The 15 highest-paying tech jobs for recent college grads and Gen Z

Long Beach City College graduation ceremony

  • Colleges graduates from the class of 2019 represent the first majority-Gen Z class entering the full-time workforce.
  • For recent grads looking for tech jobs, there are several high-paying options, including senior developer, lead engineer, and mobile developer. 
  • Employees in the San Francisco Bay Area have the highest salaries for 12 of the 15 jobs.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Colleges graduates from the class of 2019 represent the first majority-Gen Z class entering the full-time workforce. Many of them will be considering roles in tech — though, jobs at places like Facebook are seemingly less popular among this crowd — and looking for the highest-paying positions. 

According to a recent study by salary and compensation website Comparably, 88% of Gen Z college graduates are conservatively optimistic about their futures — hoping for the best, but expecting to work harder than their elders. One-third believe gender has been an obstacle in their burgeoning careers. Only 65% are happy with their work-life balance; and if they quit tomorrow, the last straw would be pay.

Comparably found that in more than half of the 15 roles it highlighted, women are paid more on average. However, Comparably clarified that this appearance of higher salaries for women could simply mean that there are less women holding these roles, and those few women are being paid more in progressive cities. 

The study also broke out cost of living by city: Employees in the San Francisco Bay Area have the highest salaries for 12 out of the 15 tech jobs listed, but those employees also have the highest cost for apartment rentals. Seattle pays the most for the remaining three tech roles. 

Here are the top 15 highest-paying jobs in tech for recent grads: 

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15. Sales Manager

Job description: Leads and coaches the sales team, focusing on individual sales territories. Duties include assigning sales territories, setting quotas, building sales plans, and managing staff.

Skills needed: Degree in business or management. Experience in sales platforms like Salesforce. Leadership, analytics, customer service, and interpersonal skills.

Average salary: $64,412

14. Web/Visual Designer

Job description: Improves the aesthetic appeal of products via visual design choices (i.e. illustration, photography, typography, or color).

Skills needed: Degree or certificate in graphic design. Understanding of Gestalt principles of design, which are based in psychology and describe how humans perceive objects and patterns visually. Artistic ability.

Average salary: $64,478

13. Operations Manager

Job description: Oversees technical processes, from planning to coordination to execution. Keeps staff within technical guidelines.

Skills needed: Degree in business administration. Leadership skills, conflict resolution ability, and HR acuity.

Average salary: $64,608

12. Financial Analyst

Job description: Guide potential investments. Follow performance of stocks and bonds.

Skills needed: Accounting. Analytic savvy and problem-solving ability. Experience working with executives.

Average salary: $65,687

11. Quality Assurance Analyst

Job description: Often employed by software and manufacturing companies, quality assurance (QA) analysts work with software and websites, testing for issues and correcting those errors when found.

Skills needed: Degree in computer science. Mastery of QA methodology, structured query language (SQL), and scripting.

Average salary: $66,358

10. Business Analyst

Job description: Business analysts bring the needs of a business together with IT resources, identifying areas for improvement in processes and operations.

Skills needed: Degree in business, marketing, advertising, or public relations. Some computer programming and data analysis skills needed.

Average salary: $67,364

9. Marketing Manager

Job description: Develop strategies for marketing products and services. Collaborate with sales, PR, product, finance, and advertising teams.

Skills needed: Degree in business, marketing, advertising, or PR; MBA preferred. Communication and interpersonal skills.

Average salary: $67,687

8. Business Development Manager

Job description: Sales role focusing on entire company. Aims to increase revenue, identify new business trends, and manage client relationships.

Skills needed: Degree in business, marketing, or communications; MBA preferred. Project management, negotiation, and interpersonal skills.

Average salary: $68,588

7. User Interface (UI) Designer / User Experience (UX) Designer

Job description: Assures user experience on a website aligns with the company’s overall vision. UX designers create a path for users, while UI designers make sure that path is visually clear.

Skills needed: Understanding of UI/UX principles and wire-framing (laying out the interface elements of a website). Proficiency in Sketch, Figma, Balsamiq, Adobe XD, Marvel App, and Invision App.

Average salary: $71,691

6. DevOps Engineer

Job description: Automates systems and oversees software deployment. Improves deployment processes with IT developers.

Skills needed: Web language, SysAdmin, continuous integration tools, automation tools, and scripting.

Average salary: $86,094

5. Product Manager

Job description: Guides the success of a product by leading cross-functional team design, mapping different development stages including launch, and maintaining a product.

Skills needed: Degree in business. Coding, time-management, and interpersonal skills.

Average salary: $87,947

4. Data Scientist

Job description: Interprets data using statistical analysis tools and machine-learning.

Skills needed: Degree in IT, math, or computer science. Experience with metrics and analytics.

Average salary: $88,813

3. Mobile Developer

Job description: A mobile developer — more specifically, an Android or iOS developer — works on new apps for mobile devices.

Skills needed: Modern language programming skills, back-end computing skills, cross-platform app development, and mobile user interface design ability.

Average salary: $92,654

2. Lead Engineer

Job description: Manages a team of engineers through product development and execution.

Skills needed: Degree in management science or engineering, participation in cooperative engineering programs.

Average salary: $103,237

1. Senior Developer

Job description: Oversees coding, web development, and app development.

Skills needed: CSS, HTML/HTML5, JavaScript, JSON, mobile-optimized web content and applications.

Average salary: $109,957

from SAI