Here are the Highest Paying Information Technology Jobs

May 17, 2018

To understand what skills are hot in the IT market, compensation professionals need to dig deeper than the traditional benchmark data sources. Our High Demand and Information Technology (HDIT) survey collects data on specific skills that IT professionals possess so that pay decisions can be tied directly to the organization’s talent needs.

The top five highest paying skills based on our 2017 survey results include:

  • Cloud Computing/SaaS
  • Big Data
  • Hadoop
  • Cyber Security
  • User Research\Human Factors Research\Usability Research

It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to see some of these names in a list of top paying IT skills. Cyber security is a threat to all organizations and other Aon research has found it’s a top paying skill within the high technology sector. Cloud computing and big data have been hot skills for several years. Hadoop, a popular data platform used for distributed data storage and processing, may be unfamiliar to some HR and compensation professionals but it’s clearly gaining stream as a hot skill.

In this blog post, we’ll dig deeper into some of the key findings from the 2017 HDIT survey. 

Big Demands for Big Data

Skills that fit under business intelligence, such as big data, have seen some of the biggest jumps in pay over the past three years. Big data is often described in terms of the 3 V’s (Volume, Variety and Velocity) and professionals in this space are accountable for developing ways to access and analyze large streams of data from multiple sources at an increasing speed. 

For the past three years, our HDIT survey shows incumbents with big data skills at the specialist level (i.e. subject matter experts) have consistently been either the first or second highest paid. Beyond big data, specialist-level professionals with skills in data mining and data warehousing are both paid higher than most other skills and grew an average of 9.3% from 2014 to 2016. However, these jobs grew only 3% from 2016 to 2017, bringing the three-year average down to 7.4%.

Keeping a Close Eye on IT Security

The rash of high profile cyber security breaches has rocked IT departments in every type of organization and represents a direct hit to companies in the form of incident costs, regulatory fines, stock price and reputational damage.

All these factors would seem to point to a greater demand for IT security talent. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an 18% growth in the number of information security analysts’ jobs between 2014 and 2024. Looking at year-over-year pay growth for IT security positions at different job levels, growth was modest from 2014 to 2016 but picked up considerably from 2016 to 2017. The three-year average pay growth for all IT security job levels is an impressive 9.3%. Other Aon research finds cyber security also ranks among the top pay premiums within the high technology sector.

Figure 1

Percentage Growth in Median Base Pay for IT Security Jobs

Source: HDIT

We believe the increasing demand for IT security professionals will have a more significant impact on pay for professionals with IT security skills in the years ahead.

Double Digit Growth Areas

When we look at the broader categories of skills, two groups jump out as having the biggest base salary increases: Microsoft Skills and Business Integration. Base salary has increased more than twice the overall average across all of the 14 skills categories we used for the 92 skills collected in the survey.

Figure 2

Two-Year Base Salary Growth Rate

Source: HDIT

Next Steps

Whether working with IT leadership teams to plan salaries or with recruiting to help bring in new talent, compensation professionals need market data insights that go beyond the generic benchmark job found in most surveys. With the HDIT survey, you can get the data you need to make pay decisions based on the skills needed by your business. To learn more about the HDIT Survey, please contact us.


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