Top 10 Jobs in Information Technology

The next time you poke fun at the techies, consider that IT workers can expect starting salaries to increase an average of 5.3 percent in 2008, according to the "2008 Robert Half Technology Salary Guide." Base compensations in high-demand positions are also expected to rise as high as 7.6 percent.

"Business expansion and the increased reliance on technology within all sectors has resulted in a competitive environment for skilled IT professionals," says Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology. "Many companies are raising base compensation for new hires and offering additional perks, including signing bonuses and equity incentives, to recruit and retain top candidates."

Thinking twice about a career in technology? Here are the top 10 jobs in IT, based on increases in salary offers, according to the salary guide.

  1. Lead applications developer
    What they do: Manage software development teams in the design, development, coding, testing and debugging of applications. **
    What you need: Bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field and three to five years experience in specific technologies.
    Salary range: $80,250 - $108,000
    Salary change*: 7.6 percent

  2. Applications architect
    What they do: Design components of applications, including interface, middleware and infrastructure; comply with employer's design standards.
    What you need: Bachelor's degree in computer science or information systems; a master's degree is desirable. Employers request a minimum of eight years related work experience and specific software skills.
    Salary range: $87,250 - $120,000
    Salary change: 7.5 percent

  3. Messaging administrator
    What they do: Control e-mail and groupware systems, including associated servers, operating systems, and backup and recovery programs; fix system problems and attend to service requests.
    What you need: Bachelor's degree in computer science, computer information systems or a related field, plus two to three years or more of experience working with the messaging systems used by the employer.
    Salary range: $87,250 - $120,000
    Salary change: 7.5 percent

  4. Data modeler
    What they do: Analyze organizational data requirements and create models of data flow.
    What you need: Bachelor's degree in computer science, IT or mathematics, and several years of data management experience.
    Salary range: $74,250 - $102,000
    Salary change: 7 percent

  5. Network manager
    What they do: Direct day-to-day operations and maintenance of the firm's networking technology; collaborate with network engineers, architects and other team members on the implementation, testing, deployment and integration of network systems.
    What you need: Ten years (or more) experience in a networking environment combined with several years of experience managing technical personnel. Professional certifications are also valuable.
    Salary range: $74,500 - $98,500
    Salary change: 7 percent

  6. Senior IT auditor
    What they do: Establish procedures for audit review of computer systems; develop and apply testing and evaluation plans for IT systems and ensure compliance with industry standards of efficiency, accuracy and security.
    What you need: Bachelor's degree in computer science, information systems, business or a related field, and an average of five years experience in IT auditing.
    Salary range: $86,750 - $114,750
    Salary change: 6.9 percent

  7. Senior Web developer
    What they do: Plan and implement Web-based applications; coordinate with product development, marketing, product management and other teams in bringing new applications online.
    What you need: Bachelor's degree in computer science, electrical engineering or a related field, plus a minimum of five years of experience working with a mix of Web technologies.
    Salary range: $76,250 - $108,250
    Salary change: 6.6 percent

  8. Business intelligence analyst
    What they do: Design and develop company data analysis and report solutions; review and analyze data from internal and external resources; communicate analysis results and make recommendations to senior management.
    What you need: Bachelor's degree in computer science, information systems or engineering, and several years of experience.
    Salary range: $78,250 - $108,250
    Salary change: 6.6 percent

  9. Help desk (Tier 2)
    What they do: Resolve difficult issues that derive from Tier 1 support and require five to 15 minutes to settle; decide when to create work tickets for issues that can't be solved by phone or e-mail and require a visit to the user's workspace.
    What you need: Besides patience and a positive attitude, requirements depend on your position level. Tier 2 positions call for two to four years work experience, and a bachelor's degree or a two-year degree and additional work experience in a help desk setting.
    Salary range: $35,750 - $46,250
    Salary change: 6.5 percent

  10. Staff consultant
    What they do: Assist with project planning and requirement specifications; create prototypes and alternatives with colleagues.
    What you need: Bachelor's degree in computer science, business or a consulting-related field. Industry-specific proficiency, plus business experience and two or more years of consulting experience are also typical requirements.
    Salary range: $59,250 - $82,250
    Salary change: 6.4 percent

Source: MSN Careers

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38 Comments

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I have to say that articles like this really get my goat! I have no objections with people working hard and being rewarded for it, but that's the difference between America and the rest of the world. I'm from the UK and I can tell you that the private sector jobs are paying roughly £25K/$50K a year for someone with good sound Microsoft Infrastructure experience. You definately don't need a degree, as long as you can prove you have the experience to back the job up.

