Technology offers high-paying jobs — many over six figures per year1 — for students looking to break into this exciting career field. Although technology has changed the way people train and apply for jobs, including paving a path for the self-taught, many students still choose the school path for the most efficient learning and networking.
This guide explores some of the highest-paying technology careers and what students should expect when pursuing a career in tech.
Highest Paying Technology Careers
Technology careers offer students more than simply troubleshooting computers for an IT department. Students can build new applications, manage big data for businesses, and even explore the potential of artificial intelligence. The possibilities may remain nearly endless, but these options comprise the ten best-paying technology careers.
Computer and Information Research Scientists Average Annual Salary: $126,830
Computer and information research scientists make well over six figures per year1 designing new, innovative products and services in the technology field. They may use machine learning to aggregate large amounts of data, explore quantum computer storage, or develop new robotics applications or IoT networks.
This career path typically requires a master’s level degree1 to gain employment. However, genuinely remarkable self-taught students can find employment with a stellar portfolio and demonstrable skill in areas such as artificial intelligence, data science and engineering, or cutting-edge computer programming.
Computer Network Architects Average Annual Salary: $116,780
Computer network architects provide vital support to organizations and their IT teams, making just over $116,000 per year to do so1. These individuals take on the responsibility of ensuring the data communication networks can handle their processing load and remain strong and secure.
Network architects typically need a bachelor’s degree to work in the field. Students may also spend around five years in a related field in place of formal education2. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the field to grow slightly slower than average, but the job seekers can still expect around 11,000 new jobs each year2.
Computer Programmers Average Annual Salary: $89,190
Computer programmers make just over $89,000 per year1 developing new computer programs and troubleshooting legacy systems. These individuals may also test codes from other developers to find bugs or security loopholes. This growing field offers students the opportunity to be creative.
Computer programmers typically need a bachelor’s degree to find employment. However, self-taught developers with strong portfolio work and experience can find employment as well. The BLS predicts the field to grow slower than average3 over the next 10 years, but hopefuls can still expect around 9,700 openings per year3.
Computer Support Specialists Average Annual Salary: $55,510
Computer support specialists offer help and advice to individuals or organizations, making a higher than average salary of around $55,000 per year4. They need customer service and problem-solving skills and should be able to walk users through the steps to fix issues. Some positions may provide phone support, while others offer in-person support.
These positions sometimes require a bachelor’s degree, but many students can also find employment with an associate degree or post-secondary courses4.
Computer Systems Analysts Average Annual Salary: $93,730
Computer systems analysts make over $93,000 per year5 working with networks of computers instead of single consoles. They manage an organization’s network and systems to ensure that everything runs smoothly and efficiently.
Many positions require a bachelor’s degree in a computer or information science discipline5. However, like many technology positions, self-taught applicants with experience and a robust portfolio can also find employment. The field should grow on average as fast as other industries over the next 10 years5.
Database Administrators and Architects Average Annual Salary: $98,860
Database administrators and architects make almost six figures a year6 designing and organizing the systems that process and store data. They support other technology positions by providing the overall environment for development, storage for vital data, and network architecture for the organization.
This position requires at least a bachelor’s degree to work in the field6. Those in related disciplines can find jobs with some database training. BLS expects the industry to grow at an average pace for the next 10 years6.
Information Security Analysts Average Annual Salary: $103,590
Information security analysts make over $100,000 per year7 handling the security needs of computers and networks. They analyze, plan, and carry out security infrastructure and respond to attacks. They protect an organization’s sensitive data and allow remote workers to access company products without risk of breaches.
Most security analysts need a bachelor’s degree7, but some employers may also prefer workers to have experience in a related field as well. BLS expects job growth at 33%, much faster than the average industry7.
Network and Computer Systems Administrators Average Annual Salary $84,810
By managing the day-to-day operations of networks, network and computer systems administrators make an average salary of $84,810 per year8. They can find work in many different fields thanks to their knowledge of computer systems and maintenance.
