The best jobs in tech
The best jobs in tech
When people find out I work in tech, they always ask: “What’s the best job in technology?” It’s a difficult question to answer, because there are so many variables to consider. What types of work do you like to do? Do you like working with people… are you social? Do you want to work at a desk?
All the same, it isn’t that hard to create an objective look at the best jobs in tech by comparing the things that are objectively good or bad. In other words, we can all agree that more money is better, so jobs that pay better are generally better than other jobs. In order to find out what the best jobs in tech are, I have created an interactive visualization that examines the objective elements of a wide range of jobs in tech. Take a look down below, but for reference, here are the categories that I am comparing. The highest score in each category is 10, the lowest is 1.
Base pay - How much does this role get paid in base pay, on average, in comparison to the others? This number is based on personal experience, along with some research on Payscale and Glassdoor.
Bonus pay - How much incentive pay could this role earn?
Equity - People in startups get equity! How much do people in this role generally get?
Ease of entry - How easy is it to get into this role? A higher score means it is easier.
Opportunity to stand out - How easy is it to make an impact and get noticed in this role.
Control of performance - Do you actually have CONTROL over how well you do in this role? Or, is your performance at the whim of someone or something else. The higher the score, the less your success comes down to luck.
In the view below, you will see the roles stack ranked by their total score across all of these categories. Higher is better. The color of the bar corresponds to the score within that category, with a darker shade of blue indicating a higher score.
One other note: I am comparing roughly equivalent roles in terms of seniority. This is where a hard working, ambitious person could expect to land at a business to business technology company after 10-12 years of work in the role.
And as always, your mileage may vary. This is my opinion, although I have tried to ground my opinion in reality and hard numbers as much as possible.
5th best job in tech - Marketing - Director, Product Marketing
What does this person do: The product marketing team is the liaison between the product management team and the world. They develop the positioning, messaging, materials, and content that are used by the sales and marketing teams to differentiate the product on the market and sell. This also happens to be what I do!
Best part about the role: Product marketing is highly visible, with opportunities to speak, work with the sales team, and collaborate with nearly every part of the company. PMM’s also have a lot of control over their success.
Worst part about the role: Pay isn’t quite as good as product management or sales.
People who would do well in this role: People who want to use the product and be a little technical, but will still thrive working closely with people and collaborating across the company.
Do NOT pursue this role if: You have a big ego. Product marketing supports the entire company, so there isn’t too much room to be proud. You serve at the whim of PM and sales.
4th best job in tech - Product Management - Director, PM
What does this person do: The product management team takes customer input and market data to decide what to build and how to allocate engineering resources to do it. The PM team also works on delivering products to market (aka launches) in coordination with product marketing.
Best part about the role: Product management is paid extremely well, and it is a highly visible role with a lot of opportunity to stand out and distinguish yourself.
Worst part about the role: Product management can be stressful; customers will always want more than can be delivered and engineering will always need more time. It is also very hard to get into with an engineering degree and some amount of business acumen necessary.
People who would do well in this role: People who are technical but also business savvy and good with people
Do NOT pursue this role if: You aren’t technical.
3rd best job in tech - Sales - Director, Inside Sales
What does this person do: The inside sales team is in charge of the accounts that are too small for the enterprise sales team. The director of inside sales runs the team and oversees their activities, which are largely calling and emailing contacts at their accounts from “inside” the company.
Best part about the role: Inside sales makes good money, although it isn’t quite as good as their counterparts in enterprise sales. It is also the easiest role to get into in tech, with plenty of BDR (business development representative) roles available for anyone who is willing to pick up a phone.
Worst part about the role: Inside sales can be a grind, and it is less glamorous than enterprise sales (with commensurately worse pay).
People who would do well in this role: Those who are comfortable with a lot of cold calling, and prodding others to do the same.
Do NOT pursue this role if: You are uncomfortable asking for a sale.
2nd best job in tech - Engineering - Senior Engineer
What does this person do: The engineering team builds the product. They are highly technical resources who are comfortable dealing with complex concepts and coding.
Best part about the role: Engineers are totally in charge of their performance and effectiveness. They are also undoubtedly the best paid people in tech, although their comp is weighted towards stock (which is either a positive or a negative depending on how you look at it).
Worst part about the role: At times, engineers can be isolated and less visible than their counterparts in product management. It is also a tough role to get into.
People who would do well in this role: People who are highly technical and enjoy math, working in code, and enjoy these types of activities.
Do NOT pursue this role if: If you are only doing it for the money.
The best job in tech - Sales - Regional Director
What does this person do: A regional director in sales manages a team of enterprise salespeople who are tasked with pursuing a group of accounts and selling as much as possible into those accounts. They spend their days on the road, talking to potential clients.
Best part about the role: Regional directors get paid very well, and have a lot of capability to influence their success. It is also a highly visible role in the company, and relatively easy to get into.
Worst part about the role: The work life balance can be tough sometimes… but that’s about it!
People who would do well in this role: People who love working with people and need to be financially incentivized to motivate themselves.
Do NOT pursue this role if: You don’t like working with and persuading people.
There’s a great job in tech for you, no matter what you are good at
The bottom line? Across the company, there are tons of interesting roles in technology. There are technical roles, business roles, team jobs, and individual contributor roles. The only question is, which one is best for you?
Next week, I will take a look at the WORST jobs in tech.