Developers, IT Still Racking Up High Salaries

NPR Salaries by Occupation Oct. 2014

As part of its continuing exploration of income in the United States, NPR used data from the American Community Survey to create a graph of the 10 most popular jobs in each income bracket. Software development and IT remain common jobs among those in the higher brackets, although not the topmost one.

Among those earning between $58,000 and $72,000, IT was the sixth-most-popular job, while software developers came in tenth place. In the next bracket up (earning between $72,000 and $103,000), IT rose to third, with software development just behind in fourth place. As incomes increased another level ($103,000 to $207,000), software developers did even better, coming in second behind managers, although IT dropped off the list entirely.

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In the top percentile ($207,000 and above), neither software developers nor IT staff managed to place; this is a segment chiefly occupied by physicians (in first place), managers, chief executives, lawyers, and salespeople who are really good at their jobs.

“This is the kind of work that needs to get done in every city in America,” read the NPR posting that accompanied the data. “It shows that, at least nationally, the conventional idea of what people do for a living still holds.”

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Dice has come to similar conclusions about IT salaries. The company’s 2014-2013 Salary Survey found that the average U.S. tech salary hit $87,811 in 2013, up three percent from 2012. In hot markets such as Silicon Valley and New York City, the average is even higher, nearing or topping $100,000 in some instances. Among startups, the competition for skilled candidates is especially fierce, leading to spikes in pay.

It is, in other words, a very good time to be in IT, provided you have a desirable skill set.

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Image: NPR

40 Responses to “Developers, IT Still Racking Up High Salaries”

    • Yeah Mark, racism and sexism is pretty rampet in the IT industry according to offical stats. And try getting venture capital fund to start you own company, that is almost impossible if your black.

    • Y. T. Isbetour

      It also helps if you’re proficient in the English language. If you can’t learn how to write and spell correctly in your native language, you may just have a better career making French Fries.

    • Actually, if you’re an Indian. This may sound racist, but it was a fact at one of my old companies. Non-indian technical folks had almost no chance of getting hired, maintaining long term employment or advancement, while Indians were on the express path to climb up the ladder.

    • Nonsense, has less to do with color and more to do with the ability to interview well and pass any assessment you are given. Very important to expand your vocabulary and tighten your skills. Many of the high achievers in the IT field are not white but Indian and probably have darker skin than you. Until you purge your mind of this racist idea. You will forever find yourself as an example of it.

      • @Dave

        Your argument means nothing, Indians are hired because they are cheaper than white guy(s) and easier to get rid of when the project is over, especially if they have H1b visas. Indian(s) are closer to being slave(s) then Y.T. is.
        Discrimination in hiring practices is well documented, studies indicate if a person has a black sounding name they will not even be called in to take an assessment test no matter what his credentials are. So once again your argument is laughable, put down your white nationalist literature and open your mind.

    • What a ridiculous comment. Can’t get a job in IT? Blame it on your race. People like you are why racism still exists. Don’t use the color of your skin as a scapegoat for your inability to excel.

    • Do not forget young. You hit 35 y.o. in an IT job and you’re on the chopping block. 30 in many cases. Not sure about African American or woman because I never experienced that. Nor could I. Because I am neither. But in an industry who proves time and time again that civil rights mean nothing to them, I am certain it is an incontrovertible truth. I have seen another blatant racial however. Many people from India, not just H1-B foreign visa either, people I am friends with and managers are saying that they prefer Indian men. One manager even posted a comment that said, “He would rather hire someone from India because they are better at coding and they never complain.” What is going on in this industry!! And why isn’t it being addressed in the courts! Best person for the job, period. Woman, Man, Asian, African American etc etc. Real passion and skill should be the basis.

  1. Leslie Satenstein

    While the salaries are outstanding, they are all on the high side, when compared to countries outside of the USA.

    No country has exclusivity on intelligence. Ergo, when opportunities present themselves to outsource tp lower cost countries for quality developers, that is what will and is happening.

    I do not recommend becoming a software engineer, unless you are the best in your class.

    Cloud computing is going to eliminate the Small, Medium and even some Large datacenters, because operations and maintenance will be centralized.

