8 Best-Paying Jobs in Technology & What They Involve (2021 List)

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Whether you’re about to pick a major in college or you’re considering changing careers, you’ve probably heard how high an IT salary can be! By pursuing one of the best-paying jobs in technology, you could use your tech salary to set yourself up for a bright financial future.  

But there’s so much variety within tech, and the average IT salary varies depending on which job you have. If you need help deciding how to specialize and which exact route to go in tech, this post is for you. 

In this post, we’ll give an overview of eight of the highest-paying tech jobs available, how much they pay (spoiler alert: all higher than $100k/year), and what skills you need to learn to land these jobs. Plus, I’ll share some of the online learning tracks/specializations I recommend to help you prepare for each high-paying computer job. Let’s dive in.

Jump Ahead: 8 of the Best Paying Jobs in Technology

  1. Product manager (PM)
  2. Full-stack developer
  3. Software engineer
  4. Cloud engineer
  5. Data scientist
  6. Android developer
  7. Software architect
  8. Machine learning engineer

Disclosure: I’m a proud affiliate for some of the resources mentioned in this article. If you buy a product through my links on this page, I may get a small commission for referring you. Thanks!

Why Tech Makes a Good Career

Obviously, since this is an article on the best-paying jobs in technology, that’s a big perk of its own! But beyond a high IT salary, what else makes tech such a great career field? Let’s quickly explore a few reasons beyond tech salaries:

  1. There are tons of unfilled tech jobs so once you get the skills, odds are you’ll find a job relatively quickly.
  2. Every industry needs tech professionals, so you can choose to work in the industry you like best, whether it’s fashion, healthcare, agriculture…whatever!
  3. Tech work environments are typically flexible and work/life balance friendly.
  4. Many roles offer the potential for freelance work as well.
  5. You can make the switch at any time — even if you’re 40+. There’s no age limit for breaking into tech.
  6. You often don’t need tons of experience to get an entry-level tech job; just practice, hard work, and a portfolio of projects to show to employers.
  7. You’ll get to work on innovative, interesting projects that actually make a difference!
  8. There is tons of room to grow in your career, since tech is always evolving and you can climb the ladder as you keep fine-tuning your skills.
  9. Anyone can do it! CS degrees are becoming less and less of a hard requirement.

So no matter what obstacle/fear you’re facing on your journey to a high-paying tech job—like “I don’t have time,” “I’m an introvert” and “I’ve never been a math/computer person”—it can be overcome! More on this here.

Tech worker

8 of the Best Paying Jobs in Technology

Without further ado, let’s get to the list of the highest-paying tech jobs out there today! What do technology jobs pay (and what is the average IT salary at different experience levels)? What skills do you need to score a top information technology salary? What daily responsibilities do people have in these best-paying jobs in technology? We’ll cover all this and more! 

1. Product manager (PM)

Product managers are in charge of developing and delivering products. They monitor every team involved in the product to make sure they’re on track to meet goals and manage lots of moving parts to get software products launched. The main purpose of product managers is solving problems to help teams get things done faster, more efficiently, and at a higher quality standard. Learn more about what product managers do.

Product manager

📝 What product managers do on a daily basis: 

  • Guide the overall roadmap of a software product
  • Help define product strategy
  • Act as liaison between a variety of teams (engineers, UX, marketing, stakeholders, etc.) through product ideation, testing, design, development, and launch of products
  • Usually attend lots of meetings

👔 Work environment: 

  • Typically small, fast-paced environments
  • Mostly tech-based companies that offer some type of software product
  • Usually a full-time, in-office role but potential for remote

➡️ What kind of person makes a good product manager?

  • People who like making decisions
  • Love working with others
  • Enjoy social interaction
  • Like the strategy side of things
  • Want a job with lots of variety: no day is the same
  • Enjoy tech, but don’t want to code on a daily basis (or ever!). In fact, only 5% of product managers know how to code.

💰 Salary info:

📈 Demand for product managers:

It has been said that we are in the “Golden Age of Product Management”! The role scored a #3 ranking on Glassdoor’s 50 Best Jobs in America for 2021, and ranked as one of the most promising jobs of the year in a 2019 LinkedIn survey, with a 29% year-on-year growth in job openings.

💡 Job requirements/skills:

  • Ability to break down complex problems into smaller steps with measurable goals/outcomes
  • Strong collaboration skills
  • Strategic decision-making skills
  • Analytical skills (e.g., beta testing, market research)
  • Knowledge of software development principles

An 8-course learning path that takes you through how to become a product manager, including how to develop an effective product strategy, how to build a product roadmap, and the key tech terms and trends that will affect your work as a product manager.

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2. Full-Stack Developer

Can’t decide between front-end and back-end development? Do both! Full-stack developers do a blend of front-end and back-end dev work (also known as client-side and server-side development). They are usually more generalists than specialists, and play a big role in building, maintaining, and improving a company’s apps and/or software products.

