By CSDH Staff
There are a ton of benefits to pursuing a career in computers and IT. Not only is there quite the variety of job choices, but the jobs tend to be fun — assuming, of course, you enjoy computers! Video game design, anyone? But one of the most attractive benefits of pursuing a job in computer science is the high average salary. According to Forbes, those who graduate college with a bachelor’s degree in computer science are hired at an average salary of $71,500. That makes computer science one of the best college majors that lead to high salaries.
And so we asked ourselves: what are the highest paying jobs in computers and IT? To find out, we made a list of more than 100 relevant jobs. We then consulted PayScale, and used the up-to-date average salary to narrow down our list to the 50 highest paying computer science jobs. The results are surprising…
1. Cloud Solutions Architect
If you’re looking for computer jobs that pay well, then the role of cloud solutions architect is definitely one to consider. Cloud solution architects are IT professionals who are:
- responsible for designing cloud applications
- managing and monitoring a cloud
- generally overseeing a company’s cloud computing strategy
While entry-level cloud solutions architects make an average of $81,000, the average salary for this top-paying computer job is $126,423. Those with more than 20 years experience can expect to make as much as $162,000.
2. Software Architect
Second on our list of the highest paying jobs in the computer science field is software architect. According to PayScale, software architects make an average of $126,377 per year, and as much as $166,000 per year. Typical bonuses are around $10,000, according to PayScale. Software architects usually work for large corporations and agencies where they create web services, coding programs, databases, and user interfaces for other companies. Responsibilities include:
- creating tech solutions
- staying up to date with new developments in computer science
- designing and implementing cost-efficient software
3. Network Architect
There are four main tasks for which a network architect is responsible. First, they will explore and evaluate new technologies to determine their cost and efficiency. Secondly, network architects are responsible for improving technical infrastructure based on clients’ requirements. Thirdly, network architects act as a primary contact for troubleshooting tech-related problems. Lastly, network architects design network systems.
With so much to do, it’s no wonder network architect is one of the highest paying computer science jobs! To become a network architect, one should have at least a bachelor’s degree in a field related to computer science or networking, and some industry and security certifications. Also required is:
- an attention to detail
- strong communication skills
- the ability to work alone or with a team.
4. Software Applications Architect
According to PayScale, software applications architects are the third highest paid employees in the computer and IT field. While the average salary for a software applications architect is $122,024, those with the most experience often make as much as $164,000. Various organization types employ software applications architects to:
- build a new technical framework
- create new software products
- modify existing products
The most successful software applications architects have a solid knowledge of programming languages, have experience with development tools like GitHub and Docker, and have a natural attention to detail.
5. Data Architect
The fifth highest paying computer science job for 2021 is data architect. Data architects work for companies and/or educational institutions which have large amounts of internal data needing to be:
Because a data architect is responsible for ensuring the accuracy and accessibility of so much data, it’s imperative that data architects are detail oriented with excellent analytical skills. According to PayScale, the average salary for a data architect is $120,609, though some make as much as $157,000.
6. Solutions Architect
Solution architects can expect to make an average of $119,353 annually, or as much as $160,000. They are typically responsible for identifying their employer’s current tech issues and future goals, then building new systems as needed. Common fields in which solutions architects work include:
- business development and planning
- quality assurance
- management, to name a few
This top-paying computer job requires a bachelor’s degree in a program related to computer science, plus problem solving, communication, and leadership skills.
7. Site Reliability Engineer
Those keen to pursue a high paying computer engineering job should consider the role of site reliability engineer, or SRE for short. SREs connect development and operations by “applying a software engineering mindset to system administration topics.” Their main goal is to develop highly reliable and measurable software systems. They usually do this for large tech companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft, and others. Employers often look for SREs who have expert knowledge of Linux and Python.
8. Computer and Information Research Scientist
The eighth largest computer science salary belongs to the job of computer and information research scientist. As is the case with so many other high-paying IT careers on our list, computer and information research scientists work for large companies and organizations. They are responsible for:
- overseeing research efforts
- studying concepts and applying them to computational models
- completing reports based on their observations
The ability to multitask is an important skill for any successful computer and information research scientist to possess, as are good communication skills and team work.
9. Data Scientist
Data scientists are some of the highest paid in the computer science field.They are also some of the most important employees of any large company or organization. This is because data scientists are trained to interpret data using statistics, machine learning, and even a little bit of human intuition. Organizations use the work of data scientists to make large-scale decisions. According to PayScale, the average data scientist makes just under $97,000 per year. The website estimates entry-level data scientists make about 11% less than this average, while experienced data scientists can make about 25% more.
