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Update: This article was originally for year 2011. I am adapting this to reflect new trends in IT salary (especially in the USA) for year 2014.
For software company sign up bonus and relocation fee, see USA Software Engineer Sign Up Bonus Stats
Though IT salaries hasn't changed much these couple of years, some areas are showing good growth. Below are hot technology skills and salaries in major computer software related jobs in USA. They are good for conducting salary research, so you know what you worth when negotiating pay raise or switching career.
1. Java/J2EE and related technologies are still in demand with the highest salaries on average. C is also relevant, but there are almost as many C programmers as there are Java programmers. Average salaries:
--Java: 90k ~ $100k
2. Apex Cloud Programming
Easy to adopt for developers familiar with Java or C#, Apex is the Salesforce.com programming language that runs in the cloud in a multi-tenant environment. This is a bit of proprietary programming job, so I am not too hot on it. Average salaries for Apex professionals is around $95k.
3. Python and Ruby
Despite all the excitement around Ruby on Rails, IT professionals with Python skills has average salaries of $90k, a bit higher than RoR people. Python also jumped 7.1 percent from last year, while RoR declined 0.6 percent. The number of people with experience in those languages are still pretty low, but learning Python may be the better investment at this point. Average salaries: Python $90,208; Ruby on Rails $89,973.
4. Windows Tech
.NET developers are paid low compared to Java/C developers. Average salary is around $80k.
5. Perl and COBOL
Despite the popularity of newer languages, Perl remains in demand. Perl developers on average reported higher salaries. Also there is still demand for developers with COBOL background. Average Salaries: Korn Shell $96,886; Perl $94,210; Shell $88,918; COBOL $85,847.
6. Mac, Windows, and Red Hat
Average salaries: Red Hat $88,223; Microsoft Windows Server $76,915; Mac OS $74,199.
7. Specialized OS Jobs
Average Salaries: Solaris $94,429; AIX $93,684; HP-UX $92,662; DOS $72,637.
8. Security engineers paid well
security architect $117,387; security engineer $95,146; security analyst/architect/engineer (Combined): $89,620; Security Analyst $78,288.
9. Specialists for Networks Paid Well
WAN Specialist with average Salaries $108,842; Network Design $90,378; Network Manager $60,134; Network Engineer $70,681.
10. Data Management Skills Most in Demand
Data warehousing skills are most in demand and earn good money.
Data Warehouse $96,613; Sybase $92,855; Oracle $90,914; DB2 $89,159; SQL Server $80,773; MySQL $79,629.
Bottom line, Java, Python, Apex, Windows tops the list of IT skills in demand in 2011.
1) Hot IT Skills In Demand 2011 And Salary Survey
2) To boost your interview skills on programming, check out Best Books on Algorithms For Interviews
3) These days with hard-earned IT skills, you deserve a salary boost. Here are some good articles about Salary Negotiation
4) For an update to date salary survey on software engineers in the U.S, see the following chart provided by Glassdoor.com:
More software/IT salary data, please check Software Engineer Salary Average In the U.S.
1# visitor 2011-05-21 16:24
Even though Cobol has been way on the decline side, but I suspect that demand for Cobol programmers in 2011 could still be not bad, as there are lot of IBM mainframes out there to be maintained still. Plus, you could still earn a nice salary, compared to most non-IT industries.
2# jc 2011-05-22 16:43
Network engineer's salary in 2011 is good at anywhere from 70k to 90k.
3# June08 2011-06-09 06:05
My hunch for the hottest IT skills for 2011 in programming would be either in cloud computing or smart phone coding jobs.
4# jc 2011-08-12 00:42
Call me biased, but I think there is still differences between the average salary of Java vs .Net developers, Java developer would get more.
5# jc 2011-08-15 21:20
I heard an interesting stat, that there are around 15 million software developers in the world. "Developer" means that they are active paid professional programmers.
6# jc 2011-09-01 01:42
Although Ruby on Rails is popular but I believe that the salary for Ruby on Rails developers are still trailing Java developer salary.
7# Sohan 2011-09-19 12:37
This results are one dimensional, avg, which is almost always a bad number.
