Editorial Note: Opinions and thoughts are the writer’s own and not those of AFROTECH.

Inflation is up, so your salary should be going up too. And there’s no better place to get a higher salary than in the Information Technology field.

With the ever-growing demand for skilled IT professionals, the IT industry has many high-salary opportunities to offer. Whether you are an experienced IT professional looking to level up or someone considering a career transition into the IT sector, it is possible to land a six-figure job offer in IT with some research and preparation.

1. Identify a high-paying in-demand niche

The IT industry is pretty wide, so start by identifying in-demand niches with high salaries. This crucial first step will help you narrow down your focus so you can create a strategic plan on how to get into that specific field. Most people cast a wide net and find themselves going around in circles because they get confused by the different options they are pursuing. In order to avoid this confusion, research different IT fields like cybersecurity, data science, software development and cloud computing to see which best matches your interests and salary goals.  It is also important to look into any barriers to entry when performing this research. Ideally, job seekers should look for roles without barriers; for example one that does not require certifications to get started would be a great role to aim for.

2. Acquire in-demand skills and training

Companies hire people that have the skills to meet their business needs, so the next step is to acquire the skills required to start in the identified IT field. Start by reviewing the required skills listed in the job descriptions of online job postings. Job postings typically list the required skills for job roles, so it’s relatively easy for job seekers to get insights into the job responsibilities for areas that they are interested in. Look at multiple job postings to get a comprehensive idea of the key skills required to perform the job.

After identifying the required skills, you can begin acquiring them by studying and completing relevant training in that area. While acquiring skills, you can also develop a portfolio of projects that showcase your skills and achievements. Open-source contributions on sites like LinkedIn can also bolster your credibility. If required for the selected field, industry-recognized certifications can be obtained. But before embarking on getting a certification, make sure it’s not something that can be acquired later as you get more experience in the field. Some roles will allow professionals to start without certifications and employers might even pick up the tab for the certification after you’ve been hired.

3. Develop a six-figure profile

You have to look the part when you’re looking for a six-figure job. To develop a profile that can get you a six-figure offer, start by updating your resume and professional online profile to reflect the new skills you have acquired for your targeted job role. You should also review your current resume for any transferable skills you have from previous roles and reposition them as such. The skills in your resume should include both the hard skills that you acquired and any relevant soft skills for the new role. Ultimately, your resume should show hiring managers that you have the skills to excel at the job and help them meet their business objectives. Your online profile on LinkedIn or other professional networks you participate in should also be updated to reflect these new skills. This can result in recruiters reaching out to you for roles that are aligned with your new profile.

4. Interview like a six-figure professional

After getting calls for interviews with your new profile, prepare for the interview by researching the company, its culture, recent news, and the position you’re applying for. During the interview, you should emphasize your relevant experience and focus on demonstrating how your skills and achievements align with the company’s needs. Discuss real-world challenges you’ve faced and how you tackled them to showcase your problem-solving skills. IT roles often require collaboration and effective interaction with colleagues and stakeholders. So, in addition to technical skills, emphasize soft skills like communication, teamwork, and leadership abilities.

5. Negotiate with strategy

Companies don’t always offer the best salary first, so before you accept a job offer, make sure you research salary ranges for similar roles in your industry, location, and level of experience. Websites like Glassdoor or industry-specific salary surveys can provide valuable insights.

Clearly articulate your skills, qualifications, and achievements during the negotiation process to demonstrate your value to the company. You also want to discuss other benefits like flexible working arrangements, professional development opportunities, or stock options. These can significantly enhance your overall compensation package.

Landing a six-figure job offer in IT requires strategic planning, continuous learning, and effective communication. You can position yourself for success by identifying in-demand high-salary roles, acquiring relevant skills and certifications, updating your profile, excelling in interviews, and leveraging strategic negotiation tactics. Remember to stay adaptable, embrace lifelong learning, and seize opportunities to grow both technically and professionally. With determination and the right skills, you can achieve your goal of a six-figure IT career.

Peju Adedeji is a Tech Career Coach helping professionals start careers in IT with a focus in IT/Cybersecurity Audit and Compliance. With almost 20 years of experience in the IT/Cybersecurity Audit and Compliance field, including Corporate Training, her coaching programs have been successful in providing students with practical guidance to help them start successful IT careers, often with six-figure offers and no prior experience. Peju‘s goal is to increase the representation of minorities in the IT/Cybersecurity field.