IT Salaries: Roles, Location, and Experience

IT professionals across all experience levels made a median of around $91,000 dollars in the US in 2020.
Woman works on IT skills

How much can you make in IT?

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.

IT salaries for various entry-level IT positions in the US ranged from $41,165 to $62,154, according to May 2021 data from Glassdoor.

Help desk analystIT technicianIT support specialistIT administrator
$41,165$45,919$52,738$62,154

Plenty of factors can influence your salary, including your level of experience, skill set, the cost of living of your location, and your education level.

Read more: How to Get a Job in IT: 7 Steps

IT salaries by position

IT salaries can range widely depending on the position. The following salaries were reported in Robert Half’s 2021 Technology Salary Guide. They 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 following list is organized from lowest to highest salary.

  • Cable technician: $44,000

  • Product support specialist: $57,000

  • Desktop Support analyst: $61,750

  • Hardware analyst: $76,500

  • Systems administrator: $85,500

  • Systems analyst: $96,500

  • Database administrator: $100,750

  • Cloud computing analyst: $101,250

  • Systems engineer: $107,000

  • Network/cloud engineer: $115,250

  • DevOps Engineer: $120,000

  • Site reliability engineer: $123,250

  • Network security engineer: $124,500

  • Security architect: $136,000

  • Network/cloud architect: $146,000

  • Information systems security manager: $149,000

  • Big data engineer: $166,500

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)
California$138,941
Texas$122,122
Florida$112,316
New York$133,745
Pennsylvania$116,260
Illinois$124,258
Ohio$113,898
Georgia$119,423
North Carolina$112,161
Michigan$110,991

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
Baltimore/D.C.$109,525
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, as has furthering your education.

Gain certifications and skills

According to Global Knowledge, 12 percent of those who received a raise in the previous year 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]. 

Pursuing in-demand skills in the industry—like cloud computing, cybersecurity, and data management—may make you more competitive for raises and higher paying jobs. 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.

Want to learn more? Start by taking a look at entry-level IT certifications. Or browse through our lists of popular cybersecurity certifications and cloud certifications.

IT degrees

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 $1,426 a week in 2021. Compare that with high school graduates, who made $792 a week [6]. 

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.

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.

FAQs

Which IT jobs pay the most?

Generally, more experience and knowledge of in-demand skills is linked to higher salaries. Managers, engineers, and architects indicate mid-career or senior positions, and are correlated with higher incomes. Global Knowledge also found that those with certifications in in-demand skill areas—chiefly cloud computing and security—saw higher incomes as well [7].

Can I work in IT even if I’m not in a big city?

Though it might be true that large American tech companies and startups tend to be concentrated in large cities, IT jobs are plentiful in smaller cities and towns across the US. Local businesses, banks, hospitals, governments, and universities—any organization that uses a computer system—will likely need IT workers to help run their computers. 

What happens to my salary if I work remotely for a company?

There are several ways a company may decide on your salary if you’re working remotely. Some companies will offer you a salary based on the marketplace of where they’re headquartered, regardless of where you’re located. Other companies might adjust for the cost of living in your area. If you’re curious about how you’ll be compensated, approach your human resources department to see what company policy is.

Related articles

Article sources

1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Computer and Information Technology Occupations, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/home.htm." Accessed June 4, 2021.

2. Robert Half. "Salary Guide 2021, https://www.roberthalf.com/salary-guide." Accessed June 4, 2021.

3. Global Knowledge. "2020 IT Skills and Salary Report, https://www.globalknowledge.com/us-en/content/salary-report/it-skills-and-salary-report/#gref." Accessed June 4, 2021.

4. Dice. "The Dice Tech Salary Report, https://marketing.dice.com/pdf/2021/Dice_2021_Tech_Salary_Report.pdf." Accessed June 4, 2021.

5. Global Knowledge. "5 Numbers to Know in the 2020 IT Skills and Salary Report, https://www.globalknowledge.com/us-en/resources/resource-library/articles/5-numbers-to-know-in-salary-report-2020/#gref." Accessed June 4, 2021.

6. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers, https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/wkyeng.pdf." Accessed June 4, 2021.

7. Global Knowledge. "15 Top-Paying IT Certifications for 2020, https://www.globalknowledge.com/us-en/resources/resource-library/articles/top-paying-certifications/." Accessed June 4, 2021.

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