Tech Jobs

The Daily Beast crunches the numbers to figure out the jobs of the future—and today.

iStockPhoto.com

iStockPhoto.com

#1. Network architect


The job: Ensure a future of zero privacy by making cellphones work everywhere

Where the jobs are by state: Virginia; Maryland

Adjusted median annual salary: $73,278

Expected employment growth, 2006-2016: 53%

Information is the new railroad, and Americans have a zombie-like appetite for virtual connectivity. Network architects are the tech version of Sherlock Holmes. If a company has a problem, or a new goal, that has to do with computers and communications, network architects find the solutions.

#2. System software designer


The job: The wizard behind the curtain

Where the jobs are by state: Massachusetts; Virginia

Adjusted median annual salary: $95,264

Expected employment growth, 2006-2016: 28%

There’s a common rush of joy experienced by millions of people around the world every two weeks: Direct deposit. Just one of the many unheralded parts of everyday life made possible by software designers. Often designers work with organizations to create software that keeps track of billing, inventory, and payroll and they may help set up an intranet—in short, they have a techie hand in all the behind-the-scenes facets that help businesses chug along.

#3. Data engineer


The job: Techie liaison between companies and customers

Where the jobs are by state: Virginia

Adjusted annual median salary: $77,792

Expected employment growth, 2006-2016: 29%

The name of the game for data engineers is specialization. Most people in this occupation have at least a bachelor’s degree, but through work experience they often specialize in a particular area—say, finance—and use advanced math and data models to help companies choose and implement the most suitable software and hardware for their field. Data engineers looking to keep their clients must stay abreast of the rapidly changing technology in their specialized field.

iStockPhoto.com

#4. Network administrator


The job: Jack-or-Jill of all trades

Where the jobs are by state: Virginia; Minnesota

Adjusted annual median salary: $68,328

Expected employment growth, 2006-2016: 27%

Network administrators might handle routine problems, but really they’re around to ensure computer systems are secure and consistently pumping information. Network administrators set network addresses, dole out access to sensitive information, and manage computers and office equipment such as printers. If communication is the lifeblood of any company, then network architects and analysts are the white blood cells that stave off computer infections.

Hoang Dinh Nam, AFP / Getty Images

#5. Database manager


The job: Protector and distributor of all things Excel

Where the jobs are by state: Virginia; Colorado; Maryland

Adjusted annual median salary: $71,864

Expected employment growth, 2006-2016: 29%

“Experts often possess more data than judgment,” Colin Powell wrote in his memoir My American Journey. True. But that’s largely because they’re scrambling for every shred of data they can find. Analyze! Compute! Organize! Integrate! Spreadsheet! Formula! All of these things await you in your exciting career as a database manager. Plus you get to learn the secret database manager handshake.

#6. Apps designer


The job: Create legal tangles over pull-my-finger iPhone apps

Where the jobs are by state: Virginia; Washington; Massachusetts; Colorado

Adjusted annual median salary: $88,036

Expected employment growth, 2006-2016: 45%

Your next job? There’s an app for that. Even a Luddite knows by now what C++ and Java mean. People with iPhones, meanwhile, are familiar with the modern pastime of leisurely sipping a freshly brewed virtual beer right off the screen. OK, so most application designers work at private companies and use programming languages to maintain computer systems. But that’s boring. It’s much more interesting to envision a yuppie with a handheld device buying coffee and a set of children’s golf clubs for little Chet while watching last night’s awards show. Sit back and enjoy your version of progress, applications designer. We’re living in your world now.

Reuters

#7, Avionics specialist


The job: Take thousands of lives in your hands every day without batting an eyelash

Where the jobs are by state: Georgia; Kansas; Alabama

Adjusted annual median salary: $50,856

Expected employment growth, 2006-2016: 8.1%

Why would an avionics specialist bat an eyelash? These professionals have more to worry about than a bunch of eyelashes. They’re concerned with radio communications working properly, and whether navigation and radar are up to snuff. Commuter and regional airlines offer a stepping stone for the ambitious young avionics specialist looking to make the move to the cross-continental and international flyers.

Getty Images

#8, Tech support specialist


The job: Deal with the goddamn customers so the engineers don't have to

Where the jobs are by state: Virginia; Massachusetts; Colorado

Adjusted annual median salary: $44,772

Expected employment growth, 2006-2016: 13%

Tech support specialists, in fact, work with both customers and coworkers. They’re on call, literally, ready to help out over the phone with a list of pre-determined maneuvers to get the printer un-jammed or the modem up and running. If they work in-house, they’ll even come to your office. It’s a full service job, and most employers require some college or training in computer science.

#9, Technology theorist


The job: Be the smartest monkey in the room; messiah complex required

Where the jobs are by state: Virginia; Maryland; Washington

Adjusted median annual salary: $100,984

Expected employment growth, 2006-2016: 22%

Technology theorist: Our fancy term for computer research scientist. (Kind of gives the job a sort of James Bond evil scientist feel, right?) Technology theorists, more than most in the tech world, will design the computer systems of the future, and will define the relevance of other jobs in the field. Education requirements range from an associate’s to a doctorate degree, so get studying.

#10, Computer programmer


The job: Work the tech version of the production line

Where the jobs are by state: New York; New Jersey

Adjusted annual median salary: $71,760

Expected employment decline, 2006-2016: 4.1%

The picture isn’t all rosy for the tech sector, but the slow employment growth for computer programmers is offset some by a 10 percent increase in wages over the past three years. Open source software and a general understanding of computers have allowed users to learn the skills that used to be proprietary to computer programmers. As competition for these spots increases, higher education degrees will set apart candidates looking to land a relatively lucrative computer programmer job.