Technology careers are on the rise.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer occupations are expected to grow about 12% from 2014 to 2024. Some specific jobs in the field will see even greater growth, as high as 27%.
If you enjoy technology and have a strong knack for computer operations and networks, a technology career provides a great future.
Let’s explore this fascinating and ever-changing career field and learn about some of the highest paying tech jobs that are currently available.
Technology Careers: A Summary
Why Should You Work in a Technology Field?
There are many reasons you should work in the tech industry. Not only is it one of the most active and evolving fields on the planet, it gives you that chance to earn a high-quality income and shows strong evidence for increasing in demand. In other words, you’ll have a fulfilling career with a great paycheck that won’t disappear any time soon.
First of all, technology progressions, at least right now, are the pinnacle of research, development, and creative thought in the country, if not the world. While traditional sciences such as medicine and engineering certainly hold a share of innovation, no other field seems to give you the opportunity, or the downright encouragement, to create new innovations. That is a very exciting prospect for many people.
Technology also involves meaningful work. Don’t be fooled into thinking IT jobs are all about mind-numbing Twitter feeds and dumbed-down smartphone games; technology involves important careers that improve people’s lives and create valuable, useful solutions to real-world problems.
There is also a large variety of work available. Technology is integral in nearly every industry in the country, including agriculture, transportation, journalism, entertainment, real estate, and manufacturing. You name an industry and there are sure to be dozens, hundreds, possibly thousands of IT jobs available. This allows people with a tech background to work in nearly any geographical area, any field, and any industry.
Would You be Successful in a Technology Career?
How can you be certain if one of the many promising careers in tech is right for you? It can take a lot of commitment and dedication, so it’s certainly not something that should be taken lightly. However, there are certain characteristics that could indicate you would be successful (and happy!) working in technology.
While technology careers involve lots of scientific reasoning and hard data, being a creative, right-brain thinker is actually beneficial. No matter what the position, working with technology involves finding creative solutions that are both usable and visually attractive. It’s no coincidence that technology companies from Google to IMB are constantly investing in creative efforts.
You should also enjoy problem solving. Nearly every posting for information technology jobs or careers in tech will have the phrase “problem solving” somewhere in the text. If you are the type of person who tries to fix your own bike, television, or wifi connection without the help of a professional, you likely fit the bill for an IT career.
A desire to learn is also vital, especially if you want to land one of the highest paying tech jobs in the industry. Systems, software, and equipment are evolving faster than ever before, so you need to be fully committed to constant training through classes, certifications, seminars, and industry information.
While not all technology careers are completely tied to a desk, there will certainly be lots of screen time. If the thought of spending hours, often full work weeks, in front of a computer sounds unbearable, then a technology career may not be right for you.
High Paying Entry-Level Technology Careers
If you are looking for a high-quality technology career, first consider the entry level positions. These jobs in information technology not only provide a stable career with excellent pay, they are often available to people who are just entering into the technology sector with minimal education.
#1 Computer Programmer
Entry Level Salary: $44,450 & up
Median Salary: $79,530
Top 10% Earn: $130,800
Writing and testing code for computer and software applications, computer programmers take ideas, often created by developers and software engineers, and turn them into real-life programs. As a computer programmer, you will need to know the language of computers, including C++, Java, and more. You can even start learning computer languages today with these free resources.There is one issue with this technology career, however. According to the BLS, the job outlook for computer programmers is expected to decline by 8% between 2014 and 2024. It can still be a great entry job, but there may not be as many opportunities in the next 10 years.
#2 Web Developer
Entry Level Salary: $34,770 & up
Median Salary: $64,970
Top 10% Earn: $116,620
Web developers high median pay makes it one of the best jobs in the technology and information sector. As a web developer, your primary responsibility will the design and creation of websites. Not only are you responsible for the overall look and visual appeal of the site, you are also responsible for technical aspects, such as ease of use, layout, and general performance. The demand for web developers is expected to grow by 27% between 2014 and 2024, making it one of the most in-demand IT careers in the country. Plus, standard entry level education is an associate’s degree so you can break into the industry quickly! You may wnat to spring for a bachelor’s, however, as it can make you a more competitive candidate!