10. Development Operations Engineer
Development operations engineers definitely make the big bucks. Specifically, development operations engineers make an average of $96,054 per year. Experienced and late career development operations engineers may make as much as $138,000 per year. Typically, they work at a large company’s corporate offices, where they produce and maintain their employer’s online platform. This includes such tasks as:
- managing cloud infrastructure
- identifying and repairing web-based issues
- handling all system administration
Development operations engineers should have a bachelor’s degree and knowledge of at least two of the following: CSS, HTTP, HTML, Java, AWS, Linux, SSL, XML, DNS, NoSQL technologies, and web app development.
11. IT Operations Manager
In large companies, a variety of groups deal with the different facets of business technology. Overseeing all of those groups is the IT operations manager. It also happens to be one of the highest paying computer science jobs. They must work closely with others, including subordinates. So IT operations managers should have ample leadership experience and excellent communication skills on top of the programming knowledge already required for the job.
12. Data Engineer
The role of data engineer is ideal for anyone who has a bachelor’s degree in computer science or engineering, a good knowledge of computer skills and Linux systems, and who is wanting to find one of the best paying computer jobs. Data engineers are mainly responsible for developing and translating algorithms into prototype code. They also identify and organize trends based on large sets of data. Because data engineers typically work as part of a team, they should possess excellent communication skills. Proficiency in Python, Java, and other computer coding languages is also necessary.
13. IT Project Manager
As previously mentioned, large companies have groups of employees to work on various projects. Usually, these groups are led by IT project managers. IT project managers are responsible for planning projects, then ensuring those projects are completed well and on time. Leadership abilities, problem solving skills, and knowledge of various facets of computer science are required. Some employers require a bachelor’s degree or higher in computer science or a related field, along with certain certifications. According to PayScale, the average IT project manager makes approximately $89,000 annually.
14. Information Technology Manager
Not to be confused with IT operations manager or IT project manager, the job of information technology manager is another of the highest paying careers in the IT field. For about $89,000 per year, an information technology manager is responsible for supervising an organization’s computer infrastructure and related areas. Typical tasks include:
- overseeing the security of customer data
- ensuring a web space’s efficient operation
- overseeing teams that manage network technology
People and project management are skills required of a successful information technology manager. A bachelor’s degree in information technology, computer science, or a related field is also required.
15. Hardware Engineer
Another high paying computer engineer jobs is that of hardware engineer. As their title implies, hardware engineers are tasked with designing computer hardware for their company or organization. They are included in just about every aspect of product development, from concept creation to testing. Once a prototype of the hardware has been developed, hardware engineers are also responsible for identifying and analyzing any issues. Most employers prefer hardware engineers to have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, electrical engineering, or a related field. Successful employees will also possess:
- good communication and interpersonal skills
- a solid understanding of the interaction between hardware and software
- the ability to multitask and prioritize projects.
16. Senior Web Developer
Senior web developer is an excellent choice of top-paying computer job for anyone who wants to work in tech, but not necessarily at a tech company. Senior web developers make an average of nearly $90,000 annually. However, according to PayScale they can make as much as $122,000 with experience. The main task of a senior web designer is to:
- design front- and back-end web applications
- develop products alongside a creative team
- troubleshoot various tech issues
A bachelor’s degree is preferred by most employers, while all employers require:
- proficiency in web design
- web software management
- multiple computing languages.
17. Software Engineer
Software engineers are some of a tech company’s most important individuals. They are also some of the highest paid workers in the computer science industry. Software engineers are crucial to the design and development of new software. During the initial development stage, software engineers consolidate designers’ disparate functions into a unified whole. Later, these engineers assist coders and programmers with mapping out other functions. A bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering, or a related field are usually required to be a software engineer. Programming and coding skills are also necessary, as is knowledge of Python, React.js, Linux, and SQL.
18. Computer Hardware Engineer
With an average annual salary of $86,030, computer hardware engineer is the next job on our list of computer jobs that pay well. Computer hardware engineers develop hardware and design products like:
- circuit boards
- modems, among other tools
Estimating costs, analyzing for efficiency, and suggesting modifications are all part of a computer hardware engineer’s list of responsibilities. Typically, a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, computer engineering, or a related field is required. Some employers prefer a master’s degree. Computer hardware engineers must also be excellent communicators and critical thinkers. They should have knowledge of digital design, Python, circuit analysis, and VHSIC hardware description languages.
