Best paying tech jobs of 2021

Find out what tech roles are the most lucrative this year

Almost unfazed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the tech industry saw continued rapid growth. Adapting to the new normal, enterprises have demonstrated they've put new and intelligent processes in place, from contact-tracing apps to 3D-printed swabs designed with AI, digital passports, and more. 

Along these lines, global marketing intelligence firm IDC stipulates the technology industry is on pace to reach $5 trillion in 2021. "If this number holds, it would represent 4.2% growth, signaling a return to the trend line that the industry was on prior to the pandemic," IDC revealed in its report.

Furthermore, US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projections indicate tech occupations will grow 11% through 2029, which is "much faster than the average for all occupations." 

On top of great growth, a career in technology can also be very lucrative. 

Below is a compiled list of the highest-paying tech jobs in 2021. Keep in mind, most of these careers require extensive training and work experience.

1. IoT solutions architect

Average salary: $133,000/year

Contrary to popular belief, the Internet of Things (IoT) is no longer in its infancy. Worldwide, 41 billion IoT devices will be installed by 2027 — up from 17.1 billion in 2016. 

An IoT architect primarily oversees the development and deployment of IoT-based solutions

involving a network of internet-connected objects exchanging data using embedded sensors. IoT developers are also well-versed in systems engineering and hardware device programming.

2. Big data engineer

Average salary: $130,000/year

Big Data engineers turn large volumes of structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data into usable data. Also tasked with designing scalable data management systems, top-tier algorithms, and predictive models, big data engineers foretell market fluctuations, industry shifts, and other trends with high levels of accuracy. 

The most common titles for big data engineers include business intelligence developer, data analyst, and research scientist.

3. Cloud architect 

Average salary: $128,418/year

Cloud architects design and develop cloud environments. A cloud architect may suggest a public, private, or hybrid cloud infrastructure depending on the organization's needs. Cloud architects also carry out deployment, maintenance, monitoring, and management tasks within the implemented cloud structure.

Cloud architects may also choose cloud providers and vet third-party services for compatibility and security. 

4. Computer network architect 

Average salary: $112,690/year 

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Computer network architects, or network engineers, design data communication networks from the ground up. Proposed networks may include local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), intranets, and extranets. 

After deployment, network architects troubleshoot issues as they arise. They also research new networking technologies and upgrade hardware and software, such as routers and network drivers, to support computer networks. 

Computer systems analyst, network administrator, and systems architect are popular job titles in computer network architecture. With an average annual pay of $112,690, the network industry is one of the most lucrative fields to work in. 

5. AI engineer

Average salary: $111,118/year

Combining data engineering, machine learning, data science, and software development skills, artificial intelligence (AI) engineers build, test, and deploy complex networks of algorithms that mimic human intelligence. But that's not all. AI engineers also convert machine learning models into ready-to-use APIs so other applications can access them. 

Popular designations for AI engineers include AI research scientist, business intelligence developer, and computer vision engineer. 

6. Software developer

Average salary: $107,510/year

Software developers build applications that allow users to perform specific tasks on computers and other devices. They supervise the entire software or web development process while also leading and instructing programmers who write and test computer code. 

You can also spot developers writing code at times. 

After deployment, developers perform upgrades and maintenance. Software developers also work closely with UX designers and business and systems analysts to identify areas needing modification. 

7. Quality assurance engineer 

Average salary: $105,00/year

Quality assurance (QA) engineers play a vital role in the software development life cycle. They carry out tests to identify bugs and potential problems in a software product, keeping quality high. 

Most importantly, QA engineers ensure deliverables meet functional and non-functional (design) specifications and requirements. QA engineers also troubleshoot issues encountered by customers in live production environments. Based on a company's internal structure, QA engineers can advance to executive or managerial roles.

8. Data scientist 

Average salary: $100,560/year

A data scientist analyzes large sets of structured and unstructured data to find trends that translate into actionable insights. Much like detectives, data scientists also investigate patterns within data to enable companies to make smarter business decisions. 

By and large, organizations feed analytical data into a recommendation engine that ingests user data and makes personalized recommendations based on consumer behavior and buying patterns. 

The most popular job titles related to data science include research analyst, data architect, and data engineer.

9. Information security analyst

Average salary: $99,730/year

Information security analysts identify vulnerabilities in enterprises' digital security systems and execute security measures to shield sensitive and proprietary information. Information security analysts can also use intrusion detection systems (IDS) to monitor networks for suspicious traffic.

With cyber attacks becoming more sophisticated each year, there is increasing demand for information security analysts to develop intelligent security solutions to counter online fraud and phishing attacks. 

10. DevOps engineer

Average salary: $96,117/year

By its very name, DevOps ties development to operations processes. The versatile role involves overcoming traditional barriers between software development and operations teams. 

Engineers specializing in DevOps primarily collaborate with software developers and operators on software development, create actionable timelines, automate testing, and perform maintenance.

DevOps engineers also oversee code releases within the production environment. Strong IT infrastructure management skills and deep knowledge of dedicated, multi-tenant, or hybrid cloud environments set them apart. 

11. Database administrator

Average salary: $93,750/year

Humans create over an estimated 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. Much of this data is stored in databases.

Database administrators (DBAs) use specialized software to store, manage, and organize sensitive data, such as customer details, purchase history, and shipping records. They also ascertain database systems' physical requirements, including disk space and network requirements. 

Additionally, DBAs control access permissions, develop and test backup and recovery plans, and fine-tune system parameters for optimum performance.

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