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Plan Your Path to Riches: Top Tech Careers in Chicago

Chicago is an ideal city in which to launch a tech career, thanks to its wide variety of tech industries and exciting startups. Folks with an inclination toward computers and other high tech gear find lots of opportunities in the city. Having a good notion of the top tech careers in Chicago helps you set your training up with a goal in mind. When you know about the tech fields that Chicago needs and pays well to acquire, your studies will have a purpose and a destination in mind.

Our guide gives you the good stuff and includes no filler. We gathered a list of the top careers in Chicago tech and compared the salaries to the national rates provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In this article, you get details on backend developers, data engineers, security engineers, and web developers. We even let you in on the training required to qualify for the best positions and bring home the fattest paychecks. Our assistance helps you answer the next job posting with confidence.

Back End Developer

Computer programmers come in a number of different varieties, but one of the main distinctions between app developers is the split between front end and backend development. Front end programming deals with client-side operations, while backend programming focuses on server-side operations. Backend programmers are in short supply in Chicagoland and the salaries they receive, which are about $17K below the annual national average of $109K, reflect this fact. 

To become competitive as a back end software engineer, begin by learning the more popular programming codes like JavaScript, Java, CSS, and Python. After you have these languages down, move on to server-friendly languages such as Objective-C and Perl. Work on your database languages like SQL and MySQL, and take the time to pick up enough Linux to navigate servers with confidence.

Data Engineer

Data is the grease that lubes the wheels of modern commerce. (Technically, it’s “data are the grease,” but that sounds weird, right?) Businesses built in Chicago rely upon data collection and analysis to give them direction and ensure that their products reach the right market. Data engineers design and support the infrastructure that collects, stores, and delivers the data to analysts, and Chicago startups and enterprise-level companies want to give them lots of cash. Local data engineers clear as much as $131K a year, which is above the national average of $101K.

You don’t need a degree from a local Chicago university to compete for the plum data engineer gigs. All it takes is self-motivation and study time. Train up in database administration, which takes a lot of your day as a data engineer. Network skills are a must-have, so take a Cisco course or two and start accumulating certifications. Before long, you’re bound to land your dream data engineering gig.

Security Engineer

Keeping data secure isn’t the most glamorous job in the world, but it’s a vital one that offers excellent pay and lots of excitement. Chicago tech companies all want the best security experts to help them protect their proprietary data and personal customer information, and they pay really well. Expect to make $158K or more as a Chicago-based security engineer; that amount compares favorably with the national rate of about $102K.

Data engineering requires a cross-section of skills. Networking skills are the priority and deserve the lion’s share of your study time. Sun and Cisco both offer certification tracks and training programs that let you get plenty of hands-on time with equipment. Your work in security also involves time working with servers, so get comfortable with Linux, especially Ubuntu and Red Hat.

Web Developer

Every Chicago business, from pizza places to hair salons, has a website. Every business wants to keep its website updated and looking its best to attract new customers and retain the old ones. If you know your way around code and like to manipulate web pages and apps, a career as a Chicago web developer is perfect for your interests. Web developers in Chicago make $90K on average, which is close to the overall United States average of $78K.

Programmers need to know as much code as possible to be competitive, so start your training by catching up on the most-used languages. JavaScript, C++, Python, and Java all come in handy for the average developer. Brush up on your math skills, which you use all the time as a coder. Create independent projects to give yourself experience and have evidence to point to during your next job interview.

And that’s it, lovely readers. Chicago is a tech hub that offers limitless opportunities for techies who know where to look. Our guide gives you an idea of the careers in tech that are hot in Chicago and helps you identify the training required to compete with other applicants.

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