However, when it comes to the public sector (government, health service etc) IT techs like me get seriously ripped off for the amount of work that there is to do. I work in the health service and whilst my job title, workload and experience has grown considerably in the past 4 years, my wages haven't. There is one reason that happens, and that's office politics. The head honcho's don't want someone like me earning, and being worth more to the organisation, than them. So even though I am putting in more hours (screw that european working directive), working on more complex projects and providing out of hours support, I will never see a financial benefit to this. There is one line in my job description that backs this up; Any other duties realting to the service. What?! So that means that with the addition of new technologies that are introduced in to my organisation, I will be expected to learn and use/administer them without any incentives (except of course personal satisfaction, which starts to run low after 3 years of constant use)!

This is partly the reason I want to emmigrate, as it appears that in the US you get rewarded for working hard and getting results. In my current role (and others outside of the public sector from other techies I know), you are expected to "do" and not ask any questions or expect anything more than what you have.

Yeah, EWTD will pretty much mean people who end up having to do constant over time get screwed over since they'll still have to do it without being paid for it anymore.

I am a ITIL certified, Senior Service Desk Technician, making $54,000 a year. If you are ok with support and become ITIL certified, you can make really good money. I've noticed that in Minneapolis area, being ITIL trained is a difference of around $15,000.

Yeah, that's a big one to miss. I've seen those jobs advertised at £60K/$120K+

Can't even think of a suitable excuse as to why it's not on the list!

I would have to argue about the Computer Science degree requirement for most of the jobs. I am not discouraging students from education -- believe me most people need it. But in the IT field there is a load of personnel without any formal education. Some of the best I've worked with don't have it. Changes in IT scene are very rapid. Self-learners thrive in this industry.

ok, i'm an IT student and this article and its comments has just convinced me to switch my major to computer science, start downloading .net tutorials, and lose weight....lots of weight.

The salaries quoted here seem quite low... A lead developer in the UK is looking at an average of £48k ($96k), but in London, that rises to £59k ($118k)...

Check it out on: http://www.itjobswatch.co.uk/

To the guys who mentioned Tier 2 Helpdesk at Zen - £13k!!! That's unbelievable how old are you?

I've been auditing quite a few companies the past few years. I can say for the smaller companies, they are still slow in automating their process; either due to investments or hesitate for change. I get this alot for smaller firms:

"We have been doing this for the past 20 years, and they all work fine"

But I would agree with the article as bigger business are always looking for efficiency and would continue to hire 'techies' and try to automate their processes.

A lot of companies are accepting Electrical and Electronic Engineer in lui of Computer Science.

EEE is become more and more software orintated as lets faces it...the world is run by IT.

You do know EE and CS are two unrelated field right? It's strange to see companies hiring EE's to do CS stuff, makes no sense. Though I can understand if they're looking for a Test Engineer or something of that sort then CS-EE is not bad.

And the world is not run by IT's, they're run by many people of different expertise. IT's don't have specialty in DSP (communications), analog, and digital devices.

Word of advice, IT industry is very competitive now a days. There are just too many people graduating in the Computer Science, Software Engineers, Management Information Technology, and Computer Engineers department. I'd look else where for a career unless you really love any of those careers.

No - you are totally wrong and are very ignorrant!

EE and CS are NOT two unrelated fields. Infact, the university I am at, the school is called "School of Electrical, Electronic Engineering and Computer Science". Modules are interchangable and final year projects are very accomadating for the wide spectrum.

You obviously have no idea what an EE degree contains, and even if you do, you are iggnorant to the facts of the "modern" EE course.

The course I am studying (Electrical and Electronic Engineering) contains a lot of software related modules (more if you choose them as electives).

And I have contacted many IT companies, most of which who state in their jobfinders "Computer Science or related degree), and they all say that EE is most def a related field.

I choose my course carefully before jumping to a decision and I am 100% satisfied that I can go into a job in IT eaisly.

Infact, most IT jobs don't even need a degree (I DON'T mean that in a defamatory way) and experience is what really sets you apart from the rest. During my placment year, I will be with an IT firm.

Get your facts wrong before you put your trash upon the world!

