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).
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.