What are the highest paying jobs for IT professionals in 2018?

By Robert Half on 14 May 2018

For many years, IT professionals have been in high demand, required by organisations to implement and optimise new technologies and accommodate rapid digitisation.

However, the demand for skilled talent is now more acute than ever, with Robert Half research revealing that 82% of Australian CIOs find it more challenging to find qualified IT professionals compared to five years ago.

In 2018, top IT talent are likely to be in contention for several roles, which include some of the highest paying jobs in the technology industry.

These five technology roles bear some of the most attractive remuneration packages in the IT sector. The roles have been selected based on the 50th percentile or mid-point salaries for roles analysed in Robert Half’s 2018 Salary Guide.

Chief Information Officer (CIO) / Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

CIOs and CTOs are executive roles responsible for the development, implementation, advancement and costing of all information and communication technology elements of an organisation. Whether in a small or large business, the CIO and CTO work closely with the CEO and other C-suite level staff.

Demands and responsibilities of the role include:

  • Leading and creating all strategy for an organisation's IT department
  • Designing and customising technological systems to achieve business goals
  • Identifying opportunities for IT investment, growth and development, factoring in comprehensive risk analysis
  • Managing all IT-related projects
  • Creating business cases and justifications for IT initiatives and spend

CIOs and CTOs are both highly complex positions that are more strategic in nature than most other positions in the technology sector. Due to the relevant and extensive experience required to succeed in this top tier role in 2018, many companies are willing to pay a higher starting salary for CIOs and CTOs that possess significant industry and company experience.

Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)

As the head of IT security at an organisation, the CISO is another executive-level employee responsible for leading strategy, operations and budget to ensure the protection of all IT systems. CISOs must be adaptable and ready at any time to manage the information security challenges that face an organisation.

Demands and responsibilities of the role include:

  • Directing and approving the design of security systems
  • Managing all staff engaged in IT security
  • Ensuring compliance with business policy and national law
  • Communicating complicated IT issues effectively to staff and stakeholders
  • Leading the creation and implementation of the risk assessment process

Research by Robert Half revealed that to date, adequate IT security has been lacking in the Australian technology sector, with 87% of CIOs having experienced an internal IT security breach in the past three years. As such, 96% have already implemented measures to enhance internal IT security. As the role that oversees all IT security activities for an organisation, CISOs are an important and highly relevant role in the technology sector in 2018. They are critical to protecting IT systems, data and intellectual property. Additionally, being a role more strategic in nature than many others in the sector, CISOs are one of the highest paying jobs for IT professionals this year.

Enterprise Architect

This role is responsible for linking IT strategy and process to the broader business vision, ensuring the two are aligned in the most efficient and sustainable way. Enterprise Architects are always senior employees, required to take a holistic view of an organisation and achieve high-level, long-term goals.

Demands and responsibilities of the role include:

  • Aligning business and IT goals
  • Delivering major projects to deadline
  • Managing a diverse range of internal and external stakeholders
  • Assessing the quality of enterprise software
  • Identifying opportunities for business growth and collaboration

Enterprise Architects are also one of the highest paying jobs in the IT sector in 2018 due to their ability to unify teams and create systems that simplify process and support business strategy. It’s a role that is highly strategic, and important because it allows organisations to operate more effectively, in turn generating greater revenue and growth. Furthermore, candidates who show they have a strong mix of both technical and business skills can demand a higher starting salary than other positions in the sector.

IT Director

The IT director is responsible for leading and managing an organisation’s IT staff and systems. The role collaborates with departments throughout the business to ensure all IT requirements are met and improvements can be implemented safely and effectively.

Demands and responsibilities of the role include:

  • Determining business requirements for IT systems
  • Ensuring organisational compliance to national laws and industry standards
  • Leading the improvement and upgrade of systems and processes
  • Forecasting and reporting on IT budgets
  • Supporting implementation of new software and programs

Robert Half research found that 51% of CIOs find it challenging to secure skilled talent in the area of IT management, making IT Directors in-demand and one of the highest paying technology jobs in 2018. An Australian-wide skills shortage in the technology sector adds to challenges faced by hiring managers and creates a highly competitive employment market for candidates with a strong mix of technical and business skills. The complexity of the role and the demand for a high level of experience also contributes to IT Directors being very well remunerated in 2018.

Program Manager

Program Managers are responsible for designing, coordinating and improving the internal and external programs of an organisation. This role is also required to deliver programs that align to overarching organisational strategy.

Demands and responsibilities of the role include:

  • Implementing department and business strategy, including risk mitigation plans
  • Reporting on program performance
  • Identifying opportunities for continual improvement
  • Developing industry partnerships
  • Ensuring relevant standards, process and regulations are upheld

Robert Half research found that 40% of CIOs are willing to pay IT professionals a higher starting IT salary based on previous team lead experience. Additionally, as Development Operations or DevOps — the process seeking to streamline and accelerate interactions between an organisation’s IT development and infrastructure — is adopted by more organisations in the technology sector, the extensive experience and strategic capabilities of Program Managers will be called on to support implementation. This makes Program Managers both sought after and highly paid in 2018.

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