Special Report: IT Salary Survey 2016 Results

IT Salary Survey 2016: Hottest jobs, cities and industries for IT pay

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Special Report

IT Salary Survey 2016 Results

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Computerworld's 2016 IT Salary Survey shows continued strong gains for IT pros. More than 70% of the 3,301 respondents reported a pay raise this year, marking the sixth year in a row that figure has risen since hitting a low of 41% in 2010. Likewise, only 3% reported a pay cut for 2016, down from a high of 14% in 2009.

Even better, the average increase in total compensation (including salary and bonus) was 3.9%, the highest year-over-year bump our results have shown in the past 15 years.

But tech workers with the right roles who work in the right industries located in the right metro regions reported even stronger gains in pay. Following are the 10 job titles that saw the highest percentage increases in total compensation this year:

Hottest IT job titles 2016

JOB TITLECHANGE IN AVERAGE TOTAL COMPENSATION 2015-2016
Information security manager +6.4%
Systems analyst +6.2%
Systems administrator +5.3%
Network administrator +4.8%
Software developer +4.7%
Information security specialist +4.7%
Network engineer +4.6%
Chief information officer +4.6%
Software engineer +4.5%
Application developer +4.4%
Source: Computerworld's 2016 IT Salary Survey. Base: 3,301 respondents.
Analysis includes job titles with a base size of at least 50 respondents. Total compensation includes salary and bonus.

To see more job titles, check out our salary listings for senior management, middle management, and staff and entry-level IT positions. For a look at which IT fields are hottest, see "10 tech specialties with rising salaries."

As you might guess, salaries are rising more sharply in some cities than others. Chicago, No. 7 on last year's list of fast-rising metro regions, has surged into first place, causing last year's No. 1, Boston, to slip to second place. The bloom may be off the rose for San Francisco, which fell from third to tenth place.

Following are the 10 metro regions where survey respondents reported the highest percentage increases in pay:

Hottest metro regions for IT pay 2016

METRO REGIONCHANGE IN AVERAGE TOTAL COMPENSATION 2015-2016
Chicago +6.3%
Boston +5.5%
Detroit +5.0%
New York City +4.8%
Seattle +4.7%
Denver +4.5%
Atlanta +4.0%
Raleigh-Durham / Winston-Salem / Charlotte, N.C. +3.7%
Phoenix +3.6%
San Francisco +3.6%
Source: Computerworld's 2016 IT Salary Survey. Base: 3,301 respondents.
Analysis includes metro regions with a base size of at least 50 respondents. Total compensation includes salary and bonus.

What industries are hottest? Believe it or not, survey respondents who work for nonprofit organizations reported the biggest bumps in pay this year (but note that "biggest increase" doesn't necessarily translate to "highest pay"). Next came retail, defense/aerospace and banking. Here are the 10 industries that saw the highest percentage increases in total compensation for 2016:

Hottest industries for IT pay 2016

INDUSTRYCHANGE IN AVERAGE TOTAL COMPENSATION 2015-2016
Nonprofit +6.2%
Retail trade +6.0%
Defense / aerospace +5.9%
Banking +5.1%
Wholesale trade +5.0%
Computer-related services / IT consulting +4.4%
Finance / accounting +4.3%
Business services / consulting (noncomputer-related) +4.0%
Healthcare +3.9%
Energy / utilities +3.6%
Source: Computerworld's 2016 IT Salary Survey. Base: 3,301 respondents.
Analysis includes industries with a base size of at least 50 respondents. Total compensation includes salary and bonus.

Percentages are all well and good, but how about some dollar amounts? It depends on which specific job title you're looking at, of course, but healthcare pays the highest for CIO-level execs, while government offers the best pay for tech support specialists.

Here's a look at the total compensation of a sampling of popular IT job titles by industry:

A sampling of IT pay by industry

INDUSTRYAVERAGE TOTAL COMPENSATION IN 2016
COMPUTER SERVICES / CONSULTING
  Director of IT $145,786*
  Project manager $121,002
  IT manager $110,622*
  Software engineer $106,143*
  Systems administrator $76,492*
  Help desk / technical support specialist $51,412*
EDUCATION
  CIO / vice president of IT $153,641*
  Director of IT $104,910
  IT manager $76,960
  Systems administrator $71,488*
  Help desk / technical support specialist $51,081*
  Technician $42,694*
GOVERNMENT
  CIO / vice president of IT $118,678*
  Director of IT $107,208
  Information security manager $98,669**
  IT manager $94,277*
  Systems administrator $69,541**
  Help desk / technical support specialist $58,772*
HEALTHCARE
  CIO / vice president of IT $206,038*
  Director of IT $113,432
  IT manager $89,394*
  Business analyst $86,468*
  Systems administrator $81,283*
  Help desk / technical support specialist $53,102*
LEGAL & INSURANCE
  CIO / vice president of IT $182,453**
  Director of IT $144,201*
  IT manager $106,434*
  Software developer $92,884*
  Application developer $85,584*
  Systems administrator $82,869**
MANUFACTURING
  CIO / vice president of IT $171,824*
  Director of IT $137,830
  IT manager $97,547
  Systems administrator $62,538*
  Network administrator $57,209**
  Help desk / technical support specialist $49,527**
* More than 15 responses but fewer than 30.
** 15 or fewer responses.
Source: Computerworld's 2016 IT Salary Survey. Base: 3,301 respondents.
Total compensation includes salary and bonus.

Don't see your job title? Check out our interactive Smart Salary Finder to see how your paycheck stacks up to those with similar titles and experience levels in your own region or across the U.S.

Computerworld's IT Salary Survey 2017 results
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