Kristen Felicetti, Monster website 25 May 2016 Viewed 1375 Times Viewed by 1080 people

As a Q&A-style developer resource, Stack Overflow sees thousands of programmers checking in each day to get answers on everything from string vectors to Jade templates. But if you’re also looking for detail on what makes the tech industry tick, its recent survey of over 50,000 developers worldwide should shoot to the top of your reading list.


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While the survey goes into everything from the biggest workplace challenges to whether developers prefer Star Wars or Star Trek (Star Wars, unless you’re over 50), much of it concerns compensation. So if you’ve ever wondered which tech jobs pay the most—as well as which skills are most likely to bring in top dollar—you’ve come to the right place.

 Specialty skills net big paychecks

In the U.S., ability with the computing framework Spark and the programming language Scala bring in the highest salaries, at an average of $125,000. Database management system Cassandra, programming language F# and open-source framework Hadoop were also top-paying technologies, at $115,000.

The survey also broke down the top-paying tech skills by occupation, identifying the most lucrative specialties for full-stack developers, front-end developers, mathematics developers and mobile developers. Full-stack developers who can develop for the cloud and work with Redis or React are the best-paid in their field, earning an average of $105,000. For front-end developers, expertise in React ($105,000), followed by Node.JS ($95,000) brings in the most money.

Meanwhile, developers with a mathematics background who know Scala ($140,000), Spark ($130,000) and Hadoop ($125,000) get paid more than their peers. Finally, mobile developers who specialized in Objective-C earned the most in their area ($100,000), while those with a strong grounding in iOS earned about $10,000 more on average than those who are primarily Android developers.

Mobile developers are high earners

Stack Overflow also looked at what positions pay the most. Unsurprisingly, the highest paid roles in tech belonged to executives (VP of Engineering, CTO, CIO, etc.), with an average salary of $150,314. They were followed by engineering managers, who hold an average salary of $143,122.

While most of the listed positions had a salary that exceeded or hovered around six figures, the developer position that commanded the highest salary was mobile developer (specifically for iOS) at $115,460. Back-end web developers had an average salary of $108,580, followed by full-stack web developers ($100,273) and front-end web developers ($97,016).

Salary varies by employment status, education and gender

Full-time employees make up the bulk of the developer workforce. They also have the highest average salaries, hovering around $98,949. Freelance contractors made $92,311, while self-employed developers made $82,293.

According to the survey, it also pays to have an advanced degree. A Ph.D. in computer science (or a related field) brought in the highest average salary of $122,219. A master’s degree in computer science (or related field) came in second, with a salary of $118,803. Mentorship programs and full-time intensive programs also resulted in higher-than-average pay.

The survey also touches on the gender pay gap—a hot topic of discussion both in tech and in the larger workforce. While there was not a detectable gender pay gap for young developers under 30, male developers aged 30 or older make more on average— sometimes more than $20,000 extra a year.

But there’s less of a gap when focusing on experience rather than age. Among developers with less than five years of experience, women make either the same amount or more than men, with men earning slightly more once they reach six to 10 years of experience and 11+ years of experience. 



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