You’re thinking of making a change in your professional life. Maybe you’ve been considering a career switch to something more technical and in demand, but you’re not sure which option will net you the best paycheck. Or, perhaps you’re already working in information technology but want to find a new gig in a new city. Whatever your situation, you need information on tech career salaries and aren’t sure where to turn.
We developed this guide to give you an idea of what tech jobs are in demand and which cities won’t kill you on the cost of living and therefore give you more bang for your paycheck buck. We cracked open the Hired Annual State of Salaries 2019 report to provide you with all of the essential and relevant information so you can get your career on track and start earning real money. We look at cities with rapidly expanding technical bases and increasing annual salaries. We also give you the lowdown on how often you should plan on moving to stay at the top of your profession, and much more. There’s no time to lose, so let’s get this party started!
San Francisco Stills Pays the Best, but Austin, D.C., and Boston are Closing In
You naturally want to find a job that pays you what you’re worth. You work hard and know your stuff, so you’re entitled to a handsome paycheck at the end of the day. How much you get paid doesn’t only depend on how well you do your job or your expertise, though. Where you’re doing the job has a huge impact on your take-home pay. Some cities have higher average salaries than others, and if you want the best paycheck, you’ll need to work in one of them.
San Francisco has long been a leader in tech salaries, and that’s still the case in 2019. Hired’s report places San Francisco at the top of the salary list again at $145,000 a year. That’s a two percent increase from the last release. However, several cities are nipping at San Francisco’s heels and have been increasing their average salaries much more rapidly than San Francisco has. Boston’s tech workers average $127,000 a year, which is a whopping nine percent higher than in last year’s report. Austin is having a good year as well; its average tech salary of $125,000 a year is six percent up from last year. And, Washington, D.C. is doing great, too, with a $123,000 average tech salary, up six percent from the previous report.
Austin Wins the Cost of Living Contest in a Walk
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High salaries aren’t everything, of course. A person making $100,000 in rural Utah can make their paycheck go much further than someone who lives in an area with a high cost of living such as the San Francisco Bay region. To avoid finding yourself making a higher salary in a new city but bringing home less money, you should take the time to research living costs before accepting a new gig.
San Francisco’s high cost of living is so notorious that Hired used it as a benchmark with which to compare other city’s salaries. Hired kept San Francisco’s average tech salary at $145,000 and adjusted all other city’s wages to show what they would need to be paid in San Francisco to maintain their current standard of living. Austin came in way ahead of the rest at $208,000. That means that tech workers in Austin would need an $83,000 annual raise to match their current living standard if they moved to San Francisco.
Your Advanced Degree Might not Pay Off
As the tech field has matured and companies have become increasingly aware of the qualities and knowledge they require in their tech workers, educational requirements have shifted. The more traditional education approach in Techland has been to obtain an undergraduate degree in CS, Engineering, or another field to qualify for an entry-level tech position. Then, after some years in the industry to get experience, the next move has been to complete master’s and Ph.D. programs to qualify for higher pay and more challenging roles.
Hired’s report shows a significant shift in the way that workers regard advanced degrees. Companies have shown an increased willingness in recent years to hire candidates with specific tech skills but no advanced degrees over others who have graduate work under their belt. Workers no longer see graduate work as a guarantee of better employment and pay; in the most recent report, twenty-one percent were not sure that their master’s or doctorate had an effect on their career, and thirty-one percent felt that they could do the same job without it.
If You Want to Join a Growing Tech Industry, Look to Communications
Many areas of the tech industry have matured, meaning that there’s less of a Wild West feel to the work and fewer big raises on the horizon. These tech sectors are well balanced and have enough workers and no massive uptick in demand on the horizon. If you want to watch your salary and responsibilities grow in a hurry, you’re better off finding work in an underdeveloped sector with lots of room to grow.
Far and away, the tech sector with the most growth opportunity. Hired examined tech worker salaries for many industries and discovered that pure technology jobs (tech jobs for a tech company) pay the most at $141,000 a year. Tech salaries in other industries were similar, with retail, entertainment, and healthcare tech jobs each netting workers $140,000 annually. Communications, by contrast, has an average salary of $130,000. You better believe that won’t last—communications tech worker salaries will rise to the level of their counterparts in no time flat.
Full-Stack Developers Are in High Demand
There are all kinds of software developers. Front-end developers work with the customer-facing technology, for example, while back-end developers focus on server communications and other behind-the-scenes action. For many years, that’s where the variety ended. However, developers with both front- and back-end coding skills have become increasingly in demand in recent times. These full-stack developers offer companies a bargain by merging two employees into one super-worker.
Demand for full-stack developers is continuing to go up, and in a hurry, too. Over the past four years, full-stack programmers have commanded increased salaries and have been selected for senior positions more frequently than their front- or back-end counterparts. Full-stack engineers are the most in-demand software specialists around today, and the future is bright for them. Super-workers are where it’s at, so you might consider checking out full-stack courses if you’re interested.
And that’s the skinny on tech salaries and jobs for 2019. If you’re looking to make a career change, you need to know which tech jobs pay the best and which cities are preferred by tech workers. Our guide digs into the Hired State of Salaries 2019 to give you the most crucial information so you can choose a lucrative and rewarding tech career path.
What’s your opinion of the state of tech salaries? Let us know your thoughts in our comments section below.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.