The tech industry was doing well before 2020, but with the development of a global pandemic and the need for almost everything to be digital, it is growing like never before. We expect the demand to continue to increase for skilled IT professionals in many sectors of the technology market.
Today, remote IT jobs, work-from-home IT jobs, or a career focused on a better work-life balance are all available to you.
Our 7 Top IT Career Picks for 2021
We are rating the top 10 IT jobs for 2021 based on the following:
- A growing demand for the profession.
- Anticipated growth for the job for 2021 and the future.
- Highest paying IT jobs.
- Job satisfaction and work/life balance.
Overall job satisfaction in the US runs at about 51% (according to a 2018 survey). That will be a helpful number to use as we compare job satisfaction in each of these top ten jobs below.
Cybersecurity is expected to have 3.5 million open positions globally in 2021. That’s over 700,000 positions in the US, alone. And that estimate was before COVID-19 hit. The unemployment rate for the cybersecurity field is at 0% because this is such a needed area of expertise.
Cybersecurity IT job titles include information security specialists, security systems administrators, senior IT security consultants, chief information security officer, and others.
With individual hackers, groups of criminal attackers, and even governments trying to create mayhem and havoc online, we can’t fill these positions quickly enough. We need strong online security teams for our government, especially, but also in healthcare, business, finance, and other sectors.
Cybersecurity Career Requirements
Generally, job requirements include a bachelor’s in cybersecurity, computer science, or IT. Additional certifications are also required (CISSP-ISSMP, CISM, CEH, CRISC, AWS Security Speciality, CompTIA Security, etc.). A master’s degree can prepare people for more lucrative jobs in this field.
Cybersecurity Job Growth Expected
We expect a 30%+ job growth rate between 2018-2028. From 2013 to 2021 this field had a 350% growth rate. Currently, there are over 715,000 professionals in this field and about 314,000 open positions according to Cyber Seek. Cybersecurity positions made up 32-45 percent of all tech jobs in America in the past two years.*
Cybersecurity Salary Range
$76,000-200,000+ per year.
Cybersecurity Job Satisfaction
2. Database Administrator (DBA)
A database administrator manages all the functions related to database creation, development, storage, retrieval, and security. They make sure the database runs well with great availability. This job has a relatively low-stress environment, a great potential for work-life balance, and plenty of upward mobility options.
Types of IT jobs in this field include director of database administration, junior DBA, senior DBA, system DBA, database architect, and database administrator.
Database Administration Requirements
Some DBAs have only an associate degree, but most have at least a bachelor’s degree in something like management information systems, computer and information science, data modeling, warehousing and database administration, or computer and information systems security.
Some positions require a master’s degree in data or database management in computer science, information technology, or information systems.
Almost all positions require professional certifications which can lead to higher salaries and greater value in the industry. A few examples include IBM Certified Database Administrator – DB2, Microsoft SQL Server database certification, and Oracle Certified Professional.
Database Administration Job Growth Expected
Burning Glass predicts that DBA jobs will grow at a rate of over 11% in the next 10 years.
Database Administrator Salary Range
Database Administrator Job Satisfaction
DBAs tend to have stressful jobs. They tend to be on call even after hours. But despite the high stress, DBAs tend to be one of the happiest jobs with 72% of them reporting job satisfaction. Perhaps because they have a lot of control. Or they feel they are making a direct impact on the success of the company.
3. Software Developer/Software Engineer
Software developers and engineers are in high demand. Organizations need people to research, develop, implement, test, fix, and oversee software programs. These IT professionals must be proficient in various types of computer coding, working with others to create the best experience for employees, customers, and other users.
Jobs for software developers include programmers, coders, and software architects. Software engineer jobs include chief digital officer, director of engineering, software architect, CEO, and more.
Software Developer vs. Software Engineer
Developers work with clients to find out what problems the clients have that need to be solved. They lead a team of developers to design the solution.
Engineers create software using engineering principles and oversee the whole system.
Software Developer/Software Engineer Requirements
Most software developers/engineers have a degree in computer science, computer software engineering, math, electronics, physics, or some type of engineering. These professionals also need to have strong communication skills and a team approach.
Software Developer/Software Engineer Job Growth Expected
In 2020, projections from multiple sources are that this field will grow from 21-25% over the next 8-10 years. There should be increasing demand, much greater than the average job market.
Software Engineer/Software Developer Salary Range
$62,000-127,000 per year.
$50,000-100,000 per year.
Software Engineer/Software Developer Job Satisfaction
This job stress level is about average, but people must constantly keep up with new technology and expectations. These employees make good money and they often have a lot of great perks with their jobs. They also have a lot of ability to do work on the side or create their own business. The work-life balance is usually pretty good. Overall, software engineers tend to be moderately to very happy with their jobs. A Payscale survey listed job satisfaction at 57% but Forbes and Career Bliss ranked this job as one of the top 10 most satisfying careers. The company you work for can make a big difference in job satisfaction.
4. Web Developer
Web developers work with designers and content creators in website development. They write, improve, and debug software for these sites. They lead the team in deciding how the site will look, as well as its performance and capacity. They must be proficient in coding to create web pages and to handle e-commerce and manage the database. Developers decide what applications are needed for each site and they monitor website traffic.
