While Silicon Valley still holds bragging rights as the mecca for the country's highest-paid IT professionals, average salaries there have actually decreased over the past year. Fortunately, thanks to the reportedly low unemployment rate among techies, salaries are soaring elsewhere in the country, particularly in Pittsburgh, San Diego, and St. Louis, according to Dice.com's annual Salary Survey.
In general, IT professionals enjoyed a 5 percent pay increase over the past year, up from $81,327 in 2011 to $85,619. Average bonuses were down a smidge, dipping from $8,769 to $8,636, but slightly more tech professionals -- 33 percent vs. 32 percent -- received the extra payout in 2012.
Silicon Valley techies are the highest earners, on average, raking in $101,278 per year. However, the figure represents a 2.8 percent year-over-year decrease as other cities are becoming hotbeds for tech jobs.
"Employers are recognizing and adjusting to the reality of a tight market," said Scot Melland, CEO of Dice. "The fact is you either pay to recruit or pay to retain, and these days, at least for technology teams, companies are doing both."
Indeed, IT professionals are well aware that their talents are in demand: 19 percent of the survey respondent said they changed jobs over the past year in a move that yielded a pay increase.
Newbs to the tech trade -- that is, IT pros with two years or less experience -- have seen a nice average salary boost of 8 percent over the past year, driving their average pay to $46,315. At the other end of the spectrum, the average salary for veteran tech professionals -- those with at least 15 years of experience -- is $103,012, a 4 percent year-over-year increase.
West Coast is the best coast for IT pay
Where, then, are IT professionals bringing home the most bacon? Following are the top 10 regions with the highest-paid IT professionals.
- In the top spot, as noted, is Silicon Valley, where techies take home $101,278 per year on average, down from $104,195 in 2011.
- Second on the list: The Baltimore/Washington D.C. area, where the average IT salary is $97,895, a year over year increase of 3.8 percent.
- San Diego boasts the third highest-paid IT professionals in the United States at $97,328, thanks to a 13.4 percent bump over last year.
- Boston ranks fourth on the list. Techies there earn, on average, $94,742 per year, a 6.9 percent increase since the end of 2011.
- Seattle's IT community saw its average salary jump by 4.4 percent, pushing it up to $94,335, the fifth highest in the nation.
- In sixth is Houston, with an average IT salary of $94,186, a 5.5 percent jump compared to the previous year.
- The seventh highest-paid techies reside in Los Angeles, now taking home $92,498 on average, 6.1 percent more than they did the previous year.
- Denver now ranks eight, with an average IT salary of $90,430, a 4.4 percent boost.
- Nipping at Denver's heels in ninth place is Sacramento at $90,127, 3.5 percent more than a year ago.
- Rounding out the top 10 is Austin, where the average salary for IT professionals is $89,680, a 0.4 percent decrease compared to the previous year. Interestingly, Austin managed to edge out New York City by a mere $11.