Figuring out a career path in IT (or the technology industry) can be confusing. Right now, the DevOps Engineer and Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) jobs are a couple of the most in-demand, and highest paying technology jobs! This article makes a comparison of the DevOps and SRE job roles to ten of the other most popular, in-demand, job roles in the IT industry to help you decide which career path is best. This information will help you decide which direction to follow as you grow your career if your a college student just starting out, or even if you are an experienced professional looking for a land a new, exciting role.
From DevOps Engineer and Site Reliability Engineer (SRE), to Data Scientist, Cybersecurity Analyst, and Software Developer, let’s take a look at the top 12 in-demand tech jobs and what they pay!
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Top 12 In-demand Tech Job Salaries
DevOps Engineer and Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) are two of the most in-demand, and highest paying technology jobs in the industry. There is a continuously growing amount of job opportunities with these two roles. However, when deciding which career path to take, it’s still important to look at what are the other top technology jobs so you can make a more informed decision.Here are the top 12 tech jobs and their salaries, followed by job descriptions.
Here are the top 12 most in-demand tech jobs and their salaries, so you can make an informed comparison when thinking about getting into a DevOps Engineer or SRE role yourself (in alphabetical order):
|Job Title||Average Salary*|
|Big Data Engineer||$134k|
|Cloud Solution Architect||$135k|
|Site Reliability Engineer (SRE)||$162k|
* Average (median) salary is USD for jobs based in the United States. These numbers were gathered by referencing indeed.com and ziprecruiter.com on Feb 2, 2023.
Salaries for the top in-demand IT jobs can vary depending on location, company size, experience, and corporate culture. Looking at the IT jobs on this list, the median average salary to expect working in IT ranges from Network Administrator at $73,000 per year, to Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) at $162,000 per year, with DevOps Engineer at $119,000 per year. Additionally, the average salary of all these job roles combined comes to a mean salary of $115,000 per year.
Top 12 In-demand Tech Job Descriptions
The process of choosing an IT tech job and career path involves understanding what different job roles are; not just what the average salary is. Let’s take a look at the description and primary job responsibilities of each of the top 12 in-demand tech jobs. This will give you the information you need when figuring out which job role you want to target as you develop your career in technology.
Big Data Engineer
A Big Data Engineer is responsible for building, designing, testing, and the maintenance of data processing systems that work with large data sets (or big data system) and data warehouses. They will create and implement big data solutions, such as Hadoop and NoSQL databases, developing and deploying batch and real-time processing systems for data analysis. They will also be responsible for managing and optimizing data storage solutions. Big Data Engineers also play a key role in ensuring the security and privacy of the data, working with Data Scientists to understand their data needs, and evaluating the integration of new big data technologies into existing systems.
This job role requires expertise with big data technologies, programming languages, querying data with SQL, problem solving skills, and strong communication skills.
The primary responsibilities of a Big Data Engineer are:
- Design and implement scalable big data solutions
- Implement batch and real-time processing of big data
- Optimize data storage solutions for big data
- Collaborate with Data Scientists
- Integrating new big data technologies
- Maintain documentation of big data infrastructure and processes
A Blockchain Developer is responsible for designing, building, and maintaining decentralized applications using blockchain technology. They will create the underlying architecture of a blockchain network, develop smart contracts, and implement the security measures to protect the blockchain network and any applications built on top of it.
The primary responsibilities of a Blockchain Developer are:
- Design and build decentralized applications using blockchain technology
- Create underlying architecture of the blockchain network
- Develop smart contracts that run on the blockchain
- Implement security measures to protect the blockchain network and applications
- Debug and troubleshoot blockchain-based systems
A Data Scientist uses mathematical, statistical, and computational methods to extract insights and knowledge from data. They are responsible for collecting, cleaning, and transforming large and complex data sets, then using advanced statistical and machine learning (ML) techniques and tools to analyze the data to extract insights. Data Scientists will then use the insights extracted to inform business decisions, drive innovation, and solve complex problems. There are many industries that employ Data Scientists, including finance, healthcare, retail, and more.
This job role requires expertise in mathematics, statistics, programming languages (like Python and R), as well as problem solving skills and strong communication skills.
The primary responsibilities of a Data Scientist are:
- Collecting, cleaning, and transforming large and complex data sets
- Using statistical and machine learning (ML) to analyze data to extract insights
- Communicate with business stakeholders through data visualizations, reports, and presentations
- Develop predictive models using ML tools to gain insights from large data sets
A Cloud Engineer is responsible for implementing and maintaining cloud computing infrastructure; using cloud providers like Microsoft Azure, AWS, or Google. They are responsible for an organizations cloud computing resources, including making sure infrastructure is secure, scalable, and highly available. Cloud Engineers may work primarily with cloud resources, but may need to work with or collaborate with on-premises resources and teams as well.
