Highest Paying
Tech Jobs in 2021

Technology is a field that generally offers above-average salaries, provided you are in the right area of specialization and working for the right tech company. There are multiple education tracks for people seeking employment in tech and many positions do not require higher education. With the right training, you can become a software developer or a data warehouse architect and earn an impressive salary.

Read on to learn more about the highest-paying tech jobs and the pathways you can take to secure a future in this field.

What Do Technology Jobs Pay?

In 2020, the median salary for professionals working in computer and information technology was $91,250, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Computer and information research scientists have some of the highest-paying careers, with a median salary of $126,830.

Computer support specialists are the lowest earners in the group, with an annual median salary of $55,510. However, this is still well above the national average of $41,950, which shows how lucrative a career in tech can be.

Why You Should Start a Tech Career

You should pursue a career in tech because you don’t need to complete a four-year degree to work in this field. It’s important to be well-trained and educated in your area, but this training can be done through coding bootcamps and online certifications. Even without extensive education, you can find yourself among the highest earners in the world.

Job Security

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook in computer and information technology professions for the period 2019-2029 currently sits at 11 percent, which is much faster than the average growth across all industries. This means you will enjoy high employability for the next ten years.

Amazing Annual Salary

The average salary for a software engineering manager, according to PayScale, is $141,112 per year. However, with the right opportunities and skills, you can find yourself earning even more than that.

Multiple Career Pathways

The variety of employment opportunities for tech professionals can sometimes seem endless. Tech jobs are not only relevant to people working in the tech industry, but they now have applications in nearly every sector, from government and healthcare to banking and finance.

Highest Paying Jobs in Tech: 2021 List

Highest Paying Jobs in Tech: 2021 List

The highest-paying tech jobs in 2021 are software engineering managers and enterprise architects. The lowest paying tech jobs that feature in our 2021 list are IT program managers and systems architects. All the job growth data is sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Software Engineering Manager

Average salary: $141,112

Job growth: 22%*

Required education: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science

The skills that are most associated with this tech profession are software development management, Agile software development, project management, and soft skills like collaboration and communication, along with knowledge of database software architecture and networks.

If you want to increase your earning potential, you should bolster your skills with knowledge of data modeling, distributed systems, web applications, hiring practices, Service Oriented Architecture, continuous deployment, cloud computing, the Android software development kit (SDK), CSS, and Salesforce.

All these skills contribute to the successful execution of the tech-related tasks you’ll be performing. These tasks include the assembly of a software engineering team and the effective delegation of assignments to that team. Among those assignments will be the development and maintenance of software products.

Enterprise Architect

Average salary: $135,029

Job growth: 5%**

Required education: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science

The skills that are most associated with this tech job include cloud computing, database networks, strategy development, systems architecture, enterprise application integration, and enterprise solutions.

The skills that are most likely to affect your earning potential in this line of work include Microsoft SharePoint Server, artificial intelligence, Microsoft Azure, data warehousing, business intelligence, data modeling, strategy development, information architecture, enterprise application integration, and Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL).

These skills will make it easy for you to translate business needs into business solutions, oversee product development, manage a company’s technical needs, and integrate a company’s tech architecture.

Software Development Manager

Average salary: $126,328

Job growth: 22%*

Required education: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science

To thrive in this career you’ll need to be skilled in people management, software development, and project management.

To improve your job performance and salary potential, consider specializing in skills like Objective-C, Apache Hadoop, machine learning, Spring, cloud computing, Node.js, Scala, Apache Tomcat, distributed systems, and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

These professionals can work in many industries, including business, scientific research, healthcare, and application development. In most cases, your primary task will be to either maintain or upgrade the existing software within an organization. A software development manager is more likely to interact with clients than other professionals in similar management positions.

Data Architect

Average salary: $121,239

Job growth: 5%**

Required education: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science

If you are a job seeker in this field, you need to be competent with database architecture, data warehousing, elements of business intelligence, data modeling, and SQL. If you want to be hired by some of the best companies, which pay the best salaries, there is also the expectation that you be competent with clouding computing, big data analytics, NoSQL, AWS, software architecture, Apache Hadoop, Apache Spark, enterprise application integration, and Teradata.

