10 Best-Paying Jobs in Software

And the 10 software skills that command top dollar

2 min read
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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.


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

Rank Occupation Average Increase 2020 over 2019 Salary
1 Cybersecurity Analyst 16.3% $103,106
2 Data Scientist* 12.8% $119,898
3 DevOps Engineer 12.2% $115,125
4 Cloud Engineer 6.3% $136,479
5 Business Analyst 5.3% $97,633
6 Web Developer 4.9% $81,550
7 Data Engineer 4.7% $118,621
8 Cybersecurity Engineer 4.3% $134,400
9 Data Architect 3.2% $133,064
10 MIS Manager 2.5% $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.


Fastest Growing Tech Salaries by Skill

Rank Skill Average Increase 2020 over 2019 Salary
1 TCL 7.8 $111,324
2 MATLAB 6.2 $112,085
3 Fortran 5.2 $110,919
4 Perl 3.9 $122,511
5 Ruby 1.2 $116,305
6 R 0.8 $112,958
7 TypeScript 0.7 $112,469
7 XML 0.7 $112,189
9 Bash 0.3 $115,511
10 Python 0.3 $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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Special Report: Top Tech 2021

After months of blood, toil, tears, and sweat, we can all expect a much better year

1 min read
Photo-illustration: Edmon de Haro

Last January in this space we wrote that “technology doesn't really have bad years." But 2020 was like no other year in recent memory: Just about everything suffered, including technology. One shining exception was biotech, with the remarkably rapid development of vaccines capable of stemming the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year's roundup of anticipated tech advances includes an examination of the challenges in manufacturing these vaccines. And it describes how certain technologies used widely during the pandemic will likely have far-reaching effects on society, even after the threat subsides. You'll also find accounts of technical developments unrelated to the pandemic that the editors of IEEE Spectrum expect to generate news this year.

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