I think at a minimum, it should include years of experience into account. I know there are many daddy kind of Java devs with 20+ years of experience than in Ruby/Python. So, the don't let this avg thing misguide you.
8# jc 2011-09-19 16:11
The stats is not meant to be a precise salary number as location, company and position all counts towards the actual figure.
However, these salary figures could be used as a general reference when evaluating your compensation.
9# brazillian 2011-09-20 10:29
In my country Java/J2ee earn 15k year. Gr8 success.
10# jc 2011-09-20 12:29
Oh, wow, with the Brazilian currency going up against US dollar, it is even better?
To be frank, I am a java developer and every time looking at Ruby on Rail or other interpreted languages, I still cringe and want to stick with Java.
11# jc 2011-09-21 12:54
I saw people on DZone commented about this article. One question is regarding salary for C# and .Net developers. IMHO, I think C# is more valuable than ASP.net as it is naturally harder. So, I'd say C# developers would make more in general than the other .NET developers.
12# jc 2011-11-17 13:23
From my experience in the software industry, I think the highest paying programming language 2011 should still be in c/c++. The reason being that they are difficult to learn and master. So, the market is all about supply and demand, if scripting languages are easier to learn, then, there will be too many people skilled in that. c/c++ or even java, are hard-core computer science languages, so should command good salary if the job is right.
13# Connor 2011-11-21 23:11
But you have to consider the demand for java and C/C++ programmers. There may be fewer C/C++ programmers, but there are also fewer jobs using C/C++. For most applications, Java is better for whatever reason. It's easier to develop and it's much better suited for the web.
14# jc 2011-12-07 23:32
According to the job stats I researched:
demand for ruby on rails programmers is around 1/10 of the demand of java developers.
While demand for C/++ developers is 1/2 of the demand of java programmers.
15# jc 2012-01-27 20:42
Here is a useful link for how much people earn in California Silicon Valley Silicon Valley Salaries. Job market in the Valley is quite strong.
Some quick stats on top paid software engineers:
16# jc 2012-04-14 10:12
Zynga has offices in LA, San Diego, Dallas, Baltimore, Seattle. Senior level engineer, sign-up cash bonus > $30k, stock $5k~$10k tops. Seldom hires fresh Ph.D, but a lot of hire in fresh graduates out of college.
Zynga interview is similar to Facebook and Google but easier.
17# jc 2012-04-25 14:08
I heard there are software developers getting a year-end bonus of the amount of 5-months salary. That's quite generous from the company.
18# jc 2012-05-12 11:21
Someone is curious about what the highest paid programming language in 2012 is?
Well, here is the poll result I discovered.
Ruby and Ruby on Rail: 7%
So, yes, I think I have chosen the Best programming language as I am a java developer. To diversify my expertise, I am also looking into learning some hot scripting languages and for some reason, I thought Python is good to learn, as I've seen some big software companies are using it (think Google) and it is clean.
19# jc 2012-06-09 22:54
For computer science student, 3 month summer internship for mid to big software companies in California. As far as I heard, the pay is $40-$48/hour plus $3500-$6500 relocation fee.
20# jc 2012-07-11 11:27
Read on the web that computer science Ph.D with 1 year work experience, Google Kirkland office would probably give the following package:
Base salary: 130k
21# jc 2012-08-08 11:11
The average developer in New York City is at 120k/year. From a company's perspective, that's just part of the cost of hiring a developer, on top of that, the company will incur around x1.5 to x1.7 expense, i.e., benefits, taxes, etc.
So for keeping a developer in NYC, it is about 300k to 324k/year total expense for a company.
22# jc 2012-08-08 13:06
A good indication to look at what's hot as a programming language is the Stackoverflow.com's top tags page. Currently these are the top 10 hot programming languages:
So I guess any software developer with any of these skillsets could make good money.
23# dzengal 2012-08-08 13:40
As for the Stackoverflow.com top tags page, Ruby is a contender when the tags for Ruby, ruby-on-rails, & ruby-on-rails-3 are added together totalling over 160k. That would place it in between JQuery & C++. But, that brings up the point that, perhaps, some other tags, for example xcode, would be related to other tags, such as Objective C. I know a bit of a few of these languages and also am looking to see which one to improve or learn next.
