12 Programming Languages That Pay Ultra-High Salaries

If you’re a software developer or engineer, you’re no doubt interested in which programming languages translate into the highest salaries. And in that case, we have good news for you: Knowing some of the world’s most common programming languages will elevate your chances of landing a position that pays six figures per year.

But there’s a bit of a caveat here: jobs utilizing the various programming languages aren’t estimated to grow at the same rate in the years ahead. In fact, usage may shrink depending on the demands of the overall tech industry. So it pays (literally) to keep an eye on the overall adoption and usage of certain languages.

To delve into all of these issues, we turned to Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country. Specifically, we wanted to find out the median salary for each language; the languages’ respective 10-year growth; and the percentage of software developer/engineer jobs requesting each language. Here’s what the database returned:

Before we go further, there are some helpful things to point out. First, the Burning Glass database didn’t present useful data on certain well-established and up-and-coming languages, such as C# and Kotlin. Nonetheless, we feel that the 12 languages here are a very broad cross-section of the languages commonly in use (for context, check out the programming-language rankings offered by RedMonk and TIOBE, which shows how they rank within the programming-language ecosystem).  

Second, although the Burning Glass database produces median salaries for various skills, very few technologist jobs focus exclusively on one language; for example, a job advertised as “Python developer” might also ask applicants for Java and JavaScript knowledge, depending on the employer’s ultimate mission and projects. That’s why so many of the languages listed above are present in a mind-boggling 30 percent of job postings; employers often ask for candidates to possess knowledge of multiple languages (oftentimes, that’s an attempt to draw in as many qualified applicants as possible, honestly).

What can we conclude? If you want to specialize in languages that pay quite a bit and have a great estimated growth trajectory over the next decade, choose Python, Swift, and/or Go. Meanwhile, Objective-C and Visual Basic seem to be on a pretty steep descent (in Objective-C’s case, that’s totally understandable, as Apple really wants developers using Swift instead).

If you want to learn Python (and master it to the point where you can land a six-figure developer job), head over to Python.org, which offers a handy beginner’s guide. As you begin your learning journey, you might also consider Microsoft’s video series, “Python for Beginners,” with dozens of lessons (most under five minutes in length; none longer than 13 minutes). There’s also a variety of Python tutorials and books (some of which will cost a monthly fee) that will teach you the nuances of the language.

There’s also a ton of documentation about Swift, particularly at Swift.org. If you need a refresher, Dice also has short tutorials on functionsloopssetsarrays, and strings.

Go’s fans, meanwhile, boast that it has the runtime efficiency of C++ and the readability of Python or JavaScript. It also topped HackerRank’s 2020 Developer Skills Report as the language that developers most want to learn next. For documentation and learning, visit Golang.org first. While Go isn’t as prevalent as Python or Swift, Burning Glass’s data clearly suggests it’s on a pathway to solid growth over the next decade—which is more than you can say for some other languages.

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21 Responses to “12 Programming Languages That Pay Ultra-High Salaries”

  1. ILemming

    What a bogus, strange article that doesn’t even mention a single programming language that is used in FinTech. Where’s Clojure and F#, OCaml and Haskell, actual languages that are rated highest paid in the industry?

  2. 12 different languages. That’s what’s wrong with this industry. Why have 12 “designer” languages when the industry should have ONE universal language that’s supported by the I.T. community. Just saying . . .

  3. C# jobs in my state of Ky are paying $120K all over the place (and that’s considered the median pay rate!). It’s extremely high demand, and now with Core and Blazor, you can program any platform (and web assembly – which, hopefully, will kill off all these stupid ECMA frameworks, and all this transpiling & interpreted language nonsense).

  4. The title of the article indicates 12 programmimg languages. I counted the number of entries in the table twice and there are only 10 entries. What are the other two languages ? With such a glaring error how can we believe the rest of the article ? Total clickbait.

  5. It’s based on job postings, which are a shotgun approach to grabbing programmers for a project now underway. I don’t believe that anyone really knows. Go may be a juggernaut simply because Google is behind it. I choose a language for a project based on the best tools available to complete the project in a timely manner. It’s easier to learn a language than it is to complete a large project with inadequate/inappropriate tools. I wouldn’t miss C/C++….

  6. From the perspective of a Sr. Technical Recruiter working across different industry verticals, I’d have to agree with every comment so far. Hiring Managers will specify a preferred language or several languages, and in my experience, a solid background in one of the major object-oriented languages is absolutely required. Java and C++ are common; Python is frequent as well. One other requirement that is always on a Top Five Must-Have list is a scripting language-I see Python, Perl, or bash most frequently.

    The two referenced websites are better indicators of what I see in the real world.

  7. To think of ONE language that will rule them all is not practical. First there’s “vendor” languages such as C# and VB (Microsoft) and Swift (Apple) and Go (Google). Then there’s your semi-open source ones: Java, Perl and then the low-level languages like C and C++. Then “not really” languages like CSS. So it’s ok to have an ecosystem of tools.

  8. Dade Murphy

    As per usual, no mention of “q”. which underpins the KDB+ database used by 19 of the top 20 investment banks in the world. With no compsci or finance background, I self taught this language and within 3 years I was clearing $200,000 base salary. This is not atypical.