Developer

📝 What full-stack developers do on a daily basis: 

  • Write both front- and back-end code
  • Convert designs into technical specifications 
  • Collaborate with designers, engineering team, product team
  • Participate in code and design reviews/standups

👔 Work environment: 

  • Usually smaller/startup type companies, but also bigger companies
  • Typically work in small, cross-functional teams 
  • Potential for remote work
  • Can work freelance too

➡️ What kind of person makes a good full-stack developer?

  • People who enjoy an equal balance of design and coding
  • Good for creative people who also like logic/problem solving
  • People who love to learn

💰 Salary info:

📈 Demand for full-stack engineers:

Full-stack engineers are consistently in demand because they know both the front end and back end, so they can complete a wide variety of tasks. The role also scored #4 on LinkedIn’s list of top emerging jobs in 2020: “Since 2015, hiring growth for this profession has been 35% every year from a wide range of developer and engineering backgrounds.”

💡 Job requirements/skills

Each company will likely have its own tech stack, but common languages used by full stack developers include:

By the time you complete this track, you’ll be a polyglot (i.e., a person who knows multiple languages) and will build your own blog from scratch.

3. Software engineer

Software engineers can do similar work as a full-stack developer, but they tend to focus mostly on back-end work and take on more specialist roles for certain aspects of the software. They write the code behind software products of all kinds (video games, applications, features, robots, etc.).

Software engineer

📝 What software engineers do on a daily basis: 

  • Write custom code and scripts
  • Collab and brainstorm with other engineers 
  • Change and update code as needed
  • Own software features or systems

👔 Work environment: 

  • Nearly every industry needs software engineers
  • Wide variety of work environments, something for everyone
  • Lots of remote opportunities

➡️ What kind of person makes a good software engineer?

  • People who like math, logic, problem-solving
  • Good role for introverts or extroverts!

💰 Salary info:

How in-demand the job is/future demand:

The role is projected to grow 22% between 2019-2029 (much faster than average).

💡 Job requirements/skills:

  • Like full-stack developers, each company has its own tech stack, but it can be good to know Java, Python, or C++ 
  • Understanding of the full lifecycle of software development — requirements, planning, design, implementation, and delivery
  • Solid understanding of data structures/ algorithmic techniques, design patterns, and other computer science foundations
  • Sometimes requires a bachelor’s degree, but not always. Here’s how to become a software engineer without a CS degree.

In this 4-month track, you’ll learn how to develop and test large software applications using Java. Includes 4 courses. Gives you a good understanding of the core principles of professional software development.

4. Cloud engineer

Cloud engineers are responsible for managing a company’s cloud-based systems and processes. They help companies move to the cloud (and keep things running smoothly once they’re there)! Learn more about cloud computing.

Code

📝 What cloud engineers do on a daily basis: 

  • Manage security/access of cloud systems
  • Interact with teams and customers in different time zones to ensure 24×7 support
  • Linux/Windows administration tasks

👔 Work environment: 

  • May need to be “on-call” to handle 24/7 emergencies
  • Often an in-office role
  • Various industries/work environments

➡️ What kind of person makes a good cloud engineer?

  • Detail-oriented people
  • Those who love to solve problems
  • Those who enjoy support-type roles

💰 Salary info:

📈 Demand for cloud engineers:

Cloud jobs are on the rise because companies are switching from the traditional server infrastructure to cloud solutions. The market for global public cloud services is estimated to grow 35% to $120 billion in 2021.

💡 Job requirements/skills:

  • AWS (Amazon Web Services), Azure, and/or Google Cloud Platform
  • Java
  • Linux
  • DevOps
  • Docker
  • Usually requires some sort of cloud certification 

This course prepares you to pass the Google Cloud certification exam. As a prerequisite to this course, you should be familiar with the fundamentals of cloud computing. 

5. Data scientist

Data scientists help businesses make important decisions based on data. Unlike data analysts (who often focus on collecting, cleaning, and reporting on data), data scientists take it to another level by building models that make future predictions. They model, analyze, and make recommendations based on data to answer complex questions.

Data scientist

📝 What data scientists do on a daily basis: 

  • Develop models for fraud detection, recommendations, pattern recognition, etc.
  • Develop data science algorithms and conduct statistical analysis
  • Work with stakeholders to propose solutions and strategies to key business challenges
  • Present data to executives and stakeholders using data visualization techniques

👔 Work environment: 

  • Lends itself well to remote work
  • Tons of industries need data scientists (from retail to finance to entertainment to healthcare and everything in between)
  • Since so many companies need data scientists, you can easily find a work environment that suits your personality

➡️ What kind of person makes a good data scientist?

  • Detail-oriented
  • Analytical-minded
  • Data-oriented
  • Inquisitive
  • Good if you have a background in math / enjoy math

💰 Salary info:

📈 Demand for data scientists:

Data science is in the top 20 fastest growing occupations and has projected 31% growth over the next 10 years. “Big Data” is just getting bigger and bigger, meaning there will be tons of opportunities for data scientists to draw important insights and make sense of it all.

💡 Job requirements/skills:

A 4-month, comprehensive course that helps you master the skills necessary to become a successful data scientist. By the end, you’ll have a project to add to your portfolio.