A data architect is tasked with identifying relevant organizational data and consuming, interpreting, and processing that data. The end product of your work will be data visualizations, which will be used to help the company make better-informed decisions and increase profit. Data architects need a very strong technical foundation to carry out analytics work.

Solutions Architect

Average salary: $119,756

Job growth: 5%**

Required education: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science

Any software architect is competent with enterprise solutions, cloud computing, IT consulting, software architecture, and system architecture. The best technicians also have a firm grasp of SAP Business Warehouse, database administration, Apache Kafka, ServiceNow, Informatica, Software Development LifeCycle, Big Data Analytics, enterprise service bus (ESB), IT security and infrastructure, and Apache Spark.

Solutions architects are good at identifying business objectives and translating those goals into meaningful solutions designed for the real world. Document testing is also something that would invariably fall within your line of responsibility. Beyond that, a solutions architect is also expected to lead stakeholders to improvements in company processes.

At the heart of your work will be the drafting and implementation of technical solutions for your company or a company that has hired you to do some technology consulting work.

Site Reliability Engineer

Average salary: $117,768

Job growth: 22%*

Required education: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science

Site engineering is similar to development operations (DevOps) because it bridges the gap which so often exists between development and operations in a company’s structure. Where a DevOps engineer focuses on a mindset and culture of collaboration, a site engineer is more focused on setting up tangible best practices and metrics to provide company solutions in a technical environment.

The site reliability engineer is responsible for system reliability, whereas somebody working DevOps is responsible for the continuity and speed of product development and delivery. While DevOps will be included in your standard skillset for this line of work, you will also be expected to go beyond that by being competent with Linux, Python, AWS, and automation scripting.

If you want to go far in this field, strive to improve your knowledge of things like the Go programming language, Google Cloud Platform, Puppet, Java, Kubernetes, and Chef.

Applications Development Manager

Average salary: $115,839

Job growth: 22%*

Required education: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or Software Development

Applications development managers are software engineers expected to have expert knowledge on subjects like SQL, Agile software development, Salesforce, AWS, Java, HTML, Oracle, and Microsoft Office.

Because this is a managerial position, there is also the expectation that these professionals possess the soft skills required to manage a team. Those teams will be expected to perform tasks that have been delegated by the applications development manager. Central to those tasks will be the creation of software for industries like healthcare or game development or even the government or the military.

In an applications development role, you will be expected to be comfortable in your interactions with entry-level subordinates, executive management, and clients.

User Experience Manager

Average salary: $114,844

Job growth: 22%*

Required education: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or Software Engineering

Software engineers involved with user experience (UX) design are responsible for how users interact with and experience a product. Because a UX manager is a leadership role, you will be expected to have the skills required to manage projects and the people executing those projects.

While many tasks will be delegated, a UX manager will still be expected to perform comprehensive user research, and identify the problems that undermine the system, before drafting and implementing the solutions required to improve the overall user experience.
To be able to do that effectively, you will also be expected to have a working knowledge of web content management.

IT Program Manager

Average salary: $113,859

Job growth: 10%

Required education: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or Information Technology

Project management experience in communication networks and leadership skills are critical for IT program managers. Beyond that, these professionals are also expected to be competent with Agile software development, the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), cyber security, financial reporting, risk management, change management, and the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). These are all skills that help set you apart from general IT management work. There is a strong technical component to this career.

Your primary role within this job will be to manage an IT department at a company, which includes attending meetings with employees, where you will delegate a set of tasks to them. The IT program manager’s job includes elements of supervision and collaboration.

Systems Architect

Average salary: $113,699

Job growth: 5%**

Required education: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science

Systems architects are responsible for system structure, interface design, and custom module development. The systems architect is also responsible for the documentation of features, requirements, and risks.

