Technical Roles - Overview

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Technical Roles - Overview

There are 12.1 million technology-related jobs in the US, of which 8.1 million are narrowly focused on technology, and are among the most competitive technical roles. At any point in time, there is between about 700,000 and about 900,00 open technology jobs in the US. These jobs are mostly concentrated in the 65 largest technology companies in the US on the one hand, and in numerous technology startups on the other hand, which represent the majority of the 557,000 technology businesses in the US.

While it is natural to assume that the software industry pays the highest salaries to technology professionals, it is in fact only the fifth highest-paying industry for technology professionals overall, trailing the defense, energy, finance, and entertainment industries. However, the software industry hires the most technology talent out of all industries.

The number of entry-level technology positions cannot be determined using publicly available information. However, companies are loosening the criteria for hiring IT employees due to labor supply shortages, and are hiring people from outside the industry (including liberal arts majors and similar) in order to find talent. Therefore, it can be safely assumed that most of the information about US technology jobs in general can be applied to entry-level technology jobs as well.

A good portion of the information below was sourced from the Computing Technology Industry Association's (CompTIA) Cyberstates 2020 Report, and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook, both excellent annual reports that contain a wealth of information on the technology workforce in the US. The Human Resource Management’s (SHRM’s) Talent Acquisition Benchmarking Report is another excellent resource, although not focused primarily on the technology industry.

Top Software Companies

Please note that the below lists are focused on software and programming companies specifically. This explains the exclusion of some very large technology companies like Apple, Facebook, and Google, which are not primarily software companies, even though they employ a lot of software developers. Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce.com, Adobe Systems, and VMware appear on each of the lists below, which is why these are the top software companies in the US currently.

Top Software Companies by Revenue

1) Microsoft ($138.6 billion)
2) Oracle ($39.8 billion)
3) CDW Corporation ($18 billion)
4) Salesforce.com ($17.1 billion)
5) Adobe Systems ($11.6 billion)
6) VMware ($10.2 billion)
7) Fiserv ($10.2 billion)
8) Intuit ($7.8 billion)
  • The 2019 Forbes Global 2000 includes companies in the "Software & Programming" industry. The Global 2000 is a highly credible source, but it uses financial data from 2019. Forbes has already published the 2020 Global 2000 list, but the list is not broken down by industry as of yet. The top 15 largest US software and programming companies in 2019 in terms of revenue, according to Forbes, are listed below.
1) Microsoft ($118.2 billion)
2) Oracle ($39.6 billion)
3) ADP ($14.5 billion)
4) Salesforce ($13.3 billion)
5) Adobe ($9.5 billion)
6) VMware ($9 billion)
7) Intuit ($6.4 billion)
8) SS&C Technologies ($6.3 billion)
9) NetApp ($6.2 billion)
10) Amdocs ($4.2 billion)
11) Autodesk ($3.8 billion)
12) Citrix Systems ($3.1 billion)
13) Workday ($2.8 billion)
14) Akamai Technologies ($2.8 billion)
15) ServiceNow ($2.6 billion)

Top Software Companies by Headcount

  • According to Statista, in 2019, IBM employed 383,800 workers, far more than the other major software companies. Statista's list of the top 10 software companies in the world by number of employees includes only two companies that are not from the US, SAP, and Dassault Systemes. The top 8 US software companies by number of employees are
1) IBM (383,000)
2) Microsoft (144,000)
3) Oracle (136,000)
4) Salesforce.com (49,000)
5) VMware (31,000)
6) Adobe Systems (22,634)
7) NortonLifeLock (11,900)
8) Intuit (9,400)

Premium US Tech Companies

US technology companies that have large hiring budgets are typically large, established technology companies. There are 65 large technology companies in the US, out of a total of 154 technology companies listed on the Forbes 2019 Global 2000 list.

US Technology Jobs — the Highest Paying Companies

1) Palo Alto Networks — median total salary of $170,929
2) NVIDIA — median total salary of $170,068
3) Twitter — median total salary of $162,852
4) Google — median total salary of $161,254
5) VMware — median total salary of $158,063
6) LinkedIn — median total salary of $157,402
7) Facebook — median total salary of $152,962
8) Salesforce.com — median total salary of $150,379
9) Microsoft — median total salary of $148,068
10) Juniper Networks — median total salary of $146,781
11) ServiceNow — median total salary of $145,529
12) Autodesk — median total salary of $142,083
13) Workday — median total salary of $141,893
14) Synopsys — median total salary of $140,577
15) eBay — median total salary of $140,056
  • The 12 highest-paying technology companies in the United Sates, according to USA today and based on data from PayScale, include:
1) NVIDIA — average salary of $137,000
2) VMware — average salary of $126,000
3) LinkedIn — average salary of $123,000
4) Apple — average salary of $121,000
5) Microsoft — average salary of $118,000
6) eBay — average salary of $118,000
7) Facebook — average salary of $117,000
8) Google — average salary of $113,000
9) Intuit — average salary of $113,000
10) Salesforce.com — average salary of $109,000
11) PayPal — average salary of $109,000
12) Adobe Systems — average salary of $108,000

