech job? true

You do not need a college degree to become a computer technician, technical support specialist, web designer, or computer programmer. People often begin working with certificates, postsecondary diplomas, or high school diplomas. That said, employers may want candidates with associate degrees in computer science for some of these roles. The degree an employer requires depends on the company and the position.

Companies often prefer applicants with graduate degrees for senior positions. Then again, ample work experience may suffice.

Why are tech jobs paid so well? true

Tech jobs are in high demand, so they pay above-average salaries. The business and public sectors pay well because they see an increased value in security, data, and integrity. Tech companies also receive a high return for their staffing investments. In short, they can afford to pay workers top salaries.

Additionally, the highest-paying jobs in tech pay six-figure salaries because they require years of experience and/or college degrees.

However, not all tech jobs pay six-figure salaries. Many jobs in IT accept people immediately out of high school or self-trained professionals. You may not need a four-year degree or graduate education for occupations that require less specific knowledge, but they also tend to pay less than senior positions.

Reviewed by:

Born and raised in upstate New York, Brian Nichols began his IT education through a vocational high school where he focused on computer science, IT fundamentals, and networking. Brian then went to his local community college, where he received his associate of science in computer information science. He then received his bachelor of science in applied networking and system administration from a private college. Brian now lives in Kansas City, where he works full-time as a DevOps engineer. Brian is also a part-time instructor in cybersecurity. He's passionate about cybersecurity and helping students succeed.

Brian Nichols is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education freelance review network.

Explore our IT skills list to learn which soft skills can improve your chances of landing a tech job and finding professional success. Explore our list of the top 12 jobs for career changers based on demand and earning potential. Learn about these jobs and their education requirements. Are you interested in learning more about careers in software engineering? Click for information about opportunities at all levels of education. Start planning today.

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