What is the average salary of someone in the computer/IT field?

A good and common question asked by individuals considering whether or not to study and go into a new career is the average salary. For many careers, including those in Computers and Information Technology (IT), the answer varies. Among the factors that affect the salary of someone employed in the IT field include:

  • What is the level of education of the employee, i.e. associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, etc.?
  • What industry certifications does the employee have? Someone with a Cisco, Oracle, Microsoft, or PMP certification may be able to command a much higher salary than someone without these certifications.
  • How much previous experience does the employee have?
  • What is the employee’s specialization/area of expertise? Some areas of IT typically pay more than other areas. A Java Developer or Oracle Database Administrator may, for example, make more than someone in another area of IT.
  • What city or region of the country is the job? Some cities and areas of the country typically pay more than other areas.
  • How well did the employee interview and negotiate for the position? Interview skills are critical to getting a job and the salary of many positions is negotiable.

Some graduates with Associate’s degree in Computer Information Systems may start with a salary $30,000 to $40,000, while other may make more or less. The following articles describe various IT careers and the average salaries in them.

1) In U.S. News and World Report's "Best Careers 2009" report, a "Computer Systems Analyst/Architect/Designer" was listed as making an average salary of $83,000.

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2) The article titled "Highest Paying Majors in College” in Yahoo HotJobs, the following was written about salaries of computer science and information systems degree graduates.

In computers, salary varies depending on your specialty. Computer science graduates witnessed a 4.1 percent increase in pay to $53,396, compared with a 2.5 percent increase this past spring. Information sciences and systems graduates meanwhile, saw a 4.6 percent increase, bringing their average offer to $50,852. According to BLS data, earnings can reach into the six figures -- software publishers boasted an average annual salary of $107,870; system designers, an average of $103,850; and company IT managers, an average salary of $99,880 in May 2004, the most recent year data is available."

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3) IT Management/Datamation wrote an article titled “Tech Salaries: Ten Leading Jobs” which listed list the average salary of a Sr. Java Developer as $92,570.

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4) In the article "No Bachelor's? No Problem. Ten Associate's Degree Jobs that Pay Serious Money" published by Yahoo Education/Yahoo HotJobs the median annual salary of a "Systems Administrator" was listed as $62,130. The article states that "Systems administrators build, install, and maintain computer networks for businesses. Since technology constantly changes, administrators need to keep up with the latest hardware and software and stay abreast of possible security threats such as new computer viruses. Add some certifications once you have your two-year tech degree."

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5) A blog on PayScale.com titled "10 Highly Profitable 2-Year Degree Jobs" describes the responsibilities and salary of two IT careers that individuals with an Associate's degree can obtain.

   a) Web Designer.

"As long as there are companies, organizations and creative agencies with something to sell or promote, there will be a need for people to design, code and maintain their web sites. Even in the tough economic times, some would consider this is one of the best jobs you can get with an associate's degree. Though many web designers are self-employed, countless others work in staff positions. Average salary: $48,785 a year."

   b) Computer Support Specialist.

"Finding one of the good careers with a 2-year degree isn't hard if you're interested in fixing computers. Computer support specialists include the tech support and help desk workers who assist customers and users with problems they're having with their computer hardware and software. Often, computer support specialists can enjoy the luxury of working from home or working flexible hours. Average salary: $46,111 a year."

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6) In the CareerBuilder.com article "6 Jobs for Associate Degrees" Computer support specialists were described as IT professionals who "help computer users troubleshoot any technical issues they might have with their computer system. Since most organizations, in all industries, use computers these days, support specialists can work almost anywhere" Their average salary was listed as $45,719 per year.

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7) This article titled "Top-paying jobs for associate degree holders" also published on CareerBuilder.com listed the average salary of a "Computer specialist" as $59,480. Computer specialists are described as "Depending on the employer, computer specialists perform a variety of functions, ranging from technical support to coordinating network security."

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8) Another excellent one can use to find out what IT jobs/careers pay are current job postings. Dice.com is one of the most popular job posting web sites for computer and IT jobs only. Go to this web site and begin searching for IT jobs in your city. For example, use keywords for job titled such as programmer, Java, .NET, systems analyst, analyst, database administrator, network administrator, etc.