#3 Computer Support Specialist
Entry Level Salary: $28,990 & up
Median Salary: $51,470
Top 10% Earn: $81,260
By providing help and advice on networks and systems, computer support specialists make the use of computers easier for other people who may not have advanced computer training and knowledge. They may test and evaluate existing networks, perform regular maintenance, and troubleshoot network systems. In many cases, a computer support specialist will listen to a user’s issues and provide troubleshooting and repair advice to solve the problem. Many computer support specialists will work for computer design firms. Others will be employed by educational organizations, such as universities and local schools. There is an expected job growth of 12%, making it a reliable technology career field for future opportunities. An associate’s degree also qualifies you to become a support specialist but you may be more competitive with a bachelor’s depending on the company.
10 Highest Paying Tech Jobs
We did the research for you on the best careers in technology so you can feel confident you’ll be looking at a lucrative and rewarding job after graduation. The following list includes the ten technology jobs with the highest median salary. With further education and on the job training you may earn well over the median salaries listed. Almost all require a bachelor’s degree for entry level employment.
- Computer & Information Systems ManagerMedian Salary: $131,600
Job Growth: 15%
Number of Jobs: 348,500Also called IT project managers, computer and information systems managers are advanced and experienced professionals who determine information technology goals and create systematic plans to meet them. Like many managers, they take an all-encompassing approach to their jobs, generating long-term plans, delegating assignments, and organizing phases of an operation. They will also need to determine both short and longterm personnel needs and staff accordingly. As a computer and information systems manager, you will essentially direct all computer-related work and determine the steps to create a better network and software system. Recommended entry level education is a bachelor’s degree.
- Computer Hardware Engineer
Median Salary: $111,730
Job Growth: 3%
Number of Jobs: 77,700These are the professionals that deal directly with physical computer components, such as processors, circuit boards, memory chips, and routers. They are engineers, so they deal with the physical nature of technology and may be tasked with creating new hardware that is more efficient or effective. While computer hardware engineers may not deal directly with code and software development on a regular basis, they will test completed models of their equipment, sometimes using existing software or programs to make the new hardware function. They may also update current hardware to meet the advanced needs of evolving software.
- Computer & Information Research Scientist
Median Salary: $110,620
Job Growth: 11%
Number of Jobs: 25,500Sitting at the forefront of information technology, computer and information research scientists create and design new ways to use computing technology. They research techniques and invent new directions for software and computers. By attacking complex problems, research scientist create new technology methods for numerous industries, including business, medical, and scientific fields. A large portion (28%) of computer and information research scientists work for the federal government. However, many work for the computer systems industry, the information industry, and the engineering industry. Roughly 11% work for colleges and universities.
- Software Systems Developer
Median Salary: $108,760
Job Growth: n/a
Number of Jobs: 130,630
The other form of software developers work with the systems. These technology experts research and create systems-level software. They can work in a wide variety of engaging industries, including medical, military, industrial, and scientific fields. If you choose this career path, you will need to set operational specifications and create software requirements. To have success as a software developer, you need to work with the basic principles of computer science, as well as engineering and mathematical analytics. Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey are the top paying states for software systems developers.
- Software Applications Developer
Median Salary: $102,160
Job Growth: n/a
Number of Jobs: 747,730
As the BLS organizes it, software developers fall into two general categories: system developers and application developers. We’ll start with the applications. This career usually starts with the ability to research and analyze a user’s needs and create a computer or smartphone application to meet these needs. If creating an application for businesses, much of the focus could be optimizing efficiency. The applications that are developed will often be fully customized to a specific business, organization, or industry, although many of them will be applicable to numerous areas. For example, a developer may create accounting software that applies to nearly any organization in the country.
- Computer Network Architect
Median Salary: $100,240
Job Growth: 9%
Number of Jobs: 146,200
These professionals are the ones who design and build data communication networks, ranging from LANs, for “local area networks,” to WANs, for “wide area networks.” The networks that are assembled by these experts can connect two offices in different cities or connect a complex network of offices, satellite offices, and in-home offices. One of the tasks that a computer network architect will complete is the initial planning for a computer system. They may also have to present plans to an administrative or leadership board, and could be asked to upgrade security systems or research new and emerging technology that could be beneficial to the organization’s network.
