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Information technology professionals are the bedrock on which many modern industries rely. From establishing internet connections to all of our homes, to massive server farms that hold the data of the largest sites online, IT professionals are employed.
In fact, information technology is one of the most widely common career paths in vastly different fields. IT features prominently in the medical system, in schools, in business, in governmental jobs, in defense jobs, and pretty much every other establishment type you can think of.
While many individuals think of the “help desk” as the primary location of employment for information technology professionals, there are actually a wide range of positions that fall under IT.
These positions include:
- Cyber Security Positions
- Field Technician Positions
- Developer Operations Positions
- Engineering Positions
- And Many Others
As you seek to start or continue your career in information technology, you should be aware that there are many ways to get your “feet wet” in these fields. Many don’t require a great deal of formal higher education, but rather rely on industry certifications.
This guide is meant to provide you with information on both the most lucrative IT career opportunities, as well as many of the programs that can help you land your dream position.
20 MOST LUCRATIVE IT CAREERS
Information Technology is a vast field. There are many areas you can build skills and eventually thrive in. Here are some of the major sectors of IT:
- Technical Support
- IT Engineering
- Network Administration
- Project Management
Let’s look at the highest paid positions in Information Technology:
Internet of Things Engineer
Average Salary: $136,864 per year
An IoT engineer is an engineer that works on technologies and applications of IoT. The Internet of Things refers to computers, machines, and other devices that can transfer data via networks automatically. They don’t require human-to-human or human-to-computer communications.
IoT can be used to regulate homes, clothing, roads, vehicles, and much more. Some IoT Engineer duties might include:
- Developing IoT software
- Building communication services
- Doing quality assurance
- Designing development and support tools
- Problem-solving remote deployments
IoT engineers generally work 40 or more hours a week, and can be called upon to do much more depending on the project or organization they’re working on and for. They must be adaptable, excellent problem-solvers, and thrive under deadlines and obstacles. The average salary for IoT Engineers is $131,982 annually.
Site Reliability Engineer
Average Salary: $155,000 per year
SRE work began in the early aughts at Google. SREs helped guarantee the functionality and optimization of large-scale sites like Netflix and Amazon.
Today it’s an IT domain of its own. SREs work to automate operations like performance, disaster response, on-call monitoring, and more. SRE job duties include:
- Bridging development and operations
- Using software engineering to handle system administration
- Develop systems and software that boosts performance
- Work on operations/on-call duties
- Balance operations with system development effectively
Google wants its SREs to spend no more than half their time on operations and believes any more would indict a system. SREs build systems that will eventually make their jobs redundant, according to Google.
They can work 40 or more hours a week. The average salary for Site Reliability Engineers is $124,604, which is significantly more than that of other engineers due to the wide range of duties and responsibilities involved in these roles.
Average Salary: $129,540 per year
DevOps Engineers intimately understand how an organization’s technology impacts its operational issues. They research and analyze how systems function and measure their performance.
They make vital calls on operational priorities, project objectives, and design solutions to pressing problems based on evidence and assessing alternative methods. Some of their job duties include:
- Researching new technologies
- Scaling crucial applications
- Understanding and mitigating limitations
- Marrying infrastructure builds with application deployment
- Designing, evaluating, and analyzing automation systems and scripts
DevOps engineers need a broad grasp of technology, operations, and an intuitive knack for anticipating and resolving problems before and as they arise.
Hours in these roles can vary drastically, but engineers can be called upon at any time. They can expect long hours generally, and the average salary for DevOps Engineers is $125,256.
Information Technology Managers
Average Salary: $137,288 per year
IT Managers lead their organizations on any computer or digital-related objectives and activities. They decide organizational IT needs and are responsible for implementing them.
They might work on telecommunications and other electronic support systems outside of computer networks. IT Manager duties include:
- Leading large IT projects
- Designing and implementing new IT systems and services
- Define and create IT strategy, infrastructure, architecture, and processes
- Analyze the business implications of IT needs
- Problem-solve and troubleshoot software and hardware issues
IT Managers often work in lower IT positions before they leap to management. They’re versatile leaders and technicians who have significant experience with network and systems administration, databases, data storage systems, computer systems, and more.
They can easily work more than 40 hours a week and must be on call to solve pressing issues. The average salary for IT Managers is $128,168.
Average Salary: $145,663 per year
Security Architects design, create, test, and run security systems that govern the IT network of an organization. They must have a comprehensive understanding of IT systems, the threats to them, and the most current security standards.
Security Architects are continually researching and updating authentication protocols, security products, and anything else that impacts security for diverse systems. Job duties include:
- Testing systems regularly and continuously monitoring network security
- Reviewing security measures, recommending improvements and implementing them
- Creating timelines for system upgrades
- Composing disaster recovery protocols and breach tests
- Quickly and effectively responding to security violations
Security Architects protect data and systems and raise awareness in organizations to encourage best practices among diverse employees. They help determine who has access to what within an organization and delineate credentials.
People in these roles work 40 hours or more a week, but can be on call at any time in the event of a breach or disaster situation. The average salary for these roles is $153,439.
