It’s a trend observed by Forbes, CNN, Entrepreneur, USA Today and others; they have reported extensively on the elevated demand for software developers in the U.S. CEOs call out to them, customers continue to demand their product, and non-technical employees seek a career-reboot through studying their craft.
Through hipper offices, higher salaries, and happier smartphone users everywhere, software developers are making a lasting cultural impact. In an effort to attract and keep coders, the leaders in tech are using salary, benefits, and opportunity to publicly compete for the best available talent.
HubSpot famously offered a $30,000 bounty for software developers and designers in 2013 and, in the three years since, growing companies have continued to battle industry giants for the cream of the coding crop.
A 2016 report by Robert Half Technology, one of the country’s largest tech staffing firms, supports the notion that employment offers for coders are fiercely competitive across the board, particularly when compared with other industries. Forbes found that software developers in the United States made a median salary of $95,000 in 2016, with nearly 50,000 jobs available.
The industries of computer systems design and software publishing boasted the highest number of coders employed, with Seattle (avg. entry level dev salary: $89,950 per year) and the Bay Area (avg. entry level dev salary: $96,945 per year) attracting the greatest number of young software talent.
Beyond access to the latest hardware and software that their organizations have to offer, a majority of software developers are not required to punch a time clock; they are generally salaried employees, judged upon the quality and quantity of what they produce.
Responsibility and pressure are often high, but developers vest the benefits of an appreciative market for their services. Financial coaching, life and health insurance, paid vacation, profit-sharing, and a variety of other concessions are common. In addition to the myriad of other benefits they offer, Google allows developers to spend 20% of their work day on whatever projects they choose.
The appeal of more money, added flexibility when out-of-office, and the comfort of snacks, beer, and ping pong is enough to make anyone consider learning a new trade. And though they don’t always receive the credit to which they are intellectually entitled, software developers are essential to sustaining U.S. economic vitality, national security, and the digital conveniences of everyday life.
There’s an ever-widening range of career possibilities for software developers—but if you don’t want to switch careers entirely, learning to code can still make you more effective in your current role.
If you’re naturally inclined to any of the skills or settings below, see which tech-related career might be right for you:
- Imaginative and creative? Consider design engineering.
- Like laboratories and conducting experiments? Consider test engineering.
- Like to organize and expedite projects? Consider being a development engineer.
- Persuasive and like working with people? Consider a career in sales or field service engineering.
And don’t forget that job security is consistently celebrated as a chief quality-of-life advantage of being a programmer, regardless of salary. As long as so much of the world depends on computers and the software that connects them, there will be a high-demand for those who can code!
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