Technology is a vast industry with many positions and roles. When you’re just starting the coding journey, it can be stressful to identify a career path that meets your interests, salary expectations, skillset, and career goals. Even if you already have your heart set on a specific job title, it’s still valuable to stay aware of similar positions so that your chances of entering the industry in a job you love are even greater. Also, when you work with different concepts, you tend to learn more about what you actually love doing. When you find out what you love, it’s nice to know what your career options are!
Today, we’ll introduce you to 8 consistently high-paying jobs in the tech industry (based on the national averages in the United States), focusing on positions that require coding expertise. You’ll get an overview of the skills and experience needed to land several entry-level positions in various professions. Once you know what skills you need to develop, you can start working towards the job of your dreams.
For all these jobs, it’s important to note that we are focusing on base compensation as opposed to total compensation. Total compensation refers to the complete value of all the benefits an employer provides plus the base compensation (your salary). Your total compensation will vary drastically between companies and the different benefits they offer.
No matter where you are in the learner’s journey, having a goal to strive towards is vital to your long-term success. We hope the following list gives you a clearer picture of the path you need to take to realize a successful career in tech. Let’s get started!
Salary estimates are taken from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Computer programmers (aka “coders”) are responsible for implementing the code of software systems and applications. Even though the titles of computer programmer and software developer are often used interchangeably, working as a computer programmer is a more entry-level position. It is often the first step toward a career in software engineering.
These people write the code that the software and computers need to run. A coder isn’t responsible for making decisions about what should be included in a website or application, what language to use, or the overall architecture. The coder oversees executing the coding game plan of a specific company or operation. This game plan is usually curated by software engineers and developers. Computer programmers continuously update and maintain code bases to improve functionality, add features, or patch vulnerabilities.
While working towards your coding education, whether from an online resource, bootcamp, or university, earning professional certifications is a great way to bolster your resume. Creating an attractive resume can be difficult, so these certifications help validate your coding expertise. These certifications and courses become even more valuable if you don’t hold a computer science degree and need to stand out amongst the crowd. Self-taught programmers can also stand out by having examples of their contributions to open source projects!
The average salary for computer programmers position ranges from $59,700 to $155,200 per year depending on the company and experience level.
levels.fyi is a great resource for finding open roles, available internships, expectations, and salaries for specific companies!
If you’re thinking about applying to be a computer programmer, it helps to have the following skills:
Ability to keep up with deadlines
Proficiency in the required programming language(s)
Close attention to detail
Algorithms are a big part of the work computer programmers perform. Get started learning about algorithms here with this free and interactive course: A Visual Introduction to Algorithms
Web developers can work on both the front-end (client-side) and back-end (server-side) of a website. There are also full-stack developers, who work on both the client-side and server-side of the site.
Besides acquiring an education either from a university or an online resource, it is imperative for a web developer to put together a strong portfolio of work. Examples of successful websites that you’ve had a hand in creating are necessary to get interviews at the most sought-after jobs in web development. If you have a solid education and portfolio but need to learn a new system or framework for an interview, then certifications are a great way to go. You can earn certifications for desired technologies and skills by completing Educative courses and paths!
The salary for a web developer ranges drastically based on the size of the company and the employee’s experience level, but is estimated to start around an average of $75,000 per year.
Every company, from your favorite sparkling water brand to the leaders in the aerospace industry, needs web developers in this day and age. This position could take you into any industry you could dream of!
If you’re eager to get started with web development, then be sure to check out Quick Start Full Stack Web Development
Systems analysts, also known as system architects or system designers, design, analyze, and develop software systems and solutions to match the business needs of a company or client. They are also responsible for:
A systems analyst is a problem-solver to their core. IT and non-IT departments depend on the systems analyst to bridge the two sides of the company by ensuring that the correct software, visualization, and cloud computing are in use and functioning properly. Another role similar to a system designer is an Information Security Analyst, who is in charge of keeping the systems protected from viruses or attacks.
A proven education in computer science, as well as relevant experience with computer and information systems, is required to land this job title. Oftentimes, system analysts get to where they are by starting as entry-level computer programmers or software developers to gain experience with computer systems and processes.
This is a career that is both in demand and highly sought after. Don’t expect to be a candidate for this title until you’ve gained some work experience with system design first.
The average salary for this position is estimated at around $99,000 per year but easily has the potential to expand well into the triple digits.
To learn more about system design, check out the Scalability & System Design for Developers path.
Data is arguably the most useful tool for any company on Earth, which is why roles working with machine learning and big data are on the rise. Data scientist is a role that depends heavily on non-technical skills, such as communicating complex ideas and making decisions based on data. The job requires a person to be an effective communicator and analytical problem solver while having the technical ability to unearth insights from data that can impact future decisions.