Cloud Solutions Architect
Average Salary: $155,178 per year
Cloud Solutions Architects are IT experts that oversee an organization’s cloud computing system. The cloud virtually holds a vast array of organizational and end-user data.
Cloud Solutions Architects work on the design, planning, systems, and anything else that governs cloud storage. They are sometimes called Cloud Developers or Cloud Systems Administrators. Job duties include:
- Creating and implementing an effective cloud strategy
- Adapting that cloud strategy
- Frequently assessing cloud hardware, software, and applications
- Advise and guide infrastructure movement techniques
- Identify and deploy efficient cloud architecture solutions to meet organizational goals and needs
Cloud Solutions Architects understand operating systems, networks, programming languages, and security. They work on the front and back ends of platforms.
Cloud Solutions Architects work at least 40 hours a week, if not more, but are well compensated for their efforts. The average salary for Cloud Solutions Architects is $142,827.
Computer Network Architect
Average Salary: $120,520 per year
Computer Network Architects design and build the networks responsible for data communication. These include local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and more. These networks connect everything from small offices to global organizations with complex communication systems.
People in these roles must understand how their organization’s business runs, and build structures to help it achieve its goals. Job duties include:
- Create a plan and structure for data communication networks
- Build networks with information security in mind
- Make choices about hardware locations and implementation
- Research new technologies to decide what’s best for their organizations
- Present and convince management of their choices
They also create models that anticipate upcoming network needs. They analyze current traffic and data needs, and how increases might impact networks.
Computer Network Architects work full-time, and a significant portion work over 40 hours a week. The average salary for Computer Network Architects is $116,780.
Average Salary: $104,120 per year
Hardware Engineers handle the physical properties of computers and systems. They design, test, and improve computer hardware.
They build models, test existing hardware and systems to solve problems, and improve efficiency in a variety of environments. Some job duties include:
- Technical writing to document their work and findings.
- Create blueprints of systems Build or oversee production and assembly of prototypes
- Use math and technical skills to troubleshoot
- Make decisions on power supply, data storage, physical infrastructure, and much more
Hardware Engineers train and supervise engineers, designers, technicians, and others. They improve the components, design, and layouts of computers to improve productivity and results.
They make sure computers and other hardware are cost-effective, compact, and efficient. They typically work 40 or more hours a week. The average salary for Hardware Engineers is $97,739.
Embedded Systems Engineer
Average Salary: $91,959 per year
Embedded Systems Engineers develop and install software for systems like routers, televisions, smartwatches, hybrid vehicles, and more. They help build code, test products and implement them. Embedded Systems Engineer job duties include:
- Setting goals and deadlines
- Meeting with clients and software designers to define software expectations and parameters
- Maintaining software programs Fixing bugs and optimizing systems
- Testing software structure and scalability
Embedded Systems Engineers are great communicators, incredibly critical thinkers, able to program, understand operating systems, and much more.
These versatile engineers work with a wide range of professionals and clients to create and maintain effective products. People in these roles work full time and can work long hours on specific projects. The average salary for people in these roles is $81,000.
Average Salary: $143,879 per year
Applications Architects are vital to designing and analyzing software projects. They build new applications, improve existing ones, test software, create product prototypes, and much more.
People in these roles work in corporate IT departments, software development firms, computer manufacturing organizations, among other companies. Applications Architect job duties include:
- Technical Writing
- Offering technical support and training
- Work in disaster recovery, security, and data integrity
- Supervise application software design
- Solve pressing problems with apps and fix bugs in existing software
Applications Architects understand client obstacles and issues and have end-user experience in mind at all times. They’re technical experts and thriving business people. People in these roles work full time, if not longer. The average salary for Applications Architects is $140,789.
Average Salary: $83,934 per year
Systems Engineers balance problem-solving and management to design and supervise complex systems as they’re implemented and evolve. They define needs and ensure the functionality of products or services.
They coordinate testing, analysis, and different teams to design, develop, and produce top quality systems. Job duties include:
- Risk assessment
- Testing performance
- Scheduling projects and determining budgets
- Project Management
- Monitoring and managing systems and infrastructure
People in these roles wear many hats. They create and follow the standard operating procedure for their organizations. They improve design methods.
Most importantly, they look at every stage of operation and ask why and how. Their roles may change from project to project. People in these roles work full time or more. The average salary for Systems Engineers is $81,011.
Information Security Analyst
Average Salary: $102,600 per year
Information Security Analysts design and implement the security measures that protect an organization from cyberattacks.
They work with computer networks, systems, and more. Their roles are frequently expanding with the variance in cyber attacks. Some of their duties include:
- Checking organizational networks for breaches
- Investigating breaches after they occur
- Installing software including firewalls and data encryption programs that protect information
- Testing networks for vulnerabilities
- Analyzing and reporting on the damage done to networks and systems
Information Security Analysts need to keep up to date with developments in cybercrime and protection measures. They work full time and can be on call at any moment in case of an attack or disaster. The average salary for Information Security Analysts is $103,590.