- Information Security Analyst
Median Salary: $90,120
Job Growth: 18%
Number of Jobs: 82,900
A computer network needs to be protected from cyber-attacks and unauthorized access. While many careers in tech deal with security on some level, an information security analyst is 100% dedicated to the complete security of a computer network. They may plan and carryout security steps, or they will monitor a system for security breaches and investigate potential violations. One of the top tasks for security analysts is the implementation of security software, such as firewalls and encryption programs. They may even conduct security audits by intentionally attempting to hack through a system in order to identify weaknesses.
- Computer Systems Analyst
Median Salary: $90,120
Job Growth: 18%
Number of Jobs: 82,900
These highly-trained and experienced professionals are called upon to analyze an organization’s current computer system and make recommendations towards improving efficiency and effectiveness. Combining IT knowledge and business experience, computer systems analysts understand the needs of businesses and adapt computer systems to meet these needs. They may consult with management, research new technologies, prescribe changes, and even implement the changes they recommend. There is expected to be massive growth for this job, making it one of the best tech careers, both from a financial and a job-security standpoint.
- Database Administrator
Median Salary: $81,710
Job Growth: 11%
Number of Jobs: 120,000
While database administrators do not actually create software, they use specialized technology to store, organize, and implement data. One of their primary tasks in making sure data is available to the people who need it, which can include CEOs, government officials, entry-level employees, and sales staff. The type of data that a database administrator works with is commonly financial and customer records. For example, a database administrator may work with and maintain a database to ensure sales rep can easily reference a customer’s previous orders, budget, and purchase patterns. Allowing sales staff to reference this data is an organized and clear fashion is the responsibility of a database administrator.
- Network & Computer System Administrators
Median Salary: $77,810
Job Growth: 8%
Number of Jobs: 382,600
Nearly every company and organization needs a network of computers to conduct business and meet their operational goals. They turn to network and computer systems administrators to setup, maintain, and repair these networks. Systems administrators work with the physical computers, installing network hardware, maintaining system security, and collecting data to analyze and evaluate the system. Systems administrators may also be required to train others on proper use of the computer system, and they often have to solve problems related to the software or hardware.
Finding a Job in Technology
Because every industry, every city, and nearly every company needs some form of information technology services, there are technology careers no matter where you live or what your specific expertise. However, certain areas are hot spots for IT jobs.
Of course, Silicon Valley in California is one of the nationally-famous hubs for technology development and innovation. In fact, many west coast cities, including San Francisco and Seattle are top sports for tech jobs. However, according to Glassdoor, east coast cities, such as Boston and Washington D.C. are also excellent for high paying tech jobs. Even midwest cities, such as Minneapolis and St. Louis, are areas where highly-trained tech professionals can find many opportunities.
So how can you find your job out of all technology careers? Like most careers, it starts with education and learning. While it is possible to get a job in the technology field without a formal education, you will discover that many more opportunities are available if you have a bachelor’s degree, usually involving computer science, programming, or software engineering in some form. You can also become certified by technology organizations, which demonstrates your commitment to staying at the leading edge of the technology sector and makes employers more enticed by your resume.
When applying and interviewing for a job, make sure to speak directly on how your education and experience will help that specific organization. Cite past projects and assignments that will help you meet the unique challenges that face this business, and talk in clear, substantive ways on how you will help the team. IT technology can be very broad and can include lots of technical jargon that hiring managers may not fully comprehend, so it’s important that you communicate, in a clear manner, how your experience will enhance an organization.
Is Self-Employment an Option?
If you have an education, training, or experience in information technology, you may be able to enjoy the independence and earning potential of self-employment. This path, which offers greater freedom and the chance to be your own boss, is certainly not an easy trail. You’ll be the business, so organization, time management, accounting, marketing, and all the other business tasks fall on your shoulders.
However, there are many technology experts who are either freelancers or have a small tech firm, providing information technology services to numerous business. These services can include network setup, security analysis, hardware installation, and more.
TECHNOLOGY CAREERS ARE WAITING!
Online education is a great option for beginning in one of the many technology careers. Whether you want to begin your studies or continue your education, GetEducated has a large and comprehensive online degree directory.