This job role requires expertise in cloud infrastructure, networking, and other aspects of cloud computing. They may also need expertise with operating systems, like Linux and Windows. Scripting with command-line languages, like Bash and PowerShell, will be necessary for automation tasks.
The primary responsibilities of a Cloud Engineer are:
- Implementing and maintaining cloud computing infrastructure and networking
- Implementing disaster recovery and high availability strategies for cloud-based systems
- Implement security configurations to keep cloud-bases systems secure
- Monitoring and optimizing cloud resource to managing scaling and cost optimization
- Provide infrastructure guidance to developers and other teams
Cloud Solution Architect
A Cloud Solution Architect is responsible for designing the architecture and overseeing the implementation of cloud-based solutions. They will work closely with stakeholders to understand the business needs, then design a solution architecture and implement that architecture to meet the business needs. Cloud Solution Architects will be responsible for ensuring the solutions are secure, scalable, and highly available to meet the business needs. They will also design the solution to meet the business’s overall IT strategy, including the technologies the organization has chosen to work with.
This job role requires expertise with cloud computing and infrastructure platforms, like Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google. The specific platform will vary depending on the organization and team they are working with. The will also need expertise with project management methodologies (such as Scrum and others), software solution design patterns, and they will need strong communication and problem solving skills.
The primary responsibilities of a Cloud Solution Architect are:
- Work with stakeholders to gather business requirements for the solution
- Ensure the cloud-based solution is secure, scalable, and highly available to meet business needs
- Oversee and work with the team to implement the cloud solution
- Provide technical and solution design guidance to the team throughout the implementation process
- Provide solution architecture guidance to business stakeholders, as well as technical and non-technical members of the implementation teams
- Documenting the solution architecture
A Cybersecurity Analyst is responsible for protecting the organization’s IT systems, software solutions, and networks from cybersecurity threats. They will work to monitor and analyze security systems for potential threats, then take appropriate measures to mitigate or prevent systems from being exploited. Cybersecurity Analysts work with a variety of security technologies; including intrusion detection systems, encryption technologies, firewalls, and other technologies used to ensure the security and privacy of sensitive systems.
This job role requires expertise in security technologies, programming languages (such as Python, Bash, and PowerShell), in addition to strong problem solving and communication skills.
The primary responsibilities of a Cybersecurity Analyst are:
- Monitoring and analyzing security of systems
- Response to security incidents, such as data breaches and cyber attacks
- Implement and maintain system security using the appropriate security technologies
- Conduct security assessments to identify vulnerabilities
- Develop and implement security policies and procedures for handling sensitive information
- Staying up-to-date on the latest cyber security threats and exploits, including the latest security technologies used to prevent cyber attacks
- Communicate to business stakeholders, as well as technical and non-technical teams
A Database Administrator (DBA) is responsible for the design, implementation, maintenance, and security of databases and database management systems (DBMS). They will work to optimize databases for performance, high availability, security, and other business data needs.
This job role requires expertise in database management systems, such as Microsoft SQL Server, Azure SQL, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and others. Expertise will also be needed in database design, data querying with SQL, database performance tuning, as well as data backup and recovery. Also, strong problem solving and communication skills are needed.
The primary responsibilities of a Database Administrator are:
- Design and implement databases for data storage and retrieval
- Optimize databases for performance, high availability, and security
- Monitor and maintain database health and performance
- Back up and recover of databases
- Deployment of database updates, patches, and new releases
- Collaboration with developers and other engineering teams
A DevOps Engineer is responsible for collaboration and communication between software development and operations teams. The goal of the DevOps Engineer role is to automate the tasks performed during the software development lifecycle to ensure application can be tested, verified, and deployed to production in an efficient and reliable manner.
This job role requires expertise in the software development lifecycle, including programming languages (such as Node.js, C#, etc), scripting languages (such as Bash or PowerShell), source control (such as Git), CI/CD processes, and application hosting platforms (such as Linux, Windows, and cloud providers). Also, strong problem solving and communication skills are needed.
The primary responsibilities of a DevOps Engineer are:
- Automating the software development lifecycle through automation of Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) processes
- Implement Infrastructure as Code (IaC) scripts and configurations to manage infrastructure needed to host applications
- Building automation tools for deployment, monitoring, and operations tasks
- Monitor application deployment processes, and implement fixes as necessary
- Communicate between software developer and operations teams to facilitate coordination necessary for streamlining the software development lifecycle from development through deployment and hosting
A Network Administrator is responsible for design, implementation, and maintenance of an organization’s computer networks. They will ensure that the organization’s networks are highly available, secure, and performing optimally to meet he organizations needs.
This job role requires expertise in networking protocols (such as TCP/IP, DNS, etc), networking hardware, networking appliances (such as routers, switches, and firewalls), as well as expertise in network security technologies (such as network gateways and VPNs). Also, strong problem solving and communication skills are needed.