    These centers will only hire the “very best”. Also note “the very best developers and system experts will be supporting the equivalent to 25 sites, whereas before the advent of cloud computing, it was one “very best developer” as head of his companies IT development.

  2. codefree

    If you are a white guy you still have to be a slave to a corporate master, exist in a cube, have no desire of independence and be willing to create what will be thrown away with tomorrows trash.

    • Oh so you were taken thousands of miles away from your home country ,stripped of your heritage and cultural memory and forced to work for a corporation 16 hours a day 7 days a week for free. Oh and if you have a wife and children they could be subject to being sold by the corporation.

      • Common Sense


        So tell me what the boat ride was like? Can you identify the person that sold you into slavery? Can you tell me the person that engaged in the illegal practice of slavery (and it has been illegal for a fair while)? Can you tell me when you were forced to work against your will, had your possessions taken from you without any reason, witnessed the rape of your loved one, or any of these other common complaints that people who have no idea what history is really like complain about?

        You make a series of complaints that are only valid if you are over 70 years old, because if you are any younger you would of never TRULY EXPERIENCED THE [expletive] THAT YOU CLAIM AS A RIGHT OF ENTITLEMENT. You have no basis for your claims, you but spout falsehoods that have long since been rectified, and in fact many of the measures that were put in place to address many of the grievances levied by prior slaves (as you make yourself out to be) are being used as a form of reverse discrimination.

        Here’s a fact about the world, and about life in general, that you seem to have not noticed (which i wont fault you for as your head is pretty damn far up your own [expletive]); EVERY RACIAL SUBSET OF HUMANITY AT SOME POINT IN TIME WAS ENSLAVED; SLAVERY AND HATE DO NOT DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN SKIN COLOR.

        At the times when slavery, and the practice of owning slaves, was very much a accepted thing, there are plenty of examples where the slaves sold to plantations in the US were people that were enslaved by either their own relatives or another tribe from their home nation. Selling a captured political enemy, or captured enemy in general, off as a slave is a VERY well documented practice THROUGHOUT history.

        Don’t complain about things that are no longer an issue, if you want to complain about an issue complain about how difficult it is to raise through the societal ranks. Complain about how peoples lives are determined by a imaginary score that they have no ability to appeal or contest detrimental claims. Complain about how, as a continent, AFRICA has 23.5 MILLION people that are living with the HIV/AIDS virus, and that the work to develop a cure for it is still struggling to make headway. Complain about how 200 school girls were kidnapped from their SCHOOL, have been removed from their families, have had their options for a decent life (albeit they didn’t have great options beforehand) removed and are now being forced to live a life constrained by a religion they didn’t choose, in a place they didn’t desire to live in.

        [Expletive], half the things you have complained about are things that occurred not MONTHS, not YEARS, not DECADES, but GENERATIONS ago, when in the land that you claim as your ancestral home, thereby implicitly idealizing it as some sort of utopia, the current people living there are so busy being exploited and exploiting each other, that there will be NO WORTHWHILE INFRASTRUCTURAL PROGRESS IN THE NEXT TWENTY YEARS, because that’s how long intelligence analysts expect the crisis’ caused by the various rebel factions to last.

        You have no right to hate upon people because of their skin color, no one has any right to hate upon someone because of who they are and where they have come from. If you want a world that moves beyond looking at a persons skin color and determining who they are, where they will go, and what sort of life they get the opportunity to live, then YOU need to move past YOUR OWN BIASES and YOUR OWN DISCRIMINATORY BEHAVIOR.

        Changing the world is so slow because it happens one person at time, as only someone that wants to change will change.

        • Hey Common Sense, which I doubt you have, read the common before mines dummy. That guy said he was a corporate slave, I just want to point out to him he wasn’t. As for you , your either an idiot or a kid and I’m not going to waste my time explaining discrimination in the IT field to some one with a closed mind like yours.

          • PeopleR2Dumb

            “before mines” lol, and you wonder why people won’t hire you and to answer your question, yes, whites were enslaved and made to suffer everything you mentioned at the hands of the Romans… who do I get to complain to?

