15 highest-paying IT jobs

15 highest-paying IT jobs

The past year was rough for the tech industry, with many companies reporting layoffs and the threat of recession looming. But despite a bumpy year, demand for IT skills remains, even as average salaries for sought-after roles have taken a hit. Much of this can be attributed to unprecedented growth in the tech sector between 2019 and 2021, with salaries rising nearly 9% overall during that time, according to Dice. As salaries level out, and the dust settles following massive tech layoffs, the average annual salary in the tech industry has dropped from $111,348 in 2022 to $111,193 in 2023.

But businesses continue to invest in key technical skills such as data analytics, security, and cloud. And digital transformation efforts continue to infuse technology into nearly every aspect of business and daily-life, ensuring continual an ever-growing need for technical pros with the right mix of skills to help businesses survive and thrive.

[ See also: The 10 highest-paying industries for IT talent ]

And according to the latest 2024 Dice Tech Salary Report, you don’t need to be a CIO to earn a six-figure salary. The demand for specialized skills has boosted salaries for software developers, system administrators, and program analysts and managers. Here are the top 15 IT occupations with the highest average salaries, according to Dice.

1. IT management

It’s little surprise that IT executive positions earn among the highest average salaries. Those working in IT management, including the roles of CIO, CTO, VP, and IT Director, hold high-level positions that oversee an entire company’s technology infrastructure. The CIO typically ranks highest in an IT department, responsible for managing the organization’s IT strategy, resources, operations, and overall goals. Meanwhile, the CTO focuses on technology research and development efforts, often working closely with the CIO to develop a strong IT strategy. VPs of IT are responsible for overseeing specific aspects of the organization’s IT operations, whether it’s infrastructure, security, data management, or applications. Finally, directors of IT are tasked with managing specific teams or departments within IT operations, often including development teams and help desk support.

Average salary:US$163,526

Decrease since 2022:-0.8%

2. Solutions architect

Solutions architects are responsible for building, developing, and implementing systems architecture within an organization, ensuring that they meet business or customer needs. They’re also charged with assessing a business’ current system architecture and identifying solutions to improve, change, and modernize it. The role typically requires at least a bachelor’s degree in IT, software engineering, computer science, or related field. Relevant skills include Java, JavaScript, organizational and leadership skills, technical knowledge, project management, and architecture design.

Average salary: US$157,768

Increase from 2022: 1.2%

3. Program analyst/manager

Working closely with project managers, program analysts and managers oversee programs and projects within an organization to ensure they’re on track and on budget. The role is responsible for coordinating closely with team members, stakeholders, and other project managers involved to identify potential risks, solve issues, monitor compliance and regulation issues, and keep track of the ongoing progress. Relevant skills for the role include a technical background in IT and a strong working knowledge of IT infrastructure, databases, networks, hardware, and software, along with knowledge of data analytics, change management, vendor management, and leadership and team management skills.

Average salary: US$148,173

Increase from 2022: 6.1%

4. Principal software engineer

As a senior-level technical role, a principal software engineer is responsible for leading a team of engineers and ensuring that the team builds and implements high-quality, scalable software, while following best practices. The role requires not only technical skills, but also leadership and communication skills to work across departments and manage teams of engineers. These leaders are responsible for reviewing code written by other engineers, designing architecture for complex software systems, identifying the right technology for business needs, and staying on top of the latest industry trends.

Average salary: US$145,206

Decrease from 2022: -5.3%

5. Cybersecurity engineer/architect

Cybersecurity engineers and architects require much of the same knowledge, expertise, and skills. But whereas engineers are responsible for building and maintaining cybersecurity infrastructure, architects are responsible for designing cybersecurity systems. These IT pros work closely with developers to ensure security measures such as firewalls, encryption, and intrusion detection systems are included in software, systems, networks, and applications. Cybersecurity engineers and architects may also be responsible for responding to security incidents, data breaches, cyberattacks, and other potential security risks that businesses face.

Average salary:US$140,656

Decrease from 2022:-3.4%

6. Product manager

The role of product manager is vital for businesses, ensuring that the products and services they launch are up to customer standards and align with business needs and industry trends. Product managers need to gather customer requirements, create a product roadmap, conduct market research, collaborate with relevant teams across the organization, identify the key features that need to be prioritized, and keep track of how the products perform after launch. While product managers have become increasingly crucial as more businesses shift to product-based IT models, it’s a role that saw an overall decrease in the average annual salary since 2022.

