Five US states with highest and lowest IT salaries

Want to earn top dollar for your IT skills? A move to one of these states may help, but beware their high cost of living.

Last week, I posted a list of the top five technical certifications by salary as reported by TechRepublic and Global Knowledge's 2010 IT Skills and Salary Report. As expected, there was a lot of debate in the article's discussion thread about the relationship between certification and salary. Some felt the numbers where higher than IT pros were likely to find in the real world.

This may indeed be true for some individuals. But, remember that many factors contribute to one's pay, such as:

  • Skills and experience
  • Tenure with an organization
  • Industry in which you work
  • Education and certification
  • Geography

Despite the rise of telecommuting, physical geography still plays a large role in an IT professionals earning potential. Survey respondents working in states along the East and West coasts of the United States reported higher average salaries than those working in the South or Midwest. According to the report, the average salary of respondents "ranges from $77,200 in the Midwest to over $86,400 in the Northeast."

Top 5 States by Average IT Salary

The difference between the highest and lowest average salaries by state is even more striking. As the chart on the right shows, IT professionals in Washington, D.C. reported an average salary of $100,600 dollars compared to $56,400 in Montana, which had the lowest average salary. One word of caution before you pack up and move to one of the states with higher salaries. Remember that these states often have a higher cost of living than those with lower salaries. The National Association of Realtors reported that the 2009 median price for a single-family home in the Washington D.C. area was $308,700 compared to $139,200 in Sioux Falls, SD.

About the 2010 IT Skills and Salary Report:

For the third year in a row, Global Knowledge and TechRepublic partnered to create and distribute a comprehensive IT salary survey. From October 19 to November 15, 2009, over 19,529 IT professionals from around the globe (over 17,800 were from the U.S. and Canada) answered questions about their overall job satisfaction, base salary, benefits, bonuses, certifications and more. In March, we released the result of this survey in our 2010 IT Skills and Salary Report.