Just as your children are growing like weeds, so are your expenses. As their wardrobes multiply and the size of their meals increase, your bank account slowly dwindles.
If you’re ready to move on from your entry-level tech job and advance toward a better position, now is the perfect time!
Here’s why: 14 percent of technology executives surveyed said they plan to add more IT staff to their companies in the second quarter of 2013. To add to that, 61 percent said they are still attempting to fill vacant technology positions.
Most of the executives surveyed agree that it’s challenging to find skilled professionals to fill these roles. So the truth is that there are plenty of top tech jobs available with companies willing to pay generous salaries. The lingering problem is the shortage of qualified candidates.
So what can you do to qualify yourself as one of those coveted tech professionals? First, find out what types of jobs are out there.
We analyzed thousands of technology job listings to break down the top tech jobs based on education.* Below, you’ll find three in-demand positions for each education level as well as the median annual salary for each.
Keep in mind that these salaries are based on positions of all levels. This means that although you may start out making a smaller salary, you have the potential to earn even more once you gain experience.
Top tech jobs for individuals with a high school diploma
There are several jobs available for those with a high school diploma, even in the technology industry. In fact, high school graduates were eligible for over 16,000 tech jobs posted in the past year.* The median annual salary for employees with high school diplomas across all industries is $21,569.**
We featured three top tech positions available to these individuals and included the prospective salary for each. You’ll notice that all three boast salaries that are notably higher than the national average.
Computer user support specialists provide technical assistance to computer users. This may involve answering questions or resolving computer issues for clients in person or via telephone or email. These days, nearly every company, regardless of industry, utilizes these specialists in some way, which is why there is such high demand for them.
Secretaries and administrative assistants at technology companies are largely responsible for any clerical and organizational tasks. This may include greeting clients, scheduling appointments, operating office equipment, answering phone calls or managing files.
Customer service representatives in the technology industry interact with customers in person or by phone to answer questions about products or services. These individuals are also responsible for resolving complaints and keeping record of customer interactions.
Top tech jobs for individuals with an associate’s degree
It should come as no surprise that tech job openings multiply for individuals with an associate’s degree. In the past year, associate’s degree holders were qualified for about 4,000 more vacant tech positions than high school graduates. The salaries also reflect a similar pattern.
The median annual salary for associate’s degree graduates across all industries is $32,602.** This number for technology professionals is twice the national average in many cases. Below are three top tech positions open to this group of individuals.
Computer systems engineers develop solutions to system administration issues and network concerns. They often collaborate with engineers or software developers to provide guidance on project costs and design concepts or changes. You can become a computer systems engineer by earning a degree in computer information technology.
Network administrators install and support an organization’s network system. By monitoring and maintaining the network, they ensure availability to all system users. By monitoring and maintain the network, they ensure availability to all system users. This is one of the fastest growing positions in the tech industry, and earning a network administration degree can help you get your foot in the door.
As mentioned earlier, computer user support specialists resolve technical issues for computer users face-to-face or via telephone or email. While you can land this position with no college degree, you’ll notice those with an associate’s degree make nearly $6,000 more per year. A computer information technology degree can help you qualify for this pay increase.
Top tech jobs for individuals with a bachelor’s degree
You guessed it—bachelor’s degree holders are eligible for even more tech jobs than the previous two groups. Over the past year, bachelor’s degree holders were eligible for more than four times as many unfilled tech positions as those holding an associate’s degree.
These higher ranks offer bigger checks as well. The median annual salary for Americans with a bachelor’s degree across all industries is $42,783.** But for the most part, the tech industry offers its employees significantly more money. This is reflected in the top tech positions highlighted below.
Computer programmers write and examine the code, forms and script that allow computer applications to function properly. They also develop computer programs to store, locate and retrieve specific data to assist in program analysis. A computer science degree will help prepare you for a career in this field.
Software developers research, develop and test software for a variety of industries. They modify and correct errors to ensure compatibility and improve performance. They also analyze data to plan and recommend installation of a new system. You can become a software developer by earning a degree in computer science.
Computer systems analysts examine data processing problems to implement and improve computer systems. By analyzing user issues, they can improve on computer system capabilities, workflow and scheduling limitations. Earning a computer science degree will help you become a computer systems analyst.
Which is the right fit for you?
As you can see, there are open technology positions for individuals of all education levels. As a rule of thumb, the jobs that require a higher degree generally offer more money.
Choosing your perfect career will largely depend on your individual circumstances. With your busy schedule, it’s important to determine which opportunity will provide the best outcome for your family—both in the short and long term.
Decide how much time and effort you’re willing to commit now while still allowing time for your everyday responsibilities. Although it may seem like a struggle at first, remember that by investing more now, you’re setting yourself up for a larger return on investment in the long run.
*Analysis of technology job postings, 05/01/2012 – 4/30/2013. BurningGlass.com
**United States Census Bureau, 2011