Average salary:US$129,814

Increase from 2022:-6.7%

7. MIS manager

A management information systems (MIS) manager is responsible for overseeing an organization’s IT strategy and systems and identifying new technology and tools that can help the organization meet its business and operational goals. MIS managers are tasked with managing a team of IT professionals and planning, developing, implementing, and maintaining IT systems and ensuring that they remain scalable, secure, efficient, and reliable. This role requires knowledge of IT security, data privacy, encryption, compliance, and the ability to manage budgets, identify the most cost-effective solutions, and maintain systems with troubleshooting and updates.

Average salary:US$124,774

Decrease from 2022:-5.5%

8. DevOps engineer

DevOps engineers are tasked with managing IT infrastructure, identifying requirements, overseeing software testing, and monitoring performance of software and services after they are deployed. The role requires a strong focus on automation, especially around software development processes, and ensuring continuous integration and delivery pipelines are implemented to support development teams. After seeing a boom in demand in the past few years, as well as rising salaries, things have slowed down a bit, with the average salary for DevOps engineers dropping just under 9% since 2022. It’s a multifaceted role that was created to bridge the gap between development and operations. Relevant skills for a DevOps engineer include coding and scripting skills, security, analytics, automation, data management, and IT operations skills.

Average salary:US$124,071

Decrease from 2022:-8.8%

9. Systems engineer

For organizations running complex hardware, software, and network systems, the role of a systems engineer is a vital part of daily operations. Systems engineers are tasked with designing projects, collaborating with key stakeholders to identify necessary requirements and potential constraints, and ensuring that the company’s IT systems are functioning effectively. This role helps oversee the development of new systems, working alongside software developers and hardware engineers with an eye on quality control measures and maintaining a steady pace toward established milestone goals. These IT pros also have a hand in system testing, ensuring that the final product meets expectations, and analyzing test results to identify issues or discrepancies.

Average salary:US$123,437

Increase from 2022:2.2%

10. Software developer

Software developers continue to be a vital role in the technology industry, comprising two main types: those who work on applications and those who work on systems. Application software developers are typically focused on building databases and programs to be used internally or on mobile devices, while systems software developers are focused on creating software for consumers or clients outside of the organization. The role requires a strong knowledge of how to design, create, test, program, and update software, while also adhering to and accommodating end-user needs and requirements. The demand for software developers remains strong as more companies embrace digital transformation and begin creating their own internal or external software systems.

Average salary:US$123,067

Increase from 2022:6.5%

11. Cloud architect/engineer

The roles of cloud architect and cloud engineer share a lot of similarities, with architects responsible for designing cloud systems, and engineers responsible for building and maintaining cloud infrastructure. This role has taken one of the biggest hits of any on this list, with the average annual salary dropping nearly 16% since 2022. Cloud architect skills include an understanding of cloud technologies and architectural principles, knowledge of how to scale cloud applications at cost, and the ability to collaborate and communicate with others in the organization. Both roles require a knowledge of cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services, as well as experience with ITSM, I&O, governance, automation, and vendor management.

Average salary:US$122,509

Decrease from 2022:-15.8%

12. Project manager

Project managers are tasked with overseeing the organization, planning, and execution of projects with a focus on budgets and schedules. They’re responsible for leading teams, working with stakeholders, defining requirements, and ensuring a project goes smoothly from start to finish. It’s an in-demand role across every industry as organizations recognize the need for having a point-person to ensure projects involving different departments run smoothly. That consistent demand has helped keep salaries for project managers have held steady since 2022.

Average salary:US$121,110

Increase from 2022:0.4%

13. Back-end software engineer

Back-end software engineers are integral to helping organizations maintain the structure of server-side information by optimizing servers, implementing security measures, and developing data storage solutions. These IT pros are tasked with configuring front-side applications, writing server scripts and APIs for front-end engineers and UX designers, maintaining stable servers and a backup library, and inspecting server codes.

Average salary:US$121,037

Decrease from 2022:-6.3%

14. Data engineer

Companies handle more data than ever before, making data engineers a vital role in the industry to help organizations handle and manage massive amounts of data. These IT pros are tasked with building, designing, and maintaining the tools and software required to analyze and process data sets in the enterprise. They build systems to manage data that are scalable, reliable, and secure, while also helping the organization with decision-making through data. Relevant skills for this role include data processing, software development, database management, and cloud-bas ed data processing.

Average salary:US$120,248

Decrease from 2022:-2.1%

15. .NET developer

As organizations start to embrace artificial intelligence and machine learning, the role of .NET developer has grown increasingly important. These developers are focused specifically on the design, development, and implementation of intelligent software applications. Similar to a software developer, they’re responsible for identifying and defining requirements, programming applications and platforms using .NET, and overseeing the long-term maintenance and efficiency of the programs. This is another role that has seen an increase in average annual salaries, rising just under 5% since 2022, likely because of the recent push to implement AI and ML in the enterprise.

Average salary:US$119,551

Increase from 2022:4.8%

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