19 Highest-Paying Tech Jobs Feature These Key Specializations

What are the highest-paying positions in tech? As you might expect, technologists who ascend to the C-suite (CTO, CIO, and so on) make the most—but as a new, comprehensive survey makes clear, engineers with the right skills can earn nearly as much.

The Stack Overflow Developer Survey is comprehensive, pulling data from more than 70,000 technologists. It asked its U.S. respondents for their median yearly salary, and 8,540 of them answered. Here’s the breakdown:

Here’s the key takeaway: management pays. The ability to guide companies and teams can lead to a very healthy annual salary, and that’s before you throw in benefits and perks such as stock options. Specializing in infrastructure and site reliability also translates into generous compensation, which makes sense: These jobs are complex, mission-critical, and often require lots of specialized knowledge.

Another thing to note: the prominent position of blockchain-related jobs. This could stem from all the cryptocurrency-related tech jobs that pay enormous salaries; according to levels.fyi, which crowdsources its compensation data, software engineers at fintech and crypto firms such as Coinbase can easily earn six-figure salaries. However, the recent downturn in the crypto market (and the resulting layoffs and hiring freezes at many of these firms) could potentially dampen such salaries in the near-term.

Blockchain has uses beyond cryptocurrency, of course, including “smart contracts,” but many of those applications have yet to see widespread adoption.

According to the most recent Dice Salary Report, the average technologist salary currently stands at $104,566, with a 6.9 percent increase between 2020 and 2021. For certain specializations such as database administrator and systems architect, compensation can climb much higher. You don’t have to become a c-suite executive to unlock a big payday; specialization can also lead to sizable paychecks.  

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