InformationWeek 2016 Salary Survey: 10 Best-Paying IT Jobs - InformationWeek
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IT Leadership // Team Building & Staffing
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9/23/2016
07:06 AM
Susan Nunziata
Susan Nunziata
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InformationWeek 2016 Salary Survey: 10 Best-Paying IT Jobs

Median base annual salary for IT workers was flat this year, according to the results of the InformationWeek 2016 US IT Salary Survey. Still, certain roles -- including architect, project leader, and security specialist -- are commanding much higher median salaries than other roles. See if you're in one of the 10 best-paying IT staff positions -- and how your total compensation stacks up.
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(Image: SolStock/iStockphoto)

(Image: SolStock/iStockphoto)

The average IT staffer has been in the profession for 19 years and at his current company for seven years, feels relatively secure about his present job, and is generally satisfied with his salary. (And, yes, in case you're wondering, the average IT staffer is most likely male). This is the profile we can draw from the InformationWeek 2016 US IT Salary Survey.

Median base annual salary for IT workers was flat this year at $88,000, while median total compensation for 2016 (including any bonuses or other direct cash payments) was $91,000, down 1.1% over the prior year. Still, certain roles -- including architect, project leader, and security specialist -- are commanding a much higher median compensation. We're highlighting the 10 best-paying IT staff positions here.

But first, let's talk about how we arrived at this information. The compensation data presented here is drawn from information provided by 1,535 US IT staffers responding to our survey. In addition to IT staff, we also received responses to our survey from 1,390 IT managers.

[How do you keep your best workers happy? Read 5 IT Talent, Staffing Fails to Avoid.]

In total, we received 450 survey responses from women in IT staff or management roles, and 2,475 responses from men in IT staff or management roles.

For the purposes of this article, we're focusing on responses received from IT staffers, and will cover management roles in an upcoming article.

Beyond salary, perks offered to IT staffers are pretty minimal. The majority of respondents (79%) said their company offers health insurance, and 72% said their company offers a 401k match program.

When asked what types of noncash and indirect cash rewards they expect to receive in the next 12 months, 33% of respondents said they expect a company-paid smartphone, 24% said they expect tuition reimbursement, and 21% expect reimbursement for certifications.

Only 2% of respondents said they expect to receive day care or day care subsidies.

When it comes to skill sets, the top five responses among IT staffers had little to do with technological know-how. IT staff respondents identified the following five skills as most critical to their jobs (multiple responses were allowed):

  • Aligning business and technology goals (57% of respondents)
  • Analyzing data (56%)
  • Interacting with customers (49%)
  • Collaborating with internal stakeholders (48%)
  • Experimenting with cutting-edge technology (47%)

Yet, when asked what training they would find most valuable in developing their careers, the overwhelming majority of respondents (74%) cited technology-specific training and 49% cited certification courses (multiple responses were allowed).

Only 14% of respondents said project management training would be valuable for their career development, and only 7% cited people-management skills training.

Read on to find out which 10 IT staff positions received the highest median total compensation in 2016. Once you've reviewed our list, share your own experiences with us in the comments section below.

Are you working in one of these hot jobs? Are you looking to make a career move to earn more? What's your IT employment outlook for 2017?

Susan Nunziata leads the site's content team and contributors to guide topics, direct strategies, and pursue new ideas, all in the interest of sharing practicable insights with our community.Nunziata was most recently Director of Editorial for EnterpriseEfficiency.com, a UBM ... View Full Bio

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
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JB2064
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JB2064,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/30/2016 | 1:24:43 PM
Top Jobs????
While all of these sound great, the real trend is to outsource these jobs. If you plan on pursuing any of these, don't look to be employed by a company whose main business is something other than information technology. It will be a very short lived career if you do. Not like it was in the old days....
Zman7
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Zman7,
User Rank: Strategist
9/29/2016 | 7:08:57 PM
Vague and duplicate position titles
Many of these position titles are duplicates...architect/systems architect, software engineer/software programmer, etc. There are really only about 5 positions described here.

I've worked at many of the largest tech firms in the world. When someone said "I'm a software engineer" we all knew he was just another programmer.  :-)
zminot16
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zminot16,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/28/2016 | 10:25:51 AM
Re: Good base career choice
Things have changed since 1985. A lot. It's 2016 now. New segments have emerged and will continue to emerge. Are you going to pretend that you are an expert in every possible segment of IT? It's not even remotely possible. Some people can spend their whole lives studying JUST databases, or JUST security, or JUST websites, and still not even be an expert. Its ridiculous to think that these things should NOT be segmented. Maybe in 1985 all these things were the same, but things are much more complex now. 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
9/27/2016 | 1:56:31 PM
Re: Good base career choice
@TerryB--it's a valid question, and certainly the roles will vary by company size. We've seen a steady move toward more and more finely tuned jobs in IT for some time now, though that might be in part due to the size of companies represented by survey respondents. Nearly 60% of respondents to this survey work for companies that employ 500 or more people -- and fully a third of those respondents work for companies with more than 5,000 employees.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
9/26/2016 | 6:47:35 PM
Re: Good base career choice
@Whoopty--It's deifnitely a chance for entry level or even longer-term professionals to have a look and see where they might direct their careers for the best paying outcomes. Of course, these results are median comp nationwide, so there will be regional differences depending on which part of the country one targets. But still, all of these positions pay well above the US median of approximately $55K/year for those with Bachelor degrees or higher.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
9/26/2016 | 1:53:53 PM
Re: Good base career choice
I just had to chuckle at this. I have a 4 year BS degree in Comp Sci in 1985. I've spent my career working at biz units where local staff was very small or (like now) I'm only IT person at site. I execute about 7-8 of these "careers" as part of my core job. I was kidding HR it looks like they owe me about $800K per year in salary. 

Seriously, since when did developer, database admin, business analyst, security, architect, etc get so segmented? It certainly wasn't taught that way in 1985 and no SMB is going to employ one person for each of these jobs. Life at big companies must be a nightmare. And very, very boring. 
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
9/26/2016 | 7:36:28 AM
Good base career choice
If any students are unsure about what careers to go into, these are some great examples of fall back careers. If you can at least get some of these base career skills under your belt, there's a lot of transferance between industries and plenty of scope of transitioning into more advanced roles in the future. 

Especially with the increased scope in the near future for the IOT, cloud computing functionality and analytics, many of these seem like solid career choices for the next couple of decades at least. 
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