These 3 things will affect how much money you make working in tech

There’s a reason why careers in the tech industry are well-received.

Between 2000 and 2018, Facebook, Microsoft, Alphabet, Apple and Amazon employed more than 1 million people. Last year alone, the tech industry generated a record $487 billion in retail revenue.

That being said, you can’t buy a home in Silicon Valley by getting any jobs in tech. Working in the tech industry can mean anything from selling an iMac for $15 an hour at your local Apple store to designing the user interface for the next hottest app for over $100,000 a year. The jury is still out on what the future of tech jobs will look like.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that jobs in computer and information research sciences will increase by 22 percent by 2030. However, other jobs, such as computer programming, are expected to decline by 10%.

An unstable economy also makes the outlook for tech jobs unpredictable. Some reporters say the field is on a hiring spree, while others say companies that overhired during the pandemic are now facing the challenge of having to cut jobs. Still others claim that while tech companies are still hiring, new hires can no longer expect the high starting salaries they once earned.

But even for those with stable tech jobs, there are reasons to worry. With U.S. inflation hovering above 8%, people aren’t as far in their pockets as they were a year ago. Don’t get me wrong – you can still make a ton of money working in tech, but you won’t necessarily make it through rambling decisions.

Here are three considerations to maximize your tech salary while minimizing the cost of success.

1. Skip the traditional college experience

Today’s workforce has more free help to build their careers than ever before. Want to connect with the employees of your dream company? Add them to LinkedIn. Not sure what to wear to your next interview? Type the question into Google – even ask Alexa!

In addition to helping people navigate the day-to-day shifts in the workforce, the digital age has created significant learning opportunities—many of which are freely available.

Online learning platforms like Coursera and edX have exploded over the past decade, giving people the opportunity to explore new skills and topics anytime, anywhere.

The university’s reliance on virtual learning models during the pandemic has changed classroom norms, as 73 percent of college students said they would be willing to take some courses in a fully online format. Completing college courses and degrees through online platforms is just as legal as earning a degree the old-fashioned way. On average, it’s also $10,776 less than taking a four-year in-person course at a public university.

Although, there’s a good chance you’ll find a steady job in tech and skip the four-year degree entirely. A growing number of companies—especially in the tech industry—are eliminating degree requirements to expand their talent pools. Instead, interested candidates must demonstrate that they have the skills and competencies required for the position, often in the form of certificates, apprenticeships, associate degrees and experience.

Online education platforms like General Assembly offer immersive courses that teach students skills in data analysis and software engineering. By the end of the 12 weeks, students leave with enough information to start a career in tech in a fraction of the time it takes to complete an undergraduate degree. Completing an online course or certification is a great option for those looking to develop the skills needed to jump-start a tech career.

2. Remember that not all tech jobs are created equal

Do your research before deciding on the technical path you want to pursue. With so much talk about the Metaverse and yet another iteration of Apple’s thinnest MacBook, it’s easy to have wishful thinking about the future of the tech industry.

But remember – demand for skilled jobs isn’t all equal. You don’t want to invest time and money to learn the skills of automation. Taking the time to understand the outlook for different tech jobs will help you choose jobs that are still relevant.

Also spend time researching technical jobs that are currently in high demand. Currently, the tech industry needs:

  • Database administrators and architects
  • Information Security Analyst
  • software developer
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrators
  • computer programmer
  • web developer
  • Computer and Information Systems Manager
  • system analyst
  • Help Desk and Desktop Support Professionals
  • Network/Cloud Architect

3. Rethink your position

Improving your finances ultimately boils down to two things: how much money you make and how much money you spend. Where you choose to live affects both of these things.

A CodeClan study identified the best cities for tech careers based on average salaries, cost of living, number of tech companies and jobs, and average broadband speeds.

Switzerland’s Bern and Zurich are the top two places on the list. But if you’re looking for something a little more local, here are the top cities in the US where a tech job will give you good value.

  • Atlanta
  • Washington
  • Seattle
  • St. Louis
  • Pittsburgh
  • Miami
  • Minneapolis
  • Boston
  • Dallas
  • houston

A successful career is no longer just about what you do, but how you do it, and technology is no exception. Think carefully about which skills you want to develop and how you can strengthen them. Reconsider where you are applying for jobs. These decisions can make all the difference in the long run.

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