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Information technology salaries

December 16, 2022
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As you study to earn a master’s degree in computing and information technology (IT), you'll dig into network protocols and topology, as well as a variety of security technologies and policies. Fluency in all of these areas will position you for a variety of information technology careers supporting an organization’s digital infrastructure.

The career outlook in information technology is highly encouraging. According to recent salary data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment is expected to grow by 15% between 2021 and 2031, at a much-faster-than-average rate for all occupations.1 Many professionals with a master’s degree in computer science and information technology earn more than $100,000 a year. Read on to explore some of the hottest careers—and most attractive information technology salaries—in the market today.

Computer and information systems manager: $159,010

A computer and information systems manager coordinates, plans and directs an organization’s IT system. While some positions in a company involve direct focus on specific elements of computer-related activities, the information systems manager oversees the full gamut of digital systems and resources. In multiple departments, which may include:

  • Networking
  • Cybersecurity
  • Customer support, particularly for companies with customer-facing web applications
  • IT sourcing and purchasing
  • Internal IT support

In many organizations, the information systems manager also coordinates the efforts of third-party services, such as external security providers, software-as-a-service (SaaS) and cloud services. Core responsibilities may involve:

  • Working with network architects to optimize the company’s connectivity
  • Strategizing the best ways to protect the organizations, computers, software and users from cyber threats
  • Providing executives with digital solutions to business problems
  • Overseeing the organization’s resiliency and continuity plans so it can recover quickly after a breach
  • Ensuring that staff members are well educated regarding their responsibilities in keeping the company’s information systems secure
  • Teaming up with other departments, such as sales or customer support, to ensure they have the resources and solutions they need

The national average salary for computer and information systems managers is $159,010.2

Cybersecurity architect: $145,189

Cybersecurity is one of the most important aspects of contemporary information technology. Cybersecurity architects design cyber defense systems that span the entire computer networks and ecosystems of an organization’s computer infrastructure, which can include:

  • On-site computers, servers and other devices
  • On-site data centers
  • Cloud and hybrid environments
  • Business applications
  • Computerized workflows, such as those involving several apps working in sync
  • Remote workers’ connections
  • Bring your own device (BYOD) policies

Designing the architecture of a company’s cybersecurity system involves mitigating risk, preventing attacks and designing resiliency systems to help the organization recover after an event. Cybersecurity architects’ responsibilities can vary greatly, depending on the layout of the company’s network, its size and the resources the architects are in charge of protecting. They earn a median annual salary of $145,189.3

Network architect: $120,520

Network architects find the best ways for employees, executives and contractors to connect with each other and with the company resources. In many organizations, these specialists also see to it that customers can connect to the company’s services. Regardless of who is connecting and how, network architects must ensure that they and their data are safe. This involves designing a network while keeping in mind:

  • Who has to connect and when
  • The kind of bandwidth users need
  • The bandwidth and storage requirements of web applications
  • The best ways for users to maintain connectivity, particularly when running business-critical applications
  • Which areas of the network may be of particular concern for cybersecurity personnel

Network architects’ responsibilities frequently extend far beyond a company’s physical borders. They ensure that remote workers, customers, clients and partners can exchange data and access business systems. When a business has multiple locations, they may be called upon to design wide area networks (WANs) or software-defined wide area networks (SD-WANs) to enable the secure, efficient exchange of information.

These specialists earn a median annual salary of $120,5204

Big Data Engineer: $111,7418

Data is one of the most valuable things a company has in its possession, but without the ability to properly retrieve the right data, it’s useless. That’s where big data engineers come in. Data engineers build and implement systems that can retrieve and arrange raw data. A data engineer will work with the management or executive team of a business to understand the organization’s goals and how to procure the data that can help achieve these goals. Data engineers might need to know how to9:

  • Use programming languages like Javascript, Python, SQL
  • Manage data pipelines and architecture
  • Identify how to procure appropriate data for meeting business needs
  • Keep data secure across data centers and repositories
  • Work with data scientists and data analytics professionals to provide them with what they need to evaluate information

These in-demand information technology professionals earn an average salary of $111,741 annually.8

Information security analyst: $102,600

Information security analysts plan and execute security measures designed to protect an organization’s digital assets, including:

  • Computers
  • Networking equipment
  • Servers
  • Data
  • Cloud resources
  • Applications
  • Elements of digitally transformed systems and services

Information security analysts can work on site or remotely, primarily because they can connect through a virtual private network to address issues and provide service. Their responsibilities call on them to:

  • Plan and orchestrate ways of protecting internal users, their transmissions and the systems on which a business depends
  • Build security systems using the latest anti-malware software, firewalls and other tools
  • Ensure that employees and executives are up-to-speed regarding the latest threats and how they can prevent them
  • Strategize ways to enhance security without sacrificing workflow efficiency
  • Manage third-party security service providers

These information technology specialists earn a median salary of $102,600 annually but may earn a higher average salary depending on the company they work for and any performance bonuses they receive.5

Penetration tester: $97,617

Penetration testers, also known as “pen testers,” determine the strength of an organization's cybersecurity systems by trying to hack them. This may involve looking for vulnerabilities in the overall system or in specific areas. When a company hires a pen tester to ascertain how strong its web application defenses are, for example, the pen tester may try to gain access to the web app or its back end by using a variety of tactics.

After the tester has finished trying to hack a system, he or she will produce a report outlining vulnerabilities as found, as well as suggestions for how to defend the network better. Penetration testers’ work can be a strong means to ensuring that a company’s investment in cybersecurity will deliver satisfactory return.

Some refer to pen testers as “ethical hackers” because they “attack” systems only after getting permission and with the intent to improve them. They earn a median annual information technology salary of $97,617.6

How to break into information technology jobs

While it’s possible to work in IT with simply a bachelor’s degree, a good way to advance out of entry-level positions and build up your technical skills is to earn a master’s degree in information technology. If you know what type of job you'd like to pursue or what part of the field interests you most, make sure that the programs you apply to offer corresponding courses or specialization options.

Earn the information technology salary you’re dreaming of

Gain the qualifications to succeed and become career-ready for a range of information technology occupations in as little as two years. At Marquette University, you’ll study with expert faculty in the flexible online program that’s ranked No. 14 in Best Online Master's in Computer Information Technology Programs by US News & World Report.7 Meet your career goals with our extensive electives in information technology topics like analytics, solution architecture, software development, cybersecurity, IT management and more.

Reach out to one of our Admissions Advisors to find out how you can enhance your career or begin a whole new one with Marquette.