The engineering track at AmaGooBookSoft. You'll earn +/- $200k a year mid-career and have roughly zero market or execution risk.
There exist many options if you're willing to take more than a W-2 employee level of risk. (e.g. Found a boutique consultancy. Redirect the conversation when your W-2 friends ask what your weekly rate is.)
Finally, the 0th option: if your local economy doesn't have the job you want, make it for yourself.
Why is it this way? Because there are more programmers who can do your job than there are managers who can manage you. You can argue that's unfair, but it's the way it is. The managers have skills that are in demand, and despite what the general HN attitude towards managers/executives is they are important to the success of most businesses.