24# jc 2012-08-16 09:52
Yahoo has started to offer free food to employees. As a comparison, Google spends $20/employee/day over 251 working days.
BusinessInsider.com's article on Yahoo Free Food Cost
25# jc 2012-10-21 01:13
There is a 57 year old petroleum engineer earning $220k a year as base salary, and $50k as bonus. That's not bad or maybe even better than a software engineer. The oil industry is quite lucrative I guess.
26# Luke 2012-10-26 06:49
Ruby on Rails should not be in that list because there are posible 30 jobs compare to 200+ c# and 500+ java jobs around NYC area
27# jc 2012-10-27 00:33
Yeah, you are probably right. RoR has been popular back in 2004-2005 as I remember. But over the years, it is probably on a steady decline. I like c# or java as they are the main stream software languages, ruby/rail is kind of a bit shallow. Sorry I couldn't think of anything better to describe my thoughts on them.
28# jc 2012-11-20 09:13
In terms of the future hot jobs in software development, here are three areas I think would be very good to tap into:
-mobility, mobile development
-cloud computing, basically effective server hosting
-big data, data mining and data processing
Out of these 3 trends, I think big data is the best for personal career growth as the skillset is portable among different companies.
Meanwhile, cloud computing is to build IT infrastructure/data centers, so there are software development expertise involved but it is hard to do it from the small. So far only Amazon, Microsoft, Rackspace, Google are the big names in this. And so it might become a winner take all market down the road.
Mobile computing is an area that requires a lot of front end design to better cater a good user experience. So IT professionals that focuses on backend development may not find it that interesting.
So overall, big data is a good industry to be in longer term and good for personal growth.
29# jc 2012-12-14 11:22
I asked a sys admin friend of mine about perl scripting demand in companies vs. python. He seems to think that it is like a battle between old school perl vs. new language like python as scripting tool. It seems to me, just from the simplicity perspective of it, python is growing at the expense of perl.
30# jc 2012-12-15 15:27
The average salary of a Facebook intern is over $5000/month. Facebook engineering intern is $6465/month.
Google is even higher with software developer intern at $6862/month.
However, I believe the intern salary is kind of closer to the full time software engineer salary.
Also it is said that 3 years into programming at a full time job, the software engineer's salary could reach the peak. With 10 year experience not much different from 3 years of experience.
31# Srinivas 2013-01-01 12:24
I'm a Fresher..Completed B.tech (ece) With 71 % . Which is best part among Development (java or C#) or Networking or SAP keeping future salary growth . I will be staying in INDIA itself forever. Can any1 suggest me.
32# jc 2013-01-02 19:09
As far as I've observed, Java is the way to go. My opinion might be biased as I am an open source/Linux/Java developer, anyhow here are the facts/thoughts.
As the common foundation of the Microsoft software stack, it looks like right now .NET is lacking behind Java entirely.
Couple years ago, .Net web applications are on par with Java based web applications, and .NET is even taking the lead in small and medium businesses.
But these two years, all the hot areas such as Big Data/Hadoop eco system, mobile computing platform, are dominated by Java. .Net is marginalized.
If .Net keeps the current downward trend, other Microsoft products such as SQL server and sharepoint could also be affected.
So, I'd suggest that you pick Java as your skillset. It should bring you great career growth.
33# harsh 2013-02-04 04:59
i want to go in computer industry.......so plz tell me which area is best in terms of growth , fun and salary on the top :
1) database ( oracle ) or related any area , so tell me ?
i want to go either 1 or 2 !!!!
so tell me which one is better !!!! my preference is database field
u tell me on my email id......firstname.lastname@example.org
plz humble request to u all to reply me on my email id becoz may be i will never comeback to this site.....hope u understand
my email id is :
34# jc 2013-02-04 09:14
If I were you, I would go into java as well as database. Both are good in terms of future growth. Database companies tend to be quite stable since databases are critical to business operations. Good luck.
35# Agnihotram Srikanth 2013-02-22 04:04
i had finished my b.tech(2012) and now iam looking forward for a job and at the same time i want to learn Linux in protocol developing and simultaneously
shell scripting and perl scripting .
so,please suggest me whether this courses had a better future in IT market and had a better oppurtunities or not?
