We all know that money isn’t the only thing that matters in life. That said, it doesn’t hurt to know which jobs could lead to higher earnings – especially when you’re just starting out. To make your job easier, we identified six of the most promising entry level tech salaries for 2016, projected by the Robert Half Technology’s 2016 Salary Guide for Tech Professionals.1
Keep in mind that while these positions are entry level, the salary ranges will not necessarily reflect the salary offered to someone walking into their first tech job. There are several factors that can influence earnings, including years of experience, education level, local cost of living and the overall supply and demand for labor in your area.
Even still, these earnings are worth getting excited about, considering the average salary for all occupations in 2014 was $35,540, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).2 So dive a little deeper and familiarize yourself with six entry-level tech salaries that are set to spike in the next year.
2016’s Fastest growing entry level tech salaries
1. Mobile applications developer
- 2015 Surveyed salary range: $107,500 – $161,500
- 2016 Projected salary range: $115,250 - $175,750
- Percent Change: 8.2% growth
One look at the projected salary range of mobile app developers tells a lot about how strong the demand is for talented app developers. Start-ups looking to create or become the “next big thing,” as well as more established businesses, are in search of developers with the proven ability to create apps that not only work, but work really well. That being said, landing one of these positions might not be easy.
A computer science or software development bachelor’s degree is preferred for most positions. What’s more is that mobile app development is a “show me” field. This means applicants will need to at least have some practical experience working on tangible projects. This is one of the most coveted positions for computer science graduates, so be prepared to face some stiff competition.
2. Front-end web developer
- 2015 Surveyed salary range: $72,500 - $107,500
- 2016 Projected salary range: $79,750 – $111,250
- Percent change: 6.1% growth
This is another position in which employers prefer seeing a portfolio of past work. If you’re looking to secure an entry level front-end development position, it will help to have a strong personal portfolio website to show (not tell) employers your technical abilities.
3. Help desk (tier 1)
- 2015 Surveyed salary range: $34,000 – $47,250
- 2016 Projected salary range: $35,000 - $50,250
- Percent change: 4.9% growth
Some may turn up their nose at the thought of working in a tier 1 help desk job. We get it—it’s not as glamorous as say, software development. But it does provide valuable work experience that can help you climb the corporate ladder. A little experience goes a long way in the tech industry, so getting your foot in the door in this position can work wonders.
Help desk positions are expected to grow at a faster-than-average rate of 17 percent through 2022, according to the BLS. The BLS also states that some positions require a bachelor’s degree, while an associate degree or postsecondary courses may be enough for others.
4. Systems administrator
- 2015 Surveyed salary range: $65,750 - $100,500
- 2016 Projected salary range: $67,500 - $107,500
- Percent change: 5.3% growth
Systems administrators are responsible for the configuration and maintenance of computer systems and servers. Good system admins not only understand problems and find their solutions, they are able to anticipate issues and take action to prevent them.
‘Entry-level’ might not be the best label for this position, as many admins work their way up through help desk positions (or through other less formal ‘good at computers’ jobs) but it is possible to start off in one of these positions with the right mix of education and professional certifications.
5. Software developer
- 2015 Surveyed salary range: $85,500 - $136,250
- 2016 Projected salary range: $91,000 - $145,250
- Percent change: 6.5% growth
It’s clear that software developers command an impressive salary. But similar to mobile app developers, the barrier to entry is fairly significant. Most employers will be seeking candidates with a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. They’ll also expect candidates to prove what they know by highlighting tangible projects they’ve created in the past.
Internship and volunteer experience will be key for those hoping to move straight from college to working as a software developer because employers value real-world experience. That being said, don’t expect the demand for developers to drop suddenly. The BLS projects a 22 percent growth in employment for software developers through 2022 as more and more businesses embrace cloud computing and e-commerce.
6. Database administrator
- 2015 Surveyed salary range: $91,000 - $134,750
- 2016 projected salary range: $95,750 - $142,750
- Percent change: 5.6% growth
Customer and operational information is an essential pillar for many businesses. Database administrators are responsible for the secure storage and maintenance of this information. They are also relied upon in emergency situations to restore lost information—which can be a high-pressure situation as many businesses will grind to a halt without database capabilities.
Candidates for these positions will typically need a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information systems. They’ll also likely need to acquire professional certifications for languages like MySQL and have database experience through internships.
If you follow economic news, you’ve likely heard about wages remaining stagnant for many industries. But the tech field has remained a bright spot. E-commerce, cloud computing, wireless networking and big data have led to a strong demand for tech professionals, which is reflected in the corresponding salaries. These positions require education, determination and skill. So what’s stopping you from securing one of these fast-growing entry-level tech salaries?
A computer science degree will set you up for success in most these positions. Check out this article to learn how our program stands out among the rest: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Rasmussen College Computer Science Program.
1 Salary info was taken from the Robert Half 2016 Salary Guide for Technology Professionals.
2 Salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary.