The realities of the tech industry make continuous learning vital. If you want to remain competitive, you need to seek out new ways to make your mark on the industry. Positions with the greatest opportunities shift regularly, but staying current with the latest changes helps IT professionals build a stable career. Here are some of the best technology jobs in Chicago for 2017 and what makes them worth your time and effort.
1.) Data Scientist
Data analysis has evolved to a whole new level. Analytical tools are now powerhouses that drive business critical intelligence forward. However, most businesses still lack someone to clean up the end results. At least 83% of industry experts believe there is a shortage of data scientists currently, placing a burden upon the limited experts.
The shortage has grown in recent years because of the now ubiquitous demand across industries for strategic insight worth millions. Data analysis in healthcare, financial, Fortune 500s, and every type of company in between is exhausting an already scarce resource. Because of that scarcity, salaries for data scientists are on the rise nationwide.
According to PayScale, the projected salary growth for data scientist positions is 6.4% over the year before. In Chicago, the current average data scientist role is expected to see an increase in compensation from $95,541 to $101,655. Until enough data scientists are available to satisfy the feverish demand, data scientist compensation is bound to go up.
Billions of records were exposed in the data breaches of 2016. Ransomware attacks grew by 6,000% and 70% of businesses paid ransoms to hackers. Cybercriminals are ravenous for any scrap of data they can get their hands on, making cybersecurity professionals one of the most rapidly growing IT specialties on the market.
Like most of the IT roles on this list, experienced cybersecurity professionals are increasingly rare. Studies find that almost half of cybersecurity professionals are solicited once a week by recruiters hoping to make a convincing job offer. In most regions, there are two cybersecurity jobs for every single cybersecurity professional. That lopsided supply is going to encourage more than competitive compensation.
The current rate in the Chicago market is competitive with the rest of the market. For example, a CISO role in Chicago can earn an average of $214,000, reaching as high as $328,000 with certain Fortune 500s. On the lower end of the totem pole, compensation is still a solid $83,934 on average. In general, cybersecurity roles tend to be 9% higher than the average IT salary and that equally applies for technology jobs in Chicago.
3.) Database Developer/Data Engineer
Business data is the new cash cow and IT professionals who build clean, scalable, and easily accessible databases garner serious demand. Glassdoor ranked Data Engineer as #3 on their list of “50 Best Jobs in America,” and the role grew 122% between 2013 and 2015. Data developers and engineers have become more consequential as healthcare, financial, and other industries begin to embrace their data collection net.
Unlike the above roles, database developers and data engineers are in the highest demand in specific categories: if they can work with big data, create scalable environments, or integrate existing databases within the cloud. Datacenter roles are trending downward as the transition to cloud environments are mostly completed by most organizations, so job seekers will find the most opportunities beyond those with storage vendors.
PayScale predicts that Database Developer salaries will grow by 5.1%, bringing their range in Chicago between $108,000 and $161,500. For Data Engineers, the median salary is $106,000 nationwide. As databases expand and the number of experienced IT professionals are needed to build, test, and maintain them continues to be limited, the odds are good that compensation will go even higher.
Identifying the Right Technology Jobs in Chicago
Qualified candidates in these roles will not worry about getting offers, but separating the best technology jobs in Chicago from the noise. Rather than impulsively accepting the highest bidder’s offer, careful consideration of projects, work environments, and growth will guide the most sustainable choice. In the long run, candidates who know what they want out of their job search and know the current market trends will find jobs that keep them challenged and satisfied.