Hottest jobs, cities and industries for IT pay in 2017

Find out which tech titles, industries and metro regions are seeing the highest salary gains this year.

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Computerworld's 2017 IT Salary Survey shows solid, if not spectacular, pay gains for IT pros. The average increase in total compensation (including salary and bonus) was 3% -- less impressive than the 3.6% and 3.9% raises tech workers saw in 2015 and 2016, respectively, but significantly better than the -0.4% to 2.2% changes in 2009 to 2014.

Despite the gains seen in recent years, just 50% of this year’s survey respondents reported that they are satisfied or very satisfied with their compensation. As always, some tech workers fare better than others, and being in certain roles, industries and metro regions can make a big difference in pay.

That said, this year's survey results reflect the cooling down of raises we're seeing across the board. When it comes to job titles, tech support specialists saw the highest-percentage pay gains, at 5.1%, with software engineers and systems administrators tied for second at 4.5%. Compare that with last year's results, where the two hottest titles (information security manager and systems analyst) were seeing raises north of 6%, and all of the top 10 titles were at 4.4% or greater.

Following are the 10 job titles from all levels -- senior management, middle management and staff positions -- that saw the highest percentage increases in total compensation this year:

Hottest IT job titles 2017

See our related story for details on four high-growth tech specialties with top pay

Not surprisingly, salaries are rising more sharply in some cities than in others. Washington, D.C., which saw just 2.8% total compensation growth in 2016, surged to the head of the pack this year with 5% growth, and Los Angeles saw a similar jump from 3.1% to 4.5% to tie with Boston for third place. San Francisco, meanwhile, rose from 3.6% to 4.8% to claim this year’s No. 2 spot.

Hottest metro regions for IT pay 2017

As far as industries go, banking, entertainment and advertising, and telecommunications topped this year’s list with 4.2%, 3.8% and 3.7% compensation gains, respectively. Defense, legal and healthcare tied for fourth place, with 3.5% each. Here are the 10 industries that saw the highest percentage increases in total compensation for 2017:

Hottest industries for IT pay 2017

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 manufacturing pays the highest for CIO-level execs, while healthcare offers the best pay for sysadmins. Here's a look at the total compensation of a sampling of common IT job titles by industry:

A sampling of IT pay by industry

Editorial project manager Mari Keefe oversees the survey and data analysis for Computerworld's annual IT Salary Survey and other editorial research projects.

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Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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