The job outlook for information technology careers is bright in America. The Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS reports employment for computer and IT professionals will rise by 13% by 2026, which is faster than average for all occupations. It is expected these jobs will add 557,000 new jobs in this period. If you earn a master’s degree in information technology, you will be able to obtain one of these desirable, well-paying positions.
To understand how much money you can make with this degree, it is important to understand the following factors that affect salary:
- Whether you get a bachelor’s or master’s degree in information technology
- The type of information technology career you choose
- How many years of work experience you have
- Geographic location
Once you have reviewed this information, you will have a better idea of the salary you will earn with a Master’s in Information Technology.
Level of Information Technology Degree
It is a good move to earn your master’s degree in information technology because the research shows that a master’s degree will result in a higher salary over the course of your career. BLS reports that the average worker with a bachelor’s degree earns $56,000 per year, and the average master’s degree holder earns $68,000 per year.
Of course, the salary disparity varies based upon the degree and field. With an information technology master’s degree, you will see a substantial bump in pay over a bachelor’s degree. Below are some of the common occupations you can have with this degree, and the salary differences between a bachelor’s and master’s degree.
- Web developer: $61,000 salary with a bachelor’s $75,000 with a master’s, for a $14,000 wage premium
- Information security analyst: $85,000 salary with a bachelor’s, $100,000 with a master’s, for a $15,000 wage premium
- Network and computer systems administrator: $70,000 salary with a bachelor’s, $88,000 with a master’s, for an $18,000 wage premium
Payscale.com also has information about the salary disparity between a worker with a bachelor’s and master’s in information technology. These are salaries for professionals with a bachelor’s degree:
- Systems administrator: $60,200
- IT support specialist: $43,500
- IT manager: $87,300
- Senior systems administrator: $89,100
- Network administrator: $55,500
- IT specialist: $63,200
- Software developer: $60,300
With a master’s degree, you can earn these types of salaries:
- Software engineer: $87,200
- Senior database administrator: $84,400
- Project manager, IT: $78,800
- IT manager: $78,700
- Senior programmer analyst: $92,300
- Senior systems engineer: $84,800
- Senior QA engineer: $83,600
Generally, you will have a higher salary and higher level of responsibility with a master’s degree in information technology.
Type of Information Technology Career
The occupation that you choose will also have an effect upon the salary that you earn. Below are some of the most common types of information technology careers and the salaries you can earn:
Computer and Information Systems Manager
A computer and information systems manager is responsible for planning, coordinating and directing all computer related activities in a company. They help to decide what the IT goals of the organization should be and then implement the necessary computer systems to meet company goals.
Some of the common computer and information systems managers are:
- Chief information officer: Determines what the technology or information goals of an organization should be and oversees implementation. Tends to have more business than technical expertise.
- Chief technology officer: Evaluate new computer technology and determine the ways in which it can help their organization. The CTO usually has more of an IT and software background.
- IT director: In charge of the information technology department and provides supervision of other employees.
- IT security manager: Oversee the network and data security of the organization
According to BLS, the median salary for computer and information systems managers in 2017 was $139,200, with the top 10% earning more than $200,000 per year. Top industries for salary were:
- Information: $153,100
- Computer systems design and related services: $146,000
- Finance and insurance: $146,300
- Manufacturing: $141,000
- Management of companies and enterprises: $140,900
A software developer is the creative mind behind all computer programs. Some developers develop applications that allow consumers to do certain tasks on a computer or other electronic device. Others are responsible for developing underlying systems that operate networks or control the devices. Developers usually work closely with computer programmers, but some software developers will write code themselves rather than giving instructions to programmers.
Developers who provide supervision of a software project from start to finish may be referred to as information technology project managers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the median salary for software developers in 2017 was $101,700, with the top 10% earning more than $160,000 per year. Top industries for salary were:
- Software publisher: $112,000
- Manufacturing: $100,000
- Finance and insurance: $105,100
- Management of companies and enterprises: $100,400
- Computer systems design: $98,400
Information Security Analyst
An information security analyst plans and carries out the security measures to protect the computer networks and systems for an organization. As the number and complexity of cyber attacks are increasing, their responsibilities are expanding as well.
IT security analysts are deeply involved in creating the disaster recovery plan for an organization as well as protecting it from cyberattacks. The disaster recovery plan is the procedure that is followed if there is some type of emergency that affects the company’s IT systems. Information security analysts need to stay up to date on the latest IT security methods and the ways that cyber attackers are using to attack computer systems.
The median salary for information security analysts in 2017 was $95,500, with the top 10% earning more than $153,000. Top industries for salary were:
- Computer systems design and related services: $98,100
- Finance and insurance: $97,600
- Information: $96,200
- Administrative and support services: $91,500
- Management of companies and enterprises: $90,900
Information Technology Work Experience
As in most jobs, the years of experience you have in information technology will affect your level of pay. Payscale.com reports the following salaries for information technology managers by level of experience:
- IT managers with less than five years of experience earn $59,000 per year
- IT managers with five to 10 years of experience earn $76,000
- IT managers with 10 to 20 years of experience earn $91,000
- IT managers with more than 20 years of experience earn $99,000
If you have a master’s degree in combination with many years of work experience, you can likely earn $100,000 per year or more eventually.
Where you work in the United States will have an effect on the salary you make with a master’s degree in information technology. The national average salary for information technology managers is $84,800, but the salary can vary based upon living in these cities:
- Minneapolis: +34%
- San Francisco: +33%
- Chicago: +30%
- Washington: +30%
- Boston: +21%
- Atlanta: +20%
- Denver: +17%
- New York: +16%
- Houston: +14%
- Miami: -16%
The information technology field is a highly desirable field today, and with a master’s degree, you will be able to command a very high salary and high level of job responsibility.
- Should I Get a Master’s Degree? (2015). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2015/article/should-i-get-a-masters-degree.htm
- Computer and Information Technology Occupations. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/home.htm
- Computer and Information Systems Managers. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/computer-and-information-systems-managers.htm