To say we’re living in a tech bubble is an understatement. In today’s business environment, technology rules the roost. There are innumerable startups, one-man programming machines, and giant corporations that are rapidly becoming the most valuable companies in the world, all the while innovating like never before.
Companies like Apple, Google, Facebook are all expanding rapidly, and there are others hot on their heels. Though many, if not most, of these big-time tech companies have their roots in Silicon Valley, they are rapidly expanding to new office space in cities across the country, driving up wages and creating demand for more and more professionals with specific skill sets.
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 2012 median pay for software developers was more than $93,000, or nearly $45 per hour. At the time, there were more than 1 million jobs in the U.S. for developers, and growth in the sector was expected to be 22% by 2022. Similarly, the computer and information sector is also expected to see big-time growth. The BLS says that the number of jobs within that particular sector is expected to grow 15% by 2022.
The demand for those skills is being met with an inadequate supply, at least for the time being. The result has been skyrocketing pay for those working in the tech industry, although engineering and computer science schools across the country are seeing surges in enrollment in order to fill the vacuum. “As demand for technology professionals rises and highly-skilled talent is harder to find, the pressure is being reflected where it counts: Paychecks,” said Shravan Goli, president of Dice.com. “Still, tech pros are less happy with their earnings, signaling to companies that in order to recruit and retain the best candidates, offering more will be necessary.”
Goli’s company, Dice.com, specializes in helping tech workers track down employment opportunities, or helping tech companies fill their ranks with the most talented prospective employees on the market. Dice has been tracking the growth of salaries in the tech sector for a few years, and the proof is in the pudding: Tech workers are bringing home a significant amount of bacon.
According to Dice’s survey of more than 23,000 technology professionals, it was found that the average worker made $89,450 in 2014, a 2% bump over 2013’s numbers. Sixty-one percent of those working within the technology industry also received raises over the past year, with most respondents saying it was based on performance, and a quarter of them citing a change in employers as a cause.
But it wasn’t just tech professionals that saw a bump in pay in 2014. Technical recruiters — or, those who find prospective hires and talent for tech companies — also saw big jumps in pay. Recruiters reported a significant jump of 19% in their salaries over 2013’s numbers, to an average of nearly $82,000. Not bad for a headhunter’s fee.
One interesting caveat in the numbers was that more and more tech workers are becoming dissatisfied with their current salary. Only 52% of respondents report being satisfied with their current salary, which represents a 5% drop over the past two years alone. That is likely the root of many employees looking around for other positions, in an effort to boost their take-home pay and find a fancier job title. Tech professionals remain a confident bunch, with 67% agreeing that they could find a favorable new position within the next year.
As far as geography is concerned, there was a big spike in salaries out west, where cities like Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, and San Diego saw large jumps in average pay. Sacramento, not exactly known as a tech-hub, really shined, with average salaries going up an incredible 14% in a 12-month span. Portland workers saw their salaries jump by 9%.
In the east, growth was not nearly as rapid. Workers in Washington, D.C., for example, saw wages increase only 1%, while that of workers in New York went up 2%, and in Boston and Chicago, 3%.
Here are the top five cities for tech workers, in terms of yearly salary:
- Silicon Valley, Calif. – $112,610 (+4%)
- Seattle, Wash. – $99,423 (+5%)
- Washington D.C. – $98,323 (+1%)
- Boston, Mass. – $97,288 (+3%)
- Sacramento, Calif. – $96,788 (+14%)
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