Developer jobs and programming languages: What’s hot and what’s next

Software development is the hottest job on the market – and business is booming.


Image: SolisImages/GETTY

The role of the software developer is as central to an organization’s success now as those right at the top. While they might not be involved in corporate decision making, developers are crucial to steering growth within the enterprise in a market in which software savviness is increasingly a marker of commercial success.

Running technology in a business has become a business in itself. As commerce goes digital and consumers spend more time working, shopping and managing their lives from home, companies are spending billions of dollars to showcase their technology and maintain a lead on competitors. As a result, software creators find themselves in enormous demand.

This ZDNet Special Feature series is both an examination of the role of developers and the work they do, as well as an exploration into the trends that are shaping the software industry, and with it, the direction of travel for businesses in the coming months and years. Our ambition is to cast a light on the value of software developers in the modern digital workplace, as well as investigate the skills, technologies and programming languages that are driving market demand.

Programming languages 

According to CompTIA’s February 2022 Tech Jobs Report, software developers are the biggest driver of tech-hiring activity within US organizations. The average salary of US tech workers in 2018 was $84,300; today, it’s closer to $120,500, with those in decision-making positions able to earn an average salary of $138,200, according to CompTIA.

Dice’s 2022 Tech Salary Report recorded a 6.9% increase in the average technologist salary between 2019 and 2021, reaching $104,566. “That’s the highest salary ever recorded by the Dice Salary Report, and a positive sign for technologists in terms of the current and potential future value of their skills and experience,” the authors noted.

SEE: The easiest programming languages to learn 

The fact that some of the best-paying jobs are in tech is a testament to the value that these professionals bring to businesses, and as such, having one or more programming languages under your belt is going to make you extremely appealing in the eyes of recruiters. Businesses are currently falling over themselves to secure the talent they need to move with the times, making software jobs a secure and lucrative employment field in an otherwise uncertain economic climate.

According to O’Reilly’s 2021 Data and AI Salary Survey, developers who work with niche programming languages are likely to take home higher average salaries than their more common counterparts, largely owing to the fact that they are in such short supply.

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Salary by programming language – O’Reilly 2021 Data/AI Salary Survey.


Image: O’Reilly

Its survey found that the most widely used and popular programming languages fell in the middle of the salary range. This included Python ($150,000), SQL ($144,000), Java ($155,000), and JavaScript ($146,000). Web languages, such as HTML, PHP, and CSS, were at the bottom of the range, at

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