To what extent your earning power is dictated by where you live and work is an open question in employment circles. Things are no different in the IT realm, where factors like supply and demand, cost of living, and the pace of industry growth can all play a role in determining the lay of the land. There are doubtless high salaries to be had just about anywhere that you choose to look for work, but it may be easier to find those "jackpot" jobs in some states than in others. You can get a certification anywhere, but that certification may be worth more in some states than in others.
With that in mind, it could be worth your time to scan a recent feature at CertMag.com that lists the average annual salary of certified IT professionals for every state in America and also the District of Columbia. The data was drawn from the annual Salary Survey conducted each year by Certification Magazine. The most recent results were compiled at the end of 2015 and based on responses from nearly 12,000 tech workers worldwide. About 42 percent of the total body of survey respondents are professionals who live and work in the United States.
If you're looking to cash in and willing to relocate, then it might be worth your time to consider what is apparently an IT hiring and employment hotbed around the nation's capital. Maryland ($130,930), Washington, D.C. ($129,790), and Virginia ($128,570) are the top three U.S. locales for average annual salary. Not at all surprisingly, California ($123,130) offers the fourth-highest average salary, followed by Massachusetts ($123,060), Connecticut ($119,460) and Colorado ($117,350).
There are, of course, a number of states where you're likely to have considerably more trouble finding a high-paying IT gig. Fifty-first on the list (which, remember, includes Washington, D.C.) is Delaware at $75,420. And the average annual salary outlook is only marginally better in Rhode Island ($76,270), Mississippi ($78,500) and Maine ($79,330). On the other hand, the CertMag survey drew responses from every state in the United States, and even the bottom of the pecking order offers much better average compensation than you'll find in many other hiring sectors.
If you haven't found your ideal tech gig yet, don't despair. The bottom line is that good IT jobs are out there, and certification can help you land one.