19. Wireless RF Network Engineer
For an average of just over $85,000 per year, wireless RF network engineers are entirely responsible for the wireless network of a company or organization. Responsibilities include:
- implementing new features
- introducing new routing protocols
- monitoring the network
- helping with network-related projects
These network engineers are also tasked with:
- troubleshooting any issues
- developing a plan for recovering a faulty application
- keeping a log of incidents
Typically, wireless RF network engineers have an associate’s degree or higher, plus strong skills in and knowledge of WAN and LAN network topologies, CISCO routers, and DNS/DHCP/IPAM.
20. Information Systems Manager
Information systems managers make anywhere from $52,000 to $127,000 per year, with the average being just over $84,000. As head of a company’s IT department, information systems managers are tasked with:
- leading a functional and productive team
- evaluating and implementing network and desktop technologies
Thus, it’s imperative that information systems managers possess excellent skills in:
- project management
- enterprise resource planning
- data analysis
A bachelor’s degree in a technical discipline is also required, though most organizations prefer a master’s degree.
21. Computer Scientist
Next on our list of the highest paying computer science jobs is computer scientist. Computer scientists are responsible for a variety of tasks within a company. Such tasks may include:
- writing articles for publication
- planning and coordinating research objectives
- finding solutions to complicated computer science problems
Most computer scientist jobs require an applicant to have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related subject. Other necessary skills include:
- project management
22. Business Intelligence Developer
Those who consider themselves data experts would do well to consider a career as a business intelligence developer. These professionals develop and fine tune IT solutions. This includes:
- coding, testing, and debugging newly developed tools
- designing, developing, and analyzing data architecture
- researching and planning solutions to various IT-related problems
Business intelligence developers usually work for IT companies and large corporations. Successful employees will have a degree in computer science or programming.
23. Ethical Hacker
Perhaps one of the more unique job titles on our list of the highest paying computer science jobs is that of ethical hacker. Ethical hackers are professionals who help organizations by identifying vulnerabilities in security. Interestingly, many ethical hackers are former malicious hackers. Ethical hackers should possess some IT experience, and a good working knowledge of:
- web application architecture
- shell scripting
- coding languages
They should also be able to pass a high-level security clearance and background check. While some employers prefer an ethical hacker with a bachelor’s degree, most require their hackers to obtain a Certified Ethical Hacker credential from the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants.
24. IT Systems Engineer
For an average salary of about $76,000 per year, IT systems engineers are responsible for all things related to hardware and software systems. A few typical tasks include:
- creating efficient programs for clients
- building and managing power systems
- working on robotic machinery and computer chips
As this last task makes apparent, IT systems engineers must have a solid working knowledge of both science and technology, and chemistry and physics. A degree in computer science or similar is required, though many IT systems engineers also have various certifications.
25. Database Developer
Database developers follow specific coding standards to develop and maintain an IT department’s databases. Specific tasks of a database developer include:
- identifying and improving inefficient coding
- troubleshooting and debugging databases to improve performance
- writing reports summarizing current coding and suggesting changes
According to PayScale, the average database developer makes about $75,000 per year. A typical starting salary is around $52,000. However, experienced database developers can make as much as $108,000.
26. Network Engineer
The tasks of a network engineer are typically determined by their employer’s network designs. Their job is to troubleshoot and solve any issues that come up relating to their company’s enterprise-wide network. Maintaining the system’s firewall and security software is also included in the job description for network engineer. To obtain this high-paying computer science job, you should have a bachelor’s degree in information technology or computer science. You should also be proficient in Microsoft Office programs and a variety of networking technologies, including:
- cryptographic tunneling
Strong verbal and written communication skills are also a must.
Though “statistician” is a broad term, and statisticians work in a wide variety of industries, many statisticians work in the field of computer science. Regardless of field, statisticians use specialized software to process and analyze data, then summarize the results into reports for their employer. Usually, statisticians have a master’s or doctoral degree in statistics, with a bachelor’s degree in some other specialized area of expertise, such as computer science. Statisticians make an average of roughly $74,000 per year, but can make as much as $110,000. Statisticians with skills in machine learning, big data analytics, SAS, and data modeling typically make more.
28. Mobile Applications Developer
As its name suggests, a mobile applications developer creates and develops mobile apps for smartphones and tablets. A mobile app developer should have a strong working knowledge of IT programming, Android Operating System Development, iOS, PHP, C++, Adobe, Java, etc. Employers range from large companies to small businesses. The typical starting salary of a mobile applications developer is around $50,000, though an experienced apps developer may make as much as $115,000.