A data scientist differs from a data analyst because the former utilizes machine learning, while the latter does not typically do so. Analysts mainly handle the cleaning and transforming of data while also assisting data scientists in presenting insights and visualizations.
Earning certifications in specific technologies or languages is also a great way to prove that you have the knowledge necessary to succeed, especially if you don’t have a degree in information systems or computer science. Although, the majority of data scientists do hold at least a bachelor’s degree in one of the aforementioned subjects (or one that is closely related).
The average starting salary for a data scientist is around $100,000 per year but is sure to go up the longer you spend in the position.
Expertise in Python, R, and SQL
Knowledge of Python libraries for machine learning
Check out this learning path, Become a Database Professional with SQL, to start learning SQL fundamentals!
This is a position that really encapsulates the term “developer”. Software engineers develop software and systems for the specific needs of a business. This could be an additional application or an entire operating system, the possibilities are nearly endless. There are many different types of software engineers. Here are a few examples:
Since most software development jobs require multiple years of hands-on experience to even be considered, a smart route to go for those looking to enter the industry is internships. Software engineers are needed in every industry imaginable on our planet. If you have a passion for a certain industry and development, you will be able to find an internship to get your foot in the door.
The average salary for a software engineer is around $105,000 per year, but with plenty of room for growth.
Ability to work in a team environment
Adaptability is key because change is inevitable in the field of software engineering
If you’re interested in the role of machine learning engineers, check out our Become a Machine Learning Software Engineer path to learn more!
This title is also a specific role in the broad “software engineers” category. The main task of a DevOps engineer (development and operations) is to promote collaboration between information technology specialists and software developers.
Expertise in computer science, programming, and cloud services is expected, but analytical abilities that can expand to multiple categories are always desired among DevOps engineers. Spending time in another software engineering role is also required before being qualified for a DevOps role. As is the case with most of these high-paying tech jobs, the employee is expected to be a problem solver. In the case of a DevOps engineer, it is even more expected because of the diversity of problems that require their attention across two different departments.
A great certification to keep an eye on if you’re hoping to one day be a DevOps engineer is the Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) certification. Showing that you have advanced skills in operating systems, such as Linux, is a huge boost to your DevOps resume.
The average salary for the position is roughly $123,000 per year.
Take a look at the Fundamentals of DevOps to start learning how to be an effective DevOps engineer.
Data engineers (also known as big data engineers) are senior software developers responsible for transforming data into an easily digestible format.
Data analysts and data scientists rely on data engineers to provide solutions and systems for how data is transferred and stored. Data scientists are tasked with finding the why in data, whereas a data engineer is concerned with how data is being collected. Data engineers are at the front lines of the data strategy so that data scientists can properly do their jobs.
To be considered for a position in data engineering, the years of experience are more important than the education you will be bringing. If you’ve been working in the data space for many years and are looking to upgrade, then it’s safe to say that your education (bachelor’s degree or not) is acceptable. Nevertheless, it’s never too early to set a goal. Look for an internship, or an entry-level data analysis role, to start the path to becoming a data engineer!
The average salary for this crucial job is roughly $132,500 per year.
Get started today learning about machine learning and data science with An Introductory Guide to Data Science and Machine Learning.
An individual with this title oversees their own team of software engineers. As a leader, a deep understanding of the company’s development process is essential. The software engineering manager will delegate tasks to team members and set goals and directions for each task.
Check out EMHub.io to learn more about tips, tools, and leadership best qualities for both aspiring and experienced software engineering managers!
Ideally, a candidate for this role will have extensive experience as a software developer as well as experience in leading a team. Mastery of development and expertise in how to manage people is not a pairing that is all too common. If you have dreams to become a developer and feel like you blossom in leading roles, then there is no reason why you cannot become a software engineering manager one day. After working as a software engineer for a while, you will understand what it takes to lead a team of developers!
This makes it the highest-paying profession (on average) to make our list at an estimated starting salary of $152,000 per year.
Advanced technical skills
Outstanding communication skills
To begin training as a software engineering manager, check out our Become an Effective Software Engineering Manager course!
In the unpredictable world of tech, having an idea about some of the key roles that construct the industry helps remove some of the mystery. Speaking of unpredictably, the recent pandemic has put a lot of people’s tech career goals on pause. With the end of the pandemic nearing (hopefully), it’s time for a lot of people to refocus on the tech industry!
We hope this rundown has helped you gain a clearer insight into what you hope to accomplish in the technology space!
To get started on your learn-to-code journey today, check out our learn-to-code career paths! These paths are the first step to landing the jobs listed above.
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