Software Developers: Highest Salaries by Industry

For developers and software engineers with an aspiration to work in an industry with high pay, financial services may not be what you’re looking for, even in the United States. Other industries such as education also lag behind.

The new developer skills report from HackerRank, the coding challenge platform used by many companies to recruit engineers, suggests that financial institutions’ technology salaries are so-so. Based on insights from 116,648 developers globally, HackerRank says the really big developer salaries are to be found in a variety of other industries.

The chart below illustrates where the best developer salaries are found by geographic region and industry. While financial-services developers’ salaries are mostly higher than the average all over the world, they are never the highest. Automotive & transport, gaming, and retail/e-commerce tend to rule when it comes to salaries, while technology also does well. (Meanwhile, Dice’s 2020 Salary Report plugs technologists’ annual salaries overall at $94,000 in 2019—just a 1.3 percent increase from 2018; that number increases depending on skills and locations.)

On average, the financial services industry ranks fourth for developers’ pay globally, behind media, entertainment and gaming, healthcare and the automotive industry.

For software developers and engineers of all types, it might be worth considering a jump to another industry in 2020. After all, with tech unemployment rates notably low, many employers are more than happy to negotiate over things like benefits, perks, and increased salaries.

There are a few other key takeaways from HackerRank’s data. Firstly, that you can earn way more as a developer in America than anywhere else. Secondly, that technology companies are not necessarily the biggest payers (at least in terms of salary; restricted stock units, bonuses, and perks can make all the difference, especially at larger companies). Thirdly, that building shopping sites won’t pay you comparatively well (well, maybe if you work for Amazon or Walmart Labs). Lastly, that you can combine a good salary with a sense of purpose if you work in tech healthcare, especially in America.

Finally, it’s worth noting that HackerRank’s salaries cover developer pay in all of financial services, not just at major investment banks or hedge funds, which will pay a bit better. JPMorgan, for example, pays associate level technologists in its investment bank in New York salaries of $120,000. Associates typically have around five years’ experience. 

A modified version of this article originally appeared in eFinancialCareers.