Yeah, if only this reflected the UK as well.
I'm about to take on a Tier 2 Helpdesk position and will be recieving roughly £13000 (around $26K USD)
Hardly acurate IMO

Zen Internet pay their helpdesk staff a bare minumum of £13k (for complete beginners) however any experience / qualifications starts you on £16k and with experience some of them earn £18k+

IT unemployed here... and tired to see the top 10 IT jobs and crap like that. When you ask for a job everyone tell you "we will call you" and that never happend. You need someone "inside" to get a job, thats how it works. The things you have study 10, 5 even a year ago now are useless. **** the media with that stupid averticements about how RICH you might become wasting a lot of money and time in formation. That top 10 **** is a **** ing lie. Doesnt matter if you speak 3 or 5 languages, doest matter if you manage a lot of programming languages... in the end you will be like me. Just another unemployed. And here is worse, we dont have social security and **** like that. You are on your own, you better have parents if not you might starve to death. And you better never, EVER think to form a family, because if you dont have money to eat by yourown, how could you EVER think to feed a wife and a kid. Life is a bitch, and many of us fell that on our backs. Im tired of this ****.

Bitter party of one...Bitter?

I'm sorry to hearing you are having such a bad time with your career. I however do have a career in IT and have managed not to starve to death. In fact I have a wife and two children with a third on the way. I cut my teeth in IT as a contract employee, and it can lead to you feeling complete expendable, but you tough it out and bust your hump and you'll normally be fine.

(ThePitt said @ #7)
IT unemployed here... and tired to see the top 10 IT jobs and crap like that. When you ask for a job everyone tell you "we will call you" and that never happend. You need someone "inside" to get a job, thats how it works. The things you have study 10, 5 even a year ago now are useless. **** the media with that stupid averticements about how RICH you might become wasting a lot of money and time in formation. That top 10 **** is a **** ing lie. Doesnt matter if you speak 3 or 5 languages, doest matter if you manage a lot of programming languages... in the end you will be like me. Just another unemployed. And here is worse, we dont have social security and **** like that. You are on your own, you better have parents if not you might starve to death. And you better never, EVER think to form a family, because if you dont have money to eat by yourown, how could you EVER think to feed a wife and a kid. Life is a bitch, and many of us fell that on our backs. Im tired of this ****.


If you are a IT and still unemployed ( for more that 2 months) then you are screwing on some point: personal image (jeans and t-shirt is a no-go ), curriculum, city (some cities stink on find a decent job) or simply your lack on valuable knowledge ( c++ is not so valuable, rubi on rails is just time wasted, but .net, php and asp.net are pretty required! ). Also, if you are fat/woman/to old then you will have a lot of difficulties to find a job. And even if you fail on it, you can "ronin", internet is a fine place for IT.

Anyways, you don't need to known every language, for example to say "expert on .net and j2ee" is the same to say "i'm a liar!", business will search for specialist and not for a swiss knife.

i think i gotta agree with "ThePitt" as nowadays it's just to hard to get a decent pc job (even working on pc's and basic fixing of them) as theres just WAY WAY to many people doing it nowadays.

and it's like ThePitt was saying.... it's not to much of what you know, it's who you know :(

plus in USA Michigan it aint easy to find decent jobs in general where im at.

Last time I changed jobs (in a new town where I knew no one), I sent 7 resumes, took 3 interviews and had 2 offers in less than 6 weeks. I agree completely with Magallanes. I you can't find a job, look in the mirror. Life is what you make it. I don't/didn't have parents that can/could afford to help me. I paid for my Business Degree, my house, furniture... everything.

Also, if all you do is fix computers (basic) then get some more training, a monkey can fix a PC nowadays.

(Magallanes said @ #7.2)


If you are a IT and still unemployed ( for more that 2 months) then you are screwing on some point: personal image (jeans and t-shirt is a no-go ), curriculum, city (some cities stink on find a decent job) or simply your lack on valuable knowledge ( c++ is not so valuable, rubi on rails is just time wasted, but .net, php and asp.net are pretty required! ). Also, if you are fat/woman/to old then you will have a lot of difficulties to find a job. And even if you fail on it, you can "ronin", internet is a fine place for IT.

Anyways, you don't need to known every language, for example to say "expert on .net and j2ee" is the same to say "i'm a liar!", business will search for specialist and not for a swiss knife.

Well said!

They seemed to be a bit low for DC. Most of the people I know started in various IT jobs easily at $50K and many of them are making 60K+ after a few years. I'd still take my job over having to deal endlessly with office politics. If you don't love the people you work with no amount of money is worth it.

may not pay as much but sure prefer my job being rifleman and assistant information systems and communication operator in army then sitting behind a desk and computer all day