Built In’s 2020 Chicago Tech Salary Guides

See how your salary stacks up.

Written by Tatum Hunter
Published on Feb. 25, 2020
Built In’s 2020 Chicago Tech Salary Guides

tech salaries chicago

Research shows there’s a lot more to job satisfaction than money — but competitive compensation is still instrumental for people deciding whether to join or stay with a company.

Based on our salary data, collected from thousands of people across the local tech ecosystem, salaries for Chicago’s tech workforce increased just a bit more than inflation from 2018 to 2019. For a few positions, however, salaries got a more notable boost.

Compensation for data scientists increased 13 percent year over year, from $105,000 to $119,000. The median customer success manager’s salary grew even more, jumping 21 percent from $63,000 to $76,500.

Of the positions featured here, software engineers were the best paid, with senior-level employees making a median income of $133,500 in 2019. Right behind them were data engineers at $120,000, followed closely by data scientists at $119,000.

With Chicago’s city government and local tech companies pledging to add 2,000 new tech jobs in 2020, the city’s tech workforce — and, ideally, its salaries — should continue to grow on pace with broader economic trends.

Here’s a breakdown of the skills, responsibilities and median salaries for some of the most sought-after tech roles in Chicago. If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, check out our Salary Guide.

Average Chicago Tech Salaries for 2020

  • Front-End Developer: $97,500
  • Software Engineer: $111,000
  • DevOps Engineer: $118,000
  • Data Scientist: $119,000
  • Data Engineer: $120,000
  • Product Manger: $115,000
  • UX Designer: $87,000
  • Sales Account Executive: $70,000


local developer engineer salaries

Front-End Developer

Front-end developers create the parts of a website users interact with. Using HTML, CSS, JavaScript and other tools, they make sure websites and applications are fast, navigable, scalable and visually appealing.

Median salary:
2019: $97,500

Common responsibilities:

  • Develop high-quality web applications

  • Communicate with cross-functional teams, including designers, back-end developers and product managers

  • Perform quality assurance checks

Common skills: HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, jQuery, AJAX, PHP, Python, Ruby, Git, content management systems, LAMP-based servers


Software Engineer

Also called programmers or back-end developers, software engineers write code that establishes the computational logic of a website or software. While front-end developers work on elements users interact with directly, back-end developers make sure the behind-the-scenes software does what it’s supposed to do.

Median salary:
2019:  $111,000

Senior Software Engineer — 3-5 years experience
2018: $128,000
2019: $133,500

Common responsibilities:

  • Use agile software development practices like pair programming, testing and small, frequent code commits

  • Work with design team and product manager to design, build and release products on schedule

  • Stay up to date on new, useful programming languages and open source projects

Common skills: database management, RESTFUL APIs, cloud infrastructure services, Java technologies


DevOps Engineer

DevOps engineers are a bridge between development teams and IT teams. As a discipline, DevOps creates overlap between the people who design and build a product and the people who operate it, allowing teams to release and tweak products more efficiently.

Median salary:
2019: $118,000

Common responsibilities:

  • Help optimize operational processes, and use operational feedback to improve products

  • Set up and monitor automated tests

  • Maintain system and data security

Common skills: cloud infrastructure services, CICD technologies, query tools, data visualization tools, APIs, programming languages including Python, Hadoop and Spark


local data scientist salaries

Data Scientist

Data scientists help companies collect and analyze data to improve their products, processes and services. That may include building models, creating algorithms and communicating insights to stakeholders.

Median salary:
2019: $119,000

Common responsibilities:

  • Apply statistical techniques to data to glean helpful insights or solve problems

  • Present findings to technical and non-technical audiences

  • Use behavioral data to create customer segmentations and profiles

Common skills: Machine learning, data mining, data modeling, gig data technologies including Hadoop, Databricks, R, Python, SQL and SAS


Data Engineer

Data engineers set up and maintain data infrastructures for their organizations. They work with a variety of programming languages to set up processes for data acquisition, transformation and modeling — as well as machine learning and other AI work.

