- Virginia is quickly becoming a technology hub, with the tech industry accounting for 10.8% of the state’s total economy and ranking third overall in the US.
- Amazon recently opened a second headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, and there are numerous other large tech companies in the state, including General Dynamics Information Technology, Leidos, CACI International, and Northrup Gruman.
- Virginia has a large tech networking community, particularly in Northern Virginia, which is home to many tech companies and is close to the Washington, D.C. area.
- Some of the best-paying tech jobs in Virginia include data scientist, artificial intelligence architect, computer and information research scientist, DevOps engineer, information security analyst, software developer, mobile app developer, and full-stack web developer.
- To secure a tech job in Virginia, it is beneficial to have a degree in fields such as Information Technology, Computer Science, Web Development, Web Design, Computer Networking, System Administration, Database Management, Cybersecurity, or Software Development.
If you’re looking for a job in the tech industry, set your sites on the East Coast and consider a move to Virginia – or Northern Virginia, to be more specific.
This is quickly becoming a technology hub (thanks in part to Amazon recently opening a new HQ there), and it boasts proximity to the Washington, D.C. area as well. With a need to fill a growing number of tech jobs, the salaries are extremely competitive.
Check out some of the best paying tech jobs in Virginia, and learn more about the area, and what it might take to land a tech job there.
Virginia Technology Jobs: A Growing Industry
According to Cyberstates, the tech industry accounts for $62 billion – or 10.8 percent of the state’s total economy. With 8.7 percent of Virginia’s workforce in the tech industry, it ranks third overall in the U.S.
Some of the jobs with the biggest growth in Virginia are computer system and cybersecurity analysts, and software and web developers.
Top Tech Companies in Virginia
Amazon recently opened a second headquarters, this one in Arlington, Va. The large facility recently opened the first phase of the HQ, which will house thousands of employees. This new campus features two, 22-story towers, a sustainable green space, and local retailers.
While Amazon might be the most recognizable name in the Virginia technology industry, there are numerous other large, quality companies, including:
General Dynamics Information Technology
GDIT, founded in 1952 and headquartered in Falls Church, Va., develops IT and tech solutions for the defense, intelligence, and government industries. With more than 10,000 employees, GDIT employs many technology roles, including software developers, test engineers, cybersecurity specialists, and database architects.
Founded in 1969 and located in Reston, Va., Leidos provides technology integrations to a variety of industries (both in the private and government sectors), including health care, transportation, architecture, and research. They provide numerous tech services to clients, including systems integration, modeling and simulation, sensor engineering, hospital system management, data analysis and reporting, cybersecurity, and more.
CACI International works in the national security industry. Since 1962 it has offered business systems to the federal government to support national security and defense projects. Some of its services include cybersecurity, digital surveillance, command and control, communications, enterprise information management, and more. It employs more than 10,000 employees.
Headquartered in Falls Church, Va., Northrup Gruman employs more than 10,000 people. The company develops advanced radar, cybersecurity, and aircraft technologies for clients in the military, commercial, and civilian sectors. Some key roles they employ are mechanisms engineers, data analysts, and software engineers.
Large Tech Networking Community
When you take a tech job in Virginia, you are not alone. With a thriving tech sector, there are numerous opportunities to network and form a tech community in the area.
Northern Virginia (also called NOVA) is a tech destination right now, especially in Fairfax. With Amazon leading the charge, many tech companies are now calling NOVA home. If that’s not enough, you are also located close to the Washington, D.C. area, which is also a concentrated tech market.
Best Paying Tech Jobs in Virginia
There are many good-paying tech jobs in Virginia. Some of the best-paying roles are:
#1 Data Scientist ($111,000-$181,000 per year)
One of the highest-paying tech jobs in Virginia is a data scientist. Data is fueling all types of businesses, from private companies to government agencies, and helping leaders make informed decisions.
Data scientists are focused on math and statistics. They analyze large amounts of data to find trends and insights and create formulas and data models to predict business outcomes. This is one of the fastest growing careers in the U.S. It’s expected to grow 35 percent over the next decade, according to
the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is due to the influx of data available to companies, and the need for businesses to make data-driven decisions.
Typically, data scientists hold at least a bachelor’s degree (if not a master’s or a PHD, as required for some roles) in mathematics, statistics, or computer science.
On average, a data scientist makes $111,000-$181,000 per year in Virginia.
#2 Artificial Intelligence Architect ($111,000-$166,000 per year)
AI architects have an important role. As artificial intelligence becomes more predominant, architects determine what can be created in AI. In this job, AI architects use creativity to create new AI capabilities and technologies and use technical skills to build them.
AI architects work closely with data scientists, engineers, and developers to define the scope of the project, develop the AI strategy, and build the technical aspects. They also need to work with stakeholders to understand the requirements and needs of the project.
To be successful in this role, AI architects will need to know various programming languages, including Java, Python, AI frameworks, and others.
