In these turbulent economic times, people are reconsidering their career options, looking for jobs with more stability and higher wages. While how the economic crisis will play out in the labor market is still up in the air, businesses across the world are realizing now more than ever how critical technology is to keep them running.
From remote customer service support and network bandwidth to e-commerce and cybersecurity, businesses need tech – which means job opportunity for the individual worker with tech skills.
So which jobs in IT pay the best and what skills do you need to get them?
In general, pay varies by geographic region. Salaries are higher in Silicon Valley and New York City than in Des Moines, IA, and Birmingham, AL, but overall IT jobs pay significantly better than the average wage. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations was $86,320 in May 2018 — much higher than the median annual wage for all occupations of $38,640.
The Global Knowledge 2019 IT Skills and Salary Report says to grow your IT salary, even more, add new skills. The report notes that 9% of IT professionals say they received salary increases after gaining new skills. Those same IT pros report earning nearly $12,000 more than last year.
Regardless of how you get started, you can find a path to one of these well-paying tech careers. According to CompTIA, based on information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are the best paying jobs in IT, by increasing average salary levels.
If you want to break into the technology industry and make good money, the easiest start is on the help desk. It’s the most reliable way to start in the technology industry and make more than $50,000 on average, according to the most recent data available from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics. Every midsize and larger company — be it a hospital or bank or utility or university — operates a help desk and there are more than 860,000 help desk positions throughout the United States. And that number is expected to increase by 10 percent within the next year.
Plus, the help desk gives you a wide view into all areas of IT. So, as you look to ramp up your career, you’ll be able to gauge where you want to go next.
Help desk workers need understanding of technology and are asked to make sure computer systems are up-to-date, secure and functioning properly. Daily responsibilities include running diagnostics and troubleshooting systems; installing software; updating computer hardware; on-boarding new employees by setting up their computer systems, login information and access to a company’s cloud services; training employees in new technologies; and providing technical support over the phone or online.
One of the easiest ways to prove to employers that you have the skills to work on a tech help desk is to get CompTIA A+ certification. It’s a vendor-neutral certification that showcases an IT pro’s problem-solving skills in tech services and systems.
With salaries averaging $82,050 per year, network administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of computer networks. They work with the physical computer networks of a business. Earning a CompTIA Network+ certification can help demonstrate your competency for this job.
Computer Systems Analyst
Computer systems analysts study an organization’s current computer systems and find a solution that is more efficient and effective. You’ll need problem-solving and communication skills, and look for job titles like IT systems specialist, computer technician and technology project manager with average annual salaries of $88,780.
Information Security Analyst
Information security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems. Annual salaries average $98,350. Similar job titles include IT security specialist, software security engineer, security officer and IT security director. You’ll need creativity, problem-solving, attention to detail, collaboration, and research skills, as well as training and experience with both computer systems and business practices. A certification like CompTIA IT Security+ can help get you in the door for an interview for this position.
To get applications or systems to run on a computer or mobile, you need software developers. These job roles require communication skills, attention to detail, adaptability and problem-solving. To get started in nabbing one of these jobs with an average salary of $105,590, you’ll need training or apprenticeship experience that familiarizes you with programming languages.
Computer Network Architect
The average top salary in IT goes to computer network architects, earning $109,020 per year. These IT pros design and build data communication networks.
Whether you’re starting on the help desk or aiming high for an architect role, many IT jobs require experience, training and/or certification. CompTIA’s career roadmap and CompTIA Tech Career Academy offer more info on how to get the training and certifications to find a career that suits you best.
As Executive Vice President, Social Innovation, CompTIA, and CEO for Creating IT Futures, Charles Eaton helps populations that are under-represented in IT and individuals who are lacking in opportunity to prepare for, secure and be successful in information technology careers. Creating IT Futures, a workforce charity founded by CompTIA, develops programs like CompTIA Tech Career Academy to expand the IT pipeline and create more on-ramps to tech careers, and under Eaton’s direction, Creating IT Futures has expanded its scope to cultivate best practices in American workforce development and tech-related STEM education.