5 Best and 5 Worst Cities for IT Salaries

Want to know where IT professionals make the highest -- and the lowest -- salaries? We dig into Kforce's 2014 Salary and Employment Guide to see where today's tech workers make the most and the least, the top paying IT roles in each city, and the cost of living for each community.

IT salary, IT career
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IT professionals are in high demand. As an expert in your field you deserve to be paid what you're worth, but the highest salary doesn't always equate to the best compensation. Factors such as cost of living, commuting time and more all play a part in the decision to pack up and try somewhere new.

Each year Kforce, a professional staffing firm, releases its Salary and Employment Guide that looks at what IT skills are most in demand and what cities are paying them the most.

Cost of living index numbers are courtesy of the Council for Community and Economic Research based on based on 307 urban areas. The national average for cost of living index is based on a score of 100.

Los Angeles, California
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5. Los Angeles, California

The City of Angels begins our look at the top 5 highest paying cities. In LA tech workers on average make $109,000 annually and the top paying roles are no surprise.

Role and Average Salary:

CIO: $309,400
VP/Director of Systems Engineering: $185,500
Systems Engineering Director: $152,900
ERP Application Architect: $149,900
Quality Assurance Director: $144,800

ERP makes several appearances in the countdown and LA is no different. That skillset clocks in at the 4th highest paying role.

Cost of Living Index:
129.8

New York, New York
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4. New York, New York

Next in Kforce's rankings is the Big Apple. In New York City IT Pros, on average, earn $100,100 a year, according to Kforce numbers. These are the 5 top paying roles there.

Role and Average Salary:

CIO:  $248,900
VP/Director of Systems Engineering:  $167,500
Quality Assurance Director: $149,500
Database Architect:  $148,100
Applications Development Manager:  $136,400

This is the first city where database architect showed up in the Top 5, and New York is the only place where applications development manager makes an appearance.

Cost of Living Index:
183.1

Boston, Massachusetts
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3. Boston, Massachusetts

Beantown hits the charts at number 3 on our list of where IT pros make the most. Tech workers here on average earn $111,700 annually. The top paying roles here include the following:

Role and Average Salary:

CIO:  $239,200
VP/Director of Systems Engineering:  $161,200
ERP Application Architect:  $155,000
Mobile App Developer:  $147,500
Business Intelligence Architect/Designer:  $142,500
Configuration/Release Management:  $142,500

What's surprising here is that Boston is paying Business Intelligence architects more than anywhere else and configuration and release management makes its only appearance on our list in the Hub.

Cost of Living Index:
140.1

San Diego, California
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2. San Diego, California

San Diego, also known as the City in Motion, came in at number 2. On average, IT pros in this city make $116,200 annually. Here are the roles leading the pack in San Diego, in regards to salary, for 2013.

Role and Average Salary:

CIO:  $250,000
VP/Director of Systems Engineering:  $200,000
Business Application Director:  $160,000
Systems Engineering Director:  $160,000
Technical Service Director:  $160,000
Infrastructure Director:  $160,000

Cost of Living Index:
130.8

San Francisco/ Silicon Valley/San Jose, California
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1. San Francisco/ Silicon Valley/San Jose, California

California is home to the two cities that tie for the number 1 spot. In both San Francisco and San Jose the average IT professional makes $118,300 annually. According to the Kforce's 2014 Salary and Employment Guide these are the fives roles that top the salary list in this part of the country.

Role and Average Salary:

CIO:  $265,000
Mobile App Developer:  $155,000
ERP Application Architect:  $152,000
Applications Development Manager:  $151,000
Quality Assurance Director:  $147,000

San Francisco Cost of Living Index:
162.7

San Jose Cost of Living Index:
151.9

Atlanta, Georgia
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5. Atlanta, Georgia

The Big Peach is where we start our look at the lowest paying cities. It's the 5th lowest paying city, according to Kforce's research. IT workers in this region earn an average $86,900 a year. Here's a look at the top paying roles within Atlanta.

Role and Average Salary:

CIO:  $215,400
VP/Director of Systems Engineering:  $132,400
Technical Service Director:  $126,400
Applications Development Manager:  $115,800
ERP Application Architect:  $115,700

Cost of Living Index
95.0

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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4. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Steel City is number 4 on our list. Here IT professionals earn an average $85,100 annually. The roles that earn the highest salaries here include the following:

Role and Average Salary:

CIO:  $204,400
ERP Application Architect:  $131,100
NOC/SOC Designer:  $130,000
Technical Service Director:  $126,100
VP/Director of Systems Engineering:  $125,100

Network on a Chip (NOC) and System on Chip (SOC) designers makes their premiere in the Top 5 highest paying roles in this region coming in at number 3 for Pittsburgh.

Cost of Living Index
93.9

Kansas City, Kansas
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3. Kansas City, Kansas

The Heart of America sits at number 3 on the list of cities where IT pros make the least on average. The average for all IT workers in this region is $83,500 and here are the top paying roles.

Role and Average Salary:

CIO:  $156,400
Quality Assurance Director:  $119,100
ERP Application Architect:  $116,500
Data Center Manager:  $112,500
Technical Service Director:  $107,200

Cost of Living Index
99.2

Indianapolis, Indiana
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2. Indianapolis, Indiana

Indianapolis, sometimes referred to as Circle City, is number 2 on the list of cities that pay tech workers the least. Workers here earn an average of $82,900 in salary annually. Here is what those at the top of the food chain in IT are making in Indianapolis.

Role and Average Salary:

CIO:  $142,400
Mobile App Developer:  $132,200
IT Director:  $127,100
VP/Director of Systems Engineering:  $127,100
ERP Application Architect:  $106,800

Cost of Living Index
92.6

Grand Rapids, Michigan
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1 . Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids, Mich., also known as “Furniture City” because it was the first place in the U.S. to mass produce furniture, is the lowest paying city for IT professionals, according to Kforce numbers. Tech workers in this region average $79,300 annually and the following roles are the highest paid roles in this city.

Role and Average Salary:

CIO:  $169,300
ERP Application Architect:  $102,700
Business Application Director:  $101,300
Technical Service Director:  $100,200
IT Director:  $98,000

IT Director makes its first appearance on our list in the city of Grand Rapids.

Cost of Living Index
91.5