Top IT Careers:
2021 List

With the rising demand for IT skills in today’s digital age, pursuing an IT career path is one of the best choices you can make. You can become a database administrator, an information security analyst, and more. There are many IT career options in 2021, so choosing the right path can be overwhelming.

If you’re looking to begin your journey into the field of IT, then you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’ll discuss the top IT careers in 2021 based on salary, demand, and day-to-day responsibilities.

Why Pursue an IT Career?

You should pursue an IT career because IT professionals are in high demand, earn good pay, and have a diverse range of job opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities in information technology are predicted to grow 11 percent from 2019 to 2029. This makes it one of the fastest-growing fields today.

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With a median annual wage of $91,250 in 2020, according to the BLS, IT professionals earn twice as much as average. IT managers are among the highest earners in the field, with an average salary of $151,150.

IT jobs also offer excellent workplace flexibility. Due to the nature of the work, most roles can be done remotely as long as you have a computer and Internet access. You can also work across a range of industries, depending on your interests.

What Industries Are Hiring IT Professionals?

Both the business and public sectors have a high demand for IT experts. The choice of where to work is limitless in the digital age. This means you can go on to work in any industry from financial services to media agencies to health departments.

IT professionals often work in telecommunications companies, technology, IT services, and software companies. Some work for video game companies and tech giants. Many work remotely in freelance consulting roles.

Highest-Paying IT Careers at a Glance

IT salaries are much higher for some jobs than others. An IT manager will earn substantially more than those in entry-level positions. However, you can earn a good salary in IT even without years of experience. In the table below, we’ve rounded up the 10 highest-paying IT careers in 2021. The data in this list has been sourced from BLS and PayScale.

Job Title Min. Education Job Outlook Median Pay
IT Manager Bachelor’s Degree 10% $151,150
Computer Network Architect Bachelor’s Degree 5% $116,780
Software Engineer Bachelor’s Degree 22% $110,140
Tech Sales Engineer Bachelor’s Degree 6% $108,830
Information Security Analyst Bachelor’s Degree 31% $103,509
Database Administrator Bachelor’s Degree 10%* $98,860
Data Scientist Bachelor’s Degree 7%** $96,596
Computer Systems Analyst Bachelor’s Degree 7%** $93,730
Computer Programmer Bachelor’s Degree -9% $89,190
Web Developer Bachelor’s Degree 8% $77,200

*Job growth information has been sourced from BLS data on database administrators.
**Job growth information has been sourced from BLS data on computer and information systems analysts.

The Best IT Careers in 2021

The Best IT Careers in 2021

Below, we’ll look at the best IT jobs in more detail. As well as looking at what the day-to-day responsibilities of each role is, we’ve also considered the level of education required, demand, and average salary.

IT Manager

An IT manager manages a company’s IT services and resources as well as other IT staff.
If you are looking for an outstanding salary, you should consider a career as an IT manager. Figures from BLS show that IT managers earn an average of $151,150 per year.

There are several educational paths to becoming an IT manager. The most common route is by earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Development, Mathematics, or Information Technology. Anyone with technology and leadership skills can pursue this career.

IT Manager Responsibilities

  • Manages a company’s resources for IT services
  • Hires technology services for a company
  • Manages IT staff
  • Oversees budgets to purchase, install, and maintain IT systems

Computer Network Architect

This IT job requires practical and analytical skills to install data communication networks. A network architect must know everything about local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and intranets. In addition, they are responsible for troubleshooting network failures. Most network architects have a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science.

Computer Network Architect Responsibilities

  • Maintains and develops communication networks
  • Creates installation plans for the software and hardware of new networks
  • Monitors installation processes
  • Develops plans to minimize security risks for the company’s networks
  • Provides solutions to network failures

Software Engineer

A software engineer has one of the most complex and in-demand jobs in the IT world. They are specialists in creating software such as operating systems, applications, and programs. They design software from scratch using programming and design tools. Software engineers also update and develop existing software.

Software engineers work in software design companies, mobile application companies, and telecommunication services. A bachelor’s degree is the most common requirement for software engineer roles. However, you can also enter the field after taking an intensive online coding bootcamp.

Software Engineer Responsibilities

  • Works with programming and design tools to create software
  • Tests prototypes and detect faults
  • Studies the services of competitors
  • Analyzes the demands and trends in the market
  • Updates and repairs operating systems

Tech Sales Engineer

As a tech sales engineer, you’ll use your tech knowledge to offer the tech services of a company to a client. You’ll need to have great communication skills along with an advanced understanding of business and the tech market. A key part of the role is developing and maintaining strong client relationships.

This is a great career option for anyone interested in combining technology and business. Tech sales engineers usually have a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or a business topic.

Tech Sales Engineer Responsibilities

  • Finds new clients for the company
  • Retains active relationships with existing customers
  • Monitors and manages the flow of customers or subscribers
  • Leads a sales team
  • Creates new business strategies to increase company profits

Information Security Analyst

An information security analyst creates and manages digital security systems for a company or government agency. They also promote better information security within an organization through internal training. The role also includes predicting and preventing future security risks.

For this position, you need a specialization in cyber security. You can complete a master’s degree or enroll in a cyber security bootcamp to gain the necessary skills. If you are interested in computer forensics and ethical hacking, try this job.

Information Security Analyst Responsibilities

  • Detects information security risks for a company
  • Investigates suspicious activities on digital networks
  • Creates contingency plans for information security risks
  • Updates and assesses reports of movements and activities in the system
  • Provides advice and training on information security practices

Database Administrator

Database administrators use software to store and organize data effectively. They are responsible for backing up a company’s data and making sure data is secure. As with most IT jobs, database administrators can work in many sectors, including business, government, health, and non-profit.

