Programming Languages: The Average Software Engineer Salary and Demand in 2015

Aug 06, 2015

Do you want to know which programming skills will get you hired fastest or pay the best? Perhaps you are at the other end of the bench, wondering how much software development costs? No matter which side of the equation you’re on, this article can help. We have used the newest IT statistics reports available online to produce a detailed overview of the global demand for programming languages and the average engineer salary in the US, UK, and Australia.

Read also: How Many Software Engineers Are There in Ukraine, Really?

The Average Software Engineer Salary: General Trends

As of May 2015, out of approximately 500 thousand tech job adverts analyzed by Gooroo, the three most in-demand programming languages are Java, JavaScript, and C#. However, other sources which analyzed data from IT Jobs Watch and Dice, place SQL on top of the list.

SQL isn’t a language in the same sense as, say, Java or PHP. It is used to retrieve and manipulate data, so it is a declarative language. And yet it is still a programming language, so we thought we would add it to our overview.

Java, JavaScript and C# may be high in demand, but Java, JavaScript and C# programmer salaries definitely aren’t paying the best. Low demand, niche languages, such as Erlang, Clojure, Haskell, Scala, F# and others, are paying up to $120,000 annually, while the ones that are most sought after by employers are offering from $85,000 to $100,000.

 

It is worth noting though that many of the rarer skills are mentioned as desired by employers who want to hire Java developers.

Those who want to hire PHP developers and Scheme developers are offering the lowest salaries - around $70,000.

Software Engineer Salaries in the USA: Java is the Most In Demand, Erlang Pays the Best

Java tops Gooroo’s list of the most in-demand languages in the US, paying about $115,000. JavaScript is the runner-up, paying a little less, around $107,000.

On average, jobs mentioning C# and C offer as much as JavaScript, but the demand for them is lower. They are found in about 7.5 - 8 percent of software development job adverts, while the first two are mentioned in 12,5 - 15 percent.

The average software programmer salary which C++ and Python roles are commanding this May is equal to Java programmers' salaries, but employers aren’t looking for them quite as often. For each job advert mentioning C++ or Python developers, there are at least two mentioning experienced Java developers.

Low demand, niche languages are showing the most variation in salaries of software engineers in the USA: from $100,000 for Prolog to $145,000 or Erlang.

 

Other sources provide slightly different information. In its list of 8 most-in-demand programming languages based on Dice, a database of current computer programmer jobs, Coding Dojo places SQL ahead of all the other languages. Tech job adverts mention SQL 1.5 times more often than Java, and twice as often as JavaScript, which come second and third.

C#, Python and C++ occupy the middle section of the scale. Ruby and Swift/iOS developers come last in this list.

Software Engineer Salaries in the UK: In Love with C#, But Rare Tech Pays Better

According to Gooroo, an overwhelming majority of UK-based employers want to hire C# developers. The language can be found in as much as a third of all software development job adverts posted in May. Salaries, however, are closer to the lower end of the pay scale, hovering around £45,000 a year.

JavaScript software developer salaries in the UK are approximately the same, but only 26 percent of job ads mention this language.

The third place belongs to Java, which offers software developers around £10,000 more than the first two languages. The average Ruby programmer salary and Python programmer salary are about the same, but these languages are found in only 3 - 6 percent of tech job postings.

Low demand languages show the largest variation in salaries: from about £36,000 for Visual Basic to £70,000 for Haskell and Clojure.

Unlike Gooroo, Tech World, which has used market tracker IT Jobs Watch as a base for their research, says that employers are most interested in SQL. C# comes next, followed closely by JavaScript and Java. The end of the list is occupied by Ruby, Perl, and Visual Basic. Both Gooroo and Tech World agree that the latter is the lowest paying language in the UK. PHP programmers are second to last in both sources, making about £40,000 a year.

Australia: JavaScript, C# and Java Leave Other Languages Far Behind

About 13 percent of tech job ads which appeared this May in Australia mention JavaScript, placing it on top of the list of the most in-demand programming languages. C# and Java follow very closely; they appear in 12.5 and 12 percent of job ads respectively. All three languages are offering approximately the same salaries: $100,000 AUD annually.  

 

There is a sizeable gap between the top three programming languages and the rest in Australia. For every job ad mentioning C or C++ there are two or three mentioning JavaScript, C# or Java.

Niche languages are obviously very low in demand, but in most cases they pay more than the three leading skills.

The Takeaway

  • The demand for SQL is higher than it is for all the other programming languages.
  • The average Java programmer salary is the highest compared to what other procedural programming languages offer globally, and the demand for it is also reaches the top mark, but it is starting to be challenged by JavaScript and C#.
  • The UK is loving C#, but the average C# developer salary is £10,000 lower than what Java has to offer.
  • The average Ruby developer salary and Python developer salary are about the same as that of Java engineers, but the demand for these technologies is not as high.
  • The demand for JavaScript in Australia is the highest, but C# and Java follow closely.

Did these figures meet your expectations about the demand for programming languages and the salaries they offer? If you are a software developer, we hope you are not being underpaid. And if you’re an employer, we hope you are paying your programmers what they deserve.

However, if you are not ready to spend so much on software development, we have some good news for you. Programmers who live in the US, UK and Australia have some of the highest salaries in the world, but there are countries where the cost of tech talent is substantially lower.

Ukraine, for example, is one of the most innovative countries in the world. There are over 90 thousand developers here, who use both popular and lesser known programming languages.

In Ukraine, you can hire dedicated Java developers, offshore PHP developers as well as programmers skilled in other technologies.

Saving money isn’t the only reason to give Ukrainian developers a chance. Check out this article on why staffing in Ukraine is a good idea.

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Read more:

Remote Developers Love Their Jobs and Are More Experienced than Their In-House Peers

IT Salaries: Which Countries Pay the Best?

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