Average Salary: $115,166 per year
Solutions Architects design applications and services for organizations. They balance technical and business skills to overcome obstacles and create value for their organizations. They lead development teams to do their work with business outcomes in mind. Job duties include:
- Scaling services and applications for future profit
- Deciding on platforms, frameworks, and other methods to solve problems
- Analyzing risk
- Deciding the details of applications, modules, services, and more
- Coordinating business and technical professionals
You’ll work full time, with some overtime required depending on the project you’re working on. You’ll likely be involved with programming, testing, and integration of software systems and devices that run them. They typically work full time. The average salary for Solutions Architects is $108,400.
Average Salary: $76,503 per year
Database Administrators supervise and maintain the efficiency and security of databases. They plan them, develop them, and problem solve whenever database issues present themselves. Some of the job duties for Database Administrators include:
- Supervising and guiding application developers and assistant administrators
- Installing and maintaining software used by organizations
- Monitoring and improving database security and efficiency
- Recommending improvements to networks and systems
- Writing and implementing patches
People in these roles are excellent problem-solvers and critical thinkers. They have excellent time management skills, are incredibly organized, and great at communicating with and coordinating staff in various positions. They generally work full time. The average salary for Database Administrators is $73,624.
Computer Systems Analyst
Average Salary: $75,532 per year
Computer Systems Analysts (or Systems Architects) look at an organization’s current computer procedures and systems then improve them.
They work to make organizations more effective and efficient by bridging gaps between IT and business sensibilities. Job duties in these roles include:
- Working with managers to define how IT systems will function in an organization
- Researching new technologies and software that might improve organizational efficiency
- Creating new ways to make computer systems more functional
- Choosing new hardware and software that improves systems and creates new ones
- Test systems to ensure they work as expected
People in these roles generally specialize in specific types of computer systems, like engineering computer systems, or financial computer systems. They interface with business professionals and technical professionals.
They use data modeling and design principles in the service of their organizations. Computer Systems Analysts work full time, and some work more than 40 hours a week. The average salary for Computer Systems Analysts is $71,805.
Average Salary: $127,398 per year
Data Architects help install and build organizational databases. They are responsible for their upkeep as well. They report on the status and efficiency of databases, supervise systemic migrations, and use data analysis to measure their effectiveness. Job duties for this role include:
- Designing and installing databases that store and access organizational data
- Determining database necessities in terms of client services, programming, and other applications
- Guarantee organizational functionality through information systems
- Educate staff on best practices with databases, database needs, and their importance to pertinent organizational goals
- Solving database issues quickly and efficiently
Data Architects use modeling and work with languages like SQL and databases like Oracle. They work full time, or potentially more when getting a new database up and running. The average salary for Data Architects is $122,708.
Average Salary: $65,036 per year
Systems Administrators handle network setups, server maintenance, and other IT-related infrastructure. They guarantee functionality for any organization that relies on servers to operate (the vast majority). Job duties include:
- Setting up and handling any issues related to LANs, WANs, and network segments
- Works to help employees integrate their computers, emailing, and other essential technologies and functions within a server
- Helps implement security tools
- Maintains an uninterrupted internet connection for an organization
- Monitors server performance
Systems Administrators are responsible for troubleshooting and helping a wide range of employees with connectivity issues. They optimize processes and take the lead on improvements. People in these roles work full-time. The average salary for Systems Administrators is $63,378.
Average Salary: $88,362 per year
Server Administrators work with computer networks. They guarantee that they’re running smoothly through updating software, implementing new systems, monitoring activity, and auditing security. They may need to do physical work related to installation. Job duties include:
- Being on call to deal with server issues
- Guaranteeing best practices are maintained
- Track server activity, upgrade software, maintain hardware
- Answer technical questions from staff Train staff and users in server usage
In the case of disaster, Server Administrators aid in data recovery. They work full-time and are on call when needed. The average salary for Server Administrators is $80,516.
Average Salary: $80,600 per year
Network Administrators also work to maintain computer networks. They solve everyday problems, install systems, consult with clients, and much more.
People in these roles work for government agencies, financial companies, software developers, and any other organization that requires a network. Job duties include:
- Working with IT support personnel
- Maintaining existing software and hardware
- Upgrading platforms when necessary Budgeting for equipment and assembly needs
- Create documents that aid in technical support for staff and clients
Network Administrators usually have years of previous experience in computer science. People in these roles work full time, or more if necessary. They can be called to solve problems at any time. The average salary for Network Administrators is $84,810.
Computer Technical Support Specialist
Average Salary: $49,770 per year
People working in these positions answer questions and solve problems from end-users. They run diagnostic tests to determine causality and troubleshoot issues. They may schedule repairs and are often in technical customer support positions. Job duties include:
- Working remotely
- Understanding the ins and outs of computers, software, scanners, printers, and more
- Provide in-house support to an organizations’
- IT staff Maintain a friendly, helpful demeanor
- Document user data, issues, and more to solve problems
People in these roles diagnose, prescribe, and refer customers, clients, and staff through issues; however a situation requires. They work part or full-time, depending on organizational needs.
There are hundreds of thousands of these roles available. They may work unusual hours. The average salary for Computer Technical Support Specialists is $52,690.