When considering learning new skills for a career, it is important to have a good understanding of the costs and benefits involved. Costs include the actual tuition price for a bootcamp or other career-prep program as well as the time cost of learning the material. A major benefit is gaining new skills, which is exciting in itself and also gives learners better chances in the job market. Then, once you’ve attained your goal job, a secondary benefit is the income you will receive in exchange for your highly technical work!
In this post, we’ve compiled a ranking of the highest paying jobs in tech that a bootcamp can help you prepare for. It’s important to remember that the salaries you can expect to earn vary according to many factors, not just your job title. The location of your job, your education level, the size of your company, and the specifics of your role all play a part in determining the salary you will receive. Our rankings are based on U.S. national averages. If you want to get a better idea of how salaries may vary in different parts of the country, check out our city breakdowns!
To set a reference point, the average U.S. salary as of 2020 is $56,310. You’ll find that nearly all tech jobs across the country pay more than the U.S. average. This is because having coding skills and other tech knowledge makes employees a high-demand commodity in the job market. Across computer and software jobs in the U.S.the average salary is $96,770. That’s nearly twice the average salary for non-tech jobs!
However, not all jobs in the tech industry pay equally. Generally, more senior-level roles pay more, while entry-level jobs pay less, but there are some junior roles that pay quite a lot, especially compared to junior-level jobs in other industries. Below we’ve ranked tech jobs by average U.S. salary using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Glassdoor. We’ve also included stats on the average experience level in these roles to help you understand which jobs are attainable early on in your career and which ones are more senior.
Tech Jobs Ranked by Average Salary
The rankings are in! Our salary data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 database. We’ve included one marker for the average U.S. salary (for all jobs) as well as a marker for the average salary for computer & software jobs on the whole.
Average Years of Experience for Tech Jobs
Below we’ve grouped popular tech roles by field – Academia, Data, Hardware, IT, Product – and ordered each role by seniority. Note that these career tracks are not strict paths you must follow, but rather a loose categorization based on the focus area of each role. It’s totally reasonable to transition between roles on different tracks. Additionally, some roles may fall into several fields. A user support specialist, for example, may work at a company help desk as a member of an IT team or they may field support requests as part of a software product team.
Our data on years of experience for each role is from Glassdoor. Of all the roles we examined, Computer Research Scientists have the most work experience, while User Support Specialists are the newest to the field.
Comparing Expected Growth and Salary for Tech Jobs
While it’s exciting to work toward jobs with the highest salary, it is also important to consider the expected growth for your job over the coming years. Jobs with high expected growth will likely present those in the field with more opportunities for career mobility and advancement. Growth outlook and salary expectations often go hand-in-hand because employers will offer sizable salaries for positions in high demand.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics collects data and performs broad economic analysis to calculate the 10-year expected growth for the jobs in their Occupational Handbook. We’ve used their predictions for expected growth over the period from 2020 to 2030 in our rankings. For context, the average growth expected across all jobs (in tech and other fields) is 8%.
Which Tech Job is Right for You?
When choosing a career, salary expectations and growth outlook are important considerations, but you’ll find the most satisfaction in work that you enjoy so make sure to consider the actual responsibilities and day-to-day tasks involved in a job before you set your mind on a particular career path. Here we’ll briefly explain each of these tech jobs. You can dive deeper into these and other popular tech careers in our Careers section!
Computer Systems Manager
This is a senior-level IT role in charge of overseeing the computer systems, servers, and cybersecurity of an organization. This role shares similarities to the role of Project Manager. Computer systems managers must have a firm understanding of all of the technologies used by their organization and how they work together. They should also be a good people-manager as they oversee a team of other IT professionals. Aspiring computer systems managers should start off in an IT role like a systems administrator or devops position.
Key skills for a computer systems manager:
- Agile Methodology
- Team Management
- Cost-Benefit Analysis
- Project Planning
- Software Sales Negotiation
Computer Research Scientist
Computer research scientists use their advanced knowledge of computing and coding to push the boundaries of the industry. They may design new technologies, test new applications of existing technologies or study the effects of a technology on systems or societies. Computer research scientists likely write and publish peer-reviewed papers and attend conferences with other professionals.
Key skills for a computer research scientist:
- Machine Learning
- Cloud Computing
- Technical Writing
- Experiment Design
- Model Development
- Data Science
Computer Hardware Engineer
Computer hardware engineers design the physical components of computers such as circuit boards and graphics cards. They may build actual computers or work on IoT products that contain computers like smart appliances.
Key skills for a computer hardware engineer:
A network architect (or network engineer) designs the communication systems of an organization and acts as part of the IT team. LANs and Intranets are examples of networks they might work on. This role is also responsible for researching and implementing new networking software that can contribute to their organization’s work. Some network architects work with cloud networks in addition to on-site.
Key skills for a network architect:
- Network Drivers
Software developers design and create new software products or new features for existing softwares. They may work for a software company or for a non-software company that does use software for their services, like a bank that offers a mobile banking option. There are many levels of software developer. You will likely start out as a Junior Developer but can advance through the ranks of Developer II, Developer III, Senior Developer, and Lead Developer. Some software developers go by the title of software engineer.
Key skills for a software developer:
Information Security Analyst
An information security analyst is responsible for the cybersecurity of an organization. They are part of the IT team and are involved with protecting systems and servers. Information security analysts work with firewalls, penetration testing, and data encryption to maintain a secure system and prevent data breaches.
