Thinking about pursuing a career in computer and information technology? Congratulations! You’ve taken the first step towards a high-paying career in a growing sector. Check out the following list of 20 of the most lucrative jobs in the field of computer and IT. Keep in mind that in order to secure one of these top-earning positions, you’ll need a minimum of a bachelor’s in computer and IT.
Median Annual Salary: $52,110
The field of graphic design marries the fields of computer/IT and fine arts. Professional graphic designers use computer software to create logos and other images for print and web advertisements, magazine covers, t-shirts and merchandise, and more.
To become a graphic designer, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field. Some employers may hire graphic designers with unrelated degrees so long as they have the necessary training and skills to develop professional designs.
Graphic designers make just over $52,000 a year on average, but there is the potential to earn significantly more. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), top-earning graphic designers made nearly $90,000 in 2019.
#19—Computer Support Specialists
Median Annual Salary: $54,760
The name “computer support specialist” is a broad term used to describe many different types of professionals in the computer and IT field. Some of these specialists may work with other IT professionals to ensure proper operations of a computer system or network. Others may provide technical assistance to a company’s clients or customers.
As technology continues to advance, more companies and organizations as well as individual consumers will require professional assistance to operate various software and hardware programs. As a result, the demand for computer support specialists will continue to grow. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that job opportunities for these types of IT professionals are currently growing faster than average and will expand by 10% by the year 2028.
Though the median annual salary for computer support specialists is just under $55,000, there is the opportunity to earn much more. The BLS reports that top-earning professionals in this field made over six figures in the year 2019.
#18—Mobile Applications Developer
Median Annual Salary: $73,042
A special type of software developer, a mobile application developer designs and develops apps for mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. These IT professionals may work independently or within a team to plan and execute successful mobile apps for private companies, government agencies, and nonprofits.
Mobile application developers usually have a bachelor’s in computer science or information technology. Others have academic backgrounds in other academic disciplines like engineering or even mathematics. In addition to formal education, some employers may require that their mobile app developers hold professional certifications or licenses in certain programming languages or development platforms.
Median Annual Salary: $73,760
The field of web development is currently experiencing a boom. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities in this field will grow by 13% in the decade between 2018 and 2028. This growth can be attributed in large part to the rapid expansion of online shopping as well as the increased use of smartphones to access mobile versions of websites.
Though not always required, a bachelor’s degree in computer and IT will give web developers the best chances for secure employment in the field. Some employers prefer that new-hires have an academic background in both IT and graphic design.
In addition to the obvious task of designing and developing websites, web developers also troubleshoot websites for performance issues and make necessary upgrades and enhancements to existing sites.
#16—Forensic Computer Analyst
Median Annual Salary: $73,892
The field of forensic computer analysis merges the fields of criminal justice and computer science. Professionals in this field, called forensic computer analysts, use their knowledge of computer and information technology to investigate crimes. Much of their work involves recovering deleted or corrupted data in order to uncover criminal activity.
A bachelor’s in computer science or information technology is usually sufficient for entry into the exciting field of forensic computer analysis, but candidates can expect to undergo more training on the job once hired. Some employers require that analysts have professional certification as well. Licenses in the field can be obtained through the International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners (ISFCE) and the International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists (IACIS).
#15—User Experience Designer
Median Annual Salary: $74,983
In the computer and information technology field, a user experience designer, sometimes called a UX designer, is responsible for ensuring a pleasant and intuitive experience for customers as they navigate a company’s website or mobile application. Prospective candidates for these lucrative IT roles must have both technical skills and creative vision in order to design an optimal experience for site visitors and application users.
Though many employers prefer a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field, some UX designers have academic backgrounds in other fields such as graphic design or even psychology. Prior experience in software development or visual design is often required as well.
#14—Network and Computer Systems Administrators
Median Annual Salary: $83,510
Network and computer systems administrators play an integral role in the daily operations of a business or organization by keeping computer systems running smoothly. Their many tasks may include maintaining network security, installing computer hardware and software, and enhancing system performance.
As companies become increasingly reliant on the proper operation of computers and computer networks, the demand for trained professionals to manage these systems is growing at a steady rate. Still, network and computer systems administrators with expertise in cloud computing will have the best opportunities for secure employment in this field of IT, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Most employers require newly hired network and computer systems administrators to have a bachelor’s in computer and information science or a related IT field. While some may only require an associate’s degree in computer and information technology, this is the exception rather than the rule.
