It’s no secret that there’s a very nice living to be made as an IT professional. Hard work, a thirst for knowledge, the drive for continuous improvement and inherent intelligence all play big roles in the success of IT pros. This continues to be true in 2021. Even amidst a global pandemic, technology is one of the most secure job sectors – and is still growing.
And while all those reasons are the primary drivers behind a satisfying IT career, there’s certainly nothing wrong with collecting a sizeable paycheck as a reward for all that hard work. And those paydays are pretty impressive, based on Global Knowledge’s 2020 IT Skills and Salary Report.
In the United States, the average annual salary for an IT pro is $120,491, and those in decision-making roles earn an average salary of $138,200. What does it take to earn a paycheck like this?
Opportunities for a Bigger Paycheck
IT pros have the opportunity to earn more. Doing your job well, learning a new skill or seeking a promotion to management are just a few ways to increase your earnings. In fact, nearly 60% of IT pros received a raise in the past year. Of those who received raises, 37% attribute it to job performance, while 30% received a pay bump as part of a standard company increase and 15% got a promotion. The bottom line is, if you do your job well, you’re going to be rewarded.
And the best way to do well at your job? Keep learning. Adding new skills to your repertoire (such as through IT training and certifications) can eventually lead to more responsibility, which generally translates to a salary increase. Professional development is critical when it comes to advancing your career and maximizing your earnings.
Case in point:
- 12% of IT professionals credit their salary bump to the addition of new skills to their toolbox
- IT pros who earned a raise because they added new skills earned nearly $12,000 more than last year
- IT pros who obtained a new certification saw their salary increase nearly $13,000
This is clear evidence that training, IT certifications and the desire to expand your knowledge base pay off. Literally.
Receiving a bonus is another way to increase your paycheck Across the globe, 66% of eligible decision makers and 55% of staff earned a bonus in the past year – both up noticeably from 2019.
The conclusion to be drawn here is a very straightforward and logical one. Salary increases among IT professionals are directly tied to job performance. The harder IT staff work, the more training they receive, the more results they get, the better the company performs – it’s all tied together. And it’s paying off quite nicely for IT pros.
IT Salaries: Where the Money Is
Where’s the place to be if you want to maximize your earning potential as an IT pro? According to the Global Knowledge report, that would be North America, where the average salaries for non-management IT staff, mid-level professionals, senior roles and executives rank the highest among all regions of the world.
Digging deeper into each role type shows that:
- Non-Management IT Pros:The global average among non-management IT staff (such asnetwork engineers,security analysts and cloud architects) was $80,510. The lowest end of the spectrum was in Latin America at $37,766, while IT pros in North America earned the most at $105,736 (you’ll notice a trend here).
- Mid-Level IT Managers: Among mid-level professionals (positions like IT audit managers, security officers, IT project managers and other management/team lead roles), the global average came in at $79,180 – which is strangely lower than the worldwide average for non-managers. Mid-level IT managers in Latin America made an average salary of $45,838, and IT managers in North America earned $115,599 annually.
- Senior IT Pros:Senior-level roles demonstrated a similar pattern in 2020. The global average of these positions (directors, chief security officers, senior engineers) came in at $108,576, with a regional range of $49,154 in Latin America to $152,924 in North America.
- The C-Suite:Finally, the global average salary for IT executives (chief technical officers, chief information officers, chief executive officers) in 2020 was an impressive $143,387, with North America at the top of the list at over $200,000.
The overall global average annual salary for IT professionals was $85,115.
Broken down by region, the figures look like this:
- North America:$115,906 (36% higher than global average)
- Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA): $67,207
- Asia-Pacific: $63,125
- Latin America: $42,468
What Jobs Pay the Most?
Despite differences in regional pay, factors like job role, experience and industry also play their parts. The Global Knowledge report ranks the pharmaceutical, medical and biotech industry first in global salaries at $113,031 annually. In the United States and Canada, IT software professionals earn the most, at $141,258 annually.
It’s not surprising that IT pros with more experience earn the highest salaries. Those with at least 26 years of experience earn $120,098 per year – more than double the average salary for first-year IT professionals. But in North America, IT pros cross that $100,000 threshold sooner – in years 11 to 15.
Of course, there are jobs out there that pay more simply because they are in-demand and qualified IT pros are hard to find. For the fifth year in a row, and by a wider margin than usual, IT decision makers have the most difficulty hiring cybersecurity talent. In fact, 43% worldwide struggle to fill IT security job openings – that’s an increase of 38% in just one year.
Global Knowledge ranks the following top 5 IT job roles as a challenge in finding talent:
- Cloud Computing
- Analytics and Big Data
- AI and Machine Learning
- Systems and Solutions Architects
Wondering how much you could make? Check out CompTIA’s IT Salary Calculator
When it comes to hiring, one thing stands out above everything else – skills. Nearly 60% of IT decision makers say relevant skills are the most important hiring qualification.
While IT has not been completely spared from the pandemic’s impact, growth is still projected in certain tech areas such as cloud and infrastructure as organizations look to the cloud to drive digital strategies. Cybersecurity is also an area that cannot be ignored – even with tighter budgets. And amidst these transitions, IT pros hold their future in their own hands. With a wealth of opportunities to boost their pay, 2021 is shaping up to be a lucrative year for the IT workforce.