IT jobs are some of the most in-demand careers in the world. Besides the high demand for IT professionals, most people who work in specialist fields in technology and engineering, enjoy great pay, a high level of job satisfaction and excellent opportunities for professional growth. However, there are few non-tech people who really understand exactly what these people do.

Job titles like ‘cloud engineer’ and ‘data scientist’, which often feature on lists of the most in-demand and highest paying IT jobs, mean little to most people. However, this article explains, as simply as possible, what the most sought-after IT jobs for 2018 are and just how much a professional in these fields can expect to earn.

  1. Data Scientist

Talk code to me cupThe broad definition of a data scientist is someone who takes a set of raw data, arranges and analyzes it, with the aim of trying to obtain useful information from it or to predict a particular outcome. Companies use data scientists for various reasons that could include marketing, operational efficiency and product development.

While the majority of data scientists have a mix of statistics, computer science and mathematics backgrounds, it is not uncommon to find data scientists from other scientific backgrounds, especially those that hold PhDs.

Average Base Salary: $129,938

  1. Development Operations Engineer

As another tech job in demand, this role is interpreted differently from one company to the next but, generally, a Dev Ops Engineer is a person with the skills to develop software, while at the same time, configures the infrastructure and environment on which the software will eventually run. Basically, this is a software engineer with an understanding of infrastructure.

Besides certification on certain software platforms, such as Amazon Web Services, there is little formal education that qualifies one to be a Dev Ops engineer. However, it may be useful to start off with a tech job in software engineering as a path to taking on Development Operations responsibilities. To keep up with constantly changing technology, it is important to be able to learn quickly and independently, and have a natural sense of curiosity.

Average Base Salary: $123,165

  1. Cloud Services Engineer

To find out what a Cloud Services Engineer does, it is important to understand what the term ‘cloud’ means. A cloud is basically a network of servers or a data center normally owned by a company to offer services and software to other businesses. If you use any apps that do not run off your hard drive, such as web-based email, Dropbox or Google Docs, you are in the cloud.

The job of a cloud engineer is to design systems that can run smoothly and efficiently in the cloud. Part of this could include ensuring that there is sufficient storage to accommodate all of a company’s current and future data and to make sure all network connections are properly configured. Besides the essential technical knowledge required, a cloud services engineer needs excellent communication skills.

Average Base Salary: $118,878

  1. Full Stack Developer

full stack engineerWhile a back-end software developer deals with designing the inner workings of a piece of software and a front-end developer handles the interfaces and parts of software that users interact with, a full-stack developer is one who is adept at both. While their knowledge of software development may not be as in-depth as other types of developers, they have much greater breadth, making them ideal for troubleshooting problems across a whole application, both on the front-end and in the back-end.

Full Stack Developer jobs are becoming increasingly common among startups and in smaller companies which do not have the resources required to separate front-end and back-end development. Such companies prefer to hire someone who can do both.

Average Base Salary: $110,770

  1. Application Architect

It is the application architect’s job to make sure that each and every aspect of a software solution is optimized as much as time and budget will allow. They do this by working closely with a variety of subject-matter experts from various disciplines, including application architecture, tech and information sciences. An application architect is also a subject matter expert, focusing on the design of software services and application interfaces, business processes and reuse.

As more and more organizations are moving toward service-oriented architectures, with applications being made up of a collection of reusable services and interfaces, the role of a solution architect becomes vital. This is because the application architect ensures business and application agility as well as reducing the cost and time of development.

Average Base Salary: $170,000

  1. Computer Network Architect

Network ArchitectThese are professionals who design and assemble data communication systems which may include local area networks, intranets and wide area networks. The networks built by computer network architects range in size from small, inter- office connections, to extensive multinational communications systems distributed across the world. Aside from technical knowledge, computer network architects need an intimate knowledge of a business in order to build a network that is best suited to its goals.

Also known as network engineers, network architects can also create models that can predict an organization’s future communication needs by studying current data usage and using the information to estimate the effect of an organization’s growth on the network.

Average Base Salary: $150,000

  1. Information Systems Security Manager

An IS security manager is usually in charge of the maintenance of security protocols in an entire organization. In addition, the security manager has the responsibility to create strategies that bolster network and internet security for various enterprise projects. They will normally head a team of technology professionals that ensure that general security and confidentiality of corporate data is maintained, while still allowing authorized users to access information easily.

An information systems security manager may also review security policies and update systems requirements, depending on the sensitivity of the data transmitted or stored. A security manager is also tasked with implementing the checks necessary to prevent corruption of data and identity theft.

Average Base Salary: $160,000

  1. Senior Database Administrator (DBA)

A senior DBA works as the leader of a team of computer engineers who create database architecture to cater to the requirements of specialized software. A senior database administrator has a very clear educational path towards the role: one needs to hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or a similar field. It is also necessary to have certification in database administration from a recognized body, such as Oracle or Microsoft.

A senior database administrator’s key responsibility is to oversee the implementation, configuration and maintenance of all systems related to databases. Among other things, this includes backup, access, partitioning, storage and replication of databases containing company data. A senior DBA ensures quick and efficient installation, troubleshooting and configuration of database servers as well.

Average Base Salary: $108,000

  1. Mobile Applications Developer

As the name suggests, this role involves the design and building of mobile applications. The ideal individual for this job should have excellent knowledge of various platforms used for mobile applications, including tablets and smartphones. A mobile developer should also be proficient in the use of various PC and Mac operating systems. To be a mobile app developer, you need to have strong skills in IT and computer programming.

In addition to having functional knowledge of applications, most mobile applications developers are heavily involved in designing the look, feel and interface mechanics of the app. They also need to have well developed troubleshooting skills, since they test the app before its release and will be required to find bugs and glitches as well as figure out any crashes.

Average Base Salary: $102,000

user experience  engineer

  1. User Experience Designer

A UX designer’s main task is to make design decisions centered around the end-user, enhancing their satisfaction with the product. The aim of this is to make the solution easy to use, accessible and offer a satisfying and enjoyable experience while in use. The processes used by a user experience designer include creation of user flows, prototyping and wireframes – all of which will shape the end user’s overall experience.

It is essential for a UX designer to be familiar with common design software, such as InVision or Sketch. Also, a basic understanding of computer programming is a definite plus, allowing the designer to work much more easily with teams of developers. Unlike many in-demand tech jobs, there were no formal courses in UX design until quite recently, which means it is often not necessary to have a degree in the field to be employed as a UX designer.

Average Base Salary: $96,688

If you are interested in getting into the tech or IT world, take the time to understand the most in demand tech jobs as well as the top IT job hiring trends.