Number of US Technology Jobs

  • The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) released its "Cyberstates 2020 Report" in March 2020. The report found that there were 12.1 million workers in the Net Tech Employment category in 2019.
  • Of that total, 67% were considered to be engaged in technology occupations, while 33% were considered to be engaged in support and administrative roles related to technology.
  • Therefore, in 2019, there were 8,107,000 technology jobs in the United States (12.1 million * 67% = 8,107,000).
  • The technology job categories with the greatest number of employees in 2019 included:
1) Software and Web developers — 1,593,546 jobs (4.3% YoY growth)
2) Systems and Cybersecurity Analysts — 740,286 jobs (2.6% YoY growth)
3) Network Architects, Admins, and Support — 705,484 jobs (0% YoY growth)
  • According to Statista's 2018 data, and using a more narrow definition of technology jobs, "as of October 2018, there were nearly 2.8 million employees in the information sector of the U.S. employment pool, with a total of 943 thousand of these being hired in 2017 alone."

US Technology Jobs — Past Growth Rate

  • The 2019 Net Tech Employment count includes 307,000 more jobs over 2018's count, representing a 2.6% year-over-year growth rate.
  • About 2.3 million Net Tech Employment jobs have been added since 2010, according to the report. The only year that was associated with negative tech job growth over that 10-year span was the year 2010, "mirroring the job losses experienced nationwide on the heels of the Great Recession," the report indicated.
  • When technology occupations were combined with supporting business occupations, the report found that most (65%) of the job growth since 2010 came in the "IT services and custom software services category." After that, the "packaged software category (aka off-the-shelf or SaaS)" category ranked second in overall employment. Tech manufacturing in general was a loss-leader, with more than 52,000 fewer jobs over the 10-year period.
  • The technology job categories that grew the most over the 10-year period from 2010 to 2019 included:
1) Software developers, applications (504,000 jobs added)
2) IT support specialists (265,000 jobs added)
3) Emerging tech, IT project management, data and other (244,000 jobs added)
4) CIOs and IT managers (137,000 jobs added)
5) Systems engineers/analysts (101,000 jobs added)

US Technology Jobs — Future Growth Rate

  • The CompTIA report, citing US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates, and estimates from the Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) organization, predicted that the number of technology jobs will grow by 15% by 2028.
  • This is better than the projected overall US employment job growth rate of 10.5%, and it actually outpaces the growth of all other job categories.
  • The technology job categories that are expected to grow the most over the next ten years include:
1) Cybersecurity analysts (37% forecasted growth)
2) Software developers, applications (37% forecasted growth)
3) Data and computer scientists (31% forecasted growth)
4) Emerging tech, IT project management, data and other (30% forecasted growth)
5) Web developers (22% forecasted growth)

US Technology Jobs — Most Competitive Roles

  • The top technology careers in the US, ranked by 2020 median pay, include:
1) IT manager — median pay of $146,360; projected growth rate of 10%
2) Artificial intelligence engineer — median pay of $146,085; projected growth rate of 344%
3) Computer research scientist — median pay of $122,840; projected growth rate of 15%
4) Data analyst — median pay of $118,370; projected growth rate of 16%
5) Computer hardware engineer — median pay of $117,220; projected growth rate of 2%
6) Computer network architect — median pay of $112,690; projected growth rate of 5%
7) DevOps engineer — median pay of $111,311; projected growth rate of 21%
8) Software engineer — median pay of $107,150; projected growth rate of 22%
9) Java developer — median pay of $103,464; projected growth rate of 19%
10) Data scientist — median pay of $100,560; projected growth rate of 15%

US Technology jobs — Most In-Demand Jobs in the Future

  • USA Today created a list of the top 10 best technology jobs. The list includes US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates of the employment growth rate and estimates of the number of positions that should open up for each job by 2028. The top 10 best technology jobs, ranked by the number of positions that are estimated to open by 2028 include:
1) Software developer — 241,500 jobs estimated to open by 2028; 25.6% employment growth rate.
2) Computer support specialist — 83,100 jobs estimated to open by 2028; 9.6% employment growth rate.
3) Computer systems analyst — 56,000 jobs estimated to open by 2028; 8.8% employment growth rate.
4) IT manager — 46,800 jobs estimated to open by 2028; 11.3% employment growth rate.
5) Information security analyst — 35,500 jobs estimated to open by 2028; 31.6% employment growth rate.
6) Web developer — 20,900 jobs estimated to open by 2028; 13% employment growth rate.
7) Computer systems administrator — 18,200 jobs estimated to open by 2028; 4.7% employment growth rate.
8) Database administrator — 10,500 jobs estimated to open by 2028; 9% employment growth rate.
9) Computer network architect — 8,400 jobs estimated to open by 2028; 9% employment growth rate.
10) Computer programmer — 17,900 jobs estimated to lost by 2028; -7.2% employment growth rate.

US Technology Jobs — Average Wages

  • The average salary of IT professionals in the US in 2018 was $85,310.
  • The median wage across all tech job categories was $84,284, based on 2018 data, the last available information from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The tech job salary range is about $51,000 (10th percentile) to about $138,000 (90th percentile), but wages typically differ greatly based on city and state locations.

