These Jobs are Paying Tech Pros Less in 2018

Working in tech may sometimes prove quite lucrative, but the industry isn’t without its fluctuations. In our most recent Salary Survey, some jobs (by title) had income drops worth noting.

Though still comfortably in the six-figure range, strategists and architects (which are slotted in the ‘tech management’ category) saw a noticeable drop: down 6.1 percent between 2016 and 2017, although these managers still make $117,748 on average.

While not a huge fall, software engineers (a wildly popular job title) are making almost one percent less this year. With an average salary of $105,580, it’s not as if these tech pros are starving, but it’s still a noticeable dip in light of the tech industry’s hunger for talent (and low unemployment rate). We can probably tuck this decline into the ‘random fluctuations’ category; a trend may emerge by next year. (In 2016, this job title saw a 4.3 percent increase year-over-year.)

Meanwhile, database developers saw a 2.3 percent decrease in salary versus 2016. Considering the increased interest in databases over the past few years, a downward trend is interesting; it’s especially noticeable because the 2017 salary survey showed an 8.6 percent uptick. Businesses embracing automation (which reduces the need for human database developers) may have something to do with this salary decrease.

Analysts also didn’t fare well. Both ‘programmer/analyst’ and ‘QA analyst’ job titles saw 2.5 and 2.6 salary drops, respectively. For the programmer/analyst, this dip evens things out: in 2016, the job had a 3.3 percent salary spike. (Unfortunately, QA analysts didn’t have historical data in the previous Salary Survey.)

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Help desk salaries also corrected: although the job title saw a 4.8 percent jump between 2015 and 2016, it experienced a 5.1 percent drop between 2016 and 2017, taking the average income down to $43,343.

The largest fall was reserved for perhaps the most familiar, ubiquitous tech pro job of all: web developer. In 2017, this job title saw a 10.4 percent decrease, for an average income of $74,131. Programming-language data, also included in the salary survey, doesn’t support the staggering scope of that drop-off: JSON and Angular were down 3.0 and 2.2 percent, respectively, and other web developer technologies such as Node.js and XAML were down, as well.

Without associated languages and platforms taking a correspondingly massive dive, other intangibles may have to be considered. Are DIY solutions such as Squarespace and Wix taking some wind out of the typical web developer’s sails? Is outsourcing to blame? Or is it just a flood of talent tilting the favor toward employers?

Tech pro salaries have leveled off over the past three years, and some fluctuation within job titles and skills is normal. Still, the “down year” that web developers experienced in 2017 stands out. If you’re looking for a silver lining, employers report they’re offering benefits in lieu of salary increases, so now may be a good time to negotiate more time off or the ability to work remotely instead of angling for more money.

5 Responses to “These Jobs are Paying Tech Pros Less in 2018”

  1. This does not jive with the “IT worker shortage, we need more H1-B’s” narrative we constantly get pounded with. If there really was a shortage, salaries would be rising at a decent clip. Instead, they are falling, and in some markets at an astounding rate. For instance, the average pay for a Senior Software Engineer in Ft. Collins, CO had fallen to 80K, in large part because the market is flooded with people who have been laid off from HP, Intel, Agilent and others.

    • My friend, your one city doesn’t constitute a large enough data set to establish a pattern. What’s more, Ft. Collins isn’t exactly a magnate for tech companies, so there’s fewer companies competing for talent. Look at Boston and SF and tell me the market is flooded. But let’s also not forget that the H1-Bs are for things beyond software engineers. The skills the US workforce is lacking tend to me things like machine learning, data architectures, etc. Jobs that startups generally don’t need and can’t afford, but big players like MS, Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook, etc need to push the ball down the court.

      • His city was just an example that is consistent with the trends from the article and offers a possible explanation for the trend. As far as the narrative is concerned, it’s possible that corporate America is spreading the narrative as a business tactic, which I think is what he was alluding to.

        • Exactly. Pay is stagnant everywhere, even in Silly Valley and Boston. Ft. Collins used to be a buzzing tech hub, but now jobs there are hard to find as startup haven’t been able to make up for all the lost jobs at bigger firms. Ft. Collins has a university, and I’m sure it’s cranking out grads with the latest skills.

  2. We are living in an era where only superheros need apply. Has anyone read recent job descriptions? Taking educated risks used to be par for management types, but today you need to meet all 19 of they’re requirements, and then hit the ground running. The assumption is that they are in a position to be choosy, but I find many positions unfilled for a year or more. I’m considering dropping out of the engineering field and doing electronics repair because I experience a layoff every two years consistently, but per the linkedin newsfeed if only we can summon our inner Brad Pitt everyone can get a job.