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The highest paying tech jobs, and how to get them

Simon Cohen|

Yes indeed, people in tech can make a boat-load of cash. Especially if you’re one of those with the skill and audacity to make a messaging app that is subsequently acquired by Facebook for a gazillion dollars. Ok, not quite a gazillion, but really, when we’re talking about that much money, who can tell the difference?

For the rest of us, however, tech can still be a very lucrative field even if our futures do not include selling our souls to the highest bidder in Silicon Valley. In fact, all of the tech jobs we’ve found saw significant salary increases from 2013 to 2014, with the biggest gain sitting at 8.4 percent.

Curious to know exactly which careers in tech bring in the most moolah, and exactly how much you can expect to be paid here in Canada? Then read on because we’ve uncovered the master list of top paying tech jobs from the folks over at Robert Half Technology – a company that specializes in the recruitment of these skilled workers.

Here then are some of the top paying tech jobs in a variety of disciplines and what you’ll need to be able to demonstrate if you want a crack at them. They all have the potential to make well into the six-figures per year.

Title: Chief Information Officer

Salary: $150,500 – $224,250

What they do: As the title suggests, a CIO is the king of the hill when it comes to their company’s use of technology. A CIO typically reports directly to the CEO and is responsible for making sure that all aspects of a company’s tech infrastructure (something that can vary in complexity depending on the organization) are aligned with — and capable of growing and supporting – the business.

If you want this C-suite tech job you’ll likely need a Masters degree in Computer Science or a related field and a minimum of 10 years of management experience in an IT environment (over and above several years of non-management experience). You’ll also need a proven track record as a leader who possesses people skills to match their impressive technical chops. Remember, you not only need to be able to talk tech with your entire team of developers, engineers and administrators, you’ll have to translate all that techno-babble into language the rest of the organization can understand.

Title: Data Security Analyst

Salary: $93,000 – $139,000

What they do: In this era of constant data breaches by everyone from small-time hackers to full-scale government and industrial espionage, it’s hard to think of a more critical tech role than that of Data Security Analyst. In this job, you’re essentially the one person who is ensuring that your company’s data (including customer data) is safe from prying eyes.

To do this, you’ll need superb analytical skills, an obsession with staying up to date on the latest security standards and potential cyber-threats, and an in-depth knowledge of networks, firewalls, encryption and other security frameworks. Moreover, you’ll need to be an expert communicator. That’s because you will have to explain security strategies and protocols to your team and the rest of the company, while you simultaneously demonstrate to the top brass why they’re going to have to maintain (and probably increase) your budget if they want to keep the company’s assets safe. Oh, and a professional certification such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) designation wouldn’t hurt either.

Title: Applications Architect

Salary: $103,750 – $136,250

What they do: These days, it’s tempting to think of applications in the diminutive sense of the “app” – a program designed to work on a mobile device like a tablet or a smartphone. But don’t let that cute version of the word fool you. Enterprise-level applications can be monsters of code and complexity and they require a lot more than just a PC and some creativity. An Application Architect oversees teams of developers working on corporate-wide projects that involve multiple departments and often impact a broad range of stakeholders. They have a hand in all aspects of development including the user interface, middleware and infrastructure. Yes, it’s all about the code, but it’s also about the people who ultimately use the code and the machines and networks that the code runs on.

If you want this gig, you’ll need a deep understanding of relevant development tools, system architectures and programming concepts such as object-oriented design and Agile development. You’ll need at least a Bachelor’s level degree in computer science or information systems, which should be complemented by several years of experience programming in languages such as AJAX, C++, C#; not to mention a strong understanding of Microsoft’s .NET Framework or Java Enterprise Edition.

Title: Pre-Sales Engineer/Technical Engineer

Salary: $88,250 – $109,000

What they do: If you’re a techie who has always enjoyed talking to non-technical people about technology, you might make an ideal Pre-Sales Engineer. These are the people who are tag-teamed with a sales person to sit down with potential clients to discuss how their needs dovetail with your solutions. A sales professional can only take the discussion so far. Once it starts getting into the nitty gritty of what the technical aspects of the solution will look like (based on a thorough understanding of the client’s existing tech environment and capabilities), it’s over to the Pre-Sales Engineer to make sure that the promises can actually be delivered. Once the deal is done, you’d also be responsible for ensuring a smooth transition from the pre-sales process to the development and delivery phases.

Typically, people in these roles are skilled communicators who can transition between in-depth technical discussions and high-level management concepts with ease. They also possess a Bachelor’s degree in engineering or they have equivalent work experience. To succeed in this role you need to genuinely enjoy working with people in a service capacity, be willing to travel a lot, and be able to demonstrate a combination of patience and problem-solving skills.

Title: Manager, Technical Services, Help Desk & Technical Support

Salary: $82,250 – $110,000

What they do: Remember that time when your computer gave you that horrifying blue screen of death and you thought you had lost a whole day’s work? Do you also remember calling the help desk and having that calm and knowledgeable person at the other end of the phone talk you down from that ledge you were on and help you retrieve your work? Pretty grateful, weren’t you? Sooner or later, everyone needs the help of a pro. A manager of technical services/help desk/tech support is the person responsible for making sure that voice on the other end of the phone is actually helpful and not some condescending know-it-all who makes you feel two feet tall.

These managers have come up the tech support ladder and are intimately familiar with all aspects of mission-critical software and services. But they also possess a customer-service attitude because their whole world is about getting people the help they need. They hire front-line support personnel, make sure they have the right tools and training, keep a close eye on how quickly and effectively those people are able to handle incoming help requests and finally, they document it all to find ways to improve the tech support area.

You’ll need a bachelor’s degree in information science, 3-5 years of experience working in a tech-support role and a further 5 years of proven managerial experience if you want to become a tech support manager.

Other high-paying tech jobs

Make sure to check out Robert Half’s full report, Technology 2014 Salary Guide. It contains many more job descriptions salary ranges and differences between the U.S. and Canadian marketplaces.

Simon_Cohen.jpgSimon Cohen is one of Canada’s most experienced Consumer Tech voices. He created Sync.ca, an award-winning Canadian technology blog which had an audience of over 500,000 monthly visitors. He has appeared as a guest numerous times on national TV and radio programmes, including Canada AM, Sync Up (a weekly segment on CTV News Channel) and App Central. He is currently an independent writer and editor contributing to various publications, but you can always find his thoughts and musings on his blog at excitable.ca.


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Category: Industry News & Insights,
 
  • RKsharma2012

    Well market works bit differently than what he has written, audience should read

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    to know IT industry including recruiting and what these staffing companies research reports really means

  • UranusHertz

    There are much easier ways to get big tech salaries. First, learn to speak English in a manner that is totally unintelligible to your coworkers.

    Make a habit of lying to a colleague at least once a day

    Spend half a day either texting or speaking on the phone loudly to a relative in a grotesque sounding mother tongue.

    Never EVER make competence a priority.

    Follow the rules above and the big bucks will come in a matter of weeks.

  • http://about.me/davidalangay David Gay

    The one thing this article does not tell you is how to get the money for these courses. I’ve been through the “Going Back To School” option twice and the cost for these courses begin at $10,000, rising higher the more specialized the focus of the technology being studied. With government grants being pulled back and more restrictions being placed on Second Career funding for mature students like myself, the only hope one has to get into these courses is either be part of a well-to-do family or have a sugar-daddy/momma footing the bill.

    Tuitions need to be lowered, not continually raised, lest “working-class” becomes synonymous for those who can afford post-secondary education.

    http://about.me/davidalangay