Jobs include front-end developers, UI designers, UX designers, full stack developers, and more.
Web Developer Requirements
Some jobs require no college degree but rather certain certifications. Most positions require at least an associate degree in web design, but for more technical positions in web development, a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related area may be necessary.
Web Developer Job Growth Expected
Some current estimates project 8% job growth in this field in the coming decade.
Web Developer Salary Range
$40,000-142,000 per year.
Web Developer Job Satisfaction
Web developers tend to have stressful jobs, probably because the field is growing so much. According to US News, they have a 71% job satisfaction rating.
5. Mobile App Developer
Mobile developers transform code into applications that appeal to mobile users. Mobile app developer companies often provide a fast-paced work environment. Developers come up with application programming interfaces (APIs) that cater to mobile phones. They help research, design, test, and support the apps they create. Often, developers adapt desktop applications to function for mobile.
Mobile App Developer Requirements
Generally, a bachelor’s degree in computer science or something similar plus three years of experience are necessary for this position. This position requires strong communication and teamwork skills, as well. Developers should know Swift and Objective-C programming languages for the iPhone and iPad. And those who work with Android need Java and Kotlin.
Mobile App Developer Job Growth Expected
Burning Glass estimates that mobile app developer jobs will grow 30.7% over the next 10 years.
Mobile App Developer Salary Range
$50,000-140,000 per year.
Mobile App Developer Job Satisfaction
6. Artificial Intelligence Programmer (AI)/Machine Learning Engineer (ML)
Artificial Intelligence programming allows computer software to make decisions. Machine learning is a branch of artificial intelligence that involves building computer systems that can improve over time with experience.
Programmers for AI and ML create cutting-edge programming and software for the newest technological advancements in the industry. They produce self-driving cars, automated disease diagnosis, and robots that can do things no robots have ever done before. Many of the jobs new AI and ML machines can do are jobs people have been doing but the machines may eventually be able to do the work more accurately and efficiently. This may create a “Fourth Industrial Revolution” that changes the world dramatically.
An artificial intelligence programmer researches, designs, and builds AI models. They work with software development and machine learning.
Machine learning engineer jobs use data and algorithms to train models. Then the models can automate certain processes using data from the past to make predictions. These engineers must understand data science, DevOps, and software engineering. It is a difficult field to get into—the technology is constantly changing and the demand is high.
Jobs include software analysts and developers, algorithm specialists, research scientists, machine learning engineers, robotics engineers, design engineers, and more. These jobs will center in retail, cybersecurity, manufacturing, healthcare, transportation, education, IT, and many more fields. It may be difficult to find an economic sector that won’t be profoundly impacted by AI and ML.
AI requires a bachelor’s degree in computer science, mathematics, or other related subjects. This field doesn’t have an official set of standards, so those who enter it must, to some degree, blaze their own trail. Some positions require a master’s degree in computer science or computer engineering or even a Ph.D. in computer science, computer engineering, or machine learning.
AI/ML Job Growth Expected
AI/ML Salary Range
Artificial Intelligence Programmer salary $57,000-$114,000 per year.
Machine Learning Engineer salary $78,000-$150,000 per year.
These salaries are going up quite a bit each year in many areas.
AI/ML Job Satisfaction
ML reports a job satisfaction rating of 81%, one of the highest ratings in the IT field.
7. Data Scientist
Data scientists use computer science, statistics, and business principles to help make sense of large quantities of data. They bring insights to help organizations decide what to do based on real data and models.
Some jobs in this field include data analysts, data engineers, data architects, business intelligence analysts, statisticians, operations analysts, and more. There tends to be a lot of variety in the workday, which is a big plus for many people. And it’s a given that there will always be new technology and software to keep up with.
Data Scientist Requirements
Most data scientists have bachelor’s degrees in computer science, physics, math, social science, economics, or other related subjects. Some earn a master’s degree in data or even get a Ph.D. Then experience is needed in the particular field where the data scientist wants to work, whether that is healthcare, business, finance, or government.
It’s also helpful for data scientists to have experience with coding, handling data and databases, marketing, and even psychology.
Data Scientist Job Growth Expected
This field is currently experiencing a significant shortage of talent and is expected to continue to grow. Those who are able to work remotely have enjoyed the biggest growth recently. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 27% increase in jobs in this field by 2026.
Data Scientist Salary Range
$83,000-$154,000 per year.
Data Scientist Job Satisfaction
Data scientists have one of the highest levels of job satisfaction with a rate of about 70%.
A Recruiter Can Help You Find Your Dream IT Career
If you are ready for a job in one of these areas, or another IT specialty, a recruiter may be able to help you find the job you really want in these competitive times. Tech jobs often get hundreds of applications for one position. Make sure your resume stands out. And let a recruiter, like TM Floyd & Company, help you find the company that is the best fit for you where you can find the best IT jobs salary and job satisfaction for your skills.
Cybersecurity Talent Crunch to Create 3.5 Million Unfilled Jobs Globally by 2021 by Cybercrime Magazine.