Key skills for an information security analyst:
- Vulnerability assessment
Data scientist is one of the fastest growing jobs of the future. This role uses coding and algorithms to collect, manipulate, and leverage large amounts of data. They may use this data for business purposes or research. Skills like machine learning and automation help them gather data and use it for predictive analysis. Data scientists are employed across industries – from software development to banking to government to healthcare and more!
Key skills for a data scientist:
- Machine Learning
- Predictive Analytics
Database administrators, or DBAs maintain large databases to make sure their organization’s data is well-organized and secure. They help other members of the organization to access data they need to accomplish their work and manage permissions for who is allowed to use different kinds of information.
Key skills for a database administrator:
Network administrators are in charge of the day-to-day management and maintenance of their organization’s communication networks. Their area of responsibility includes LANs and intranets. They spend their days monitoring the systems for alerts and repairing issues that arise.
Key skills for a network administrator:
Computer Systems Analysts
Computer systems analysts support and expand upon all of the IT solutions utilized by their organization. They may help other members of the organization use certain softwares and work to find solutions for any problems that arise or new functionality that is desired. Computer systems analysts leverage coding and testing methods in their day-to-day work.
Key skills for a computer systems analyst:
- Technical Writing
- Data Modeling
- Cost-Benefit Analysis
Computer Science Professor
Computer science professors teach coding and other computing technologies to post-secondary students at colleges and universities. Depending on their position, they may also work on computer science research projects to find new applications for the concepts that they teach or to analyze potential effects of a new technology.
Key skills for a computer science professor:
- Machine Learning
- Technical Writing
Computer programmers write and test code. Oftentimes they work on software projects in support of software development teams. Computer programmers may specialize in a particular language like Java or Python, or they may work with a variety of languages for different tasks. Computer programmers’ salaries and job responsibilities vary depending on the languages they specialize in. To learn more about these variations, check out our list of Highest Paying Programming Jobs.
Key skills for a computer programmer:
Systems administrators are responsible for the day-to-day functioning of the software and hardware systems used at their organization. They may support other users in working with a particular technology or resolve errors that arise. They may also work on installing new softwares and integrating them into existing systems.
Key skills for a systems administrator:
Web developers use code to build websites.They likely work with HTML and XML. Web developers may also be tasked with continual maintenance of a website such as fixing bugs, adding new functionalities, and optimizing code for user experience.
Key skills for a web developer:
Some technical writers create guides and instruction manuals about technical products or processes. Others may write scientific research papers discussing the technical specifics of experiments and findings. They must write very precisely to explain subjects that are often quite complex. Their work may involve explaining how a product works, discussing the outcome of a research project, or preparing a project proposal.
Key skills for a technical writer:
- Data Visualization
Network Support Specialist
Network support specialists often work as part of an IT helpdesk, troubleshooting issues related to an organization’s network connections. They may act as first-responders to user connectivity issues and they may also preemptively test connections to head off issues before they are encountered by a user.
Key skills for a network support specialist:
- File Backup
Graphic designers design and create visual elements of a project. They may work closely with product and software developers to make visually appealing user interfaces and logos. Graphic designers often work with Adobe products like Adobe Illustrator and PhotoShop.
Key skills for a graphic designer:
- Adobe Creative Suite
User Support Specialist
User support specialists work directly with customers to resolve any problems they are having using a computer or software product. They must be able to communicate well with customers who may not be familiar with technical jargon or computing fundamentals. User support specialists may work for a software company or as part of the helpdesk team at another kind of organization.
Key skills for a user support specialist:
- Technical Writing
Things to Consider When Planning a Career in Tech
When you’re ready to start your career in tech it’s important to find the role that’s right for you! Think back on your experiences working on projects in school, internships, or bootcamp programs and take inventory of the types of work you enjoyed and parts you did not like.
Salary is an important consideration too. If you’ve shelled out significant amounts in preparation for a tech career, you’ll want to find a job that allows you to capitalize on this investment. The good thing is that most high-skill tech jobs pay well above the national average.
Lastly, look for a job that has growth potential for the future. These roles will give you job security and flexibility. They also may offer more opportunities to mentor junior workers as more and more people enter the field.
How to Get a Job in Tech
Does a job in tech sound intriguing? Try learning some basic coding skills first and then expanding your skillset into more specific areas depending on which job you want. There are many free learning resources you can use to get started like Khan Academy and Codecademy. Or, you can dive right into project-based learning with a bootcamp.
Bootcamp programs often provide career resources to help you connect with employers and nail your dream job.
If you’re going it alone, it never hurts to reach out to people you know who work in IT or tech. Ask them about their career paths and current roles. You’ll also want to brush up on your technical interview skills, update your LinkedIn profile so recruiters can see your technical skills, and have someone with a careful eye review your resume to make sure it is professional and communicates all of your best qualities.
Data Table – Highest Paying Tech Jobs
Below is a handy chart containing all of the data we’ve discussed throughout this article. Salary data and expected growth are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while job experience data comes from Glassdoor.
|Job Title||Average Yearly Salary in U.S – 2021||Average Years Experience||Expected Jobs Growth 2020-2030|
|Computer Systems Manager||$161,730||6.7||11%|
|Computer Research Scientist||$130,890||15||22%|
|Computer Hardware Engineer||$126,140||6.5||2%|
|Information Security Analyst||$107,580||4||33%|
|Computer Systems Analyst||$99,020||5.2||7%|
|Computer Science Professor||$98,680||5.2||6%|
|Network Support Specialist||$71,040||3.4||7%|
|User Support Specialist||$57,000||1.9||9%|