#13—Computer Science Professor
Median Annual Salary: $85,180
Some computer and information technology professionals prefer to teach the concepts of computer science rather than practice them in the field. Computer science professors share their knowledge and experience in the field of IT with others in a classroom setting. They may teach face-to-face classes, online courses, or a combination of the two.
This is one computer and IT occupation that requires more than just a bachelor’s degree, however. To teach computer science classes at the postsecondary level, you’ll need at least a master’s degree. Even then, you’ll only be qualified to teach part-time or for community colleges. Most universities require their full-time computer science professors to hold terminal degrees such as PhDs in computer science.
Mean Annual Salary: $86,550
Computer programmers are well-versed in a language that only computers and other programmers understand. With this fluency, they can communicate with these machines and provide them with instructions as to how to perform desired operations. Computer programmers often work alongside software developers in order to turn designs for software programs into real applications.
Usually, job candidates will need a bachelor’s degree in computer or IT in order to be hired as a computer programmer. In addition, some employers prefer programmers who are professionally certified in specific programming languages.
#11—Computer Systems Analysts
Median Annual Salary: $90,920
Sometimes called systems architects, computer systems analysts use their knowledge of computer systems to help businesses and organizations enhance their efficiency and effectiveness. These professionals help company executives identify opportunities to improve their operations through enhanced technologies.
To become a computer systems analyst, you’ll need a bachelor’s credential at a minimum. Most employers prefer an academic background in computer science, information technology, or a related field. Some may also require that students have knowledge of business and management principles as well. Prospective computer systems analysts with an MBA will have the best job prospects.
Job opportunities for all qualified candidates should be good, however. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that jobs in this particular field of computer and information technology are currently growing faster than average.
Mean Annual Salary: $93,750
Called DBAs in the IT world, database administrators are responsible for securing and managing information within a database. As data becomes increasingly important to businesses and organizations throughout the world, the need for trained professionals to protect and organize this data has grown. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for database administrators are continuing to grow faster than average.
To enter the field of database administration, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree, preferably in computer science or information technology. Some employers prefer candidates with a master’s credential in an IT discipline.
#9—Product Manager (Software)
Median Annual Salary: $96,194
Like several other occupations in the computer and IT field, the jobs of product managers for software merge two different fields. In this case, it’s the fields of business and computer science that collide when a product manager for a software product conducts his or her daily duties. These information technology professionals are responsible for overseeing the development of a software product through its life cycle. This includes identifying demand for the product, designing and developing the product, identifying the product’s target market, and promoting the product, for example.
To become a product manager in the software industry, you’ll need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Most employers prefer that you have coursework in both computer science and business.
#8—Information Security Analysts
Median Annual Salary: $99,730
If you’re looking for a computer and IT job that is not only well-paid but also in high demand, then the occupation of an information security analyst may be in your future. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for these professionals are expected to grow by 32% by the year 2028.
As their titles suggest, information security analysts specialize in keeping information safe for businesses and other types of organizations, including government agencies. One of their most important responsibilities is to safeguard important data from hackers and computer viruses that could corrupt crucial information.
The minimum entry-level education required for information security analyst jobs is a bachelor’s degree in computer and information technology or a closely related field like information assurance or computer programming, for example. Some employers prefer applicants with an advanced credential, particularly a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in information systems.
Median Annual Salary: $105,590
The position of a software developer is another computer and IT job that is both high-paying and fast-growing, a winning combination for prospective employees in the field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment numbers for software developers are expected to grow by over 20% over the next eight years.
Software developers are creative professionals who program computers and applications by writing code. These computer and IT professionals may also test and analyze a software program, looking for ways to improve and update it.
In order to do their jobs effectively, software developers must undergo extensive academic and professional training. A bachelor’s degree in computer and IT is required for employment as a software developer. In particular, hiring managers usually prefer a credential in computer science or software engineering.
#6—Computer Network Architects
Mean Annual Salary: $112,690
Also referred to as computer network engineers, computer network architects create computer networks that serve a business or organization’s communication needs. This may include both local area networks (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs) as well as Intranets.