In Virginia, AI architects make around $111,000-$166,000 per year.
#3 Computer and Information Research Scientist ($106,000-$179,000 per year)
Computer and information research scientists are tasked with working on both hardware and software systems to design new uses for computer systems. To do this, they need to understand difficult algorithms and programming languages.
Because this job is complex, computer and information research scientists usually have a master’s degree in computer science.
This role is often used in medical and science fields, as they develop future technologies for companies. It is a fast-growing occupation, with jobs expected to increase by 23 percent over the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
On average, computer and information research scientists make around $106,000-$179,000 per year.
#4 DevOps Engineer ($98,000-$156,000 per year
A DevOps engineer must fill a lot of roles at a company. They are typically tasked with working with code, infrastructure management, system administration, and more.
These engineers often require frequent changes to code versions and have deployment and testing practices in place to make sure these are successful. DevOps engineers don’t typically create their own code, but they must understand different software development languages to know the tools and
to improve them.
DevOps engineers often work with automation and maintenance in a live environment, so they must know the automation and maintenance of software systems.
This role typically requires several years of experience in another development or operations role before moving to DevOps.
DevOps engineers typically make between $98,000-$156,000 per year.
5 Information Security Analyst ($85,000-138,000 per year)
An information security analyst is not only one of the highest-paying jobs in Virginia but also one of the most important. Responsible for protecting businesses against cybersecurity attacks, information security analysts focus on avoiding security breaches.
This is an essential role, especially as businesses have more vulnerabilities with data and accounts online. Information security analysts can protect companies and their customers by implementing security measures on companies’ networks and systems.
With a plethora of data and accounts online, an information security analyst is a fast-growing job in the U.S., expected to grow 32 percent by 2032.
Information security analysts typically make between $85,000-138,000 per year. They typically work for computer companies, businesses, and financial companies.
#6 Software Developer ($79,000-$125,000 per year)
A software developer is often an entry point for many developers into tech jobs. This role has a lot of variety depending on the company and its business needs. It is typically focused on designing software or applications, or even large networks or systems.
Some tasks a software developer will perform are assessing and improving computer systems, and correcting errors in existing systems. They will also create code, submit reports, and create manuals on system specifications.
Software developers work with project managers and clients to ensure they are on track with their projects and review the requirements.
#7 Mobile App Developer ($66,000-$113,000 per year)
Mobile app developers need to be both creative and superb developers as they create applications for smartphones and other mobile devices. Their job duties can also include creating mobile versions of web applications.
As part of their role, mobile app developers will meet with stakeholders to discuss the requirements for the app. They will also brainstorm ideas for the app design, create project plans, write code, and release applications.
On average, a mobile web developer makes between $66,000-$113,000 per year.
#8 Full-Stack Web Developer ($64,000-$112,000 per year)
As a full-stack web developer, a person will need to develop the server and client software. This means they need to know front-end languages, and also need to write API code and server code for the back end of the website.
Some tasks full-stack web developers need to perform include developing and maintaining web services and interfaces, contributing to front-end and back-end development, building new APIs, fixing bugs, and working with other departments to determine projects and their requirements.
To be successful in this high-paying role, developers will need to know numerous programming
Full-stack web developers make around $64,000-$112,000 per year in Virginia.
Top Degrees Needed to Secure a Tech Job
While these tech jobs – and their salaries – all seem great, the question you might be wondering is how do I land one of these positions?
It starts with getting the right degree.
Some of the best degrees to get to land a high-paying tech job are Information Technology, Computer Science, Web Development, Web Design, Computer Networking, System Administration, Database Management, Cybersecurity, and Software Development.
Tips For Starting Your Tech Career in Virginia
Landing a high-paying tech job in Virginia often requires a loaded resume, from obtaining the right degree to making the right connections. To improve your chances of getting hired for a tech job, especially when starting your career, it’s essential to be motivated – and creative.
Use Soft Skills
For one, don’t sell yourself short. When determining if you have enough experience for a role, don’t forget about your soft skills. You can look at past experiences and how they might apply – even if they weren’t in a tech role.
Get a Certification
To stand out, you can also pursue an industry certification. In addition to your degree, these will show employers that you’re motivated to keep sharpening your skills and learning new trends. These should be added to your resume and your LinkedIn profile to ensure potential employers and recruiters see them.
Build a Network
In addition, it’s essential use your connections to try to land a role. If someone recommends you for a position, it can have a larger impact on a recruiter or hiring manager than just a random resume. If you don’t have any contacts in the field yet, then you can try to build your network. You can do this by attending industry events, and even try to find a mentor to help you through your job search.
Start at the Bottom
When starting, it’s also important to be willing to start in an entry-level position. It may be more important to get a job at a good company and work your way up than to try to find a more advanced role right away. The on-the-job training will provide invaluable skills and will help project you towards more senior and higher-paying roles. It will also introduce you to other tech jobs so you can determine where to specialize and what roles you might want to pursue in the future.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com.