- IT professionals manage and repair computers and other data processing technology.computer image by Hao Wang from Fotolia.com
Information Technology, or IT, is a broad field that deals with computer systems and data storage. Many specialties exist within this field. While the actual compensation and profit of an IT professional varies, several careers typically generate more pay than others. According to the career website Payscale.com, the top-paying IT careers are Information Technology Manager, Senior Software Engineer and Information Technology Consultant.
Information Technology Manager
- Information technology managers are responsible for supervising other workers in the IT career field. While many workers focus on specific technical problems, IT managers must see the big picture and lead others toward completing important goals. Often, these goals involve implementing new computer networks, developing new maintenance programs and improving data security for an organization.
A four-year bachelor's degree is typically required for individuals in this position. Degrees in information science, computer science and information systems are common. Because the role of an IT manager goes beyond technology and involves directly managing employees, people in this field often have additional backgrounds in management and business administration.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the middle 50 percent of IT managers earn a salary between $88,240 and $141,890. The career research web service Payscale.com estimates the median salary for this position as $86,772.
Senior Software Engineer
- Senior software engineers develop new software products and direct the work of lower-level software engineers. Individuals in this career field combine mathematics and computer science to build and test programming systems. Many of these computer programs are based on previous versions, while others are engineered specifically to fulfill a new requirement. Examples of software developed by senior software engineers include games, network systems and business utilities.
Most senior software engineers hold bachelor's degrees in areas such as software engineering, mathematics or computer science. Because individuals at this level must also train and supervise others, an advanced graduate degree or previous supervisory experience is often helpful.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates annual compensation for senior software engineers as between $67,790 and $104,870. According to Payscale.com, the average salary is $82,403.
Information Technology Consultant
- Information technology consultants apply their specialized knowledge of the IT industry to help businesses and organizations make decisions. IT consultants usually do not work directly for one specific company, but rather are contracted to assist with a specific problem for a set period of time. Information technology consultants may have different several clients each year, or even multiple clients at once.
IT consultants come from a wide variety of educational backgrounds, and often have degrees in computer science or information systems. Many consultants also have extensive experience in business, which may come from college courses or on-the-job training. Because consultants work for a limited period of time on one specific problem, a specific degree or background is usually not as important as the ability to meet the technical needs of a client.
The compensation for information technology consultants varies widely, based on the area of specialty and the number of clients. Payscale.com estimates the median salary for this field as $70,975 annually.