Database administrators typically need a bachelor’s degree. You’ll usually need a few years of direct experience in the field, depending on the size of the company and its needs. The average salary for a database administrator is $98,860, according to the BLS.

Database Administrator Responsibilities

  • Manages how people access a database
  • Keeps databases up to date
  • Archives old data
  • Ensures databases are backed up and secure
  • Solves database problems for users

Data Scientist

The role of a data scientist consists of collecting and analyzing data to provide solutions to complex problems. As a data scientist, you need experience and skills in mathematics and analysis. This career is predicted to have positive job growth over the next few years.

A large percentage of data scientists have a Master’s Degree in Data Analytics. However, data science courses also help graduates get hired by the best tech companies in the country every year. These programs will teach you how to work with big data, raw information processing, and analytical thinking.

Data Scientist Responsibilities

  • Manages database systems
  • Collects and analyzes company data to gain useful insights
  • Creates graphs to visualize the results of a data investigation
  • Discusses marketing strategies based on user data and market trends

Computer Systems Analyst

A computer systems analyst is responsible for assessing the overall use and management of technology in a company. They make sure a company is using the most effective technology hardware and software for their needs. They may determine when to incorporate newer technology. They’ll also look at whether a company is using technology efficiently.

To work in this role, you’ll need a good overview of the tech field. A Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or a similar field is commonly required by employers. Some computer systems analysts also have a master’s degree.

Computer Systems Analyst Responsibilities

  • Monitors and updates the IT systems of the company
  • Works with network architects to design IT projects in a company
  • Detects and corrects problems in the equipment of a company
  • Creates technological alternatives for staff and clients

Computer Programmer

A programmer is in charge of writing and testing the codes and functions of a digital platform. While demand for these services is currently very high, website builders are predicted to affect the demand for this role in the future. However, they’ll still be needed in many exciting fields, and the role can also lead to a diverse range of senior IT roles.

To become a computer programmer, you’ll need to learn to code using programming languages such as Java, Python, and Ruby. Enrolling in online bootcamps is a great way to learn to code quickly.

Computer Programmer Responsibilities

  • Creates digital platforms through programming codes
  • Monitors and tests the operation of the platforms
  • Updates and solves problems within the systems

Web Developer

A web developer brings together the functions of programming and design to create unique websites. This job requires creative skills, as well as experience with programming, UI/UX design, and graphic design. In today’s world of IT, this role is in demand and comes with high levels of responsibility.

You’ll need to learn to program with languages like Python, HTML, and CSS. You can pick up these skills in online courses and bootcamps and pay less than you would for college tuition.

Web Developer Responsibilities

  • Creates a website according to client specifications
  • Designs the aesthetic aspect of a web platform
  • Detects and eliminates errors through programming
  • Analyzes the user experience and traffic on websites
What Role Does Location Play in IT Salaries?

What Role Does Location Play in IT Salaries?

The location is one of the most important aspects of an IT job because it can make the salary higher or lower. In the United States, legal regulations, financial procedures, and economic demand change depending on the location. For example, certain areas of the country have higher taxes, which affects the salary amount.

BLS figures show that California, Texas, and New York are the top three highest-earning states for computer systems analysts. In these locations, computer systems analysts earn between $111,000 and $115,000 per year. However, in areas like Kentucky, the average annual salary barely exceeds $60,000.

Common Entry-Level Jobs in IT

There are many entry-level jobs for those starting in their IT career path. Many smaller employers in particular hire entry-level IT professionals to manage and develop their IT systems. In the list below, we’ve rounded up the most common entry-level positions in IT and their estimated average salaries.

Job Title Min. Education Entry-Level Pay
Cyber Security Analyst Bachelor’s Degree $63,186
Junior Software Engineer Bachelor’s Degree $61,242
Web Developer Bachelor’s Degree $50,690
Computer Support Specialist Associate Degree $41,039
Help Desk Technician Associate Degree $36,969

What Education Is Required for a Career in IT?

Most IT companies hire professionals with a bachelor’s degree, but it’s not always essential. If you want to pursue a career in something like data science or software engineering, you’ll typically need a degree. For higher positions, you may need to continue studying to a master’s level to gain specialization.

However, it’s possible to get an entry-level job without a college degree. With the development of online courses and bootcamps, thousands of students enter the tech industry each year through unconventional routes.

Can I Study IT Online?

Yes. Many universities offer programs that are 100 percent online for students inside and outside the US. This type of education includes video lectures, online resources, live classes, and practical team projects. Flexibility over your schedule means you can keep up with other commitments such as work while studying for your degree.

Bootcamps are also excellent places to learn core tech skills. You can study on campus or online, receive a certificate, and increase your chances of finding a job quickly. With bootcamps, you can also choose part-time or full-time programs to fit around your schedule.

Common Personality Traits in IT Professionals

Most jobs in the tech industry require advanced practical skills. However, you’ll also need a wide range of soft skills to excel in the field. Most IT roles require excellent teamwork, communication, and leadership skills to manage and develop IT systems for large companies.

IT professionals are typically analytical with strong attention to detail. This means they can analyze data and systems effectively. You’ll need to be a good problem solver. In many roles, it also helps if you have a keen business sense so you’re able to understand the business needs of a company.

Is an IT Job Good for Me?

Yes, an IT job is a great career choice in 2021. Pursuing a career in IT will bring good salary prospects, status, and job security. This is the ideal time to start your journey into the field of IT, with so many options to gain skills from home and growing job demand.

Working in IT will open up a wide range of career options. You can choose to play a key role in the IT operations of any number of highly reputable companies and organizations. If you are interested in using your practical IT and problem-solving skills in a reputable career, getting a job in IT is the way to go.

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