Because of the highly technical and specialized skill set required for computer network architects, these IT professionals tend to be quite well-compensated. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for these occupations is well over six figures. Top earners in the field stand to make over $165,000 annually.
These high-paying positions require experience, though. Many computer network architects not only hold bachelor’s degrees in computer and information technology, but they also have extensive experience in the field. Many employers require backgrounds in network and computer system administration or database administration.
#5—Computer Hardware Engineers
Median Annual Salary: $117,220
Another job in the computer and information technology field associated with a six-figure salary is that of a computer hardware engineer. These IT professionals are responsible for designing the components of a computer system such as computer processors, routers, and circuit boards, for instance. They also test their own designs and look for ways to update or improve existing systems.
Successful applicants to positions for computer hardware engineers hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering or a related field such as computer science, for instance. Degree programs accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) are often preferred by prospective employers.
Although computer software applications are currently in higher demand than computer hardware components, the employment of computer hardware engineers remains steady. Still, the most qualified candidates will have the best job prospects.
Median Annual Salary: $120,000
A software architect is a senior-level software developer who oversees the entire process of developing new software for businesses and other organizations. Often, these computer and IT professionals lead a team of software developers as they work to complete large-scale projects for corporate clients.
Though a bachelor’s in a computer and IT field is sufficient in terms of academic preparation for a career as a software architect, you’ll also need extensive experience in the field for this advanced position. Usually, software architects work for numerous years as software developers before being promoted to the role of architect. Some software architects hold advanced degrees such as a master’s degree in computer and information technology or even a doctoral degree in computer science.
#3—Computer and Information Research Scientists
Median Annual Salary: $122,840
The occupation of a computer and information research scientist is not only one of the highest paying roles in the field of computer and information technology, but it is also one of the fastest-growing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that jobs for computer and information research scientists would grow by 16% in the decade between 2018 and 2028. That’s much faster than the average growth for occupations in the U.S.
Computer and information research scientists play high-level roles in the computer/IT field. Not only do they discover new technologies, but they also invent innovative ways to utilize the existing science. Thus, these professionals usually work in high-energy settings and experience a great sense of achievement when they make discoveries that impact their industry.
To qualify for a position as a computer and information research scientist, you’ll most likely need an advanced degree in the field such as a master’s credential. There are some exceptions, however. For government jobs, a bachelor’s in computer science or a related field is sometimes sufficient.
#2—Computer and Information Systems Managers
Median Annual Salary: $146,360
One of the most lucrative occupations in the industry, computer and information systems (CIS) managers make over $145,000 per year on average. These positions are so well-paid because CIS managers have a great deal of responsibility. Usually, these professionals collaborate with executives within an organization to map out technology goals for an entire company. In addition, these managers are tasked with developing plans to execute these goals.
Though a bachelor’s degree in information technology or closely related field is usually enough to qualify for a job as a CIS manager, you’ll likely need some experience in the field as well. That is to say, the role of a computer and information systems manager is not usually an entry-level position. Some computer and information systems managers hold an advanced degree in CIS.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that jobs for CIS managers are currently growing faster than average as businesses become more reliant on advanced technology in order to remain competitive.
#1—Artificial Intelligence Specialist
Median Annual Salary: $166,000
Artificial intelligence specialists program computers to think like humans. Using sophisticated software, these advanced IT professionals design programs that respond intelligently to specific commands and inquiries. While robots may be the first things to come to mind, there are many other applications of artificial intelligence technology, including self-driving cars and voice recognition devices. Social media platforms also use a form of artificial intelligence to fill up your newsfeed with relevant content.
A bachelor’s degree in computer and information technology may be sufficient for some entry-level positions in artificial intelligence, but most AI specialists hold an advanced degree such as a master’s in computer science or information technology. Some senior-level artificial intelligence professionals hold a terminal degree in the field.
A degree in the computer and information technology is one of the wisest investments you can make in your future. Jobs associated with credentials in computer science/IT are some of the most well-compensated occupations you’ll find in any industry. Moreover, these jobs are in demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 12% overall increase for employment in the IT field by the year 2028. With these kinds of numbers in your favor, it’s hard to go wrong with a bachelor’s or even advanced degree program in a high-tech area of study. The only question that remains is: which promising IT career path will you pursue?
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