Although the average tech salary remained flat in 2017 (at $92,712, a 0.7 percent increase from 2016), everyone in the industry knows that not all jobs are created equal; indeed, those specializing in “hot” areas such as artificial intelligence can reportedly pull down as much as an NFL player, if you believe the reports.
And it’s not just a question of what you do; your pay can also hinge on where you work. States with massive tech hubs and a plethora of tech companies often struggle to find all the tech talent they need, a reality reflected in the higher average salaries paid out to local tech pros. Check out the following chart, sourced from the Dice Salary Survey, to see which states paid out the most in salaries in 2017:
First things first: the Delaware results aren’t considered statistically valid, as the sample size for the state was fewer than 100 respondents. With regard to the rest of the dataset, New York and California came in first and second, respectively; did you expect any different? Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley are vacuums for tech talent, paying out enormous sums in order to lock down developers, researchers, managers, and other experts; companies are also aware of these states’ high cost of living, and often peg salaries accordingly.
But other states made an impressive showing, driven by burgeoning tech centers beyond those two “traditional” hubs. For example, Massachusetts boasts a locus of universities that make it a pipeline for talent—something local companies have attempted to leverage by encouraging graduates to stay local rather than fleeing for California.
In a similar vein, Virginia and Washington, DC enjoy busy ecosystems of tech pros and companies, many of which serve the federal government. The region will only heat up further if it becomes home to Amazon’s second headquarters, dubbed “HQ2,” which will reportedly employ as many as 50,000 people.
The presence of Minnesota on this list might surprise some, but this northern state benefits from a solid mix of startups and major corporations heading for Minneapolis-Saint Paul. For tech pros, the low cost of living is a huge benefit—especially if they’re being paid a significant salary to go with it.
Wherever a tech pro lives, one thing is clear: those with specialized skills have their pick of jobs. If you’re interested in seeing how much your skills and experience are worth on the open market, check out the Dice Salary Calculator. And if you want to see what tech pros are making in your state, click around this nifty Dice Salary Map (then see which states paid the lowest):