These States Pay Tech Pros the Lowest Average Salaries

Inside the gloriously illustrated pages of the Dice Salary Survey, you’ve seen which skills pay the most, and which professions are the most lucrative. You’ve also learned which U.S. states pay tech pros the most (on average).

But what about the U.S. states that pay the worst? Brace yourself: It’s time to tackle the uncomfortable, unenviable task of determining which locales not only offer lower average salaries, but have seen those payouts decline over the past year.

When perusing the above list, keep in mind that the average nationwide salary is $92,712 for full-time tech pros (and consultants fare much better, reporting an average annual income of $114,725).

South Dakota’s relatively low salaries (and steep year-over-year declines) are a bit odd, considering a 2017 study from the state’s economic development department suggested that technology is driving local job growth. Another interesting data point: South Dakota tech pros in mid-career (i.e., those ages 30-49) saw a significant dip in salary, although any declines were negligible among other groups.

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West Virginia was subject to a similar trend, with tech pros aged 30-49 experiencing a sharp dip in annual salaries (over $20,000 on average). And those aged 50-64 fared even worse; their salaries dipped over $60,000 on average. The state is home to a cluster of sysadmins and other support specialists, many working for smallish firms.

Rhode Island, the smallest state in the union, was likewise down across the board by $10,000 annually or more. Things were a bit better in Indiana, which saw salaries in every demographic category except one (tech pros under 30 years old) tick up. In Alabama and Mississippi, older tech workers also bucked the trend of declining salaries, which just reinforces how many firms continue to find value in well-seasoned tech pros with the right mix of skills and experience.

Fortunately, many tech pros aren’t bound to the states in which they live, with many firms embracing workers (especially contractors) who work from home, even if that home is in another state. Basecamp, a prominent tech firm, recently began paying remote workers the equivalent of Silicon Valley salaries, and chances are good that other companies will follow suit in order to lock down the best talent. Given the notably low unemployment rates for tech pros nationwide, it’s clear that your skills will be valued somewhere. Review Dice’s Salary Calculator, which can give you a good idea of how much your skills and experience are worth on the open market, and then check out the interactive map below for a better idea of salaries in your state: