IT Salary Overview: How Much Can You Make?

Written by Coursera • Updated on Nov 15, 2021

IT professionals across experience levels make a higher average salary than the average across all jobs.

IT worker checks on systems at workplace

Computer and information technology (IT) professionals made a median salary of $91,250 in May 2020, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) [1]. That’s significantly more than the median salary for all occupations, which was $41,950.

Keep in mind that many factors can influence your salary, including your level of experience, skill set, the cost of living of your location, your education level, and what certifications you have.

IT salaries by position

So what do IT workers in these roles actually make? The following salaries were reported in Robert Half’s 2022 Technology Salary Guide, and represent those in the fiftieth percentile of professionals—defined as those who have average experience and most of the required skills for the job [2]. The list is organized from lowest to highest salary.

  • Product support specialist: $57,750

  • Desktop support analyst: $62,750

  • Hardware analyst: $78,250

  • Systems administrator: $88,750

  • Systems analyst: $99,500

  • Scrum master: $104,000

  • Cloud computing analyst: $106,000

  • Database administrator: $107,750

  • Systems engineer: $111,500

  • Network/cloud engineer: $118,750

  • DevOps Engineer: $125,750

  • Site reliability engineer: $126,750

  • Network security engineer: $131,250

  • Big data engineer: $141,500

  • Security architect: $143,250

  • Network/cloud architect: $153,750

  • Information systems security manager: $157,250

What IT roles make the highest salaries?

The highest salaries in the IT world are tied to roles that are high in demand and currently have a shortage of qualified workers—typically positions related to cloud computing, cybersecurity, and big data. Managers, engineers, and architects indicate mid-career or senior positions, and are also correlated with higher incomes.

Generally speaking, entry-level positions are correlated with lower salaries. These include help desk and troubleshooting positions like help desk analyst, IT technician, and IT associate. As you gain more experience and specialize your skills in areas like systems administration or cloud computing, you'll see your salary increase.

Learn more about entry-level IT positions and salaries.

IT salaries by location: US states and cities

Here’s what you’ll make across various states in the US, according to Global Knowledge’s 2020 IT Skills and Salary Report [3]. The states listed below are the ten most populous, beginning with the largest population.

StateAverage salary (2020)
New York$133,745
North Carolina$112,161

Here are the metro areas across the US that are correlated with the largest tech salaries. Salary data was provided by the Dice 2021 Tech Salary Report [4]. Keep in mind that these areas may also be more expensive to live in, leading to higher salaries.

Metro areaAverage salary (2020)
Silicon Valley, CA$126,801
New York City, NY$114,274
Boston, MA$111,069
San Diego, CA$109,910
Seattle, WA$106,723
Denver, CO$104,968
Austin, TX$104,344
Los Angeles, CA$103,150
Minneapolis, MN$102,341

Boosting your IT salary

Learning in-demand skills, through certifications or other means, has been linked to an increase in salaries. So has furthering your education.

How do skills and certifications impact your salary?

According to Global Knowledge, 12 percent of those who received a raise in 2020 credit gaining new skills, through training for certifications or otherwise. IT professionals who received raises related to getting new certifications saw their salaries rise by an average of $13,000 [5]. 

IT skills associated with higher salaries

Pursuing in-demand skills in the industry may make you more competitive for raises and higher paying jobs. These technical skills include:

You can also speak with your employer to see what skills gaps your company is hoping to fill. Or browse job listings of roles similar to yours to see what skills are currently in demand.

IT certifications associated with higher salaries

According to the 2021 IT Skills and Salary Survey conducted by Global Knowledge, the following IT certifications were linked to the highest salaries [6]:

  1. Google Certified Professional Data Engineer: $171,749

  2. Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect: $169,029

  3. AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate: $159,033

  4. Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC): $151,995

  5. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP): $151,853

  6. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM): $149,246

  7. Project Management Professional (PMP®): $148,906

  8. Nutanix Certified Professional – Multicloud Infrastructure (NCP-MCI): $142,810

  9. Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA): $134,460

  10. VMware Certified Professional – Data Center Virtualization 2020 (VCP-DVC): $132,947

You can also look at cloud and security certifications, two areas that are currently in demand. Popular cybersecurity certifications include:

  1. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

  2. Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

  3. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

  4. CompTIA Security+

  5. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

If you're trying to incorporate cloud knowledge into your skill set, consider these entry-level cloud certifications:

  1. AWS Solutions Architect - Associate

  2. Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals

  3. Google Associate Cloud Engineer

  4. IBM Certified Solution Advisor - IBM Cloud Foundations V2

  5. Cloud Security Alliance: Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK)

Just getting started in IT? Take a look at entry-level IT certifications.

Should I get an IT degree?

Degrees aren’t always necessary to land a job in IT. But higher education levels are linked to higher incomes—the BLS found that those with a bachelor’s degree made a median income of $1,474 a week in 2021. Compare that with high school graduates, who made $817 a week [7]. 

Employers may also still favor job candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree, or even master’s degrees, for certain IT positions. Though going back to school might be intimidating, the financial and career benefits can be rewarding. If you’ve already received a bachelor’s degree, pursuing a master’s degree in IT or computer science can help you advance in your current role, or pivot to a new one.

So yes—a degree in IT has its benefits. But it'll also cost you time and money. In making your decision, think about where you want your career to go. Are you willing to make a long-term investment for salary increases and a faster track to managerial positions? Then a degree might make sense. If you're looking for a quick way to find a new job or get a raise, other options like a certification might be what you're looking for.

Read more: Do I Need an Information Technology Degree? 4 Things to Consider

Getting started in IT

IT jobs, as diverse as they are, offer higher-than-average salaries. Plenty of IT jobs can be done from the comfort of your own home. If you’re ready to get started, take a look at some entry-level IT certificates and certifications, like the Google IT Support Professional Certificate. You’ll learn the fundamentals of tech support, system administration, operating systems, and other key skills to prepare you for a job in IT.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Article sources

1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Computer and Information Technology Occupations," Accessed November 12, 2021.

2. Robert Half. "Salary Guide 2022," Accessed November 12, 2021.

3. Global Knowledge. "2020 IT Skills and Salary Report," Accessed November 12, 2021.

4. Dice. "The Dice Tech Salary Report," Accessed November 12, 2021.

5. Global Knowledge. "5 Numbers to Know in the 2020 IT Skills and Salary Report," Accessed November 12, 2021.

6. Global Knowledge. "15 Top-Paying IT Certifications for 2021," Accessed November 12, 2021.

7. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers," Accessed November 12, 2021.

Written by Coursera • Updated on Nov 15, 2021

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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