These jobs typically require a bachelor’s degree8, but students may also gain employment through a good portfolio instead of education. Self-taught students need to showcase their past experience and any former projects they participated in.
Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers Average Annual Salary: $110,140
Software developers and those handling quality assurance make over six figures per year9, ensuring that software products remain secure, bug-free, and optimized. They check new products for inconsistencies and troubleshoot issues throughout the development process.
Potential job seekers typically need a bachelor’s degree and a portfolio showcasing their past work and projects. The BLS expects this field to also grow much faster than the average industry9, providing plenty of opportunities.
Web Developers and Digital Designers Average Annual Salary: $77,200
These positions enjoy an average annual salary of just over $77,000 per year1, helping to create programs, websites, and other products organizations need. They test sites for usability, design easy navigation tools for positive user experiences, and create better functions.
This field typically needs a bachelor’s degree, but potential job seekers can also learn concepts on their own to develop a strong portfolio of past work. The field is expected to grow faster than average over the next 10 years10.
Popular Career Paths With a Technology Degree
The technology field offers several exciting career paths for computer science students. Nearly every industry needs IT professionals to help with digital transformation, but some of the most popular industries for tech graduates include:
The finance industry grapples with changes in traditional banking, cryptocurrency, and fraud every day. Financial institutions need IT professionals to ensure that online banking activities and credit activities remain secure and fraud remains low. These institutions also need professionals with knowledge of the online user experience to differentiate banking services.
Governments need people to help digitize government services and wrangle data. IT professionals in this sphere can help governments streamline the process of service delivery and ensure that all information and data remains secure yet available for real-time insights.
The e-commerce field also needs IT professionals to design online experiences customers remember. Data science and analysts watch the data coming in to help companies plan ahead, anticipate trends, and refine and personalize their user experience.
Average Salary for Technology Graduates
Technology graduates can expect to make near to over six figures per year1 working in design, data, and security. Although growth in each sector varies, security and design tech careers are expected to grow faster than average, according to the BLS1.
Experience can make a difference when evaluating salary potential, as well as the state or company location. However, across the board, technology remains a well-paying career choice.
How to Find a Job After You Graduate
The technology field wants to know that potential applicants have experience. That comes from working on personal projects, school projects, or other employment. Students can build an active portfolio to showcase the type of experience they have and what projects they’ve worked on in the past.
Other options include signing up for online open-source projects through sites like Github or joining hackathons to earn recognition. Internships also help students build a robust portfolio.
If employers know that job seekers have mastered and worked in their chosen field, they will stand out on a resume.
Discover More About a Career With a Technology Degree
Q. How do I choose a career in technology?
Students and potential job seekers can focus on their interests to help narrow down their choices. Analytical people, for example, might go into cybersecurity while artists may explore web design. Also, students can look at industries they like to narrow down their job search — nearly every industry needs technology experts.
Q. How can I grow my tech career?
The tech field operates on continuous learning. Students can explore new disciplines, take new classes, and participate in professional growth.
Q. How can I stand out in a technology field?
Students and job seekers who look for new learning opportunities and keep a portfolio of real-world projects can catch the eye of employers and recruiters. Those who like to write can also find places accepting articles on technology subjects, and meetup groups offer opportunities to teach or speak in public.
 Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Computer and Information Technology Occupations. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/home.htm
 Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Computer Network Architects. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-network-architects.htm
 Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Computer Programmers. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-programmers.htm
 Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020) Occupational Outlook Handbook: Computer Support Specialists. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-support-specialists.htm
 Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Computer Systems Analysts. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-systems-analysts.htm
 Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Database Administrators and Architects. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/database-administrators.htm
 Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Information Security Analysts. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm
 Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Network and Computer Systems Administrators. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/network-and-computer-systems-administrators.htm
 Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020) Occupational Outlook Handbook: Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm
 Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020) Occupational Outlook Handbook: Web Developers and Digital Designers. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/web-developers.htm