29. Database Administrator
Many companies require that data be available via a cloud server to be accessed at any time. However, the reality is that only a small percentage of data is housed in a cloud. It is just too expensive, and presents too many security issues, to store all data in a cloud setting at all times. Enter: the database administrator. For an average annual salary of $73,485, database administrators maintains the software that ensures data can be accessed from a cloud at a rapid pace. To become a database administrator, one should have an associate’s degree in database administration and a bachelor’s degree in computer science or similar. A background in IT and some experience on a database administration team is also preferred.
30. Information Security Analyst
Information security analysts have the important job of finding security threats and providing security solutions for their company or organization. For an average salary of about $73,000 per year, information security analysts review data to:
- identify vulnerabilities
- analyze security tools and software
- document and prioritize security threats
An information security analyst must work closely with an IT department to minimize disruptions to a network and protect an organization’s assets. Skills required of an information security analyst include:
- problem solving
- critical thinking
- verbal and written communication
A bachelor’s degree or higher in network security or a related subject is also needed.
31. Applications Engineer
There are job openings for applications engineers in a variety of industries — from marketing and sales, to finance and healthcare. Still, applications engineer is considered one of the best paying jobs in computer science. These engineers typically work for a specific company or organization. They implement and maintain computer software and apps that have been tailored to that company. They usually work in teams, so excellent communication skills are a must. A bachelor’s degree is also recommended, as is a solid working knowledge of different programming languages.
32. Software Developer
To obtain a job as a software developer, one should have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering, information technology, or a similar subject. Also required is familiarity with operating systems like Linux and Mac OS X, and knowledge of databases like Oracle and MySQL. This is because software developers develop the computer applications that make it possible to do just about anything on a device. Specifically, software developers write code, modify and debug existing software, and test and document software for client applications.
Mathematicians use high-powered computers and complex software to understand and solve real-world problems. They typically work for:
- science and engineering companies
- federal and state governments
- medical technology companies
Most mathematicians have paired their affinity for math with another speciality like flight engineering, medicine, or statistics. They usually work in office environments where they spend their days working on a computer to perform calculations relevant to a current project.
34. Application Developer
Organizations who keep up with the latest tech and web developments are usually at an advantage. Therefore, they hire application developers. Not to be confused with applications engineers, application developers are the ones who construct an app initially. They’re hired by different types of organizations, including:
- medical centers
- media outlets
They build apps for smartphones, tablets, computers, and other devices. An associate’s or bachelor’s degree is usually required, as well as:
- the ability to work on a team
- excellent communication skills
- knowledge of programming and developer software.
35. Computer Systems Analyst
Computer systems analyst is the next career on our list of the highest paying tech jobs. For an average salary of $68,432, computer systems analysts use computers and various systems to automate functions for the improvement of:
In other words, these analysts consider a company’s goals and figure out how technology can help the company achieve them. A bachelor’s degree in computer science or engineering is the minimum educational requirement. Some companies, however, prefer to hire computer systems analysts who also have graduate-level degrees in business or business management.
36. IT Business Analyst
To become an IT business analyst, it is recommended that you have a master’s degree in information technology or a related subject. You should also be trained to carry out analyses, have a knowledge of SQL, and have some experience in project management. While some IT business analysts work for a company, most are employed by agencies that provide analyses services to companies. Once assigned to a project, an IT business analyst analyzes the:
- IT services being used by a company
IT business analysts offer a consultation to the company’s management that focuses on improving operations.
37. Information Technology Auditor
IT auditors conduct in-depth analysis of specific technological functions. Working with an organization’s management team, an IT auditor:
- gathers evidential data
- analyzes the data to form an objective opinion about the efficiency of specific functions
- creates a report to present to management
The auditor remains part of the project to ensure that all improvements comply with company procedure. A bachelor’s degree in information systems management or a related subject is usually required. You also need strong communication skills and the ability to use basic office software.