US Technology Jobs — Breakdown by Location

Technology jobs in the United States are heavily concentrated in California, Texas, and New York, which is also where the highest-paying companies tend to be located. Therefore, the most competitive tech jobs are mostly located in the three states, and particularly in the Sillicon Valley, New York City, Seattle, and Austin, Texas.
  • The top three US states with the most tech jobs in 2019 were California, Texas, and New York. These states also topped the list in terms of job growth.
  • US states with the lowest number of tech workers were Wyoming, Mississippi, Louisiana, West Virginia, and Arkansas.
  • The top cities in terms of tech job numbers in 2019 included New York City, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
  • "Sixteen of the 20 highest-paying companies (listed below) are based in California, and each of them are in areas with the most high-tech jobs. Two of the 20 companies are in the Seattle area, one is in New York, and another is in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Each of the California companies on this list — including Apple, Facebook, Visa, Cisco Systems, and more — is in or near Silicon Valley."
  • US Technology Jobs — Breakdown by Industry

  • While it would be easy to assume that the software industry pays the highest salaries to technology professionals, it is in fact only the fifth highest-paying industry for technology professionals. The top industries with annual salaries over $100,000 include:
1) Aerospace and defense industry with an annual salary of $109,868.
2) Utilities/Energy industry with an annual salary of $106,780.
3) Bank/Financial/Insurance industry with an annual salary of $105,170.
4) Entertainment media industry with an annual salary of $103,608.
5) Computer software industry with an annual salary of $102,739.
6) Medical/Pharmaceutical industry with an annual salary of $100,539.

Top Highest-Paying Entry-Level Jobs

1) Data scientist average salary of $113,254
2) Product manager average salary of $106,127
3) Developer average salary of $100,610
4) Mobile developer average salary of $98,317
5) Sales engineer average salary of $90,575
6) DevOps engineer average salary of $89,300
7) UI/UX designer ($84,841)
8) Sales representative ($70,622)
9) Marketing manager ($70,392)
10) QA analyst ($70,383)
  • Entry-level employees in the San Francisco Bay Area were paid the most of any metro area for seven of the 10 jobs listed, including developer, mobile developer, sales representative, DevOps engineer, and UI/UX designer, all of which pay more than $100,000 annually, according to the report. The highest-paid workers overall are data scientists in Seattle ($131,121), followed closely by data scientists in San Francisco ($129,371), and product managers in Seattle ($126,753).

Number of Open Technology Positions

  • In the last three months of 2019, there were about 918,000 unfilled IT jobs in the US, the Wall Street Journal reported.
  • In June 2019, CNBC reported that the number of unfilled IT jobs in the US was at more than 700,000.
  • While the above are the latest available figures, projections show that the technology talent deficit was likely even greater in 2020.
  • In 2019, only six of every ten technology positions in the US have been filled, and companies have started dealing with talent shortages by loosening the criteria for hiring technology employees and are hiring people from outside the industry and people with insufficient qualifications, but with provable skills. This fact represents the main argument for the assumption that most information about technology jobs in general can be applied to entry-level technology jobs.
  • There are currently 4,519 job listings on Indeed for entry-level technology jobs. However, this is a highly inaccurate way to estimate total entry-level job openings, as this is only one platform, and most entry-level jobs are filled in cooperation with educational organizations, through job fairs, and through other means of hiring candidates like networking.

Hiring Budget and Cost per Hire

  • The Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM’s) 2017 Talent Acquisition Benchmarking Report found that the average cost per hire for US companies was $4,129.
  • This figure is in line with Glassdoor's report, which estimates that the average US employer spends about $4,000 to hire a new worker.
  • However, a study performed by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that hiring an employee in a company with 0-500 people costs an average of $7,645.
  • This discrepancy between the figures can be explained by the fact that large technology companies, which hire a good deal of all technology workers, have a smaller cost per hire, and a smaller hiring budget (per employee) than startups and smaller companies. Large companies often have more efficient hiring processes and more robust HR software tools that help them have a lower cost per hire compared to startups.

Total Addressable Market

  • There have been 4.6 million technology occupation job postings in 2019. This means there have been about 3.68 million entry-level technology job postings in 2019, assuming that about 20% of all job postings have been for middle management or executive roles (4.6 million * 20% = 3.68 million).
  • The total addressable market can be calculated by multiplying entry-level technology job postings the average cost per hire, $4,129. Therefore, the total addressable market for entry-level technology talent in the US is $15.2 billion (3.68 billion * $4,129 = $15.2 billion)
  • Assuming "Black and Latinx representation on par with the general population", the total addressable market for entry-level diverse talent would represent a proportion of the total addressable market for all entry-level technology positions identified above.
  • According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 36% of the US workforce is made up of people of color, with 16% Hispanic workers and 12% African American workers.
  • Therefore, the total addressable market for entry-level diverse talent is $5.47 billion (3.68 million *36% * $4,129). For Hispanic and Black entry-level talent, the total addressable market is $4.25 billion (3.68 million * (16% + 12%) * $4,129).
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