This is a technical role but it is also a leadership position which is why a broad skillset is required when seeking employment in this line of work. That skillset includes sound knowledge of systems architecture, system integration, systems troubleshooting, systems engineering, and cloud computing.

Skills that could help you progress in your career include telecommunications, Agile software development, DevOps, requirements analysis, C++, UNIX, and software architecture.

*Data from software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers.
**Data from computer network architects.

How to Start a Tech Career

How to Start a Tech Career

There are multiple pathways for people who want a future in the tech industry. You could go to school part-time or full-time and you can also improve your tech skills using online platforms. If you are making a transition from another industry into tech, you can enroll in various courses and bootcamps that will help you realize some of your career goals.

Coding Bootcamps

Coding bootcamps are designed for people who want to learn as much as they can in a short period of time. The intensive courses provided by bootcamps allow students to continue working while studying and are generally affordable.

Tech Degrees

There are two common types of tech degrees. Many people enter the tech industry with a two-year associate degree. Pursuing a four-year bachelor’s degree is also a popular option. Both can be completed on-campus or online. Tech degrees are comprehensive programs that cover all aspects of computing, while short courses and bootcamps tend to be limited to a specific area of specialization, like coding or some element of tech design.

Highest Paying Tech Jobs That Don't Require a Degree

Many of the skills associated with the jobs below can be acquired without attending university, either by completing a short course or attending a bootcamp. To enter these careers you won’t have to invest any money into pursuing a university degree, yet your earning potential will still be remarkably high, particularly when compared to other industries. All job growth data is sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Analytics Manager

Average salary: $97,849

Job growth: 11%

At the heart of the work of a systems analyst is the process of consuming and interpreting data, extracting meaningful information from that analysis, and using that knowledge to make better-informed business decisions.

The skillset of an analytics manager includes data analysis, knowledge of SQL, business analysis, business intelligence, forecasting, SAS, and statistical analysis.

Mobile Application Developer

Average salary: $72,955

Job growth: 22%*

Mobile applications developers do exactly what the job title says. They design and develop apps that are suitable for use on a mobile device. The best mobile applications developers are able to work with iOS and Android operating systems.

Mobile applications developers who want to increase their worth to the employer should also be well versed with object oriented programming, Apache Cordova, Agile software development, React Native, React.js, Kotlin, Node.js, and Xamarin.

*Data from software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers.

Cloud Solutions Engineer

Average salary: $87,246

Job growth: 22%*

The basic expectation in this line of work is that you have a working knowledge of Microsoft Azure, Linux, Amazon Web Services, and cloud computing. You are also expected to be able to navigate your way through the various components of IT security and infrastructure. To perform your tasks within this job, you should also have automation scripting skills.

The scope of your work as a cloud solutions engineer will include the assessment of existing storage infrastructure before drafting and implementing any solutions that might be required to improve its performance. This could range from the mere management of storage capacity to the improvement of storage speed.

Information Security Engineer

Average salary: $94,947

Job growth: 31%

This job is first and foremost a security analyst position. That is why you are expected to have expert knowledge on subjects like security policy and procedure, the various branches of cyber security, security testing and auditing, and security risk management.

If you want to earn a little more in this line of work, you can bolster your knowledge of subjects like Java, automation scripting, cloud computing, Linux, switches and firewall installation, penetration testing, systems engineering, identity management, and encryption.

Data Scientist

Average salary: $96,491

Job growth: 15%

Your average data scientist is expected to have expert knowledge of Python, data analysis, R, machine learning, and statistical analysis. The scope of a data scientist’s work will also cover things like C++, Amazon Redshift, artificial intelligence, A/B testing, Elasticsearch, data warehousing, Apache Kafka, and image processing.

Final Thoughts

While it is difficult to go wrong with a career in tech, it is important to have clarity on which jobs actually pay well and how you should go about securing those jobs. It is also important to search for jobs that not only provide you with a solid base on which to build your career but that also open you up to multiple career pathways within the industry.

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