    • Common Sense

      The reason you see salaries so high in Australia is more to do with the cost of living. When I was over there it was apparent that everything cost twice as much as compared to in the US, hence why the, seemingly, large salaries.

      The true thing that should be measured shouldn’t be salary, but rather quality of life.

      A salary is not, usually, reflective of the costs associated with living in a area, and more often than not can be used to trick people into believing that it would be worthwhile to live in an area. For example if you live in Melbourne, AUS making $150K as a Network Engineer the quality of life that you will have access too would be similar to that of someone making $75K in San Antonio TX, that is actually what i personally was looking at.

      The other thing about AUS that is not easily noticed is the tax system. They have absolutely ABSURD tax rates over there, and the abuse of the tax system is so widespread its commonplace, because, in all honesty, if you were to follow the rules and pay what you should without manipulating things you would be damn close to destitute.

      I don’t know the tax brakets and whatnot as well as i know them over here in the US, i’ve looked at them and was as terrified/disgusted as a far right wing republican at a same sex wedding.

      The US has some pretty good salaries for IT field individuals, but, as with everything in life, you gotta weigh the pros and cons, as well as all the potential costs associated with something, before engaging in it.

  3. Legal Immigrant

    Where are all the H1-B visa haters? I thought a decade of immigration from India (H1-B) was eroding the salary level in IT industry.

    May I have some Rush Limbaugh/Lou Dobbs fan here please?

  4. legal immigrant 2

    Just because your h1b’s are hired guns, figuratively speaking, coming in as experts with less than 3 years of experience in monkey coding, doesn’t mean the code they produce is not a piece of junk that is unreliable, unscalable, buggy that they don’t have to be accountable for in the very close future (2-3 yrs). Just saying

  5. High Salaries?”yeah right. This is all [expletive]. I’m a desktop tech and we make less than half the lowest rung. And we get to deal with the users, and oh how happy and great fun they are…NOT! Most of the time they call US complaining because it’s been a week since they’ve heard from you guys…

  6. The reality is that people of African descent, Black people, are judged by the worst in our group while all others are judged by the best. White skin privilege is a reality and it’s empirical. A heavily armed white male goes into a movie theater and slaughters more than a dozen patrons, walks out and runs into the SWAT team. They handcuff and arrest him. How many unarmed African-American men are shot to death? It is simple to extrapolate this to any scenario throughout society. To ignore or dismiss this is nothing short of white supremacy, which is the lynchpin of RACISM!

    • So you equate one instance of a white man not being shot as a correlation to racism because many other black people have been shot and killed? And then go on to say that dismissing that as fact contributes to a linchpin theory? Quite a slip there my friend. Racial disparity certainly exists in our country, and I won’t pretend to disagree, but to make those correlations off of one incident is ridiculous. The reality is that if anyone lets one incident or one incidence dictate their opinion on disparity, then they themselves have created their own stereotype based on ignorance. There are so many other variables than “white guy with guns is only hand cuffed” “countless black men shot and killed” “dismissing this is a linchpin towards racism”… It bothers me because you YOURSELF just created your own conclusion of racism based on the fact that one was white and one was black. On top of that, you don’t even cite cases for the black people shot, but instead throw out a massive generalization. All I can conclude is that you YOURSELF are racist and or hold prejudice or ignorance to the situation, and people like you also breed misconceptions. Look beyond the color of the skin and into other damaging or mitigating factors, how local laws and policies allow for discretion (which is used to create and abuse the disparities). It’s the fact people make such direct conclusions with no substance that creates discrimination.

      • Brath, you seeing the classic white privilege defense, “I’m not racist you are”. The problem is Rob we have facts and stats on our side, you have conjecture and bulls@#$@ on yours.You admit that there is racial disparities in country but won’t give a reason why these disparities exist or if there should be anything done about them. You probably think it’s just the natural order of things and there is nothing wrong with your white supremacist views. Sorry Robe there is…

      • Let me clarify armed white men are more likely to be arrested without being shot, while unarmed black men are regularly shot by the Police. That is empirical and the correlation is undeniable. One of several studies performed in the last decade show how that if you send the same resume out but change the names to Anglo sounding or Black ethnic that the Anglo names receive a response far more often than the Black ethnic named resumes. How do you explain this? White supremacy which is the lynchpin of Racism.