The primary responsibilities of a Network Administrator are:
- Design, implement, and maintain computer networks
- Maintain network security and availability
- Monitor and troubleshoot network performance issues
- Manage the deployment of network updates, patches, and upgrades
Site Reliability Engineer (SRE)
A Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) is responsible for designing and developing automation to ensure the availability, performance, and reliability of systems and services. They will also write and implement Infrastructure as Code (IaC) configurations for the automated deployment and management of infrastructure resources and networking; both in the cloud and on-premises. They will also automate tasks required for managing the software development lifecycle and Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) workflows. SREs are responsible for ensuring that an organization’s systems and services are able to meet the demands of its users, and for implementing best practices and processes to prevent and mitigate outages and other issues.
This job role requires expertise in system administration, networking, and software development. Expertise is also required with scripting and automation languages (such as Bash, PowerShell, Python, etc), knowledge of cloud computing platforms (such as Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google), knowledge of Infrastructure as Code tools (such as HashiCorp Terraform, Azure Bicep, etc). Also, strong problem solving and communication skills are needed.
The primary responsibilities of a Site Reliability Engineer are:
- Remove toil through automation to reduce manual tasks performed, since humans make mistakes that reduce reliability and availability
- Source code deployment, configuration, and monitoring, in addition to the overall availability, latency, change management, emergency response, disaster recovery, and capacity management of production services
- Determine the service-level agreements (SLAs) by defining the reliability and availability of production systems through service-level indicators (SLI) and service-level objectives (SLO)
- Integrate with the development and operations teams, and possibly integrate across multiple teams, to drive towards the improvement of reliability and availability of production systems
Related: If you’re interested in becoming a Site Reliability Engineer, then you’ll definitely want to check out some tips in the “How to become a Site Reliability Engineer” article written by Chris Pietschmann.
A Software Developer is responsible for designing, writing, testing, and maintaining software. The software could be developed for desktop, web, or mobile applications. They will write code in one or more programming languages to create the software to run on a variety of platforms, including desktop (macOS, Windows, etc) and mobile devices (iOS, Android, etc), or even web-based software.
This job role requires expertise in one or more programming languages (such as Node.js, C#, Java, etc), software development methodologies (such as Agile, Scrum, etc), and version control systems (such as Git, GitHub, Azure DevOps, etc). Also, strong problem solving and communication skills are needed.
The primary responsibilities of a Software Developer are:
- Analyzing and understanding the software requirements
- Developing software and application code based on requirements
- Testing and debugging software code that’s written
- Collaborate with other team members, such developers, project managers, DevOps Engineers, and SREs
- Fix bugs, add new features, and make other improvements to application code
A System Administrator is responsible for the general day-to-day operations and maintenance of computer systems, servers, and networking. They will work to ensure the availability, security, and performance of computer systems for the organization. These computer systems could be hosted on-premises using physical servers or virtual machines (VM), or even be hosted using cloud providers (such as Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google).
This job role requires expertise in operating systems (such as Linux and Windows), network administration, computer security, and cloud providers (such as Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google) if necessary. Expertise in writing automation scripts with languages like Bash and PowerShell is required. Also, strong problem solving and communication skills are needed.
The primary responsibilities of a System Administrator are:
- Installing, configuring, and maintaining computer systems, servers (physical and VMs), operating systems, storage and networking equipment
- Monitoring systems and addressing issues to ensure performance and availability
- Configure and maintain security systems to ensure they meet the organizations requirements, and guidelines provided by Cybersecurity Analysts
- Installing and configuring software applications
- Manage user accounts, permissions, and access controls to servers, systems, and data
What’s the difference between DevOps Engineer and Site Reliability Engineer?
There is a lot of overlap between both the Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) role and DevOps Engineer roles. They both have different origins and target slightly different goals, but are generally complimentary when used together.
A rather short description of DevOps is that it’s about a merging between Development and Operations creating an increase communication and efficiency between teams. DevOps is more of a cultural shift in IT operations and development teams to produce better software. It’s also less about a specific DevOps Engineering role and more about a DevOps mindset across the entire team / organization focusing on people, processes, and tools. A popular opinion is that if you have a DevOps Engineer, then you might not be doing DevOps correctly. DevOps is also a team culture and process style, that transcends the DevOps Engineer role into other roles of an organization that implements DevOps processes.
The Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) role moves past DevOps to integrate “Reliability” as another focus in addition to the general communication and automation that comes with streamlining people, processes, and tools within the team and organization. While DevOps is more of a culture shift in the organization, the SRE role is often an individual contributor job role.
While both DevOps Engineers and Site Reliability Engineers work to improve software systems, DevOps Engineers focus more on the process and collaboration between development and operations teams, while SREs focus more on the technical aspects of software systems and automating tasks to optimize their reliability and performance.