It seems as though Silicon Valley tops the charts anytime somebody talks about the best regions or cities for job growth and pay. With thousands of companies across virtually every industry and sector choosing to call the region home, it’s easy to understand why.
Companies want to be in San Francisco, which has helped the Bay Area’s employment base to swell to more than 3.7 million workers. These professionals collectively earn an average household income of more than $96,000—substantially higher than the national average of $57,617.
Put simply, workers—especially technically-skilled professionals—are in high demand.
If you’re a job seeker in the Silicon Valley area (including the San Francisco Bay and surrounding communities), that means that it’s never been a better time to find high-paying work.
Below, we explore some of the region’s highest-paying jobs, segmented by industry. Additionally, we offer some advice and tips that job-seekers can use to increase their chances of getting noticed and hired for one of these competitive, alluring positions.
Highest-Paying Jobs in the San Francisco Bay Area
1. Science & Technology
If you’re like most people, when you think of high-paying jobs in Silicon Valley, you probably think of the science and technology sector—and for good reason. The region is a major hub for tech companies large and small, from giants like Facebook, Salesforce, and Apple to startups of all sizes, maturity levels, and industry focus.
In fact, there are more than 300 IT firms in the region, according to the San Francisco Center for Economic Development (SFCED), which employ more than 71,000 tech professionals. That’s an increase of more than 165 percent from 2006.
According to an analysis of Bay Area area salaries conducted by Zippia (using Bureau of Labor Statistics data), these are the highest paying information, science, and technology-focused jobs in San Francisco and Silicon Valley:
- Computer and Information Systems Manager: $184,290
- Computer Network Architect: $139,110
- Computer Hardware Engineer: $137,790
- Software Developer (Systems Software): $130,610
- Computer and Information Research Scientist: $127,060
- Software Developer (Applications): $117,770
Because Silicon Valley is known as a technology capital of the world, many people covet these top jobs, making it potentially more difficult to break into the tech industry compared to others. As such, having relevant work experience and education is critical. Advanced degrees in fields such as computer science, information systems, or computer engineering for IoT can help job applicants demonstrate expertise while also gaining the relevant, hands-on experience that employers want from candidates.
Analytics often gets lumped into the same bucket as science and technology. Because they are closely related, it’s easy to understand why. However, analysts don’t just support the tech industry. From business and finance to insurance, security, credit, information, and yes, science and technology, the analytics industry plays a substantial role in Silicon Valley’s burgeoning economy.
According to Vital Signs, a website run by the Metropolitan Transportation Center of the San Francisco Bay Area, the region has the highest share of information jobs of any major metro, and the industry has grown by 20 percent since 2013.
This increased demand has led analytics-focused roles to command competitive salaries. According to BLS data, these are the highest-paying analytics-focused jobs in the Bay Area:
- Financial Analyst: $137,810
- Statistician: $119,460
- Management Analyst: $119,040
- Credit Analyst: $116,120
- Computer Systems Analyst: $115,210
- Information Security Analyst: $108,340
Those interested in working in a data-focused role can increase their chances of being chosen for the job by ensuring that they have the appropriate educational background. A Master of Science in Information Systems or Analytics can speak volumes about your capabilities, especially if it is supported by relevant experience.
3. Business & Management
The San Francisco Bay Area isn’t just a major technology center: It’s a major business center, period. Companies across all industries, sectors, and maturity levels—from startups to fully mature corporations—operate out of the region, which explains why the city is sometimes referred to as the “New York City of the West Coast.”
If there is one thing that all companies need to be successful, regardless of industry or maturity, it’s qualified leadership who is able to see a project or initiative through from conception to completion. That’s why, according to Vital Signs, one out of every five jobs in the Bay Area is in the professional and business services sector.
These are the highest-paying job titles in the business and management sector in the Bay Area:
- Chief Executive: $226,570
- Financial Manager: $186,740
- Marketing Manager: $186,320
- Sales Manager: $159,210
- General and Operations Manager: $155,580
- Human Resources Manager: $154,620
Being able to demonstrate experience managing a project or team is probably the single most important qualification for anyone seeking one of these leadership-focused positions. In addition to experience, however, it is also often expected that managers and executives hold an advanced degree. Earning a Master of Science in Project Management or a Master of Business Administration can help you learn the skills you need to be successful while also helping you develop the valuable, real-world experience that employers expect from leadership candidates.
Finding Your Edge
For job-seekers in the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s never been more important to be able to find an edge and differentiate yourself from other applicants. High pay, combined with the benefits and prestige of working at one of the many companies that call the Bay Area home, means increased competition for even entry-level positions in many of these fields.
Fortunately, there are ways that you can increase your chances of getting through the earliest stages of the hiring process and in front of a hiring manager. Earning an advanced degree that applies to the industry that you are interested in working in is one such way—especially if that degree is not commonly held by others who may be applying for the same positions.
The academic programs offered by Northeastern University in the Bay Area can help. By bringing together challenging academics, experiential learning, and faculty members with industry experience, they’re designed to meet the unique needs of Bay Area businesses.