You can also listen to this podcast for more info on how to teach yourself data science.

6. Android developer

As the name implies, Android developers create apps specifically for Android devices. They may build new apps or work to maintain and update existing apps for companies. App developers can also work for freelance clients or build their own apps. Learn more about the role of an Android developer!

Android development team

📝 What Android developers do on a daily basis: 

  • Implement new features and improve existing ones
  • Build Android app functionality and UI with code
  • Fix bugs
  • Perform unit testing

👔 Work environment: 

  • Lots of remote and freelance opportunities 
  • Startups and big companies
  • Tons of industries

➡️ What kind of person makes a good Android developer?

  • Problem solvers
  • Analytical
  • Creative

💰 Salary info:

📈 Demand for Android developers: 

The app economy will add 440,000 new jobs to the US workforce by 2024, and Android jobs typically pay a bit more than iOS developer roles. 

💡 Job requirements/skills: 

  • Java, Kotlin, or both
  • Android Software Development Kit (Android SDK)
  • SQL
  • XML basics
  • Android Studio
  • REST APIs

A 5-course specialization that will take about 5 months to complete. Teaches Java for Android. By the end, you will create your own customized Android app. 

See more Android courses here.

7. Software architect

Software architects are a type of advanced software engineer who makes high-level design choices about things like coding standards, tools, and platforms. Just like an architect creates blueprints for houses, software architects create blueprints for software.

Note: This high-paying tech job doesn’t offer opportunities to start at an entry-level role, but it’s something you can grow your career towards.

Software architect

📝 What software architects do on a daily basis: 

  • Work closely with technical and business stakeholders to implement clear workflows through the full software stack
  • Design project structure and UML (Unified Modeling Language) diagram
  • Break down a project into smaller problems
  • Review architecture and code of others on the team to ensure coding standards are met
  • Decide and document architectural elements

👔 Work environment: 

  • All environments
  • Typically a full-time role, but freelance opportunities may be available

➡️ What kind of person makes a good software architect?

  • People who like making high-level decisions
  • Coders who realize they don’t want to code as much, but would rather create coding standards
  • People who enjoy the strategy side of things
  • Problem-solvers

💰 Salary info:

📈 Demand for software architects:

#1 on Indeed’s best jobs of 2020 (defining “best” as job titles with the highest number of postings per one million jobs and offering the highest pay).

💡 Job requirements/skills: 

  • Typically requires at least 5 years of software engineering experience, but this will vary from company to company
  • Experience in an Agile/Scrum environment
  • BS/MS in Computer Science sometimes required
  • Algorithm and data structure design
  • Programming language (e.g., Java, C++)

115 lectures that break down how to become a software architect — from how to select the right tech stack for a given project to how to design an overall system architecture.

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8. Machine learning engineer

Machine learning engineers create programs that allow a computer to perform some task or set of actions without being specifically told to perform those actions.

Code on a laptop

📝 What machine learning engineers do on a daily basis: 

  • Work closely with data scientists and others to train and deploy machine learning models
  • Run machine learning tests and experiments 
  • Develop ML applications

👔 Work environment: 

  • All types of environments
  • Typically works full-time in-office, but can also do freelance work on various projects

➡️ What kind of person makes a good machine learning engineer?

  • Mathematically-minded
  • Analytical 
  • Curious/inquisitive

💰 Salary info:

📈 Demand for machine learning engineers:

Machine learning jobs are projected to be worth almost $31 billion by 2024, according to Forbes, which is an annual growth rate of over 40%. Research by Indeed shows that machine learning is the most commonly requested skill for AI roles. 

💡 Job requirements/skills: 

  • Python and/or C++
  • SQL
  • Statistical techniques and concepts
  • Experience with machine learning algorithms (e.g., Neural Networks, Boosting algorithms, Decision Trees, etc.)
  • TensorFlow and other machine learning libraries
  • Data science tools and frameworks (i.e. Scikit, Numpy, Pandas)
  • Mathematics fundamentals: linear algebra, calculus, probability

4-course specialization that teaches you major areas of machine learning (e.g., prediction, classification, clustering) through a series of practical case studies.

See more of the best machine learning courses here. 

Which Highest-Paying Tech Job Is the One for You?

There you have it: eight of the best-paying jobs in technology!

As you can see, there’s a lot of variety and something for everyone, no matter what skills you gravitate toward. 

When you’re looking at the highest-paying computer jobs, it’s good to keep in mind that a high tech salary isn’t the only important thing about a job. Take into account your current skills, personality, interests/passions when choosing a path. A high IT job salary won’t help if you hate the work and burn out quickly!

Also, especially if you’re new to tech, remember that you don’t need to choose a specific tech role right away. It can help to explore a few different career paths and get a good idea of what’s required of each. That way, if one high-paying IT job requires Java coding proficiency, but you try learning Java and it isn’t for you, you’re not locked in! 

Want to learn about more in-demand tech skills? Check out this post on the 18 most in-demand technology skills to learn in 2021.