36# jc 2013-02-22 11:12
Learning Linux and those scripting languages is great. There are a lot of job opportunities with it. For example, I have a friend who is working as a developer for an financial institute, he is maintaining and writing scripts for financial data processing. Also, it is good money and career for him.
So, yes, go for it!
37# decent2 2013-03-13 22:42
I am pursuing an IT engineering from MUMBAI university..(final year) ..I have completed core java and advanced java course..including hibernate and struts2 . I want to know should i learn spring framework or these much is sufficient for fresher...
Which country pay good for java developer
and as a strong payscale which is good Oracle db or java
and any more suggestions are welcome ...
38# jc 2013-03-13 22:48
Spring framework is the missing part of the puzzle I think. You should learn it, at least, get familiar with it. The way I would go about is, try to use Spring MVC to build a website. Nothing beats hands-on practice.
As for which country pay good money for java developers? Simple, the USA for sure. But, if you couldn't make it to the U.S, there should be good opportunities in your country I guess?
Oracle db vs. java, I'd say, follow your passion. If you like programming and development, go for java. If you like database management and you are very organized, then a DBA position might be all you need to get good $$.
Lastly, whatever you pick, just do it really well. Don't go into it for the money. You need to think in terms of "a good career that you like AND with earning potential".
39# decent2 2013-03-13 23:00
thx for ur quick reply..
but What about ocjp certification...
i have also completed "Intro to Oracle 9i" course ...
Would you please provide the some list of countries(including middle east) according to the payscale for java developers...
40# jc 2013-03-13 23:29
OCJP certification might be useful for beginning java developers to secure a job. But again, depending on the hiring company, some may not care too much about the certification in comparison to your actual programming skillset.
As for salary of java developer in the middle east, I have less idea. But a quick web search showed that on average, java developers would earn USD 2k ~ 4k/month in Dubai.
41# vijay 2013-03-20 00:17
please help me out...regarding networking vs programing...havng sme doubt
42# jc 2013-03-20 00:53
What problems you have?
43# vijay kumar 2013-03-20 03:05
hai good afternoon
am from india..and am not interested in programing..slightly am having interest towards networking /system admin/database admin whatever it is..without programing
but i heard that there will be less chances for freshers..and salaries also lower than programers is it right?
and will it be the right choice choosing networking/system admin as my carrier for bright future?
please am unware about real time environment
please explain me in brief ,if you dont mind :-)
networking field in india??????
i completed my engeneering in 2010..now i wasted 3 years..till date
what should i do sir? :-(
is there any alternate field other than this?
thanks in advance
44# jc 2013-03-20 11:48
I think computer networking and sys admin is a good field to go into, especially if you don't like programming.
Salary wise, you could earn the same, if not more, than a computer programmer, as these days, there are a lot of companies needing system administrator type of people to operate their network and provide support.
My last advice to you is, do what you are good at and follow your passion.
45# vijay 2013-03-20 20:29
thanks for replying :-)
ya..but many companies were recruiting experienced..and less chances for freshers so..in confusion :-(...what should i do
and there are many types of courses under that networking and system admin..which one i have to adopt for better future?
46# vijay 2013-03-20 20:30
and openings will be less when compared to programing r databes etc
so would you suggest any toher alternate field..?
47# jc 2013-03-21 10:03
For your question on how to get a job when you don't have experience in it, here is my thought.
It is like a chicken and egg problem. You need to have experience to get a job, but to gain experience, you need to work first. Some ways to break this are:
-do your own hobby projects and use them as showcases
-work for free (free intern maybe?) for companies to gain experience
Again, follow your heart, do what you are good at, don't get into an IT job purely for the money. Then, you should succeed in the long run.
48# vijay 2013-03-21 10:50
thank you very much for encouragement
and last but not least
which one i have to choose...
which will be better
i knw about both of them but
49# jc 2013-03-21 11:23
I think a system admin has to be familiar with networking. To me, system admin feels like a career/job, but networking is just a skillset.
50# Jith Thomas 2013-04-20 10:04
What is the salary a security engineer with no experience
51# jc 2013-04-23 15:27
If you are in the U.S., I would say a newbie network security engineer would command anywhere from $60k to $90k+, depends on where the job is at, and how bad the company needs you, as well as the company's profitability.
