Looking for the Highest Paying Tech Jobs in Chicago? Pursue These Skills

Chicago Lakeshore Skyline including Sears Tower and Lake Michigan

Chicago is one of the 15 highest paying cities for IT talent and keeps pace with big tech hubs and up-and-comers alike. That said, how do you secure top flight compensation for yourself? By pursuing the right technical skills. In our experience, if you possess the following IT skillsets, you’ll land one of the highest paying tech jobs in Chicago with relative ease.

Next-Level Big Data Skills

There’s no shortage of interesting and complex data in Chicago businesses. The wide array of trading firms, healthcare companies, and data-driven startups is only the tip of the iceberg. And if you’re one of the elite professionals who can help decode meaning from complex data sets, then you’ll have plenty of opportunities on your plate.

For local analysts, developers, or data scientists, these are the skills that will define your IT consulting in Chicago.

  • Kafka – Companies across industries are recognizing their own potential for streaming data analysis. Financial companies make real-time trading decisions, logistic companies can improve preventative maintenance, and healthcare companies can increase the accuracy of their diagnosis. Any IT professionals who can implement tools like Cassandra within their organization can earn $127,554 on average.
  • Elasticsearch – Our expectations for analysis are at the point where we won’t tolerate much lag. For that reason, the open-source search engine Elasticsearch has become the go-to for organizations that want real-time analysis of billions of records (regardless of type) in seconds. High-demand companies (Financial firms near LaSalle Street, regional tech headquarters, etc.) are willing to pay $123,933 on average.
  • Apache Spark – Companies that demand streaming and machine learning capabilities to gain real-time insights or complex analyses rely on this open-source analytics engine. Developers or data professionals with this skill can earn $113,291 on average.

Top Cybersecurity Certifications

Our 2019 IT Salary Guide found that Security Engineers can make up to $127,213 in the right opportunities. With top trading firms, financial companies, and healthcare organizations throughout Chicago, there are more than enough high-paying jobs on the docket. And if you possess any of the following uncommon certifications, you can expect top-notch compensation:

  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) – Companies are eager to know the status of their cybersecurity, but there isn’t enough talent to satisfy the need. Right now, there are only 1,280 certification holders in Chicago for every 2,055 jobs (.623 per job). Get this globally recognized certification, and you can heighten your demand in the local market.
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) – On a day-to-day basis, Chicago companies need professionals who can protect their operations and implement effective threat responses. As a CISSP, you can prove to businesses that you’re on-par with the best security professionals out there. Since there are only 1,436 CISSP holders compared to the 3,318 jobs openings (.433 per job), you can expect exceptional compensation.
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) – If you’re at the leadership level, the CISM is a great way to certify your ability to align cybersecurity tactics with business goals. And since there are 413 CISM holders for 1,340 openings (.308 per job), companies are willing to pay top dollar for your talents.


Companies recognize that the quality of their website conveys a clear message to their customers, future employees, and the general public. Yet in Chicago, there’s a shortage of professionals to satisfy that need. According to the 2019 LinkedIn Workforce Report, web development is among the 10 scarcest skillsets among Chicagoans, and in general, businesses are seeking any type of developer skills.

For those looking for the highest paying Chicago tech jobs, be sure to demonstrate these skills in your resume:

  • Go/Golang – In the Dice 2019 Tech Salary Report, Golang is the highest paying skill on the market. Professionals can earn as much as $132,827 in places as diverse as Google, fintech startups, and healthcare organizations.
  • Java and Python – In Q2 of 2019, Cook County found that some of the most commonly sought after IT skills in Chicago were Java and Python. Though they’re high on the TIOBE Index, having these skills is a foundational requirement for plenty of higher paying jobs.

Want to learn how to get the best ROI from your IT career? Check out our 2019 IT Salary Guide to learn the top paying positions and skills for you.