You know about the big, “classic” programming languages: Java, C++, Python, and so forth. And while big, common languages are great to learn because of their versatility and high demand, the downside is that everyone else is learning them for those reasons too, which in turn translates to more competition and difficulty commanding the highest pay rates.
The solution? Turn to the less common yet equally in-demand languages that are becoming more sought after and command ultra-high salaries thanks to the lower supply of specialists. For 2017 and likely many years ahead, two of those languages are Go and Scala.
What Are Go And Scala?
Go and Scala are both modern languages with first-class features. In short, Go is an open-source compiled, statically typed language in the tradition of C, and Scala is a general-purpose, functional, and object-oriented language compatible with Java.
Since their creation they have both been primarily used by large companies: for example, Go is most famously used at Google, as well as Adobe and Facebook, and Scala is used at Twitter, Netflix, and LinkedIn (among many others).
However, large companies aren’t the only ones catching on anymore. Since 2009, these two languages have grown by over 1200%, and there’s a place for them at midsized companies and even startups now.
And now the money: according to the 2017 Stack Overflow Developer Survey and Stack Overflow Trends analysis, each language commands an average salary of $110,000. Since that’s an average, it means that you could very well earn more as your expertise progresses.
Implications For The Tech Industry
The fact that these languages are growing so rapidly is very revealing about where tech is headed now and in the coming years. Here to help explain that is Kevin Troy, director of developer insights at Stack Overflow.
“Salary demand around programming languages like Go and Scala is connected to the rising importance of both cloud deployment and big data in the software industry,” says Troy. “Developer job listings that require Go are typically for network engineers, systems administrators, or DevOps specialists, while listings requiring Scala experience typically involve data engineering and machine learning.” (If machine learning is something you want to pursue, check out these tips next.)
Additionally, it’s notable that this is the case not only nationally within the U.S., but worldwide as well. “Software developers work all over the world writing code, but we see significant geographical variation in how they work and what specific areas they focus on,” says Troy. “However, that Go and Scala are in the top 10 both in the US and worldwide; these are languages that are consistently well paid.”
Other Highest-Paying Languages of 2017
If you don’t think Go or Scala is the right move for you, don’t worry: there are eight other languages on the Stack Overflow survey’s top 10 list, with a mix of classics and up-and-comers. Whether you’re drawn to Objective-C, CoffeeScript, Swift, or another on the list, there’s no questioning the value of any of these languages.
And if you’re not sure what to pursue, take the opportunity to dabble in some online classes. At worst, you’ll dislike them and be where you were before (plus some new knowledge and skills to draw on). At best, you’ll find a language you love and dive into a new specialty.
How You Can Use This Information To Impact Your Career
Whether you’re a beginner or a current developer seeking a change of specialization, this knowledge has the potential to change the trajectory of your career and life–as long as you seize the opportunity.
“We believe this data is most impactful in empowering developers to build their careers,” says Troy. “Data around fast-growing technologies and the salaries those technologies command can be used to help a new developer understand how their skills translate financially. It also lets them know what they should expect as they enter the job market, and it can even be useful in salary negotiation to ensure they receive compensation for skills they’ve mastered.”
So what skills do have staying power? (Hint: Go and Scala are two of them.) Troy continues, “Some large-scale trends we see in the software industry, such as companies understanding and harnessing the power of data and cloud computing environments, are unlikely to be passing fads. Languages that tap into these important shifts are likely to remain in high demand.”