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Technology skills are in demand, but do they really pay off in IT salary? Some more than others, according an IEEE-USA survey of 9,637 technology professionals. By and large, however, most IT and engineering professionals have well-paying jobs.
Last year in the U.S., IT and engineering salaries rose by 3.85 percent. The biggest gainers were systems and control experts, a specialty that includes robotics, control systems and industrial electronics. These professionals, who boast a median income of $130,000, saw their paychecks grow by 8.72 percent during the 2015 tax year.
The incomes of electromagnetics and radiation specialists increased by 5.79 percent ($137,912), followed by industrial applications (5.5 percent, $126,600) and computers (5.03 percent, $138,941) professionals.
While communications technology workers saw a comparatively modest gain of 1.67 percent, they took home the most money with a median income of $152,500 last year. Energy and power engineering (4.15 percent, $121,000), signals and applications (1.23 percent, $142,792) and circuits and devices (0.7 percent, $144,007) professionals round out the list of gainers.
One specialty, engineering and human environment, experienced a 5.24 percent drop in median incomes, from $140,000 in the 2014 tax year to $132,667 last year. Across all disciplines, the median income was $135,000 in 2015, compared to $130,000 the year before. In 2009, the median income was $113,500.
While those disciplines are paying off for US workers, the real money is as the top of the corporate ladder.
According to the Robert Half 2017 Salary Guide for Technology Professionals, C-suite IT executives can expect to bring home up to $279,000 next year. Vice presidents of IT will also do well, with salaries well over $200,000. Data architects, network architects and mobile developers all have high earning potential, with salaries hovering around the $180,000 mark.
IT pros don't have to settle for their current pay rates. Attaining a higher IT salary is often a matter of taking the reins of one own career.
One way to score a higher-paying IT job is to get certified. Human resources managers overwhelmingly use certifications to screen job applicants, according to CompTIA. It also pays to develop skills for in-demand specialties. The Harvey Nash/KPMG 2016 CIO Survey lists big data and analytics, project management and business analysis as some of the most sought after technology skills.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.