10 High-Paying Careers in Information Technology

IT jobs are some of the most sought-after professions and are high-salaried, but what kind of salaries do IT jobs command today? Most technology jobs require at least a baccalaureate degree. To become a manager or have a senior position, you usually must have an advanced degree. Because healthcare, businesses, government and other employers use Internet technology, you can specialize in almost any field. The list below begins at the job with the lowest salary.

1. Business Analyst

This person might also be called a business systems analyst. His or her job is to identify problem areas in business or non-profit data systems and recommend appropriate change. The transition is often difficult and the business analyst can help initiate the change using software programs and data fields. You don’t have to have a college degree for some of these positions, but a baccalaureate degree is required for most of them. If you do not have a degree, certification programs or training is desired. The median salary for a business analyst is $78,160.

2. Product Manager

The IT product manager is concerned with the development and production of one product rather than a whole system. There are many different types of IT product managers including energy product managers, commerce project managers and others. The product manager is not actually involved with the coding, but coordinates the teams that are involved in every facet of the development from assessing needs to envisioning the product and ultimately to its actual production. The product manager is more concerned with the business side of the product, just as he would be in designing a new lipstick for a makeup company. There must be a market for the product and it must be produced within the corporate budget. The annual salary for an IT project manager is $89,418.

3. Software Engineer

This professional works with programmers and others to write code for applications. The project could be a new software product or an update to an existing one. The software engineer works with immense amounts of data, combining and structuring them into flow charts or diagrams so that coders can see how the data fits together and can determine what steps are needed to solve a problem or create a new product. The software engineer earns an average salary of $95,740.

4. Senior Software Engineer

Although the software engineer and the senior software engineer both work in designing, testing, evaluating and maintaining software, the role of the senior engineer is supervisory. This person has a background in computer science, web development and engineering. Although generally employed by corporations, they sometimes work as independent contractors brought onboard for a specific time period or project. They are often promoted through the ranks. The average salary for a senior software engineer is $98,000.

5. Software Developer

If you have a smartphone or a computer, you are the beneficiary of the work of this IT professional. The software developer creates the software that runs these devices as well as apps and games. There are two types. The first is concerned with individual programs such as word processing and the second is involved in creating software that brings together whole systems. The developer analyzes consumer needs, and then creates software to run programs. He or she writes the code and tests the software to ensure it works properly. Like other developers, budget constraints are a factor as is the need to be competitive in the timing of the software product. The median salary for a software developer is $102,280.

6. Data Architect

Data architects design and build systems for storing and managing files. They must have a firm understanding of how different programs work together to avoid one program off-setting or negating another, according to Database Trends and Applications. There are several levels of proficiency in this profession. Some people work as data architects with only an associate degree and good computer skills, but there are also data architects who are experts in data modeling. The data architect may help a company establish goals and policies for system management and they may actually run a systems program. The data architect earns an average salary of $111,384.

7. Analytics Manager

This person is responsible for the configuration of a data analysis system and for its design, implementation and ongoing support. The manager must understand the data sets for specific fields of inquiry and know how to build or structure data tables. They must be knowledgeable about available software and be able to select the appropriate software for the system. Although the analytics manager must have a thorough understanding of data analysis and programming, his or her primary responsibility is the overseeing of teams to ensure their work. The median salary for this professional is $113,866.

8. Systems Architect

A systems architect conceives a system which serves as a blueprint for the finished product, then develops a plan to implement the ideas into a working product. He or she works with the company to customize the system to meet corporate needs while staying within the corporation’s budget. Just as an architect building a house would do, the systems architect employs standard features but adds specialized features to “fit” the company and to allow the system to be updated when the need arises. Systems architects work for businesses, non-profits and governmental agencies. Although some people enter this profession with only an associate degree, employers prefer a bachelor’s degree and two years of experience. The median salary for a systems architect is $113, 984.

9. Project Manager

The project manager oversees the IT teams working to plan and manage a corporation’s data systems. The position requires a thorough understanding of the company goals, infrastructure and budget as well as the resources that are available to them. In the IT field, projects include teams of individuals from different departments or offices, and the project manager coordinates the efforts of all involved. The manager ensures that the project stays on task and comes in on-time and in-budget. The median salary for an IT project manager is $115,780.

10. Data Scientist

This is a relatively new position. The title was coined in 2008. A data scientist “investigates” fields of data to find relationships, overlaps and other characteristics that can then be used to construct new systems and applications. The discoveries they make help companies analyze their data to create new products, new processes and to affect the company’s direction. Although they handle data just like other IT specialists, the emphasis of data specialists is the discovery and creation of new applications. The average salary for a data scientist is $124,000.

Related Resource: 10 High Paying Careers in Finance

Technology is a constantly-evolving field and new positions are created every day. The demand for knowledgeable IT professionals ensures that salaries for these positions will remain high, and they are good career choices for people with an aptitude for them.