10 Best-Paying Jobs in Software

And the 10 software skills that command top dollar

2 min read
computer and money
Illustration: iStockphoto

It’s still more lucrative to be a top manager of tech professionals than working directly in a tech field. But the gap is closing fast. According to the Dice 2021 Tech Salary Report, the average salaries of tech CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, and the like fell 1.7 percent between 2019 to $143,416,and 2020, while the next highest earners, systems architects, saw a jump of the same percentage, to $140,658. Tight on their heels are cloud engineers, at $136,479 and up 6.3 percent since 2019, and cybersecurity engineers, at $134,340 and up 4.3 percent. (All these numbers exclude stock options and bonuses.)

Dice gathered this data as part of its annual survey, that this year reached 9143 job seekers between 29 September and 9 December 2020. The company runs its survey annual, generally getting around 10,000 responses.

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During this past pandemic year, the biggest raises went to cybersecurity analysts, thanks to concerns about the increased network vulnerabilities brought by remote work, the Dice report indicated. Data scientists also reaped large average wage increases.

Fastest-growing Tech Salaries by Occupation

RankOccupationAverage Increase 2020 over 2019Salary
1Cybersecurity Analyst16.3%$103,106
2Data Scientist*12.8%$119,898
3DevOps Engineer12.2%$115,125
4Cloud Engineer6.3%$136,479
5Business Analyst5.3%$97,633
6Web Developer4.9%$81,550
7Data Engineer4.7%$118,621
8Cybersecurity Engineer4.3%$134,400
9Data Architect3.2%$133,064
10MIS Manager2.5%$119,877

*Fewer than 100 respondents

Source: Dice

Looking at demand for specific skills, TensorFlow came out on top of Dice’s U.S. salary charts, at $129,048, though that number didn’t change from 2019.  Among the fastest growing skills? Fortran, another sign that legacy systems live on.

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Fastest Growing Tech Salaries by Skill

RankSkillAverage Increase 2020 over 2019Salary
1TCL7.8$111,324
2MATLAB6.2$112,085
3Fortran5.2$110,919
4Perl3.9$122,511
5Ruby1.2$116,305
6R0.8$112,958
7TypeScript0.7$112,469
7XML0.7$112,189
9Bash0.3$115,511
10Python0.3$112,388

Source: Dice

The complete 2021 Dice Tech Salary Report, based on data from the 2020 Salary Survey, is available here.

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

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