Main image of article Dice Tech Salary Report: Which Technology Jobs Paid the Most in 2021?

This year’s edition of the Dice Tech Salary Report features good news for technologists everywhere, such as the average tech salary now exceeding six figures ($104,566). But which tech jobs saw the most notable salary growth between 2020 and 2021, and which specializations paid the most?   

At the top of the list, salaries for database administrators rose 12.4%, which isn’t shocking given how much modern organizations depend on databases to run everything from point-of-sale (POS) to data-science projects. The all-consuming need to store, clean, and analyze data of all types will drive businesses to ensure their all-important databases are continually updated. 

Building up a business often demands an equivalent investment in internal processes, including the tech stack. That leads to increased demand for technical support engineers (salaries up 12.4% year-over-year, to $77,169), who are tasked with making sure that software and hardware systems function effectively.  

In a similar vein, the salaries of systems administrators (6.2%) and systems architects (5.1%) significantly increased year-over-year, as organizations sought technologists capable of structuring, maintaining, and scaling tech stacks in a variety of environments. As more organizations migrate to the cloud, the complexity of the tech stack will only grow, demanding that technologists develop even more specialized knowledge in order to do their jobs. 

Other technologist roles that focus on building out company web properties, including software developer (8.0%) and UI/UX designer (10.1%), also enjoyed significant increases. But a few highly specialized, in-demand professions also saw their salaries dip a bit between 2020 and 2021. For example, cybersecurity analyst fell -0.8% to $102,253, while data engineer fell -1.1%, to $117,295. Other “hot” technologist roles remained level despite clear employer hunger to fill these roles, most notably data scientist (up just 0.6%, to $120,650). These professions generally earn high salaries, hinting at their value to organizations large and small—so what’s behind the conspicuous lack of a year-over-year salary bump? 

One possibility could be that salaries in 2021 for these roles are lagging indicators, and that these high-growth and high-value occupations will begin to see an uptick in early 2022 and throughout the year. It could also have something to do with the proliferation of tools designed to carry out some of these roles’ highly specialized functions.  

For instance, numerous data-analytics apps allow employees of all backgrounds to crunch their organizations’ databases for key insights. While these tools won’t replace a highly specialized technologist, they’re a good way to streamline other employees’ workflows. With tech unemployment low and hiring managers having difficulty finding key talent, some organizations may be holding off on hiring some roles and relying on stopgap measures (and tools) instead. 

Overall, though, it’s clear that specializing in critical arenas of the tech stack (such as databases and user-facing UX/UI) can translate into significant salaries; keep that in mind as you plot your career path through 2022 and beyond. The Dice Salary Tech Report offers much more about the current state of technologist compensation, including how much certain tech skills can pay. Take a look at the full report here