To give you some concrete data, here is a list of the different titles for this position and the salary example:
Network Support Engineer: $75,000
IT Security Engineer: $89,000
Security Engineer: $98,000
Information Security Engineer: $93,000
Network Security Engineer: $90,000
You may find the jobs and salary related information on indeed.com at Network Security Engineer Jobs.
52# wang 2013-04-29 05:16
hello， after reading these comments， i am incredible. if i tell you i come from china and am a junior c# programmer with 5000(RMB) ,about $800 /month in shanghai . you will know how surprise i am to the comments. i don't know what will be the development of c# in the furture, especially in c/s b/s web , windows phone ， pad ...Taking into account my career, i don't konw what to do, or how can i get higher salary after 3 years by a prospect programming language. can you give me some suggestions?
53# jc 2013-04-29 15:01
C# is on the same level as Java in that they are both pretty rigorous programming languages. So, I think C# developers should have a great future.
My suggestion is that you should focus on a niche area, either in web development or client side smartphone/tablet development. Both should give you good salary and job security.
For me, I would stick with server side programming, as it tends to change slowly and so you don't need to brush up your skills every so often.
Also, I like database driven applications, since businesses rely more on databases to compete on the market. So, database related programming jobs would bring you good money for sure. Although it could be a bit boring at times, but, hey, the pay is good ;-)
54# Raj 2013-04-30 01:39
I completed my Graduation in Computer Applications in Bangalore,India.
I am good at programming and interested to go with it.
Especially application programming(Java).
Please guide me...
55# jc 2013-04-30 13:48
Java is just a programming tool, although I think it is superior than scripting languages such as Python or Ruby.
However what really matters is picking an interesting and profitable industry/field. Certain industries would do well at certain times. So, choosing the right industry to go into is important for you to make a LOT of money.
For example, back in the 2000s, I was in the telecommunication industry working as a software engineer, but at the time, the telecom industry tanked due to the economy. Plus, I didn't have a passion/interest in the telecom industry. So, I lost my job at the time.
What has worked for me is going into a database related industry, i.e., real estate, eCommerce, for example. I like doing data processing and love search engine technology, so those industries match well with my passion.
Hope it helps.
56# Raj 2013-05-01 01:44
Thanks JC for your reply,
Your views are correct, I appreciate.
Right now IT has a lot of branches to choose on, I prefer development as it is having life/work balance when compared to other areas.
So, which technology could evolve in coming 5-10 yrs.
My guess is android, hence I feel going through java now and later shifting to android specialization would be a good option.
57# jc 2013-05-01 19:46
You are right, IT does have a lot of branches these days, and either one of the branches could have very deep learning curve. So, maintaining your focus on a certain field would be a good approach.
For example, I would focus 80% of my learning on the area that interests me most and with good career prospect, and 20% of time to learn something new and broad.
Software development is certainly a very good career, just like you mentioned, it keeps one's work/life balance very well.
Many years ago, I was in international trade business as a trader, importing and exporting products to and from China. Initially it was an interesting job, as I could use my English skillset and I learned a lot of trade/business skills along the way.
But working for quite several years, I felt depressed as I worked long hours dealing with customers and suppliers, in addition to organizing contracts/faxes late into the night. (yes, at the time, I was still doing trade with faxes and paper based contracts). Also, I traveled a lot, it was all exciting at first, then I hated it.
I started to think about ways to escape the trader's life. So, one thing I kept seeing was that the computer software and Internet would change the way people communicate and do business. It was so much easier to use software to manage the business contracts; and it was so much better to just communicate remotely through emails.
So I thought I got to go into the software industry, as I could work anywhere in the world with a laptop and just do programming. Even better, I don't need to travel for business' sake if I don't have to.
So here I am, a computer programmer. I completely transformed my life and career by going into computer science and software development, and I am enjoying every day of my life, sitting in front of the computer ;-)
Well, that was a nice detour ;-) So, back to your question of "which technology could evolve in the coming 5 to 10 years?" Here is my thought.