38. Computer Security Specialist
Because companies and organizations depend upon their security systems working properly at all times, they depend on computer security specialists. These important computer scientists:
- administer, monitor, and troubleshoot security systems
- carry out periodic testing
- educate other employees about the best ways to keep data safe
With an average salary of just over $67,000, computer security specialist is one of the best paying computer jobs. Typical requirements include a relevant bachelor’s degree, familiarity with various coding languages, and an up-to-date knowledge of developments in computer security. Most importantly, computer security specialists must have a solid understanding of security products like:
- intrusion detection systems
39. IT Security Administrator
IT security administrators manage all IT-related security issues within an organization or company. Specific tasks include developing policies, implementing procedures to secure data, and composing the company’s official written guidelines for dealing with information and communication. Because IT security administrators work with valuable information and customer data, they must have obtained a bachelor’s degree or higher in computer science with an emphasis on security. Extensive practical experience in IT security is also preferred before reaching the level of administrator.
40. Systems Analyst
Another high paying CS job is systems analyst. There are four main components to this job. First, systems analysts conduct testing on apps and provide management with their findings. Secondly, they maintain any and all documentation required for operational and security audits. Thirdly, they manage access levels, create logins, and reset passwords for any system users. Lastly, systems analysts modify plans to solve problems based on available computer equipment. To become a systems analyst, one should:
- be well versed in computer systems
- have excellent communication skills
- be able to think outside the box.
41. Video Game Designer
A dream career for many, video game designer also happens to be one of the highest paying computer science jobs. Video game designers work to create playable games from start to finish. They create concepts and storylines, code, test the game to ensure there are no flaws during gameplay. Then they code some more. Most companies prefer their video game designers to have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering, or a related subject. However, some will hire designers based only on their design and programming skills.
42. Data Security Analyst
The vast majority of companies store massive amounts of data in the form of customer names, credit card numbers, and billing information. A lot of this sensitive information is stored on cloud servers, which can be easily accessed by multiple individuals in separate locations. A data security analyst analyzes how a company stores data, and the ways in which it can be accessed. They keep track of potential vulnerabilities, and determine what data can feasibly be stored where. Data security analysts work closely with IT managers and IT security teams to eliminate a company’s potential data security risks.
43. Applications Programmer
Applications programmers usually work for companies that develop software solutions or applications. While some of these companies are satisfied with relevant experience, most prefer their applications programmers to have a bachelor’s degree or higher in computer science or a related subject. Applications programmers code, compile, and test new applications or revisions to existing apps. Thus, a successful applications programmer will be proficient in a number of computer languages.
44. PHP Developer
PHP is a scripting language used by computer programmers in the development of web-related services, tools, and applications. A PHP developer works as part of a team in a company to:
- find and eliminate potential scripting errors
- ensure various web-based processes are running smoothly
- create easily managed, menu-driven systems
Typically, a PHP developer will have a bachelor’s degree in computer programming and development. Most have also completed an internship to get some experience before hitting the job market.
45. Computer Programmer
Computer programming jobs exist in a wide variety of industries. Regardless of the type of company they work for, a computer programmer is tasked with:
- coding or writing computer software
- troubleshooting software issues
- ensuring that all source code can be understood by the computer
Required skills include a knowledge of computer algorithms and application domains, an attention to detail, and a thorough knowledge of languages like Java, .NET, and C++, among others. A bachelor’s degree in computer science or related is also necessary.
46. User Interface Designer
User interface designers work as part of an organization’s software development team. Their main responsibility is to create and arrange the elements of a program with which a user will interact. User interface designers typically work in office environments. Preferably, an applicant for this position will have a bachelor’s degree in human-computer interaction or graphic design, and will be proficient coding in Java, C#, and/or CSS.
47. Data Manager
With an average salary of just over $64,000, data managers are some of the best paid employees in the computer science industry. They are responsible for:
- developing policies and procedures
- handling database systems
- supervising a team that manages data entry and ensures data systems are operational
A bachelor’s degree is generally required, though most employers agree that project management skills and a willingness to uphold data privacy laws are most important.
48. Network and Computer System Administrator
A network and computer system administrator is tasked with maintaining the tech systems of a company or organization. Average salary of just under $61,000 per year. Among other things, professionals in this role:
- install, configure, and upgrade operating systems and applications
- troubleshoot problems with servers and other hardware and software
- maintain inventory of technological devices
This job usually requires a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information technology, as well as some certificates. One should also possess excellent verbal and written communication skills, flexibility, and a knowledge of Microsoft and/or Cisco.
49. Network Administrator
The penultimate career on our list of the highest paying computer science jobs of 2021 is network administrator. For an average salary of around $60,000, network administrators are tasked with the upkeep of a company’s hardware and software systems. Specifically, they install, troubleshoot, and repair all hardware and software. They train other employees to use applications and other systems. They also keep an inventory of IT equipment.
50. Web Developer