        I teach Big Data analysis. I have had students express their surprise that an African-American is teaching the course, by asking for my credentials and wanting to references. This has happened twice. To defuse this I start my first lecture off by informing students that if they think the know more than me then they should take the course with another Professor. That does not happen to Asian (Brown or Yellow) or White Professors. Another example of how people in my community are judged by the lowest common denominator in our group and everyone else is judged by the highest in theirs.

    • Sheer nonsense. As a matter of fact we white crackers types treat black folks with kid gloves, being extra careful and courteous so as not to offend your sensitivities. If you can’t make it in that climate then the problem is yours not ours.

  7. rellimgerg

    A few points from personal experience:
    1. Most techies that I know are happy with their salaries. And if not, it’s easy enough to change by at least 10% per jump.
    2. An above average salary in a low cost of living area goes a long way.
    3. Jobs requiring a clearance cannot be outsourced or H1-B’d.
    4. As for race/sex, not much diversity, however, it’s similar to my childhood. I’m surrounded by the same sort of White/Asian/Indian nerdy guys. If you saved all that bully spit, it makes excellent polishing compound for your Porsche.

  8. I find it sad that this is supposed to be about IT salaries and somehow turned into a racial issue.
    Where I work, we have a very good representation of all, including about 10% black (same as the population), some hispanic, asian, Indian as well as white (maybe under-represented).
    My experience is that IT people tend to get along fine; it’s the higher levels and other jobs that tend to be less forgiving of those differences.

    As for salary…the charts make sense, but the explanation is not handled properly. To say that fewer IT people are in the lower brackets and more are in the upper brackets is one thing, but the author seems surprised that there aren’t more in both (which won’t happen when you deal with percentages…you can’t have 80% of IT people in the lower bracket and another 80% of the IT people in the upper bracket.)
    Otherwise, I don’t think the chart is too surprising but it’s nice to see my expectations confirmed.

    • Common Sense

      I also think that the author has a few expectations that are difficult to accomplish. I think something to look at for the upper brackets would be to look at WHAT sort of managment over just generic management. I say things because a senior level network engineer could be considered more of a management position by someone working it, and those make really good money.

      From what I’ve seen from just looking around at the distribution of salary brackets, it seems that it makes sense for the “management” category to make more money. Just from the standpoint that most people generally try to move up from constantly doing the technical side of things to management in their relative fields. As you get someone with more experience leading a group of people to accomplish something, it makes sense that they would want to get paid a higher salary.

  9. Dear Rob,

    Race is intricately woven into the fabric of our society. While you may be well meaning and wishing that race relations are at a state of polyanna, the truth is that they are not. I worked in an IT group where I was the only person with both IT and Biology background. All of my moves and decisions were questioned and I was even told that I did not know what I was doing.

    On completion of a project I asked my manager if he felt that I did not know what I was doing. He replied that he did not. Now mind you that I never applied for this position. They contacted me and spoke to all of my references. One of them being one of the first grad students of James Watson, co-recipient of the Nobel for the DNA molecule. Also, my manager told on himself by stating that because he did not have any experience in high-throughput biological analysis that he did not think that I did. Well why was i hired?

    Out of default it is healthy to assume that RACE was the reason why they could not digest that an African-American can be highly skilled and know more about technical issues than any of them, at the time, in that company.

    Oh, and the same company wanted to rehire me after I left for a better situation. They were not willing to reimburse me for the several hundred thousand dollars that I lost in stock options. So I told them to take a hike. In truth, I never considered going back.

    I expect you to reject this and to consider me ignorant and use the reverse racism mantra. Or even go to lengths to talk about your black friends, whom are probably socially unconscious. I will not ever go for any Jedi Mind Tricks by pseudo white liberals.

  10. As someone aluded to IT is really not a viable long term occupation. The technology changes so quickly that with 3 years of experience someone is considered senior. The downside is that after 5 years you will be sent out to stud. The botton line is that it may be a fun and lucrative to work in IT but it’s a short ride. I would never recommend this line of work to any young person entering college. Better advice is to become entrepreneurial even if you have to sell jellybeans.