I think mobile is coming up big. You don't need to look further but just take a look around the people on the bus. Other than the ones sleeping, every one of them is flipping through their smartphones or tablets. So, there is a great future doing any development work related to mobile, be it mobile apps or mobile websites.
In terms of market share, I'd stick with Android and Java. Apple has a tradition of closely guarding their eco-system, which is good for customers, but not very impressive for developers. So, over time, I think Android will take more markets.
If you go into Android development, I would recommend still learning and doing some kind of server side of work. Server side tends to be have changes than client side, so you could build up your skillset incrementally over time.
58# vinodh 2013-05-03 01:38
I am a java developer for past 15 years. But surprised to know that .net developers are paid little less than java and python.
59# jc 2013-05-03 01:55
Well, I think it is just average statistics. I am sure there are good .net developers that command much higher salary than ordinary java developers.
Overall, .net developers are paid less than java developers, I think it is because the learning curve for .net probably is easier than java/linux stack. Right now market demand for java developers is quite high, since major companies in the U.S. are using java mostly. For example, Amazon, Google, Oracle, Salesforce.com, HP, you name it.
60# Raj 2013-05-11 02:23
Thanks for your enriched reply...
Please guide me the steps in taking a Microsoft Certification, (.NET)...
I am not able to find a simple one on net...
What exams are to be taken....
How would you compare it to the Oracle Certifications...
(Right now, I am preparing for OCPJP certification)
61# jc 2013-05-11 15:53
Sorry I am not a Microsoft developer, so I don't have any step by step guide for the Microsoft Certificate exam. If anyone else know about it, they are welcome to comment below.
62# Raj 2013-05-12 01:55
63# Rimless 2013-09-10 15:23
This blog is really informative and helpful.i am having almost 10 yrs of it exp with 8 yrs of java j2 ee exp.i want to move to salesforce .is it wise to switch this time.i want this switch because of better job opportunity and hike in salary.please advice.
64# jc 2013-09-10 15:39
With 8 years of Java development experience, I don't see why not moving to Salesforce.com. As far as I know, they have a very good business model and they are making good money in the CRM space. So, I would encourage you to explore the new job opportunity.
65# rahul 2013-09-16 06:11
I am btech cs fresher .. my name is rahul ...
I am very confuse abt php and .net to chose as my starting carrer option .. beacuse some peoples said that there were more groth in .net then php ..
And also most of mnc dont hire php developers they hire .net profesionals ..
And one more thing .net developera salry higher then php deve all this true ..????
I also google it but i get more confusion insted of solution ....
And last que to sir if i choose php as starting then wt should i learn after 2-3 yare exp for higher salary and carrer groth ...
And sir same problem with java that java is also used by mnc only not by small it comanies...
I want ti know wt is the future popularity in these 3 ..php java and .net
Plzz help me to select as carrer path ..
66# jc 2013-09-16 07:40
.NET is just like the Java/Linux platform, both of them are "high-end" development platforms. In comparison, php is sort of low-end, targeting small to mid-sized companies.
The reason being that php is a scripting language, while C# (in .NET) is a more formal "computer science" language like Java. So, naturally, both C# and Java are suitable for large-scale backend programming for web services, while php is more for the front-end development coupled with html.
I would say, if you want to work a professional developer, you should pick up .NET (or Java). If you want to join smaller startups, then php might be the option. However, with the low end market, there are competitors such as RoR or Python based development too.
If you decide to stick with php, you should at least learn more backend server side programming, such as Linux based server scripting, etc.
Lastly, with Microsoft having trouble in the mobile computing space, I'd say best to learn java/php than .Net/C#. So my preferences would be:
67# rahul 2013-09-17 06:49
Thank u so much sir ... my problem is 99% solved by ur answer ..
Ur reply help me in many ways to decide carrer path .. thanks for ur help .
68# jc 2013-12-13 13:50
For novice developer who is looking for higher pay and better career growth, I'd say java has more potential for a better paying job than c#.
69# jc 2014-01-22 17:17
Someone mentioned that Google senior engineer (level 5), base salary is just 160k ~ 170k, bonus is like around 15%. But the stock is a lot, like around 100k ~ 300k. So total annual income is 300k+.
I am not sure if this is true or not, but the person who mentioned this seems quite convincing.
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