All You Need to Know About the Highest-paying Tech Jobs

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Oct 28, 2019

Tech jobs are constantly on the rise, and the tech recruitment train is showing no signs of slowing down. As a consequence, the technical hiring industry will become even more competitive in years to come. 

Newly released data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that from 2018 to 2028 the projected growth of development-related jobs is over four-times bigger than those of all occupations (21 percent vs. 5 percent). 

Since developers are in such demand, it’s no wonder that software development is considered a good career choice. Not all tech jobs are equal in terms of pay, though. 

As a recruiter hiring in a competitive industry, it benefits you to be aware of which skills other employers are willing to pay more for. In this article, you’ll discover the highest-paying tech jobs as of 2019 along with pay-related tips for tech HR professionals. The insights presented below come from numerous studies and resources on the subject from industry leaders including Stack Overflow, Dice, and Glassdoor. 

Key Factors Affecting Developer Salary

Before delving into the detailed skills and job titles, let’s first look at how much developers make in the U.S. According to Glassdoor data, the average base pay for all U.S. software developers is $80,018 annually as of October 2019. 

However, there are a number of factors affecting salary level, including: 

  • Tech stack
  • Job title
  • Industry
  • Company
  • Core and additional skills
  • Location and location quotient

Let’s take a closer look at how job titles, tech stack, industry, and company all contribute to a developer’s compensation. 

Highest-paying Tech Jobs: Job Titles and Tech Stack

The top 10 highest-paying tech jobs according to industry leader Stack Overflow are:

  1. Engineering Manager: $89K
  2. DevOps Specialist: $72K
  3. Data Scientists/Machine Learning Scientist: $60K
  4. Data or Business Analyst: $59K
  5. Embedded applications or devices developer: $59K
  6. Full-stack developer: $59K
  7. Desktop or enterprise applications developer: $57K 
  8. Back-end developer: $56K
  9. System administrator: $56K
  10. QA or test developer $55K

Some tech stacks are typically associated with higher-than-average compensation. As we’ve shown before, the average salary for all software developers in the U.S. reaches approximately $80K, according to Glassdoor. However, things look totally different if you take into account individual languages and technologies. Glassdoor reports that in the U.S., iOS ($106,557), Android ($97,445), and .NET($95,052) skills are associated with the highest salaries (see image above). 

This means that iOS developers make on average $25K more annually than all developers and WordPress developers make $19K less. 

Interestingly, Stack Overflow salary numbers are very different when looking at individual tech stacks and their influence on the compensation. Based on their survey respondents’ input, in the U.S. Scala comes first at $143K, followed by Clojure at $139, and Go with $136K. 

Highest-paying tech jobs: Industry and Company 

The Dice Tech Salary Report identifies the most lucrative industries for software developers to work in. These are:

  1. Aerospace & Defense: $109,698
  2. Utilities & Energy: $106,780
  3. Bank/ Financial / Insurance: $105,170
  4. Entertainment/ Media: $103,608
  5. Computer Software: $102,739 

According to Glassdoor (via Forbes), the highest-paying tech companies in the U.S. for 2019 are as follows: 

Palo Alto Networks

Median Total Compensation: $170,929


Median Total Compensation: $170,068


Median Total Compensation: $162,852


Median Total Compensation: $161,254


Median Total Compensation: $158,063


Median Total Compensation: $157,402


Median Total Compensation: $152,962


Median Total Compensation: $150,379


Median Total Compensation: $148,068

Juniper Networks

Median Total Compensation: $146,781


Median Total Compensation: $145,529


Median Total Compensation: $142,083


Median Total Compensation: $141,893


Median Total Compensation: $140,577


Median Total Compensation: $140,056


Median Total Compensation: $139,754

Tableau Software

Median Total Compensation: $138,043

Western Digital

Median Total Compensation: $137,527


Median Total Compensation: $137,244


Median Total Compensation: $135,027

5 Tips for Recruiters Hiring Technical Professionals 

The annual survey of over 800 CEOs and 600 C-suite executives C-Suite Challenge 2019™ reveals that “globally, across all regions, CEOs rank attracting and retaining top talent as their No. 1 internal concern.” Since talent acquisition really is on the top of the executive mind at the moment, many companies see significant increases in recruiting budgets. There are a number of salary-related strategies that are applicable in the tech industry which you can use when hiring for tech jobs. 

Offer fair and competitive pay

As Art Zeile, CEO of DHI Group, Inc says:

“Technology is an important driving force behind innovation and almost every company will be a tech company at its core in the future. How we incentivize our tech talent will define our business success.” 

Existing studies on the subject support the importance of competitive pay in the tech industry. According to the Dice study, salary is the No. 1 driver for changing employers in tech. The study reveals that 45 percent of tech professionals anticipated changing employers in 2019. Of these, 68 percent say they would do so to look for higher compensation. 

Disclose salary ranges as early as possible 

Compensation and benefits offered are the No. 1 factor for assessing potential jobs according to the Stack Overflow Developer Hiring Landscape report. According to this study, developers believe an estimate of the compensation range for the positon should be given as early in the hiring process as possible. Most devs prefer to see it the first email about the prospective job. This helps them decide whether they want to invest time in the recruitment process at all.  

Be quick with making an offer

Making quick decisions, preferably before the candidate has left the building, is a sign of decisiveness. Slow hiring processes are often associated with sluggishness in making decisions, as a company which is the opposite of what developers are looking for.  

Be quick when it comes to matching other offers because developers typically get many of these. Have a plan for how high you can go to match other offers the candidate is getting or counter them. This way, you get to act fast before your competitors snatch your candidates away from you. Another idea that comes from Dr. John Sullivan is to offer an “exploding bonus” (a significant sign-on bonus) which helps them make the decision quickly.

Provide benefits that developers really want 

Offering benefits that developers value is a surefire way of increasing your offer acceptance rate. As Dice reveals, 71 percent of tech pros find training and education to be an important benefit. That said, only 40 percent of them receive these benefits in their current workplace. This is by far the biggest gap between benefits tech pros value and currently have. Pay for certifications and allow time for training.  

Coming up second, remote work or flex hours are attractive to 73 percent of tech pros, but only 49 percent have access to them. 

Remote and flexible working options clearly make your job offer more attractive, as 98 percent of the Dice survey respondents would like to work remotely at least some of the time. That said, almost half of them are willing to take zero pay cut to be able to work remotely more often.  

Design transparent career paths 

You can reinforce the interest of developers by showing them how they can grow professionally in your company. To do that, define the milestones required to be promoted to more senior roles which are associated with a higher salary. Present them in the form of career paths as early as possible so that people know what they can expect and what is expected of them. There’s a great example of how Netguru does it — access the site and scroll down to see the growth from Junior to Senior iOS developers along with the skills and salary changes. 

Final Thoughts

The waters of technical recruitment are difficult to navigate. Since developers are in such high demand, finding the right candidate and winning them over is becoming similar to a sales or marketing effort. Money is and will likely remain the number one factor candidates look at when assessing the attractiveness of a potential job. 

What are your favorite salary-related strategies to land candidates in competitive industries like tech? 


For more salary-based data, check out the highest-paid tech jobs infographic.

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