Find out which top ranking tech job pays $138,277

The newest Dice salary report reveals the top 25 highest-paying careers in tech, including data architects, business analysts and project managers.

Some tech occupations went up in both salary and the number of job postings in 2019, while others saw a decrease. Dice's 2020 Tech Salary Report reveals the jobs that allow businesses to wrangle and analyze data, build applications and ensure that those applications are used relatively bug-free are those that have grown the fastest. 

The highest paying salary in 2019 was systems architect, with a salary of $138,277, and a year-over-year job salary increase of 7.7%. Coming in second was data architect, at $128,890, and a slight drop of .5% in salary. Ranking a close third was cloud engineer, at $128,347, with a growth rate of 5.6%. 

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When looking at pure growth in salary, the fastest growing occupation was sales engineer, with an average salary of $110,030 and 21.8% growth rate in 2019, compared to 2018. Coming in second in growth was technical recruiter, with $75,862 in salary and a 12% increase in salary. Third place goes to data scientist, with $106,298 in salary and an 11.4% jump in salary. 

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Image: Dice

Security engineer

One key occupation is security engineer, with an average salary of $121,228 and a 9.5% growth rate year-over-year. Some of the defining skills for this position include information security, network security, vulnerability assessment, intrusion detection and security operations. Distinguishing skills include NIST, threat analysis, Nessus, vulnerability analysis and McAfee. Businesses that are hiring security engineers include Target, U.S. Bancorp and Northrop Grumman. Employers that are looking to hire security engineers can expect an average of 40 days to fill a vacancy, according to the report.

This occupation has come to the forefront in the wake of several high-profile data breaches over the past several years. Companies want specialized security engineers who can recognize and patch the vulnerabilities that appear in their corporate IT systems. According to the Dice report, "Those engineers are very hirable if they possess certifications such as CompTIA Security+, Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), and GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH)."

Project manager

Another top job is project manager, with an average salary of $116,012 and a salary growth rate of 4.6% year-over-year. The defining skills are budgeting, scrum, Microsoft Project, stakeholder management and Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC). Distinguishing skills are business analysis, Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), lifecycle management, systems development and Agile development.

Project managers are one of the most vital technologists in a company, guiding projects from initiation through planning and execution. This requires extreme organization, adaptability and the ability to recognize and solve multi-variable problems. Because this job is in such demand, most project manager jobs take only 38 days to fill. Employers hiring for this occupation at significant volume include Fiserv, IBM, Deloitte and Target, according to the report.

Software developer

Software developers are always in demand, with an average salary of $114,336 and a salary growth rate of 4.7% in 2019 compared to 2018. The defining skills are Java, SQL, JavaScript, Python, Object-Oriented Analysis and Design. Distinguishing skills are Continuous Integration, HTML5, JavaScript Object Notation (JSON), React, PostgreSQL.

Software developers accounted for 12% of all tech job postings in 2019. These jobs take an average of only 39 days to fill, and top employers include IBM, Amazon and Accenture. According to the report, "The most common software-development skills include Java, SQL, JavaScript, Python and C++, and software developers are always interested in expanding their
skillsets. For example, mobile developers who have spent the past decade building iOS and Android apps using Objective-C and Java are no doubt very interested in Swift (Apple's new-ish language for iOS) and Kotlin (which Google recently named a "first class" development language for Android)."

Data engineer

Data engineer is another top career choice, with an average salary of $113,249 and a salary growth rate of 9.3% year-over-year. The defining skills are Python, SQL, big data, Apache Hadoop, Extraction Transformation and Loading (ETL). Distinguishing skills are Data Warehouse Processing, Relational DataBase Management System (RDBMS), ElasticSearch, Apache Impala and Apache Oozie.

The challenges that data engineers will face in the coming years will become more complex, with Internet of Things devices and POS dashboards sending vast amounts of data to companies. Data engineers will store, move and clean that data so that data scientists can analyze it for insights. Because it is so complex, data engineers have many skills, from Python and SQL to Apache Hadoop and Scala. There has been a 50% increase in job postings year-over-year, and top employers hiring include Amazon, Accenture and Capital One. The average time to fill these positions is 46 days, according to the report.

Average tech salaries by occupation:

  1. Systems Architect, $138,277  
  2. Data Architect, $128,890  
  3. Cloud Engineer, $128,347  
  4. Product Manager, $121,316  
  5. Security Engineer, $121,228 
  6. DevOps Engineer, $117,478  
  7. Project Manager, $116,012  
  8. Software Developer, $114,336  
  9. Data Engineer, $113,249  
  10. Sales Engineer, $110,030  
  11. Data Scientist, $106,298
  12. MIS Manager, $106,080  
  13. UI / UX Designer, $105,226  
  14. Database Administrator, $104,127  
  15. Mainframe Systems Programmer, $102,879  
  16. Other Info Technology, $97,396  
  17. Business Analyst, $92,760  
  18. Quality Assurance Engineer, $91,098  
  19. Network Engineer, $89,596  
  20. Systems Administrator, $82,961 
  21. Technical Writer, $78,046  
  22. Web Developer, $77,615  
  23. Technical Recruiter, $75,862 1 
  24. Hardware Engineer, $70,841  
  25. Help Desk Support, $50,009 

Report methodology

The Dice Salary Survey was administered online by Dice.com, with 12,837 employed US-based technology professionals responding between October 14, 2019 and December 17, 2019. 

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