It's no secret that the tech industry pays well. In fact, it's one of the highest-paying industries in America. If in doubt, just check out Glassdoor's just-released report of the 25 Highest Paying Jobs in Demand. Tech-related jobs dominated this inaugural list of lucrative opportunities, snapping up 14 of the 25 positions identified. Ten of those positions pay more than $100,000 a year.
But which technology posts offer the biggest bucks in 2015? Let's take a look at this year's hottest jobs that will leave you sitting pretty when it comes to commanding an impressive income.
- Data scientist. Mashable pegs expertise in big data, data mining, predictive analytics, and structured data modeling as must-have skills for those who want to top tech's salary charts. According to the site, data scientists can expect to rake in around $150K annually, making them among the most expensive tech pros on the market. While different industry rankings show some variation in this position's annual salary, the estimates generally reach six figures. Glassdoor's report lists data scientist as one of the highest-paying tech jobs, but puts the average base salary at closer to $105K. Some of the discrepancy may be due to the level of position. CIO.com notes that the entry-level position based on data from Payscale.com has a median pay of $97,600, while the mid-level role has a median salary of $134K.
- Data architect. If you have expertise in big data, another way to use your skills to make big money is to land a position as a data architect. This role--also sometimes called data modeler--involves using applied mathematics to create database systems, constructing storage and archival systems for information. Data architects also work on improving the data transfer between these systems. How much does it pay? It depends which source you refer to, but the numbers are up there any way you slice them. Salary.com lists data architect as one of nine high-paying tech jobs, listing the annual median salary at just over $100K. But according to Information Week, the position was one of the best-paying titles of 2014, and can command upwards of $153.7K.
- Ruby on Rails developer. The upper echelon of pay in the programming world can be found via Ruby on Rails, an open-source web framework. Mashable states that Ruby on Rails developers currently top U.S. charts for the highest pay in the nation for programmers, with annual salary expectations around $147,000. To take advantage of this opportunity, you must be an expert in Ruby language--but it's something anyone can learn with training. The recent partnership between Code School and Pluralsight offers a great starting point for those who aspire to this career.
- Scrum coach. CIO.com ranks Scrum coach as one of the highest-paid mid-level roles, requiring 5-10 years of experience in IT. That's because Scrum has played a major role in streamlining software development. According to the Scrum Alliance, 66 percent of the Agile frameworks that companies use are either Scrum or a variant of Scrum. As a result of the importance of this Agile framework, those who take on the role of Scrum coach--teaching Scrum adoption and best practices for Agile software development to IT organizations or Agile development environments--receive a median salary of $151K per year. The job typically requires Scrum certification, as well as previous demonstrable success.
- Software architect. This position ranks as the highest-paying tech job in the Glassdoor report, with an average base salary of nearly $131K. The software architect has responsibility for initially designing new software, as well as fleshing out its development and revisions. The role, which often requires a bachelor's degree at entry level, involves defining product requirements, ensuring functionality, and understanding integration with existing platforms. CIO.com notes that at the mid- to upper levels, the salaries of software architects can grow even larger. Principal software architects and chief architects of IT can expect to make about $155K.
While each of these top five jobs has the potential to reward you with a salary upwards of $150K, there are many other opportunities in the industry for lucrative work. Some other top picks include software development manager (average base salary $123.7K), business intelligence director (median pay $143K), data engineer ($148K annual salary), and senior web developer ($135K at the high end of the salary band). But remember: expertise in tech is largely based on training. While anyone has the potential to develop these skills, you need to put in the time to become an expert learner--and never stop growing in your career.