Despite economic headwinds, demand for IT talent continues to rise. The following IT roles take home the most pay today, thanks to unique combinations of leadership, technical, and business-oriented skills.
The past year was rough for the tech industry, with several companies reporting layoffs and the looming threat of a recession. But despite the bumpy year, demand for technology skills remains strong, with the US tech unemployment rate dropping to 1.5% as of January. For technologists with the right skills and expertise, the demand for talent remains and businesses continue to invest in technical skills such as data analytics, security, and cloud.
Companies can’t ignore digital transformation as technology continues to dominate nearly every aspect of business and daily-life. There’s an ever-growing need for technical pros who can handle the rapid pace of technology, ensuring businesses keep up with industry standards, compliance regulations, and emerging or disruptive technologies.
And according to the latest 2023 Dice Tech Salary Report, you don’t need to reach for an executive career in IT to earn a six-figure salary. The demand for specialized skills has boosted salaries in cybersecurity, data, engineering, development, and program management. Here are the top 10 IT occupations with the highest average salaries, according to Dice.
It’s no surprise that IT executive positions earn some of the highest average salaries, with Dice reporting an average yearly salary of $164,814 in 2022 — an 8.4% increase from 2021. Those working in IT management, including the roles of CIO, CTO, VP, and IT Director, hold high-level positions that oversee an entire company’s technology infrastructure. The CIO typically ranks the highest in an IT department, responsible for managing the organization’s IT strategy, resources, operations, and overall goals. Meanwhile, the CTO focuses on technology research and development efforts, often working closely with the CIO to develop a strong IT strategy. The vice president of IT is responsible for overseeing specific aspects of the organization’s IT operations, whether it’s infrastructure, security, data management, or applications. Finally, the director of IT is tasked with managing specific teams or departments within IT operations, often including development teams and help desk support.
Average salary: US$164,814
Increase since 2021: 8.4%
Average salary: US$155,934
Increase from 2021: n/a
As a senior-level technical role, a principal software engineer is responsible for leading a team of engineers and ensuring that the team builds and implements high-quality, scalable software, while following best practices. It’s a role that not only requires technical skills, but also leadership and communication skills as well to work across departments and to manage teams of engineers. These leaders are responsible for reviewing code written by other engineers, designing architecture for complex software systems, identifying the right technology for business needs, and staying on top of the latest industry trends.
Average salary: US$153,354
Increase from 2021: n/a
A systems architect is responsible for designing and overseeing the implementation of IT infrastructure such as hardware, software, and networks. They’re required to work closely with upper management, executives, and key stakeholders to identify business needs and requirements. Systems architects are responsible for identifying technical solutions that align with the business goals and budget. Relevant skills for a systems architect include risk management, performance optimization, security, leadership, and a strong knowledge of complex computer systems.
Average salary: US$151,364
Increase from 2021: 2.3%
The roles of cybersecurity engineer or architect require much of the same knowledge, expertise, and skills. However, engineers are responsible for building and maintaining cybersecurity infrastructure, while architects are responsible for designing cybersecurity systems. These IT pros work closely with developers to ensure security measures such as firewalls, encryption, and intrusion detection systems are included in software, systems, networks, and applications. Cybersecurity engineers and architects may also be responsible for responding to security incidents, data breaches, cyberattacks, and other potential security risks that businesses face. Average salary: US$145,512
Increase from 2021: 7.7%
The roles of cloud architect and engineer share a lot of similarities, with the architects responsible for designing cloud systems, while the engineers are responsible for building and maintaining cloud infrastructure. Cloud architect skills include an understanding of cloud technologies and architectural principles, knowledge of how to scale cloud applications at cost, and the ability to collaborate and communicate with others in the organization. Both roles require a knowledge of cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services, as well as experience with ITSM, I&O, governance, automation, and vendor management.
Average salary: US$145,416
Increase from 2021: 3.4%
A program analyst or manager is tasked with developing and overseeing IT projects to ensure that they stay on task and on budget. The role requires identifying resource requirements, creating and defining project objectives, establishing necessary timelines, and determining potential risks. Program analysts and managers need skills such as data management, analytical and organizational skills, strong communication skills, and proficiency in statistics and mathematics.
Average salary: US$139,683
Increase from 2021: 12.9%
The role of product manager is vital for businesses, ensuring that the products and services they launch are up to customer standards and align with business needs and industry trends. Product managers need to gather customer requirements, create a product roadmap, conduct market research, collaborate with relevant teams across the organization, identify the key features that need to be prioritized, and keep track of how the products perform after launch. Product managers are becoming increasingly crucial as more businesses shift to product-based IT models, resulting in the big salary gains for the role in recent years.
Average salary: US$139,100
Increase from 2021: 15.6%
DevOps engineers are tasked with managing IT infrastructure, identifying requirements, overseeing software testing, and monitoring performance of software and services after they are deployed. The role requires a strong focus on automation, especially around software development processes, and ensuring continuous integration and delivery pipelines are implemented to support development teams. It’s a multifaceted role that was created to bridge the gap between development and operations. Relevant skills for a DevOps engineer include coding and scripting skills, security, analytics, automation, data management, and IT operations skills.
Average salary: US$136,017
Increase from 2021: 14.1%
A management information systems (MIS) manager is responsible for overseeing an organization’s IT strategy and systems and identifying new technology and tools that can help the organization meet its business and operational goals. MIS managers are tasked managing a team of IT professionals and planning, developing, implementing, and maintaining the business’ IT systems and ensuring that they remain scalable, secure, efficient, and reliable. This role requires knowledge of IT security, data privacy, encryption, compliance, and the ability to manage budgets, identify the most cost-effective solutions, and maintain systems with troubleshooting and updates.
Average salary: US$132,094
Increase from 2021: 10.8%