Median salary:
2019: $120,000

Common responsibilities:

  • Work with data architects to create a data pipeline

  • Manipulate data in preparation for modeling and analysis

  • Build frameworks for data migration

Common skills: ETL and data warehouse technologies, machine learning, knowledge of relational and multi-dimensional database architecture, knowledge of testing methodologies, knowledge of relevant programming languages like Hadoop, Python, Go or Ruby


local product manager salaries

Product Manager

Product managers oversee the development of products, from design to building to shipment. They must have excellent communication and project-planning skills to help design, data and engineering teams work well together.

Median salary:
2019: $115,000

Common responsibilities:

  • Create and maintain a product development budget and schedule

  • Analyze data and communicate with clients and customer-facing teams to understand new product and feature needs

  • Track and report KPIs

Common skills: Business intelligence tools, programming languages and workflows, product development methodologies such as Agile, A/B testing, people management, presentations


local marketing manager salaries

Marketing Manager

A marketing manager analyzes trends and best practices, then oversees their team’s efforts to drive demand for a product or service. They must collaborate with executives to align marketing campaigns with company goals and, often, with outside vendors to create a variety of marketing content.

Median salary:
2019: $88,000

Common responsibilities:

  • Conduct or commission consumer research

  • Align creative assets with business needs

  • Communicate with other departments to assess the effectiveness of marketing campaigns

Common skills: Digital KPIs, project management, people management, statistics, content optimization engines, presentations, A/B testing


local UX design salaries

UX Designer

A UX designer uses research, user personas, prototypes and product tests to make products as engaging and user-friendly as possible. Their considerations include the graphic design and information architecture of a product.

Median salary:
2019: $87,000

Common responsibilities:

  • Create use cases, user scenarios, wire frames, user flows, prototypes, site architecture and proof of concept documents

  • Work with designers and copywriters to provide complete UX frameworks to engineering teams

  • Test features, analyze data and harness feedback to iterate on UX design

Common skills: Adobe Creative Suite, HTML5, CSS3, interactive design, information architecture, responsive web design


local sales salaries

Sales Account Executive

Account executives work with sales development representatives to find and pursue business leads. Much of their job consists of outbound sales calls and presentations to prospects sourced by development reps. After making a sale, executives usually pass accounts off to account managers.

Median salary:
2019: $70,000

Common responsibilities:

  • Research a potential client’s pain points and unique business needs

  • Develop sales scripts and strategies for outreach

  • Aggressively pursue new business leads

Common skills: Salesforce, Excel, needs analysis, opportunity management, negotiation, presentations, sales methodologies


Sales Account Manager

An account manager owns the company’s relationships with clients. Once sales development representatives and account executives source and secure a sale, account managers take over, ensuring the customer gets what they need and positioning the team for upsells and renewals.

Median salary:
2019: $68,000

Common responsibilities:

  • Communicate with clients to track business needs and assess satisfaction

  • Work in tandem with customer success team to build strong client relationships

  • Periodically negotiate upsells and renewals

Common skills: Excel, Salesforce, negotiation, financial analysis, sales methodologies, portfolio management, presentations


Sales Development Representative

Sales development representatives identify, qualify and reach out to sales leads for their organizations. Their job isn’t to close deals, but to build industry knowledge and contacts and maintain a steady pipeline of business prospects.

Median salary:
2019: $46,000

Common responsibilities:

  • Conduct lead qualification, prospecting and, sometimes, outreach

  • Connect with potential clients in person when needed, including at events and trade shows

  • Work with sales team to seamlessly hand off qualified leads

Common skills: Salesforce, Excel, revenue research tools such as LinkedIn Navigator, cold calls, presentations


Client Success Manager

Client success managers help their teams successfully support and retain existing clients. This includes educating customers, measuring results and satisfaction, dealing with problems and setting account managers up for renewals.

Median salary:
2019: $76,500

Common responsibilities:

  • Optimize renewal and upsell rates

  • Build strong relationships with decision-makers on the client side

  • Share customer perspectives and success stories to influence product decisions

Common skills: People management, KPI identification and tracking, change management, conflict resolution, program management

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