Working in tech may sometimes prove quite lucrative, but the industry isn’t without its fluctuations. In our most recent Salary Survey, some jobs (by title) had income drops worth noting.
Though still comfortably in the six-figure range, strategists and architects (which are slotted in the ‘tech management’ category) saw a noticeable drop: down 6.1 percent between 2016 and 2017, although these managers still make $117,748 on average.
While not a huge fall, software engineers (a wildly popular job title) are making almost one percent less this year. With an average salary of $105,580, it’s not as if these tech pros are starving, but it’s still a noticeable dip in light of the tech industry's hunger for talent (and low unemployment rate). We can probably tuck this decline into the ‘random fluctuations’ category; a trend may emerge by next year. (In 2016, this job title saw a 4.3 percent increase year-over-year.)
Meanwhile, database developers saw a 2.3 percent decrease in salary versus 2016. Considering the increased interest in databases over the past few years, a downward trend is interesting; it’s especially noticeable because the 2017 salary survey showed an 8.6 percent uptick. Businesses embracing automation (which reduces the need for human database developers) may have something to do with this salary decrease.
Analysts also didn’t fare well. Both ‘programmer/analyst’ and ‘QA analyst’ job titles saw 2.5 and 2.6 salary drops, respectively. For the programmer/analyst, this dip evens things out: in 2016, the job had a 3.3 percent salary spike. (Unfortunately, QA analysts didn’t have historical data in the previous Salary Survey.)
Help desk salaries also corrected: although the job title saw a 4.8 percent jump between 2015 and 2016, it experienced a 5.1 percent drop between 2016 and 2017, taking the average income down to $43,343.
The largest fall was reserved for perhaps the most familiar, ubiquitous tech pro job of all: web developer. In 2017, this job title saw a 10.4 percent decrease, for an average income of $74,131. Programming-language data, also included in the salary survey, doesn’t support the staggering scope of that drop-off: JSON and Angular were down 3.0 and 2.2 percent, respectively, and other web developer technologies such as Node.js and XAML were down, as well.
Without associated languages and platforms taking a correspondingly massive dive, other intangibles may have to be considered. Are DIY solutions such as Squarespace and Wix taking some wind out of the typical web developer’s sails? Is outsourcing to blame? Or is it just a flood of talent tilting the favor toward employers?
Tech pro salaries have leveled off over the past three years, and some fluctuation within job titles and skills is normal. Still, the "down year" that web developers experienced in 2017 stands out. If you’re looking for a silver lining, employers report they’re offering benefits in lieu of salary increases, so now may be a good time to negotiate more time off or the ability to work remotely instead of angling for more money.