Dustin Hoffman as Ben in The Graduate getting career advice
CareerCast released its latest report on the most in demand jobs today and unsurprisingly, software engineer topped the list PHOTO: Embassy Pictures//United Artists

A software engineer can expect to make about $102,280 a year. An information security analyst will bring in $92,600. A computer systems analyst’s salary is $87,220.

These are the the top-paying jobs in the IT industry right now, according to CareerCast.com’s annual Jobs Rated report. Their growth rates aren’t too shabby either, clocking in at 17 percent, 18 percent and 21 percent, by 2024 respectively.

Nothing on this list should come as a surprise, said Charles King, principal of Pund-IT. “It is a reflection of the continuing movement of business processes and customer engagement to the internet in one form or another,” he told CMSWire. “The web has become the fundamental platform for the way people engage one another, with businesses and other kinds of organizations.”

A Bright IT Future

The list also reflects the bright future a career in IT offers. “The proliferation of technology unsurprisingly fuels the economic and job market landscapes, with careers in IT presenting some of the most promising opportunities of the foreseeable future,” CareerCast.com noted in a blog post introducing the list.

Rounding out the top six best paying jobs is network computer systems administrator, which pays $79,700 and has a growth forecast of 8 percent; technical writer, which pays $69,850 and has a growth outlook of 10 percent; and web developer, which has a salary of $66,130 and a growth projection of 27 percent.

3 Trends Driving Career Demands

So, we get it. IT jobs pay well — even the writing positions. But surely this list must provide more insight than that into the sector, to say nothing of career decisions. As it happens, it does. Following are some takeaways from CareerCast.com's list.

Mobile Still Reigns

Consider the position of web developer and its growth outlook of 27 percent by 2024. Web development has existed since the the launch of the internet, but the actual position’s emphasis is always evolving, CareerCast.com noted. 

Today that emphasis is the insatiable demand for mobile-friendly site design and usability. “In late 2016, StatCounter released findings that 51.3 percent of all internet users in October 2016 used mobile devices, marking the first time ever that mobile usage outpaced desktop,” it said in its post. “As tablets and smartphones become more prevalent, that trend will continue.”

AI Is Hot (For Now)

One reason why software engineers find the pay so generous is the burgeoning growth of artificial intelligence in all facets of software — that is driving the need for software engineers, according to CareerCast.com. 

And yet, King said, companies constantly bemoan the shortage of good engineers. This is in part a question of compensation: some companies cannot afford or do not want to pay the top rate for these professionals. But the shortage is also due to the relative newness of this field of study — or perhaps better put, the demand for professionals in this field of study is relatively new.

Unfortunately what usually happens is that students or professionals looking to make a career change will opt for a career as a software engineer primarily because of numbers like these, King said. “They will get the training just in time to see demand for these professionals start to crater and then decline.” The market will, of course, then be clamoring for the next hot job skill.

A Constantly Changing Industry

King offers another word of warning to students: the industry is in a constant state of flux. Becoming an information security analyst, for example, would seem to be a no-brainer with the increasing amount of hacker attacks and security exploits. 

“It is natural that these positions are becoming more important,” King said. But you can’t just up and become a security analyst without research about where the industry stands. “You have to consider the various platforms and vendors that you will ally yourself with before you make any kind of commitment to study.”